Britains Ltd started to make the 25 pounder during the early 1960's. Which would be about right when I acquired my first 25 pounder having the number of 9705.
The castings on the left and right was the first 25 pounders that Britain attempted to produce, which are similar to those of Lone Star in some respects as not being realistic enough. Crescent and Dinky had produced the more realistic version, although Dinky didn't have any firing mechanism. Crescent really got involved with their modeling, to include dial sights and range plate into their casting, while they also attempted to include the traversing and elevation wheels. They also included the base turntable pivoting plate to sit the gun onto while in the firing position. This enable the gun to be spun around in a complete circle, just encase the enemy slipped in behind the gun position.
These toy guns of Britains were designed to firer a lead or plastic look alike artillery round projectile. As these often became lost in battles, matchsticks would often replace the rounds and were set alight, so as to depict the actual firing of a gun with the tell tail vapor trail of the matchstick as it travelled through the air. Well I did that and I know a lot of other young boys did the same thing. If one wanted to really smash into the oncoming toy soldiers one could replace the matchstick with little ball bearings and that wasn't fair on the tin lead soldiers. Ah then came those plastic ones.
The difference in the tooling is that the 25 pounder situated in the middle has the distinct deflective shield compared to the early versions.
In the middle of the picture the shield has the flap in the downwards position. The box trail has also been reworked, including the flash casting on the end of the barrel. In all, I would say this is actually a complete new tooling of the die-casting mould made just before 1977. Number 9704
The early 25 pounders had die-cast wheel hubs and rubber tyres while later in life, they were replaced them with plastic hubs with plastic tyres.
Just some memories of the real 25 Pounder.
The 25 Pounder Howitzer had a boxed trail riveted and later welded. It had a quick firing slide breach mechanism, elevation from 4 degrees to 40 degrees while only having the adjust of 4 degrees traverse left and right of center-line. Capabilities high angle firing and secondary anti tank when over run. These capabilities was definitely proven in the Desert Warfare at Tobruk. Great little gun to work on and firer.
HE shells with percussion fuse and Air-bust time fuses were used for smoke and canister shot. Different charges were contained in the shell casing and were taken out for setting the required charge by using the different coloured bags. White, Blue and Red being the smallest. When shooting over long distances all were used and if only firing short distances then the white bag of cordite was used. Funny it used to feel like a bag of wheat, well it was in pallet form.
What else can I remember. The Sargent would control the traverse when the gun had to be turned left or right by using a hand spike near the towing eye. He would lift the trail up a bit and swing the gun as it pivoted on the turntable plate, then the Gun Layer would finalise the traverse. The Number 3 being the Gun layer would trigger the firing mechanism near him on the left side of the gun when the gun was fired.
The breach loader Number 2, would open the breach while the round loader Number 4 would push up the 25 pound round into the breach by the slap of the open hand with fingers pointing downward, then the breach loader would ram the round home. This is to stop the breach loader getting over impatient by slamming the breach closed. If the loader or the charge loader Number 5 put their hands right in the breach then they may loose their fist.
Number 6 would sort the charges set the time fuse or put the percussion fuse on under the supervision of the Bombardier. My job.
Well that is all I can remember as that was so so long ago and I was really a 5.5 Gun BL Medium Field Gunner anyway.