by: Pete Becerra [ ]
Originally published on:
Marines deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan face numerous hazards in close-combat urban environments. Certainly, small arms fire and fragments from IED explosions are high on the list. To lessen those risks, the USMC turned to BAE Systems to develop a transparent, bulletproof shield that can be attached to gun turrets on several types of armored vehicles. The Marine Corps Gunner Protection System (MGPS), also known as the Marine Corps Transparent Armored Gun Shield (MCTAGS) system, is a transparent armor (ballistic glass) that allows for continual observation and increased security, while providing ballistic and IED fragmentation protection.
This is the first time I have got to review Legend Productions stuff and I tell you, this 3D stuff is very impressive. I've bought some of their stowage sets in the past and their stuff is top notch. With all this hoop la over 3D printing and casting, I guess Legend wanted to run in the race. Boy did they come out the gate in a sprint! This is their 3rd turret set, with their 1st and 2nd being the TOW turret for the MRAP and Hummer.
There are 87 parts in total, 81 molded in light gray resin and 6 molded in clear resin. Some of the smaller parts are doubled and or tripled so in case you lose or break it. One small instruction sheet with CAD drawings and parts numbered is included. I would have thought that the pour blocks would have been a bear to cut off, but something about the resin they use and of course where the blocks attached to the part, made it very easy to remove them. The resin is soft enough to cut and yet not brittle that parts broke easily. A brand new, very sharp X-Acto knife made ease of taking of the pour blocks.
I started off by choosing the .50 Cal and assembling it. There is two .50 Cal MG provided, one with new type flash suppressor, scope mount, and Surefire flashlight mount and one without. I chose the M2A1 with new type flash hider, Surefire Hellfighter Heavy Gun Light, and AN/PAS-13B because it looked beefier. There is 3 charging handles and hand grips provided in the kit in case you lose one or break one. You had to be careful cutting the flash out from around the .50 CAL's hand grips and the handle for the Surefire light. I also had to re-drill out the holes around the barrel and the barrel mount to make them have more depth. Other than that, the machine gun went together without problems.
****NOTE: Leave of the Surefire light on the barrel till after you attach the .50 to the cradle. It will not go through the shield with it on.****
Next was to put the turret walls together on top of the turret ring. Legend was clever enough to add these little "dimples" and "indention's" on their parts to match them together and glue them right. Again, the pour blocks where very easy to remove and parts easy to clean up. There was no problem with fit and no putty needed to be used. Legend Productions provided clear windows and solid grey resin windows in the kit. I went with the clear windows and masked them with Tamiya tape. You must cut about a 1/4 of an inch of the top of the hatch for it to fit while the turret sun cover is on or you don't cut and leave the cover off. I would have molded the sun cover to fit the hatch so that way you didn't have to cut anything. But to be fair, you can't see the cut at all under the cover.
Up next is the gun cradle and front shield. Here is where some care in removing the parts from the pour blocks need to be used. Most of the parts are small and very fragile. The parts went together well, but I did have issues with the center rails, and components that mount to them, on the gun shield. As you can see from the picture, one of the rails is crooked, therefore everything on the shield looks lop sided. I am pretty sure it was my mistake in gluing and not Legends fault in the pieces. So, attention is needed when gluing the rails to the mount and the windows to the rails. The .50 Cal links are very nice and are molded to fit right in to the can. You just have to measure the link and carefully cut.
Last was the addition of a piece of thin lead wire to simulate the motor control cable that runs between the turret motor and the control box. Also added is the battery connection cable that is attached to the bottom of the control box. This connects to the main vehicle batteries/alternator/power distribution box to charge the turret batteries. Again, thin lead wire and some plastic stock was used for this.
At this time, the only thing I had to test fit the turret too was the Panda Hobby Maxxpro DASH DXM kit and it fit perfectly. I didnít need to use the ring, part 17, because the model kit already had a ring.
Great little kit with easy to work with resin. Although limited to just US Marine Corps vehicle, the MCTAGS is still a great replacement to those boring kit turrets. Itís good to see that Legend Productions takes pride in their work, it shows in their kits.