The SA80 (Small Arms for the 1980s) is a British family of 5.56mm small arms in a bullpup layout. The SA80 weapon family originally consisted of the L85A1 IW (Individual Weapon) and the L86A1 LSW (Light Support Weapon), which were accepted into service with the British Army in 1985.
However, both L85A1 and L86A1 were plagued with many problems, some being very serious. In general, both systems were quite unreliable and troublesome to handle and maintain, so after years of constant complaints from the troops, it had been decided to upgrade most L85A1 rifles in service. The upgrade program started in 2000, with Heckler & Koch (then owned by British Royal Ordnance company) upgrading about 200.000 rifles to L85A2 variants, dramatically improving their reliability and stability. From 2007 an additional upgrade is being introduced to selected units, featuring the provision of Advanced Combat Optical Gunsight (ACOG), a new handguard incorporating Picatinny rail system with optional hand grip/bipod, and a new vortex style flash eliminator. L85A2 rifles can also be fitted with 40mm under-barrel grenade launcher, such as Heckler & Koch AG-36 40mm grenade launcher variants. The grenade launcher allows fire teams to deliver effective fragmenting munitions out to 350 meters. Advantages of the system are low recoil, ease of use, reduced ammunition weight and ability to have a chambered grenade at the ready whilst continuing to fire the L85A2.
Live Resin recently issued a number of different L85 variants and accessories in 1/35 scale. This review covers the set depicting the L85A2 with an under-barrel grenade launcher: L85A2 SA80 Assault Rifle with H&K M320 GLM, iron sight and ACOG scope (LRE-35211). For reviews of other Live Resin sets on Armorama, please click this link
The L85A2 w M320 GLM is packed in hard cardboard clamshell and the parts secured within a zip-lock bag. The box art on the front shows the contents of the set, while the one on the back displays the weapon in more detail. The kit consists of six L85A2s, with three optical sights and twelve ammo magazines supplied separately. The parts are molded in grey resin and I found no casting imperfections whatsoever, with the resin featuring tiny details impressively delivered in 1/35 scale.
The L85A2 in this set is depicted with an underslung grenade launcher which I think actual designation is AG-36, not M320. To be completely accurate, the British military uses the AG-36 as the L123A2 UGL on the L85A2 assault rifle. The launcher is chambered for the 40x46mm grenade and features the barrel assembly with integrated trigger unit (safety switch is near the operating thumb), short Picatinny rail on the right and a folding ladder sight offset to the left. The barrel assembly tilts open to the left side, loading is manual and limited to single shots. This set includes two slightly different L85A2 versions: three L85A2s feature fixed iron sights, consisting of a flip rear aperture housed inside the detachable carrying handle and a forward post vertical blade foresight, as well as slotted flash suppressor, while the other three L85A2s are equipped with an Advanced Combat Optical Gunsight (ACOG) and a new vortex style flash eliminator. The latter version is currently used by the British military in Iraq and Afghanistan and due to the very peculiar way ACOG is attached to the weapon, Live Resin did not cast the sight together with the weapon, but instead supplied the piece separately. Digitally sculpted and produced using high-resolution 3D printer, the details on these weapons are absolutely amazing… the handguard details are superbly defined, launcher itself is a work of art, as well as all the switches and buttons on the receiver are impressively executed.
The L85A2 makes use of the 5.56x45mm NATO cartridge and is fed from a STANAG 30-round magazine. From 2011 Magpul Industries introduced polymer EMAG magazine to replace the steel STANAGs. This set includes a selection of 12 magazines supplied as separate pieces, ready to be fitted into a tiny opening in the L85A2 lower receiver opening. The selection includes 30-round STANAG magazine (4x), 30-round STANAG magazine with Magpul (4x), Magpul EMAG (2x) and Magpul EMAG with Ranger Plate (2x). The magazines are easy to remove from their carrier block and fit well to the L85A2s.
L85A2 SA80 Assault Rifle with H&K M320 GLM, iron sight and ACOG scope (LRE-35211) features L85A2 currently in use with British troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. The kit includes 6 L85A2s in two slightly different versions, with 3 additional optical sights and 12 ammo magazines supplied separately. The resin cast is absolutely perfect with extremely well defined details, making these rifles the best L85A2 w UGLs on the 1/35 scale market today.