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1/72 OKB Grigorov 7.62 (.30) machine-gun belts (GD02000011)

 

 

Manufacturer OKB Grigorov
Scale 1/72
Set Code GD02000011
Year -
No. of Parts  38
Instruction Sheet None
Additional Items None
Material Photo-etch
Colour Cooper
Flash Level None
Glue-ability Excellent (Cyanoacrylate)
Convert-ability Easy

 

Review

 

Machine-guns ammunition belts emerged as an item of foremost importance and necessity in 1/72 scale and aware by that sensitive fact-finding, OKB Grigorov took the wonderful decision to fill in the gap and succeeded to provide a brilliant answer to all those needs within their photo-etched set 7.62 (.30) machine-gun belts”.

The 7.62 mm caliber, known also as .30 caliber, was utilized by many nations for a large number of pistol, sub-machine gun, rifle, and machine-gun cartridges. In terms of WWII German army, the standard caliber for most machine-guns was the 7.92 mm one but obviously, in the 1/72 scale the difference between the 7.62 mm and the 7.92 mm calibers is really none. Thus the 7.62 (.30) machine-gun belts” set is extremely useful and might be deployed without any concern for most belt-fed firearms developed by mankind starting with WWI to nowadays.

Bearing in mind the focus of this website is the WWII German Army in 1/72 scale, the present review will analyze the OKB Grigorov set from the perspective of that army. However, it should be strongly reemphasized that the same situation is encountered in all other figure sets and kits depicting modern armies that used belt-fed machine-guns and no matter the OKB Grigorov belts are labelled as 7.62 caliber, the forwarded ammo work for all weapons of calibers close to the indicated value.

The WWII German infantry, one of the most appreciated armies in history, based its main strength on machine guns, even the smallest organization provided by KStN, the Rifle Squad, being grouped around one or two MGs. Used both in assault and in defense, the WWII German strategy and practice allocated to the MG the main role in the squad, the riflemen having backup or protection tasks. Furthermore, the importance granted by WWII German High Command to machine-guns is also stressed by the establishment at Battalion level of MG Companies, Platoons or Groups.

The German engineers succeeded to deliver two legendary creations in the field, namely MG34 followed by its intended replacement, MG42 which saw action starting with 1942. MG34 was widely spread and could be encountered on all fronts since the beginning till the end of war. In addition, that MG represented the first general purpose machine-gun, distributed in light/medium or heavy roles as well as primary defensive weapon of armoured vehicles and aircraft. In light/medium role, the MG34 was fired off from a bipod attached to the weapon, close to the end of the barrel, while in heavy duty it was mounted on a Lafette tripod, adaptable at various heights, including anti-aircraft. Statistics mention that 354,020 MG34 and other 1,700 of its upgraded version, MG34/41 were manufactured. Likewise, MG42 arrived to troopers in 414,964 copies and also fit to be used in light/medium and heavy roles, fired from a slightly modified Lafette tripod.

With an impressive rate of fire, between 800-900 rounds per minute for MG34 and 1100-1500 for MG42, depending on the skills of the team, it is obvious that a considerable amount of ammunition was needed by each firearm. The way for feeding MG34 and MG42 was the 50 round ammunition belt, which could be inserted inside a drum magazine, too. An interesting facet of the ammunition belt was the link and length option, giving the possibility to create longer belts and exempt the loader from repeating the operation. Taking into account either MG34 or MG42 could fire 50 rounds in few seconds, it is very easy to imagine how hard it would have been to replace the belt over and over again, losing seconds that could not only affect the rate of fire, but also might make the difference between life and dead, thus the link and length choice appeared as vital. The MG ammunition was transported in various ways, except the 50 rounds drum magazine, best known being the 250 or 300 rounds metal containers, accommodating five or six belts.

For most part of war, an MG team in a Rifle Squad was composed by three soldiers, gunner, loader, and ammunition bearer. In the late war period the ammunition bearer was removed and his load transferred to the riflemen in the squad. Theoretically, ammo distribution inside the squad using a light MG was a 50 rounds drum magazine for the gunner, usually attached to the weapon, the loader had four drum magazines and 300 boxed rounds while the ammunition bearer carried other two boxes, meaning a total of 1150 rounds per gun. On the other hand, to a MG in heavy role was allocated more ammo, 2150 rounds being standard enforced. Nonetheless, both the amount of ammunition and the way of carrying it remained at theoretical level, the situation on the font-line depending on available supplies, missions, and other factors. In addition, thousands of photos and films shot in the period show soldiers carrying MG ammo belts around the neck or attached to the weapon.

Due to intensive use, it is normal that MG34 and MG42 to be often met inside various 1/72 figure sets on WWII German Army, either in mixed ones, depicting generic infantry, or inside dedicated sets, exclusively targeting MGs. Some examples in the field are Esci's “German Soldiers”, Revell's “German Armoured Infantry”, taleri's “German Elite Troops”, Pegasus Hobbies' Waffen SS 1943 Set 1 and 2, Strelet's “German Army in Stalingrad” while Armourfast's "WWII German Machine Gun Team", Zvezda's “German MG34 with Crew 1939-42” and “MG34 Machine-Gun with Crew 1941-1945 (Winter)” and Extratech's “German Machine Gun Crewrepresent several of the the specialized ones. A very strange aspect is that many times, no matter these are found in generic or dedicated sets, the MGs arrive without drum-magazine or ammunition belt. Although the gunners adopt very combative poses, looking like firing off their weapons in the mist of the battle, practically those fire with air, emerging completely inaccurate and extremely ridiculous.

Likewise, numerous 1/72 WWII German vehicle kits, especially those targeting armoured ones, feature MGs and in most of the cases there is no ammunition provided. Sometimes hobbyists get few 50 round drum magazines but at least at theoretical level, this is a mistake while MGs mounted in vehicles were always fed by ammunition belts and no mass-production 1/72 vehicle kit put forward such kind of ammo. However, besides MG34 and MG42, other WWII German machine-guns were belt-fed, including the MG08, the standard WWI German machine-gun which also was employed during WWII.

The OKB Grigorov 7.62 (.30) machine-gun belts”, packed in a plastic bag, consists in one photo-etch sheet accommodating 38 ammunition belts set on a black cardboard for preventing eventual bending during transportation. Except the title, code, maker’s logo, and few other data, no artwork is provided. Anyway, that would have been useless while the interested customer can see from the very beginning what is in the bag.

In a certain manner, the set supplies an impressive number of belts that will cover on a long term hobbyist’s necessities in the field. The belts are identical but separately fixed and are complete, without any bullet fired, featuring 50 rounds. Each and every bullet can be easily counted, being isolated from its neighbors, the projectile and the cartridge being immediately distinguished. This is an impressive achievement on the topic, virtually impossible in plastic, and definitely will please any modeller. Likewise, the belts holding the rounds appear crisp as well as the end part of the cartridges coming out of the belts.

Due to the flexibility of the material, ideally bending, as well as its excellent capacity for fixing with cyanoacrylate, these ammunition belts suit to almost endless utilizations, depending just of modeller's needs and imagination, positively answering to all desires. From the classical depiction of being held by the gunner assistant or fixed to an MG in combat to some displayed around the neck of advancing soldier or rolled around the weapon or waving in the air, or hand over by a Panzer crewman to his comrade during tank rearming, these ammo belts perfectly fit for. As previously indicated, suitable places for such belts are the MGs arming various WWII German vehicles, particularly bearing in mind that according to regulations, those MGs were fed by ammo belts and not drum magazines, as few manufacturers provide. In order to highlight some action, the belts can be shorten, any blade very easy making the cut to the desired length. Of course, vice-verse is also valid, considering the link and length original option of the belts, hobbyists can glue two or more for creating a longer one. 50 rounds could be fired by the famous WWII German machine-guns in few seconds and often soldiers put together more belts for avoiding losing time with removing and reloading.

For making these belts even more malleable and easier bendable, advisable would be heating the photo-etched parts prior removing from the frame. Enamel, acrylics, and artistic oils perfectly adhere on the material, priming being unnecessary. In addition, photo-etched parts are easy glue-able on plastic, resin, and white-metal with cyanoacrylate, the super-glue gel formula being most recommended while it confers few extra seconds for eventual corrections and the created bond is very powerful, resistant to some shocks, too.

No matter it is about diorama builders or gamers, this set is a must have, preventing the hilarious appearance of MG gunners firing with nothing. OKB Grigorov excels in photo-etching, but certainly now it overcomes all expectations in Braille Scale, succeeding to issue a true masterpiece, which furthermore is perhaps one of the most needed items, the dream of hobbyists portraying WWII German MG gunners or vehicles armed with such weapons. For this brilliant incentive, the manufacturer should be highly praised and congratulated, the set not disappointing from any point of view. From the MG34 in light role fired by a soldier from its bipod to the one mounted in the cupola of the mighty Tiger, the belts supplied by OKB Grigorov here will find places for hundreds of utilizations, creating a noteworthy upgrade to any model, improving its accuracy and overall appearance.

 

Historical Accuracy 10
Details Quality 10
Mould Quality 10
Sculpture 10
Recommendation/Utility 10
Reviewer’s Opinion 10