The quadruple 1.1”/75 gun mount, nicknamed the “Chicago Piano”, was the standard medium anti-aircraft gun for the United States Navy during the 1930s and into
the early years of World War II. The .50-inch water-cooled machine gun was feared to be too light a weapon for future air defense, so a larger alternative needed to
be developed. The
Chicago Piano was fitted on many U.S. warships during the 1930s, but early service during the war revealed that the weapon was unreliable as it
was over-weight, subject to over-heating and prone to frequent jamming. The quad 1.1” mounts were replaced by the superior 40mm Bofors an 20mm Oerlikon,
though some were still in service on smaller ships through the end of the war. The Mark 44 director was used in conjunction with the quad 1.1” guns. They were the
U.S. Navy's first off-mount director for automatic anti-aircraft weapons. This removed the operator from the smoke and noise of the weapon to provide a clearer line
of sight to the target. The Mark 44 was a simple "dummy” type gun director and was manually trained and elevated. It contained optics and a spotting glass, but did
not have any computing elements found in later directors.
The Veteran Models accessory set provides resin and photo-etch parts and turned brass barrels to build four quad 1.1 mounts. The resin parts include the mount,
gun carriage, trunnion and gunner sights. The resin parts are very detailed and required a little bit of clean up to remove bits of excess resin film. The trunnions have
openings to fit the nibs of the brass barrels. For the Mark 44 directors, the resin parts are comprised of main director body and the optics bar. The resin parts all
come on casting runners with thin attachment points.

The photo-etch parts include the elevation gears for the gun carriage, carriage cross support, gunners’ seats and elevation wheels. For the Mark 44 director, the
photo-etch parts are the spotters’ seats, base for the seats, elevation wheels and support rods. Rounding off the parts are 16 beautiful turned brass barrels.
This Veteran Models set is excellent and as a bonus provides the Mark 44 directors, which I haven’t seen included in other quad 1.1” gun sets. The gun mounts
and directors built from this set will add a lot of detail to the Merit 1/200 scale
USS Hornet and the forthcoming Trumpeter USS Yorktown and Enterprise kits. My
thanks to
Melvin at Veteran Models for the review sample.
Felix Bustelo
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