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Bulldog Props 1943 M38 Scope Review

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Bulldog Props Resin 1943 M38 Telescope Review

I contacted Brian Hall owner of Bulldog Props in Japan through his Bulldog Props Facebook page on May 9th 2018. I was familiar with his products from his post here in FISD and on RPF. I knew Brian made resin cast versions of the 1942 M38 scopes used on E-11s in the OT; however, these were not just a cast of the outside of the scope (like DoopyDoo’s). These were a complete reconstruction of the entire scope in resin parts. The scope can be completely assembled and disassembled and the price is less than $50.00 shipped.

 

Anyway, I contacted Brian on May 9th inquiring about him making a 1943 version like the ones used in Rogue One. In our conversation Brian pointed out that they used the 1943 resin scope made by DoopyDoos for the film. I found his honesty and candor refreshing and asked him if he could make a version of his 1942 into a 1943. He advised me that he could not alter the 1942 model but he did have a 1943 scope and would be happy to attempt to cast it. Casting these small parts is very tricky given the level of detail in the threads and how the parts fit together.

 

Timeline:

05/09/18              Contacted Brian with request

05/12/18              Disassembly began on the original scope

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05/27/18              Mold Making

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06/05/18              Molding

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06/08/18              Mold Complete

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06/09/18              First Casting

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06/17/18              Completed and shipped

06/25/18              Received and reviewed

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After receiving the package sooner than I had expected, I examined it and determined the packaging was well protected and professional. Once I removed the outer wrapping and bubble wrap I expected a simple box with the scope inside wrapped in bubble wrap since this was the first cast and not a production item. I was surprised with the presentation. I recalled Brian testing out ideas on how to package the 1942s and M19s on RPF and I thought his advertisement sheets and packaging were first rate. Well, not only did I get the scope which looks awesome but also two sets of instructions on different types of paper. These were not an extra set of instructions from a 1942 scope but a 1943 specific instruction sheet. Apparently Brian is all set to produce and sell these 1943 scopes.

 

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All the small parts were packaged and wrapped in protection then neatly secured in the shipping box under the scope. Brian put some serious thought into how he would package these scopes and parts.  

 

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Once I unwrapped everything I discovered just how detailed the scope was and how much time and work Brian put into this. All the parts are a resin plastic that is slightly flexible and less rigidly shatterable if that makes any sense? In other words, I do not think it would shatter if dropped and you are more likely to scratch and dent it than you are to crack it. For anyone who 3D prints, its more like ABS than it is PLA. This is also a pleasant surprise for me because I was concerned just how fragile this scope would be to drops and trooping. All my concerns are now set aside for basic trooping.

 

Anyway, the lenses are crystal clear and two of them are convexed on one side. The screws are all machine thread and look to be near perfect matches for the original screws in the original scope.

 

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So what to expect from a resin cast scope. The small thin parts (like the locking rings) are brittle and cannot take a lot of force. They don’t just break like a rigid plastic would, instead the plastic will deform and peel away like nylon would if you forced it with a tool. Once Brian finished making the first scope, Brian notified me that one small ring not screw into one of the lens subassemblies properly but that it would most likely not be needed. Brian even included a few extra rings in case I damaged some in the assembly process. This is obviously one area where actual metal parts win out but it was not the goal of this product and I did not want a metal version of the scope. Regardless, this is the first version of this product and I do not know if Brian will make an attempt to address this issue. Even if he does not, I am very happy with the results.

 

Next, due to the molding and casting process, most of the screw holes need to be drilled out. For this you will need some very small bits (which you can get at harbor freight or in Dremel kits). Brian notes this in the instruction sheet and suggests using a bit that is slightly smaller than the screw. The only difficult part in drilling these is making sure they line up properly with the parts. There are a few screws that pass through two or more parts and must be aligned properly. Once you get one drilled, the rest are fairly simple.

 

Lastly, the prism cell is a cast part and does not have any reflectivity, so actually looking through the scope is not possible unless I alter the prism. This is because the objective lens is not aligned with the eye piece. I will toy around with some mirror vinyl when I have time and see if this works but to be honest I wanted this scope to add a reticle and LEDs and possibly the small micro display made by Trooper Amps. Looking through the scope was never my intention.

 

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So far the only issues I have found are the two things that Brian told me about before I agreed to purchase the scope. There is a small bubble defect in the Eyepiece Mounting Plate which is an internal part and will not be seen and does not affect the scope in any way. The other issue is the Ocular Lens Retaining Ring not screwing in properly.

 

So to address the Ocular lens subassembly I put a piece of aluminum tube on my lathe and machined it to fit inside the subassembly. This is necessary because the actual lens from the original scope is thicker than the one furnished by Brian.

 

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Once I milled the sleeve (yellow arrow), I cut it to fit inside the subassembly and then screwed in the retaining ring. It will only screw in three or four threads but that is all that is needed to hold the sleeve and lens in place.

 

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After that I finished assembly and I am very pleased with the results.

 

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So I wanted to also compare this scope to other options available. For a 1943 scope like the ones used in Rogue One and Solo, there are only three other options that I am aware of:

1. DoopyDoos resin cast scope which is only the outside of the scope. I believe it is solid and most of the builds I have seen, people have drilled out the scope to add lenses. It sells for 9.99 British Pounds or $13.08. This is not including shipping to the US. Also keep in mind that it would still need to be sanded before painting.

 

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2. An actual 1943 M38 Sherman Tank Sight Scope if you can find one for sale goes for about $185.00.

 

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3. A 3D print of the scope, I found one version on Shapeways for $32.00 and I do not know if that includes shipping. With some time I could probably find a free version of the model but like this paid version, it is just the outside body like the DoopyDoos; however, it is hollow and modifying it would be less work in my opinion than the DoopyDoos. Also keep in mind that it would still need to be sanded before painting.

 

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The other available M38 scopes out there are 1942 versions like the ones used in the OT. There are some really nice options for the 1942 versions made in brass and aluminum ranging from $169.99 for the brass version, $105.00 for a hybrid version of aluminum and brass parts, or 79.00 for the all-aluminum version. All of these are completely assemble and disassemble capable; however, I have not found a 1943 version of these and there are enough differences that for a Rogue One or Solo build, you really need the 1943 version.

 

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Overall, I am very impressed and pleased with this product. Personally I feel for the price and the detail, you cannot beat this option. Last month I asked Brian to make something new. Something he was not already making and had no way of knowing if it would sell. This scope was a special request to fit my needs and Brian achieved this. I appreciate his willingness and professionalism. I recommend this product and doing business with Bulldog Props.

 

I have been in contact with Brian and we have discussed many of the things I have mentioned here. I also suggested that he make a video and post it showing the assembly for those people who are not as mechanically inclined as he or I am. Brian has been very receptive and open in our conversations.

Edited by 11b30b4
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Jeff, I am speechless. That review is truly amazing and I cannot thank you enough. Thank you for spending the time to put together the most detailed and helpful review I have ever read. Your feedback and observations are epic and deserve a true trooper high five for that. I am so glad you reached out to me for the scope and your request got me back into making scopes again with enthusiasm. Nothing pleases me more than to hear your satisfaction with what you got and paid for. I hope to make good on your suggestions as they are great ideas that will serve others well when they get a kit. Such a great documented review with all the pics too. Love seeing the finished product as well. I made so many of the kits in pieces but rarely find time to build them myself so its nice to see them ready to go on a blaster.   Thank you a billion!!!!!:D

 

This review will be linked from my BulldogProps page. Super helpful. Cheers Jeff!!!!!

Edited by Bulldog44
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