MM003 .50cal Full Shells with ammo belt
MM004 .50cal Spent Shells with ammo belt

Reviews by Terry Ashley
Mission Models
Mission Models
These days we have almost become blasé about the etched metal update sets, metal barrels and individual track link sets available for updating and detailed our models. There have also been metal and resin artillery rounds produced in the larger calibres but for smaller MG calibres have had to get by with plastic or 2D etched ammo belts, until now.

These new sets from Mission Models have individually machined .50cal rounds in brass with both full and spend rounds plus etched ammo belt clips to give a whole new dimension in detail.

Each set consists of 25 rounds plus the etched clips and each round is produced with meticulous attention to detail from the contours of the casing to the detail on the base. The rounds are true 1/35th scale which means they are quite small but the detail is still evident when looking at the rounds with the naked eye.

To assemble the clips a magnifier either worn on the head or free standing will come in real handy as well as two pairs of fine tweezers, a good light source and a fair serving of patience.
Use good quality tweezers that don’t ‘twist’ when you pick things up or you will easily send the shells and clips into the dreaded ‘ping’ orbit.

Just a quick point in the images below, the rounds are quite small and the images are enlarged considerably to show the detail and this makes the rounds look rough. This is only a distortion of the scanning process and the surface of each round is quite smooth and well finished as are the etched clips.

Actual size of the rounds, shells and clips shown on an X-Acto #11 blade
Mission Models

After removing the “Y” clips from the etched fret they have to be bent to accept the rounds, the clips are designed to intermesh with the next one and held together by the round itself, the instructions supplied show this and the trick is to ensure each side has the same size ‘circle’ or they won’t intermesh properly.

Assembly instructions
Mission Models

After a bit a trial I found this method worked well, firstly get two 0.20 sized drill bits (or wire) and a small thin piece of spare etched metal fret. Lay the two drill bits with the etched metal in between for spacing over the centre of the “Y” clip (see Fig.1) and while applying finger pressure to hold the drill bits in place bend the clips around the drill bits using a X-Acto blade ensuring the bends are straight (Fig.2 & 3). When bent you will have a clip with the same sized ‘circle’ on both sides (Fig.4) but don’t worry if they don’t go all the way around as in the instructions as you will finish the bend when the round is in place later.

Clip bending sequence as described above
Mission Models

To fit a new clip intermesh the clips together and slip a round through the three circles which then holds the two together. The first one is the trickiest but they get easier as your belt grows as there is more to hang onto when attaching the next shell. After positioning the round you can then apply a bit of pressure with the back of the X-Acto blade and crimp the clip ends as far around the shell as they will go (not the sharp edge as you don’t want to cut the clip just bend it). This added crimping helps hold the round in place but a small dab of liquid super glue will also help.

Fitting a new round and clip to the belt
Mission Models

Just repeat this procedure for as many rounds as you want on your belt and I found after a few you get into a rhythm much like when assembling individual track links.

Being completely new it may take a while to get the hang of this but the end result really does look good and vastly superior to 2D etched ammo belts.

It have test fitted the rounds the new Academy .50 cal MG and they fit into the feed shut precisely which also means Academy got the scale right on their .50 cal but some others didn’t fair as well. I also couldn’t get the rounds to fit any .50cal ammo box available not because of any fault with the MM rounds but because the sides of most plastic ammo boxes are way too thick and some modification will be needed, there is also some variation in the sizes of ammo boxes provided by different manufacturers so you may have to get the best ‘fit’ from those available.

Individual parts and the assembled ammo belt
Mission Models

Superbly detailed rounds that will add greatly to the details on any allied vehicle or diorama, the assembly is a little tricky but once you get the hang of it they went together well. Obviously the small size could present it own problems but by using whatever visual aid you need and some good lighting and tools you will get a satisfactory result.
The 25 rounds in each set will take care of a few vehicle mounted .50cals and the spent shells will look good to add a used feel.
As I mentioned once you get into a rhythm I didn’t find these ammo belts much different than assembling a few hundred individual track links except in a much smaller size.

See the Mission Models site for ordering details.
Thanks to Jon from Mission Models for the review samples.

The set will also be available shortly through Rainbow Ten in Japan.

Page created 30 December 2003

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