Armorscale have now released this turned metal M1A2 barrel with four part machined brass and three etched part muzzle brake as well as a replacement mantlet to correct the other perennial problem of the side lifting rings being too low on most kit mantlets.
The M1A2 barrel was the later version which was always fitted with the muzzle brake and had the rifling bands in a tighter twist which produced a slight increase in penetration at longer ranges. And for reference the M1 was the initial barrel without muzzle brake while the M1A1 was the interim with threaded tip that was fitted with a thread protector cap before the muzzle brake became available. (see Lionmarc set #LM20003)
The barrel is cleanly machined with the now familiar treaded end for easy fitting of the muzzle brake and includes rifling in the barrel opening while the machined muzzle brake parts are also cleanly machined with no cleanup required.
The resin mantlet is also very good quality with a subtle cast surface texture and just the usual casting block to be removed and has the lifting rings in the correct position on the upper corners but the width appears to be slightly too narrow but we are talking less than 1mm so probable won’t be an issue on the kit.
There is an issue with the mantlet in that it is also about 2mm too shallow and this is rather noticeable when fitted to the kit, this means it is probably best to use the barrel with the chosen kit mantlet by modifying the locating hole in the mantlet neck to take the metal barrel.
There are two separate U shaped attachment lugs on the inside and you should use a thicker cyanoacrylate or epoxy to get a firm bond here as they will be subjected to some stress when assembling the mantlet to the various kits.
Assembly follows the same sequences as with the German muzzle brake barrels where the barrel collar and etched ring are slipped over the barrel tip and the fit here was perfect without any alterations needed.
The muzzle brake is in two parts with the inner flange with two etched rings added and these have different patterns so watch the order of assembly, it is best to fit the flange inside the outer muzzle brake part as shown on the instructions as this makes fitting to the rear section much easier. When fitting the two muzzle brake halves together just watch to line up the side holes correctly and as the fit was again perfect there shouldn’t be any problems.
The assembled muzzle brake is then screwed onto the barrel without the need for gluing and the size and shape of the muzzle brake matches available data and reference pictures well.
Fitting the barrel to the mantlet was again simple as the fit is tight enough to hold the barrel in place without glue allowing you to set the barrel at the correct length which unfortunately isn’t indicated in the instructions and if you push the barrel as far back into the mantlet as it will go will result in the barrel length being too short.The correct barrel length thanks to Bill from CMD is 117.15” (85mm) from the front of the mantlet collar extension to the tip of the muzzle brake and using a small ruler you can easily position the barrel to the correct length.
Another excellent barrel from armorscale with correct dimensions and cleanly machined parts that can be added easily to any available 76mm Sherman kit with the only thing to watch is fitting the barrel to the correct length in the resin mantlet.
Highly recommended for Sherman fans.
Fitting the barrel/mantlet to available kits:
The barrel is not specifically designed for any one kit and so we will look at fitting it to the most recent applicable Sherman kits from Academy (#13010 M4A2 Russian Army), Dragon (#6283 M4A3E8) and Italeri (#6440 M4A3 76mm) but the same procedure applies to basically all 76mm Sherman kits. Having said that the instruction illustrations are of the Academy parts but no mention of applicable kits is made in the instructions.
All kits have the inner gun mounting that include two pins which fit into the U shaped attachment lugs on the inside of the kit mantlets and this is replicated on the resin armorscale mantlet and you simply replace the resin mantlet and follow the kit instructions from there. One minor issue is that the pins on the gun mounting in the Academy and Dragon kits are slightly thicker than the Italeri pins with the Italeri pins fitting perfectly to the armorscale lugs. You will need to either enlarge the inside opening of the resin lugs or reduce the thickness of the plastic pins slightly for a good fit on the Academy and Dragon kits, whichever you find easier. But take care not to remove too much material or the gun will flop about requiring gluing in a fixed position and is a case of trim a little and test fit often as only a small amount of trimming is required.
Even though the Italeri kit #6440 only has the M1A1 barrel this M1A2 barrel can be fitted easily and would be more applicable with the later hull in the kit.
Thanks to Robert from armorscale for the review set.
Page created January 8, 2006