Italian 381mm/50 (15”) Model 1934 Gun Barrels

Published on
Published on
Published on
Review Author(s)
Scale
1/700
MSRP
$7.00
Product / Stock #
SM-700-026
Base Kit
any 1/700 Littorio WW2 Italian warship class
Company: Master Model - Website: Visit Site
Provided by: Master Model - Website: Visit Site
Parts Package

Bottom Line

Perfect to-scale 15” (381mm) barrels for Littorio WW2 Italian warship class

The Italian 381mm/50 (15”) gun barrels, 1934 Model, were the largest produced in Italy, with 40 being manufactured. They were designed by Ansaldo in 1934 for the Littorio battleships, but most were made by OTO. They were mounted in triple turrets, three turrets per ship. These guns were considered as excellent as, and had better penetrating power than, similar guns from other countries. Rate of fire was 45 seconds and muzzle velocity was 850 m/s. Range was over 42,000 meters. Dispersion of shot was a chronic problem for the Italian Navy, and was due more to faulty ammunition than to gun performance.

The Parts

Each set comes in a small plastic bag with the paper header stapled to the bag describing the contents, and a cardboard backing with a picture of a large curling wave on the background. Nine brass barrels are inside a smaller plastic bag, along with a small instruction sheet that only shows a drawing of a barrel and stated that Littorio class battleships carried these guns. These barrels are very detailed and very close to scale. They look exactly like photographs of the real guns, and appear to have the correct length, taper, and step in the middle of the barrel. Each barrel has a mounting pin at the base, and the barrel opening is drilled out with a lip (muzzle sheath). Each set has enough barrels to finish one battleship.

The Build

I chose to replace the original kit brass barrels on my Regia Marina Vittorio Veneto battleship built in 2004. I simply pulled out the existing barrels and sanded the openings. Fortunately, the remaining mounting holes were suitable for Master Model brass barrels, and no extra drilling was required. This may not be the case for other kits of this battleship class. The original kit brass barrels from Regia Marina were wider and did not have the step in the middle of the barrel (the step was obvious from photographs). Master Model 15in barrels had a mounting pin at the end that was not necessary for this resin kit, but probably very helpful for plastic kits of this battleship class.

Barrels were attached with cyanoacrylate glue, and thick cyanoacrylate glue was used to repair or fill gaps around the barrels to the molded-on canvas covers. Master Model barrels were thinner than the Regia Marina barrels, but fit fine in the canvas blast bags. Even though these guns were in independent cradles, I opted to have all barrels at the same elevation, and managed to squeeze some elevation for these guns.

I used the original paints to color the barrels and turret face (Polly S acrylic Reefer Gray 410012) and blast bags (White Ensign Model enamel Grigio Scuro WEMCC RM01) with fine-tip brushes. The muzzle tips were filled in with India ink from a Koh-i-noor pen.

Compared to the kit barrels, Master Model has successfully produced an accurate barrel. They were easy to install and align. For different kits and for new builds, these barrels may need to have guide holes drilled. From normal viewing distances, tiny details such as these gun barrels are not obvious, but close inspection will find a difference.

Summary

Master-Model Italian 381mm/50 brass barrels were an improvement over the resin kit barrels. Their repositioned elevation made the model look more attractive. The drilled out muzzles and mid-barrel steps were noticeable, making for a realistic look. They are relatively easy to attach with a steady hand and an eye for straightness. Their cost is a good value. These barrels are highly recommended for Littorio class Italian WW2 warships.

Thanks to Iwona & Piotr Czerkasow of Master Model for this review set, and thanks to Steve Collins and IPMS-USA for this review opportunity.

References

  • Bagnasco E, de Toro A. The Littorio Class. Italy’s Last and Largest Battleships 1937-1948. Naval Institute Press, Annapolis, MD, 2011, pp. 72-76. ISBN 978-1-59114-445-8
  • Bagnasco E, Grossman M. Regia Marina. Italian Battleships of World War Two. A Pictorial History. Pictorial Histories Publishing Company, Missoula, MT, USA, 1986. ISBN 0-933126-75-1
  • Campbell J. Naval Weapons of World War Two. Conway Maritime Press, London, UK, 1985, pp. 320-321. 0-85177-329-X
  • Fraccaroli A. Italian Warships of World War II. Ian Allan, London, 1968, 18-21.
  • Fraccaroli A. The Littorio class. Part 2. Warship Volume 1, Number 3, Preston A, ed., Conway Maritime Press/Naval Institute Press, London/Annapolis, 1984, 2-13. ISBN 0-87021-975-8
  • Garzke WH, Dulin RO. Battleships. Axis and Neutral Battleships in World War II. Naval Institute Press, Annapolis, MD, USA, 1985. ISBN 0-87021-101-3
  • Preston A. The Littorio class. Part 1. Warship Volume 1, Number 2, Preston A, ed., Conway Maritime Press/Naval Institute Press, London/Annapolis, 1984, 2-7. ISBN 0-87021-975-8
  • Preston A. The Littorio class. Part 2. Warship Volume 1, Number 3, Preston A, ed., Conway Maritime Press/Naval Institute Press, London/Annapolis, 1984, 2-13. ISBN 0-87021-975-8

Figures

  • Figure 1: Master Model WW2 Italian 381mm/50 (15”) Model 1934 brass barrels for Littorio class battleships.
  • Figure 2: Instructions for Master Model WW2 Italian 381mm/50 (15”) Model 1934 brass barrels.
  • Figure 3: Close-up of brass barrels – they are accurate to 1/700 scale.
  • Figure 4: Comparing brass and kit barrels side by side in test fitting.
  • Figure 5: Overall appearance of Vittorio Veneto before and after replacing 15in turret barrels. The Before photograph showed kit-supplied gun barrels, whereas the After photograph showed all Master Model barrels, including the 6in and 90mm turrets.
  • Figure 6: Close-up photo of bow turrets before and after brass barrels, comparing the look. Notice the step in the middle of the barrel for the Master Model, but not the kit, barrels.

Reviewer Bio

Luke R. Bucci, PhD

Luke built all kinds of models starting in the early '60s, but school, wife Naniece, and work (PhD Clinical Nutritionist) caused the usual absence from building. Picked up modeling to decompress from grad school, joined IPMSUSA in 1994 and focused on solely 1/700 warships (waterline!) and still do. I like to upgrade and kitbash the old kits and semi-accurize them, and even scratchbuild a few. Joined the Reviewer Corps to expand my horizon, especially the books nobody wants to review - have learned a lot that way. Shout out to Salt Lake and Reno IPMSUSA clubs - they're both fine, fun groups and better modelers than I, which is another way to learn. Other hobbies are: yes, dear; playing electric bass and playing with the canine kids.

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