Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Premier 25-pounder howitzer


Bombshells!
(Perhaps my favorite photo of Sophia Loren)

Three bombshells, Sophia Loren and Jayne Mansfield...

and Premier's 25-pounder howitzer.

I saw this gun on ebay for a very reasonable price and decided to take a chance on a gun I'd never seen before, but I am familiar with the manufacture -Premier, and I've always been pretty satisfied with their guns.

I recently purchased the Premier 155mm gun on ebay, it's essentially a Japanese knock-off of the classic Britains 18-inch howitzer (9740) just as they copied the Britains gun of the Royal Aritllery (9715); all of which I'll be profiling in future posts.

This just in: Hi Mannie, the Premier 25 pounder is a copy of another British made gun, it was originally made by a firm called Bullock in the 1950's. The reason why all the parts bolt together instead of being soldered is that you could buy it ready assembled or in kit form. Bullock also used the basic barrel assembly in in other gun types, you could get it as a 6 pounder a/t gun, fixed Garrison mounting and as an anti-aircraft gun on a swivel mounting. The Bullock casting is much sharper than Premier but otherwise they are identical.
As a boy I used to look down through the barrel to sight it before loading and firing, apart from the incredible range it was deadly accurate, the Bullock gun originally came with wooden shells.
Best wishes, Brian 


And just as Brian noted, here's another Bullock, using the same barrel/breech system in another configuration:




One thing that blogs have over books is the nearly instantaneous editing that you can do once new information comes in.  I got Brian's information about an hour ago, and now it's been added to this post.  I'm able to utilize this audience participation on my  helmet-collecting blog as well (combathelmets.blogspot.com).  Thanks Brian for the input.  Now back to the walk around.

Manufactured in Japan in the late 1960's, this gun was new-in-the-box, still wrapped in the original tissue paper!





The gun was much larger than I expected.  At nine inches in length I was pretty dazzled; I expected it to be more the size of a typical Barclay gun.  This gun is robust and well made.

Unlike the copycats of the classic Britains cannons, this gun design is a copy of the same gun manufactured by the British company Bullock (thanks Brian), and its really wonderful in design and operation.




Unlike any other gun in my collection this one is fired realistically with a lanyard and the spring mechanism is elegant in its simplicity,

Note the pins that affix the hubs to the axle.

These red hubs remind me of two very whacky "restoration" jobs of actual Japanese guns...

one in Zeeland Michigan...


and the other in Worthington North Dakota:


The eagle is the icing on the cake on this goofy statement of  municipal pride.


As with most Britains guns, the Premier utilizes a threaded shaft and knurled nut to elevate and depress the barrel.








Many of the Britains guns are assembled with solder, which often fails; this Premier, however, is put together with many stout screws...


and nuts and bolts.


This gun is a breech loader, which really adds to the fun of loading and firing.  Because of the rapid reloading afforded by breech loading, many a toy soldier will be sent to his celestial reward.

T
The white plastic projectiles are a perfect fit to the breech and barrel.

With the projectile in position, and the spring hammer cocked, a pull on the lanyard will activate a spring-loaded hammer release and send the shell hurtling from the muzzle.

The gun comes with two little bags of about two dozen shells.

This is a particularly well-designed and robust little gun.


The two-color box art is pretty reflective of the era.

All firing instructions are clearly articulated.







The inspection walk-around is over, now it's time to take the gun to the range to take a look at its performance in action.




Locked and loaded...


lanyard pulled...

and the projectile flies far downrange...

to an incredible 34 feet.  That's some pretty good shootin'!
The plastic shows its age as the pointed end of the shell broke off upon impact.






I'm really happy to have this gun and to share it with you, over the coming posts I be profiling many more of the cannons in the Toy Soldiers Forever! collection.  Until then, as always...

Soldier on!

Mannie


6 comments:

Brian Carrick said...

Hi Mannie, the Premier 25 pounder is a copy of another British made gun, it was originally made by a firm called Bullock in the 1950's. The reason why all the parts bolt together instead of being soldered is that you could buy it ready assembled or in kit form. Bullock also used the basic barrel assembly in in other gun types, you could get it as a 6 pounder a/t gun, fixed Garrison mounting and as an anti-aircraft gun on a swivel mounting. The Bullock casting is much sharper than Premier but otherwise they are identical.
As a boy I used to look down through the barrel to sight it before loading and firing, apart from the incredible range it was deadly accurate, the Bullock gun originally came with wooden shells.
Best wishes, Brian

Mannie Gentile said...

Brian,

Thanks so much for that key information. I really appreciate it, and it's been added. One of the things that I prefer in blogs over books is the ability to instantly edit as information becomes available.
Thank you for your input. It's the participation from readers that makes this blog so satisfying.

Soldier on!

Mannie

MIN ManofTin said...

Thanks for this superb post and photos. An impressive range and what excellent condition for a gun so old. The lanyard is quite a nice touch. I enjoyed my childhood Britains wheeled heavy howitzer for much the same reason of chunky heavy firepower, albeit with plastic shells not the metal ones. Sadly it is long past use.

Archduke Piccolo said...

Sophia Loren seems to have money in the sweep around the room as to what time Jayne Mansfield will fall out of the front of her dress. She is sure showing a considerable interest at least!

Archduke Piccolo said...

It just goes to show how effective weapons of mass distraction can be! Why I wasn't more interested in the gun as potential additions to my own Army Men project, I can't think. Complete mystery to me. Possibly the thing is just a trifle overscale for my purposes. But against that is that it can shoot stuff... Decisions, decisions...

CS Ako said...

Scott - I believe what you have there were from my brother's collection. Which only represent a fraction from his "cannon" holdings. A year ago now shortly after his passing, I had them along with his vast amount of military memorabilia auctioned off. He was a dealer-collector well enough known on the East Coast for the past 50+ years. To this day I still have the nightmare of when I was 6 or 7 and he (along with our other brother backing him up) thought it would be so neat to fire one of those small die-cast brass barreled pirate cannons at my Marx powder blue colonial Rev War guys! By the time I fully realized just what was intended it was too late I screamed and cried like a banshee trying to stop him to no avail - The image of their burnt and deformed bodies haunts me to this day. I don't know if this alone was the catalyst that sparked my out of control plastic figure and playset collecting (hoarding?) or not. Where his interest stopped at figures is where mine began. He would very often find something for me at gun shows eighter there as a seller of visitor and came with me every year to the big East Coast toy soldier show as well as one or two others during any one year where we'ed spend the day looking and talking with other collectors