The Dillon Aero M134D is an electrically powered, six barreled, Gatling type, small caliber, defense suppression weapon capable of fixed firing rates of either 3,000 or 4,000 shots per minute (the muzzle velocity of an M134D Standard Barrel firing NATO 7.62 mm Ball is 2750 fps /-). That equals 50 shots per second. No other 7.62 mm weapon comes close to this rate of fire. Why is shooting fast important? Because only fast guns such as the M134D can achieve the extreme shot density needed to suppress multiple targets in compressed periods of time. More importantly, fast guns are more accurate than slower firing weapons.
The M134D is a modular system, allowing easy adaptation to any existing platform. This flexibility allows it to perform equally well in the fixed-forward fire or crew served mode. It is simple to load and easy to maintain. The M134D is currently deployed worldwide for convoy escort, border patrol, and VIP protection. In the naval role Gatling guns are employed in the force protection role on board the US and Royal Navy blue water fleet, and as fire support weapons on Special Operations boats. However, it is in the helicopter that the M134D is most often found. The minigun is designated M134 in U.S. Army service. In the Navy and Air Force, it is designated GAU-2/A on a fixed mount and GAU-17/A on a flexible mount.
The Dillon M134D is a true force multiplier.
The build review
This is a review of Live Resinís latest offering in 1/35 scale: M134D Minigun with M89A Surefire HellFighter Mount Assembly on Bearing Sleeve pedestal, Bearing Sleeve Extension and cute GPK armor shield (window variant) with late barrel clamp and 3000 Round Vehicle Magazine with Booster Assembly and SLAB battery.
Live Resin weapon kits come in a cardboard box featuring the complete assembled weapon system CAD art on the front, while the back image illustrates the parts layout and some of the optional resin accessories for this specific weapon system like various scopes, lights, laser designators, etc. These are very handy to have during the assembly stage as they provide more visual information about proper alignment of specific parts. The inside features standard Live Resin packaging - zip-lock plastic bag holding the resin parts and a set of instructions printed in black & white.
The instructions come on a single paper with exploded CAD view of the parts showing each step of assembly. It is clear and concise and doesnít come with any text since the pics are pretty self-explanatory.
The weapons are molded in light gray resin that allows every detail to be visible, and the casting itself is astonishing. There are no imperfections, bubbles, no flash or any other types of defects in this sample with only minute traces of flash that is easy to remove. The molding stubs are thin and you will not have to worry about removing the parts from the plugs, or sanding anything off. Some of the parts are very thin (like the flash hider/spade grips in particular) and I urge you not to be hasty or heavy handed while taking these off the blocks.
Since LR products use now standardized parts the basic M134D weapon system
is fundamentally the same as the one reviewed earlier
. The barrels are located on a separate casting block numbered LRE35063G. LR provides you a quick and easy way to getting the best results by giving you a complete barrel with a flash hider already molded but without molded barrel ends or a more detailed barrel with molded barrel ends and a separate flash hider without slots
(part LRE063A). I chose the latter option just to see how it works out. My answer? - simply amazing. I was worried about removing the flash hider as itís very thin and I had doubts about taking it off of the molding block. A NEW & VERY SHARP blade will take it off without a hitch, but use a sharp blade, itís a must. The hider fits perfectly onto the barrels due to LRís great accuracy in parts tolerances.
Next thing to do is to add the complete barrels to the rotor/clutch housing assembly
given as a separate part. LR again enables perfect fit since it doesnít use locating tabs but rather gives you a depressed circular slot in which the assembled barrel set fits like a glove. You canít really miss-align anything. This one is special since it comes with the M89A SureFire HellFighter crew-served gun/heavy gun weapon light, searchlight, IR illuminator M134D weapon mount. The mount is used to attach a HellFighter or HellFighter 4 to the M134. It allows the HellFighter to be positioned beneath the barrels or in the 3 o'clock position (from the shooter's perspective).It comes with a HellFighter T-rail and two side-mounted 7-inch Picatinny accessory rails. The detail is really something else, and my favorite has to be the sharpest rail details Iíve seen.
Unfortunately this set doesnít provide the light systems itself, yet is available through LR separate set; LRE-35091: Accessories set for heavy weapons.
Once you have a foundation for the weapon you start adding more parts to it. By following the instructions, in the next step you add the feeder/delinker
assembly. Its function is to delink ammunition, then feed it to the gun. It is easily identified since it has a curved tubular end to safely remove the spent shells away from the gun system. It is connected to the housing via a rectangular slot and tab system and only fits in one location so itís only a matter of a quick CA gluing to get it right.
Next step is adding the gun drive motor
on top of everything youíve completed so far. The gun drive motor controls the optimal firing rate on the real thing btw. This is also simple as it has a uniquely shaped slot and tab and is easy to fit. This part has one finicky part that needs attaching to the back, a 90o cable connector which is small and a likely prey for the carpet monster. Take care while removing this part. It is not indicated in the instructions that itís a separate part but it is.
To get a firm control over the M134D you get a spade grip and gun control unit
in two separate parts. First you assemble the spade grip lower surface with the GCU and add it via rectangular tab fitted at an angle. LR already defined the slot angle so you donít have to scratch your head at how the thing fits. Now comes another troublesome part. I had lots of trouble getting the spade grips off the molding block as they are very thin and not that sturdy. Once I had them off (with a lot of swearing) I could VERY CAREFULLY get to cleaning them up and getting them on the gun itself. Again the fit of all parts was extremely good.
This is the time I switched to the Gunner Protection Kit (GPK) shield and mount assembly
. The weapon mount features a vertical arm, which is a short vertical post that provides the M134 with its horizontal axis of rotation. At the top of the vertical arm is the yoke socket. The yoke is secured in the socket by means of a quick release pin. This allows the gun to be mounted to the vertical arm in seconds. The fit of the mount to the shield is very simple and features a rectangular locating tab which fits into the appropriate slot without a hitch.
The sleeve extension is just a tubular piece that gives vertical clearance to specific vehicular mount needs. The mount itself is very easy to assemble as the parts feature locating pins and the holes have finest tolerances Iíve seen on resin kits.
The GPK shield is very fine in detail Ė fine bolt details and sheet metal looks amazing and brings attention to this usually very dull part. Itís very easy to remove from the molding block and remove the runners from the window cutout. I have removed the clear resin window and decided not to glue it to the shield due to very fine tolerances and fit in the window bracket provided separately. You just use little glue to secure the bracket to the shield and youíre done. Just a little side note - the earlier reviewed setup had a small issue with the window opening size. This one does not suffer from the same problem. You're good to go, just take care while cleaning up the window frame. All that is left is the matter of gluing a small bolted bracket to the inside of the shield as to depict the bolt detail of the front protective panel. Nice touch by LR.
Again, the last thing I tried to do was the Picatinny rail carrying handle. This is another delicate thing to clean up but getting proper alignment on the weapon is awkward. The instructions do not give a good angle to see how it connects on the weapon assembly so take your time and double check from different angles your alignment. Unfortunately being ham-fisted, I managed to snap it off and thus didnít include it in the pictures.
Once youíve completed this step, the final assembly steps are mating the weapon to the shield and mount. Itís pretty easy by a single locating pin and youíre done.
*BUILD NOTE* I havenít mentioned the other parts of the weapon system included in this kit; 3000 Round Vehicle Magazine with Booster Assembly and SLAB battery
since they have been reviewed here.
They are perfect replicas of the real thing and the detail is exquisite Ė particulary on the Sealed Lead-Acid Battery (SLAB) providing necessary electrical power to the M134D in case of no external power available to keep the rounds flying down range. Their construction is minimal and what is needed is just a single part on the canister: Booster Assembly that provides the extra push necessary for moving ammunition over longer distances found in certain applications. It mounts directly on top of the magazine lid and powers the ammunition before it enters the feed chute, and a few power cable connectors (instructions give the idea where what is supposed to go). Lengths of ammo links are provided with the kit, but I have opted not to assemble them without figuring out the way to use them on a model.
We all know the level of details that Live Resin brings to these little marvels in resin, but the accuracy of those details is unbelievable. The best thing about these weapons is that they can be upgraded with a number of already released Live Resin accessory sets with ease and without any doubt about proper fitting. If this specific setup isnít to your exact specs, you can get other lighting/sighting systems, QC barrels, mounts, just name it. A nice multi-color paint job will do these weapons the real justice they deserve.
The build is extremely fast and simple due to clever parts breakdown and the only few things I found during the build is to take your time while removing thin parts from the blocks. I would have liked to see the light available in this set as it's supposed to be a complete basic set as indicated on the box. (i.e. accessories present in the M2 set). But as the accessory set is really inexpensive this should not be a big deal. Use this set as a replacement for any and all applications Ė vehicle mounted or as an infantry support weapon. Canít get much better than this.