The barrel is based on measurements taken from the surviving example at Kubinka Tank Museum and is slightly longer with a marginally larger muzzle brake than the kit barrel and other after-market barrels from Jordi Rubio and Perfect Metal Barrel/Schatton which are designed to simply replace the Trumpeter barrel directly.
This Armorscale set consists of the full length turned aluminium barrel with rifling in the muzzle, six machined and formed brass parts with a further seven etched parts plus the resin mantlet. There are minimal machining marks on the barrel which you can feel when running your fingers down the barrel but these are so minor will probably disappear with a coat of paint and certainly nothing to worry about.
Quality of the resin mantlet is excellent with just the usual casting block to be removed with the side weld seams nicely represented as well as the flush screw heads around the mantlet neck which are missing from the kit mantlet. The mantlet is designed to fit to the Trumpeter kit gun mount (parts C30, C31) without modification to make fitting easy and of course the metal barrel fits into the resin mantlet collar very snugly.
The front retaining ring on the mantlet collar is a separate brass part as is the barrel collar part way down the barrel but the fit of the larger mantlet collar around the barrel left a small amount of play and I found it easier to glue the collar to the front of the mantlet neck so the barrel sat evenly inside the collar leaving just a very small gap that is almost unnoticeable.
The smaller collar needed to have the inside diameter enlarged ever so slightly to fit onto the barrel and just a couple of runs around the inside with an old X-Acto blade shaving off a very small amount of material was enough to get a snug fit. Also remember to fit this collar before attaching the muzzle brake.
The muzzle end of the barrel has rifling included as well as being threaded on the outside for the muzzle brake to simply screw in place which is common to all Armorscale barrels. There is a small brass and etched collar that fits to the end of the barrel before attaching the muzzle brake and both of these fitted without requiring any modification.
The large muzzle brake is in two parts with the back section having the screw thread to attach to the barrel and there is the inner muzzle brake grommet which has two small etched rings attached. This grommet is best fitted inside the front muzzle brake part and not to the rear section as shown in the instructions as this makes it easier to fit the two muzzle brake halves together. There are some minor machining marks on the edges of the muzzle brake cut-outs which you may want to smooth out with a fine file but other than that no other cleanup is required.
After fitting the inner grommet in place the two muzzle brake parts fitted together very snugly and just running some solder around the join will eliminate this completely with minor filing. There is just the upper attachment fitting from a couple of small etched parts to finish of the muzzle brake.
Due to the screw thread the assembled muzzle brake fits perfectly onto the barrel and there is actually no need to glue this in place as just tightening (but not too much) will hold in place and can then be removed later if required. The fit of all the muzzle brake parts were spot on without the need for any adjustments or filing.
The larger muzzle brake gives a better impression when comparing to photos on the Sturer Emil and has excellent details on the hollow muzzle brake and separate barrel collars. This plus the additional detail on the resin mantlet provides a discernable increase in the level of detail over the kit barrel and also the other metal barrels available.
While there is more assembly required on this barrel than others available the level of detail is certainly worth this little bit of extra effort.
Thanks to armorscale for the review set.
Page created October 27, 2005