Mk. 33 3" Automatic Twin Gun (x2)


Black Cat Models, 1/350 Scale, Printed Resin

Reviewed by Devin Poore, December 2021


The 3-inch Mk 33 came out of the need to put as many VT fused shells in the air as quickly as possible. Three inches was the smallest shell that could hold a VT fuse at the time; the 20mm and 40mm guns that literally covered U.S. Navy ships during the later part of the Second World War could throw a ton of metal at oncoming Kamikazes, but lacking the proximity detonation of the VT fuse, a direct hit was required to cause any damage to the target. The dual purpose 5" mounts utilized the VT fuse to great success, but the large and heavy nature of the 5" mountings precluded covering a ship in them, and their rate of fire was much slower than the smaller mounts.

The 3" Mk 33 with its 45rpm rate of fire, compared to the 15rpm of the 5", arrived in the fleet too late for WWII, but saw widespread use in the years after. The new mounts took up as much space as a quad-40mm mounting, and were thus refitted onto most everything that had carried quad-40s during the war, from destroyers up to Essex class carriers. Due to its widespread use in the U.S. Navy, and the ships sold to other navies, the mount was still in front-line service well into the 1980s.

This is another of Black Cat Models' 3D printed accessories, designed as a drop-in replacement for existing kit parts or scratch build projects. The set comes as six individual pieces, to make up two full mounts, each consisting of one base and two guns. The two bases are on one print raft, while the four individual guns are on another, with both printing rafts secured with double-sided tape inside the typical Black Cat plastic clamshell case.

While there are few parts to the set, it's recommended to download the instruction sheet from the Black Cat Models website. While the two 3" guns at first glance look identical, they are actually subtly different. Placement information is included in the instructions, as well as a color depiction of the model supports, so that one doesn't remove something that shouldn't be. 

The parts are very cleanly printed, with only the slightest of print layers visible in one or two places, and only under 3X magnification. Under primer, they won't be visible at all with the naked eye.

click images
to enlarge

Photo from website

Again, another great accessory from Black Cat Models. These 3" mounts will do wonders for a post-war ship or conversion. As always, the parts are packed securely and with no breakage. Black Cat Models products can be purchased directly from their website, and retailers such as Freetime Models in the U.S.

Highly Recommended.