LionMarc Model Designs
BESA Mk.3 Barrel
for WWII British Tanks

LionMarc Model Designs Set No. LM10014
Passion Models Set P35-014
Comet Mantlet w/Canvas Cover (WW2)
LionMarc Model Designs Set No. LM33000
1:35th Scale

Review by Terry Ashley

Lionmarc Model Designs continue to release metal barrel sets and following the recent M2 .50cal HB barrel (set #LM1026/28) comes this set again for Allied modellers with the BESA Mk.3 MG barrel. The BESA machine gun was basically the Czech ZB vz.37 7.92mm machine gun licence built in Britain and was the main secondary armament carried on most British tanks of WWII such as the Cromwell, Churchill and Comet as well as others. The British BESA differed in having a smooth barrel unlike the cooling fins on the Czech gun as well as a single pistol grip but other than that was basically similar.

Lionmarc also recently released a resin covered mantlet (set #LM33000) for the Bronco A34 Comet (kit #CB-35010) and we will have a look at this in conjunction with the BESA barrel set as they are made for each other, as is the metal 77mm barrel for the Comet also released by Lionmarc (set #LM10010) which makes up a nice threesome for the Bronco Comet kit.

Set #LM33000 Comet Mantlet w/Canvas Cover (WW2);
This is a single resin casting in light grey resin which comes without any casting blocks or other cleanup and is basically ready to go.

One piece Canvas covered Mantlet
LionMarc Model Designs

Detail on the canvas cover is the WWII style where it exposes the trunnions on the mantlet ends and the contours and texturing of the canvas cover is quite restrained compared to other resin covers released with subtle reinforcing strips along the top and the fasteners around the lower edge of the cover. This restrained appearance actually matches pictures of WWII Comet canvas covers well as can be seen with the much circulated picture of “Celerity” upon the release of the Bronco kit and looks very much the part.

The only small issue is the co-axial machine gun trough does not extend far enough out front the mantlet and there should be a small cross bracket on the top of the trough but this may not be all that noticeable.

The resin mantlet cover is hollow at the back with the two support brackets for the Bronco kit gun assembly and this can simply be glued to the back of the resin part with cyanoacrylate without any other alterations needed.

Likewise the resin mantlet simple fits to the front of the Comet kit turret replacing the kit part E18 again without any alterations required as the lip of the turret ring fits into the bottom of the resin mantlet.

This mantlet cover is very good overall with as mentioned the restrained texturing matching period photos well and no alterations required on the kit making for the simplest of upgrades.

The mantlet is designed to take the Lionmarc 77mm metal barrel without alterations with this being glued into the barrel recess with thick cyanoacrylate for strength without any hassels.

Set #LM10014 BESA Mk.3 MG Barrels;
The set has two 7.92mm barrels cleanly machined in brass with the flash suppressor hollowed out with no cleanup required before fitting to whatever model you choose.

Two metal barrels in the set
LionMarc Model Designs

Dimensionally the barrels match the actual barrel measurements precisely with the barrel length from the start of the forward contoured section being 280mm which in 1:35 scale is 8mm and that is the exact measurement of the Lionmarc barrel. The detail on the flash suppressor and bracket are also well done and match photos very well for excellent reproductions of the BESA Mk.3 barrels.

All that is needed to fit the barrels to the Comet kit (or any other) is to drill and appropriate sized hole for the main barrel and insert the barrel leaving the required length exposed, again the simplest of operations to deal with.

The images below show the BESA barrel fitted to the Lionmarc resin mantlet cover and the Bronco Comet hull machine gun trough and give a marked lift in detail definition over the plastic kit guns.

A quick comparison with the other metal BESA barrel available from Clipper Models (set #B-007) sees the Clipper barrel 1mm too long and the flash suppressor detail is not as accurate as the Lionmarc barrel.

The BESA barrel is also marketed in Japan under the Passion Models label by M.S.Models as set #P35-014 and is the same barrel as included in the LionMarc set reviewed here.

Comparison of the Lionmarc and Clipper Models barrel with the
Lionmarc having the correct length and flash supressor details

LionMarc Model Designs
Hull machine gun fitted to the Bronco Comet kit
LionMarc Model Designs
Resin mantlet fitted to the Bronco Comet kit along with the BESA barrel and
77mm main gun barrel also from Lionmarc

LionMarc Model Designs
The resin mantlet cover represents the WWII type very well with excellent contours and the typical subtle creasing as well as no alterations required to fit makes for the simplest of updates.

The metal BESA barrels are superbly done with the correct dimensions and again are simple to fit to whichever kit you need them for and getting the two per set makes updating one model very easy.

These BESA barrels will be a must have accessory for builders of British armour to add that final touch.

Both highly recommended

Thanks to LionMarc Model Designs for the review sets.

Page created August 14, 2007