by: Matthew Quiroz [ ]
introductionWhen I saw this item arrive for review on Armorama I had to take a swing at it. I cut my shooting teeth one of these as a kid and later on in the Army, although the Army gave me an M21 to shoot instead, it is pretty much this rifle only tweaked somewhat. A little background on the real weapon first;
The M14, was basically a modernized version of the highly successful M1 Garand of the Second World War and Korean war era. The M14, however, was refined and utilized a detachable 20-shot magazine in place of the Enbloc 7-shot clip found on the Garand. It was officially known as the Rifle, M14. It was capable of both full and semi-automatic fire, but was more commonly fired in the semi-automatic mode as the weapon was extremely light to fire fully automatic. Having this dual firing capability, the M14 became just the second American-designed rifle to have this feature behind the World War Two-era Browning Automatic Rifle (BAR).
The development of the M14 system began from the need for nations in the post-war world to adapt a common ammunition which could be used between allied nations. Most European powers leaned towards the Fabrique Nationale (FN) series of light rifles which were capable weapons in their own right, but the United States set to develop a home grown breed of rifle capable of firing the universally accepted 7.62x51mm (.308) NATO round. The result was the M14 rifle.
The weapon system saw extensive use by American forces early in the Vietnam War, where over 1 million units were produced through 1963. It was often seen with the fixed wooden stock, but also came in a folding stock, and a specialized Sniper variant known as the M21complete with Leatherwood optics. One foreign country to produce and use the M14 was Taiwan. Taiwan produced its own version of the M14 know as the “Model 57” in the late 1960's up through the 1980's. To do so, Taiwan purchased the production equipment from the United States. The weapon remains a favorite to collectors and shooters alike.
As you can see, the weapon has had a long and distinguished career.
the kitThe box features a top cover design that has a picture of the built up model on the face and could be used to store the model during the build. The instruction sheet is a single sheet roughly 5x8 inches in size with a parts diagram on one side and the assembly instructions on the opposite. Assembly is carried out over a total of three steps. There are no decals. The painting instructions are straight forward and consist of a whopping four colors called out in Aqueos Hobby Color, Mr. Color, and Model Master coding:
• Flat Black
• Red Brown
• Clear Red (For use on the tip of the ammo to simulate the tracer color)
Dragon describes some of the features on the kit as
- Accurately detailed
- Replicated true to scale
- Highly displayable and collectible
- Multiple realistic functional parts
I have to agree with them on these points as it is a nicely detailed miniature of the weapon.
The kit is designed to have operating features such as the bolt/recoil mechanism. Why one would want to play with one of these after building it, is something I haven’t figured out as yet. Maybe a young modeler would, but certainly not an adult….ok maybe. But you would have to make the gun sounds if you did. The operating features are the butt plate which can be opened, an operating trigger assembly, operating bolt and drive spring, movable sling swivels and a detachable 20 round magazine. For all intents and purposes, it is a miniature version of this historic rifle….only it doesn’t go boom and has a solid barrel.
Parts count is thirty nine and includes a metal recoil spring, and two springs for the trigger assembly. All the parts are molded in color and are exceptionally well done as I only found a hint of a mold line on my sample that will be hidden once built. Well done! Four rounds of 7.62x51mm (.308) ammo are included with room for two of them to be “loaded” into the twenty round magazine while the other two are left out for display. This is a simple yet well designed kit that should build quickly and easily. It could be further detailed with some dry brushing to hi-light the metal parts areas, and the hand guard. Or it could be built strictly out of the box with no paint (save the ammo) and still look convincing. The only thing missing is the sling and given the size of this kit it wouldn’t be hard to fabricate one from some surgical tape, lead foil or other material. Once complete I will display this proudly with my other Sniper items on my wall. Thanks to Dragon for the review sample.