This is a short review of the new Denix MG341. Intro
Germany adopted the Machinengewehr 08 in 1908. The Gun was in reality a 7,92x57 version of the 1884 Maxim design. In Germany it was named the MG 08. Among Germany’s enemies the MG08 got the nickname Spandau, from the arsenal issuing these guns. A name that should prove to stick to many machineguns following the MG08.
The MG 08 was a heavy watercooled machinegun, soon the need for a lighter and more universal purpose machinegun arose. The Dreyse watercooled Machinegun went through several changes, among the important it was converted to air cooling and went into service as the MG 13. The MG 13 was introduced into service in 1930 but was to be superseded by the new designed multipurpose, multi role MG 34.
The versatile, recoil operated, air cooled MG 34 was also chambered for the full power 7.92×57mm Mauser rifle cartridge and was arguably the most advanced and versatile machine gun in the world at the time of its deployment. The MG 34 was envisaged and well developed to provide portable light and medium machine gun infantry cover, anti-aircraft coverage, and even sniping ability. Its combination of exceptional mobility – being light enough to be carried by one man – and its high rate of fire (of up to 900 rounds per minute) was unmatched. It entered service in great numbers from 1939.
The MG34 was originally designed to feed from the MG 15 inspired 75-round Patronentrommel 34 saddle-drum magazines. In 1937 the feed was redesigned to use reusable non-disintegrating Gurt 33 and Gurt 34 metal belts and a 50-round Gurttrommel 34 (belt drum). The Gurttrommel was designed to be clipped to the left side of the gun and was not a true magazine but held a curled 50-round belt and corresponding starter-segment preventing it from snagging, twisting and getting stuck during mobile assaults. The capability to use the previous 75-round Patronentrommel 34 saddle-drum magazines All 75-round Patronentrommel 34 fed MG 34s had been withdrawn from infantry use by 1941, with some remaining in use on armoured personnel carriers.
The MG34 was an advanced design demanding both strategic steel alloys and occupying a high number of manufacturing hours. It was therefore evident a replacement was need to lower cost and save resources. App 0,5kg lighter but also 20% cheaper the iconic MG 42 was introduced mid war.
Both the MG 34 and MG 42 were erroneously nicknamed "Spandau" by Allied troops, a carryover from the World War I nickname for the MG 08, which was in fact produced at the Spandau Arsenal2. Box and Content
Since Denix announced the plan to release an MG34 it has been a long – a very long wait. Now has it been worth the wait?
Hmm this is the look of the box
Conventional brown cardboard box with a Denix logo
It is a very basic box and there is no Styrofoam or stiffeners inside Denix have tried placing soft plastic cups over sharp points like the charging handle – I will consider it a fine place to store your MG34 but not a sturdy transport protection.
but ok I did not buy it for the box – what inside?
The long awaited MG34 and a Denix leaflet showing their full program. That’s it3. Look
It’s a more than a meter long painted metallic black with a stock made of nice brown wood. The paint gives a metallic shine that, I feel, places color somewhere between black and blueing without really being any clearly most one.
This model is made from Whitemetal / ZAMAK and it seems most parts moulded so moderrately rounded corners and in a few visible places mouldlines or ejector marks. Marks are not spoiling the appearance but for the sharp eye they are there.4. Markings
Not much. A serialnumber on the receiver top cover, appropriate markings on trigger, safety and sights.
A little funny Denis have gone a long way the simulate the appearance of the belt moving mechanism on the inside of the not opening top cover. But if you take off the cover its clearly there.5. Technical data
As it can be seen in the overview below there is significant difference between the forefather (MG08) that was given the name Spandau gun and the more modern ancestors.
The MG13 was effectively a multirole machinegun but the MG34 is the gun that truly gained the credit for being the worlds first Universal purpose Machinegun or in German Einheitsmaschinengewehr
“the last Spandau” or direct derivates of it is now, 80 years later, no longer in production but still in service around the world. The technical solutions developed in 1930-40 still survive and live in some of the modern machineguns.
Even “a long time ago, in a Galaxy far far away” some of the Imperial Stormtroopers carry a DLT-19 Heavy Blaster with a very strong resemblance to the MG34.6. Stripping & Service
OK the model is a typical Denix there is no real gun functions.
You can pull the charging handle and by pressing the trigger it will respond with a click.
Sights can be slipped up and down and the bipod folded in and out.
Basics for a reenactor or a display model. Right no modelgun instructions, but OK the only functions are charging handle pull to enable a click when the trigger is pulled and folding / unfolding of the bipod – I guess this is self explanatory.
The advanced inline barrel replacement cannot be performed nor can the topcover be opened
7. Magazine and Loading
There is no magazine nor ammunition belt
Should you have a dummy ammunition belt it can be inserted by punching out the bolt in the front top cover hinge and placing the belt in the feed way. Operating charging handle or trigger will not move the belt.
The MG34 is often seen with a 50 round drum on the left side.
The model have the metal faces used to mount a drum but a “real steel” drum cannot be mounted in the feed tray
The bipod can be folded in and out but cannot be adjusted in with/height
8. Cartridges and Firing
The model doesn’t come with dummy cartridges, there is no opening to chamber such and no mechanism to move cartridges so All you get is a click if you have pulled the charging handle.
By the way, the safety lever is moulded in the main house and does not move. SO THE MODEL DOSNT HAVE A SAFETY FUNCTION but then again there is no risk in that :-)
Denix do offer dummy rounds (7,92x57) in their program suitable for this model9. Conclusion
As this model was announced in late 2020 I was hoping Santa could deliver by Christmas 2020 but Denix have been delayed and the demand proven very hectic. Many shops are still not stocking the model now late June. – but its in production and starting to hit the shops.
The quality is not Shoei but certainly match the price and will do for many reenactors
A lot can be said but ill let the pictures do the talking
For the Sci-fy enthusiast wih skills to add the few Star Wars pieces this is a fine opportunity to get a good weight realistic looking DLT-19 blaster
But then where do you find the Wookie
I go for the MG34 straight - buy a sling and a belt of dummy cartridges and you are good to go
I only have one problem with my new Denix MG34 – my Transport kiste is already occupied