Resin mantlet, set #VBS0119 (left), #VBS0120 (right)
Brass and etched shell and charge casing.
Note, there is only one shell and one casing in each barrel set.
Dimensionally the barrel matches available plans and data perfectly with any discrepancies very minor and well within acceptable tolerances. It should be noted that some of the available 1:35 plans vary in barrel length making things tricky but the mantlet size matches all available plans perfectly.
The resin mantlets are superbly cast without any air holes, warping or other blemishes and have excellent surface details that include fine surface cast texturing and well defined mantlet bolts and weld seams. One big advantage of the resin mantlets is you don't have to assembly anything as with the kit mantlets eliminiating any joins or other work.
The muzzle brake is in 4 main parts, the front and rear parts of the muzzle brake with separate inner baffle that comes with the raised detail already included and the rear muzzle brake/barrel collar which also has an additional etched ring between the muzzle brake and collar. No cleanup was required on any of the parts apart from the usual attachment burs on the etched ring but the fit of the collar over the barrel was extremely tight and a bit of force was needed to push this down into place. This was done by using a pair of tweezers to evenly push down the collar but take care here not to slip and damage the soft aluminium barrel.
Muzzle brake assembly
Assembling the muzzle brake is straightforward by adding the inner baffle to the front section of the muzzle brake and then slip the two muzzle brake halves together ensuring the side gas holes line up with each other, The resulting join seam is very small and almost invisible from some angles but running some solder around the join will eliminate this completely for a smooth finish.
The small muzzle brake retaining bolt is a single etched part where you fold the top bolt back over the lower bracket and then attach this to the muzzle brake with a small dab of cyanoacrylate with the assembled muzzle brake fitting perfectly to the barrel tip without any problems.
The assembled barrel/muzzle brakes then fit perfectly onto the recess at the front of the respective mantlets but the fit was a little loose so ensure the alignment is correct as the glue used (cyanoacrylate or epoxy) cures and you are ready to add these to the kit gun mounting.
The mantlet in set #VBS0120 designed for the Dragon kit is fully hollow to take the kit gun mountings without the need for any modifications with the kit mountings (parts G12, G15) fitting precisely inside the resin mantlet with the rest of the gun assembled as per kit instructions, all very simple.
I don't have the Trumpeter kit on hand at present so am unable to test the fitting, apologies for that but I am assuming it is sdesigned to just replace the kit mantlet parts as were the parts for the Dragon kit?
One thing of interest is the width of the mantlets is different on both the Dragon and Trumpeter kit with the Dragon mantlet being nearly 2mm wider than the Trumpeter part. The replacement resin mantlets are similarly sized to fit inside the respective kit turret dimensions and it's not the purpose of this review to determine which kit is right or wrong in that regard.
Assembled barrel for Dragon kit #6475 with kit gun mounting inside hollow resin mantlet
As a bonus you get the single brass 105mm round and charge casing in each set with the casing having a separate etched base plate with fine data engraved, this also has an engraved locating ring for the ca sign making fitting together very easy and you can use these bonus parts any way you wish.
The detail included on the resin mantlets is well done and both saves a bit on kit assembly eliminating the need to fill seams etc. which should add appeal to the sets.
After assembly the metal muzzle brake offers a marked improvement in detail and appearance over the plastic kit parts for a very viable update.
Very highly recommended
Thanks to Voyager Models for the review sets.