Each set has the barrel in turned aluminium with four part muzzle brake with additional etched parts as well as brass collars for fitting to the kit mantlets. The quality of the brass parts is superb without any cleanup or filing required before fitting, while the etched parts are also cleanly etched with just the usual small attachment burr to be filed down after removing the part from the fret. Some of these parts such as the screw heads are extremely small and will require careful handling during fitting to the muzzle brake and barrel.
Dimensionally the muzzle brake sizes match the 1:35 plans in the Achtung Panzer and Panzer Tracts books listed below perfectly but the barrel length is 1.5mm longer than shown in those same plans.
Set #35 L-59 has the middle style muzzle brake and is designed for the welded box mantlet StuGs only while set #35 L-60 has the late style muzzle brake and has parts to fit the barrel to both the welded box mantlet and the later cast "Saukopf" mantlet. Set #35 L-61 has the final type muzzle brake and is designed to be fitted to the "Saukopf" mantlet StuGs only.
Barrel sets #35 L-59 and 35 L-60 have the same barrel with additional brass collars to fit to the appropriate mantlet while set #35 L-61 has a slightly different barrel design to fit straight to the "Saukopf" mantlets.
Image showing the different pattern muzzle brakes included
Test fitting the barrel into the brass mantlet collar showed the rear barrel neck had to be slightly filed down for a better fit but we are only talking a very small amount and test fitting will determine the best fit. The small brass and etched ring at the muzzle end also needed the diameter of the locating neck reduced slightly and again this was only a small amount. It is best to test fit the barrel end through the etched ring while this is still attached to the fret for easier handing and if you need to widen the hole in the etched ring this is also easier to do with a needle file while the part is attached to the fret.
The inner round muzzle brake flange has two small etched rings to be attached and you must ensure the notches on these are aligned correctly; this flange is then fitted inside the outer muzzle brake part as this makes final fitting much easier than fitting the flange into the rear muzzle brake part.
The fit of the two muzzle brake sections was very snug making for a good tight fit and added to the top of the muzzle brake neck is the retaining bracket made up of three small etched parts that need care when fitting.
Gun mantlet collar with flush screw inserts
The etched flush screws fit inside the collar holes and I found it easier to use a pair of stout tweezers to squeeze the screws into the collar holes and the fit is very tight which should hold the screws in place but a small dab of thin cyanoacrylate (super glue) will ensure they don't go anywhere. Just make sure you don't fill the fine screw slot with cyanoacrylate in the process and a light sanding with wet and dry to make them perfectly flush will finish the job and the end result looks quite impressive.
You actually get 10 etched screw heads to allow for a bit of attrition which is a nice inclusion but I didn't have any problems provided you position the screw head evenly in the collar hole before squeezing in place with the tweezers.
Test fitting the barrel to the Dragon StuG.III Ausf G welded box mantlet saw a perfect fit without any further trimming needed and using the small brass collar provided the fit to the Tamiya StuG.IV cast "Saukopf" mantlet was also very good not requiring any additional trimming.
The barrel in set #35 L-61 has a wider end section designed to fit straight into the cast "Saukopf" mantlet which it did perfectly when test fitting the to the Tamiya StuG.IV kit.
Barrel fitted to Tamiya StuG.IV "Saukopf" mantlet.
Inserting the small brass collar and then the barrel
The flush screws on the welded mantlet collar while quite fiddly to fit look quite impressive after assembly and the barrels test fitted to the kit mantlets without any additional trimming required.
The only other issue is the 1.5mm additional barrel length which you could probably remedy by inserting the barrel that much further into the kit mantlets although that is not easy to do when using the brass collar on the box mantlet.
But given the length issue the assembled barrels and muzzle brakes do look impressive and add considerable definition over the plastic kit mantlets provided in most kits.
Highly recommended 7.5/10
|Achtung Panzer Vol.5 - Stug III, Stug IV
|Panzer Tracts No 8
Thomas L Jentz and
Hilary Louis Doyle
New Vanguard 19
ISBN 1 85532 537 3
|Sturmgeschütz III in action
Squadron Signal Publications
|Ground Power #140, 1/2006
GALILEO Publishing Co.,Ltd
|Ground Power #49, 6/1998.
GALILEO Publishing Co.,Ltd
carry the full range of ABER update sets and barrels.