ROCO offers a 1:87 scale version of the M2 Browning heavy machine gun with the M4A1(75) Sherman, M5 Artillery Tractor, M103 Heavy Tank, and many other US Army combat vehicles. Despite its age, the antique ROCO .50 cal. machine gun is surprisingly detailed, right down to the typical holes in the cooling sleeve which are barely visible with the naked eye. Even though this anti-aircraft machine gun represents a .50 cal. Browning M2 HB (heavy barrel), the barrel of the ROCO model cannot nearly be as robust as the original. Once the vehicle is unpacked and played with, the formidable machine gun typically is the first part to be damaged, and any attempt to return a bent barrel to its original position nearly always results in breakage.
Repairing an M2 Browning with broken barrel is actually quite easy; the cooling sleeve needs to be filed flat and carefully opened with a 0.5 mm drill bit. The new barrel, a 15 mm section of 0.5 mm piano wire, is then superglued into the cooling sleeve. Once the glue has dried, the barrel is cut back with a side cutter or diamond wheel so that the machine gun retains an overall length of 19 mm. Finally, the muzzle needs to be filed flat with a needle file. The repaired M2 Browning actually looks better than the original. The work is faster and more fun to do if several machine guns are repaired at a time.
The ROCO model of the .50 Caliber M2 Browning Machine Gun pictured above is an unloaded weapon without ammunition box. There are variants of the ROCO model without holes in the cooling sleeve, but with an ammo box which happens to be mounted well behind the left hand receiver mistakenly. Upgrading the ROCO model of the .50 Caliber M2 Browning Machine Gun requires a scratchbuilt Ammunition Box Cal. .50 M2 for the period from 1942 to ca. 1970, or an Ammunition Box Cal. .50 M2A1 from the mid-1950s until today, which may be distinguished from the earlier M2 model by its flat side walls. In 1:87 (H0) scale the difference in detail is so small that wargamers typically ignore it, although purists and rivet-counters may want to paint certain detail on.