The Mk48 Mod 0 is a scaled-up version of the 5.56mm Mk46 Mod 0, which is in turn a derivative of the famous FN Minimi / M249SAW. Chambered in 7.62x51mm, the Mk48 Mod 0 was developed by FN Manufacturing, Inc., a division of FN Herstal based in the US, in conjunction with the US Special Operations Command (USSOCOM). USSOCOM has adopted the weapon and started its fielding process beginning with special operations units.
The Mk48 Mod 0 is a gas-operated, air-cooled, fully automatic belt-fed machine gun. The weapon is lighter and shorter than the M240, and much more reliable than the M60E4. The Mk48 Mod 0 features five Picatinny rails allowing attachment of various accessories from the SOPMOD kit. Since the weapon does not have an M249-type magazine feed port, it can be fed from a loose belt, separate belt boxes, or clip-on ammunition pouches.
ANT Miniatures launched a new 1/35 scale product line in January 2015. The line includes modern weapon and accessory sets, manufactured in cooperation with SP Models using rapid prototyping technology. This review covers M249 Mk48 Mod 0 7,62mm Machine Gun with LBT Mk48 Box Mag (35-710).
The set is packed in a hard cardboard box, with the pieces secured in a zip-lock bag and additionally protected by a bubble wrap. The CAD box art image displays three slightly different Mk48 Mod 0 machine guns which can be assembled using this set.
The kit consists of 3 resin casting blocks with Mk48 Mod 0s and 1 large resin block with accessories: 20 pieces altogether. The pieces are molded in grey resin and I found no casting imperfections other than some thin flash residue easily cleaned using a sharp blade. All the weapon details are perfectly delivered in scale. Some of the pieces in the set are thin and delicate, so I suggest being extra careful when removing them off their casting blocks.
The Mk48 Mod 0 is based on the M249 design and is a very similar weapon with a high degree of parts commonality. The weapon features five Picatinny rails (one on top of the receiver, one on each side of the forearm, one under the handguard, and one on top of the barrel), an integral folding bipod, a tripod-mounting lug, a carrying handle to assist the replacement of hot barrels, and a fixed polymer buttstock as the M249. The Mk48s in this set feature all the aforementioned details perfectly rendered in scale. An additional thing to note is that this set includes three Mk48s, each having a slightly different weapon setup: the first Mk48 (35-170A) features the older style fixed polymer buttstock and side rail cover panels , the second Mk48 (35-170B) features redesigned collapsible stock, identical to those used on newer M240L, while the third Mk48 (35-170C) features hydraulic five-position collapsible buttstock, similar to those used on the M4 assault rifle, and a forward pistol grip.
As for the accessories, this set includes 3 LBT clip-on ammo pouches (two large 200-round and one 100-round nutsacks), as well as a 3 small ammo belt segments representing the ammo going from the nutsack to the MK48 receiver. Together with 2 additional forward grips, the set also contains 3 carrying handles and 6 bipods (3 open and 3 closed) which are very delicate, so some care is needed when removing these pieces from their casting blocks.
The final thing to add about this set is the fact these Mk48s are depicted in their basic configuration and should be upgraded with various accessories available separately… addition of different magnifying scopes, forward grips, laser designators and tactical lights will make these weapons come to life. The best thing about adding extra accessories on the basic Mk48 setup is that it enables modelers to build almost any kind of Mk48 Mod 0 system possible.
When the first weapon and accessory sets appeared under ANT Miniatures label, many modelers immediately saw a great likeness to similar sets released by Live Resin. The resemblance is not accidental as ANT produced these sets in cooperation with SP Models and Peter Samofalov, the man behind some of Live Resin designs. Using the same rapid prototyping production process, ANT Miniatures now offers a growing selection of weapons and accessories which can be easily compared to the best 1/35 scale offerings on the market today.
This particular kit features Mk48 Mod 0 in three slightly different variations. It also includes ammo feed pieces, carrying handles, forward grips and bipods... altogether 20 resin parts for building three Mk48s. The resin cast is perfect and the level of details is remarkable for weapons in this scale. With some optical sights, laser designators and tactical lights available separately from ANT Miniatures or Live Resin, these Mk48 Mod 0s can be built into real masterpieces.
Thanks to Viktor Antonov from ANT Miniatures for this review sample.