The set like others from armorscale has the full length barrel in turned aluminium with five parts in machined brass and seven in etched brass as well as a replacement resin mantlet plus the small instruction sheet.
The dimensions mentioned below were determined from the 1:35 plans in the Achtung Panzer No.6 Tiger, Tank Power 13 Tiger Vol.III and MMIR Modeller’s guide to the Tiger Tank, as well as comparisons with wartime photos and other data.
The resin mantlet is the final version with the monocular gun sight and has a zimmerit coating included. Unfortunately the mantlet is not one of the better ones from armorscale being undersized in all dimensions, it is too narrow by about 1.5mm, the height is short by 1mm and the large gun collar is also short by the same amount and too narrow in diameter by about 0.6mm as well as the six large collar bolts being slightly undersized and it looks like the while thing has been shrunk somehow making it not really a viable option over the kit mantlets despite the zimmerit.
The mantlets from the AFV Club and Dragon kits match the plans almost perfectly with only some minor discrepancies in the fractions of millimetres and the Dragon gun collar is the only one with the three groups of small flush screw heads around the end of the collar but of course the kit mantlets don’t have any zimmerit coating.
The armorscale barrel matches the plans in length as does the Dragon barrel but the AFV Club barrel is about 1mm shorter with the armorscale barrel having the muzzle hollowed out with fine rifling included as well as threads for fitting the muzzle brake as per the real thing.
Assembly of the barrel is very straightforward with all parts fitting perfectly without the need for any filing or trimming. Firstly the large brass collar is added at the barrel junction and then the smaller brass collar and etched washer at the tip and the rear half of the muzzle brake is then screwed into place without the need for any glue.
There are two small etched rings to add to the inner muzzle brake grommet and these also fit perfectly and the grommet is then fitted inside the outer muzzle brake half, with this in turn fitted inside the rear half again without any fit problems.
Before gluing or soldering the two muzzle brake halves together ensure the gas holes are lined up correctly and the join seam has to be filled either by soldering or using thicker cyanoacrylate sanded after curing as there is no seam on the real muzzle brake.
The two etched parts for the upper muzzle brake fitting are then attached and the metal barrel then fits snugly into the resin mantlet gun collar if you intend using this mantlet.
To fit the armorscale barrel to either the AFV Club or Dragon mantlets will require a bit a effort as the armorscale barrel has a raised section at the gun end to fit into the resin gun collar which while being narrower in diameter than the two kit collars has a slightly large opening due to the raised section on the barrel.
As a consequence to fit to the kit gun collars you either have to drill out the collar openings slightly or do as I did and file off the raised lip from armorscale barrel so it then fits into either of the kit mantlet collars.
The armorscale muzzle brake and the two kit muzzle brakes are all slightly different lengths but I was unable to determine which is actually correct as the available plans have conflicting sizes and those in the Tank Power book actually contradict themselves from the 1:35 plans and the 1:35 profile diagrams later in the book and this again shows you can’t bet your house on a single set of plans.
But despite this the armorscale muzzle brake is considerable more detailed than either of the kit muzzle brakes despite the Dragon muzzle brake including the inner grommet and will add additional detail to the kits in that regard.
The small instruction sheet shows the assembly of the muzzle brake and fitting the barrel to the resin mantlet but no mention is made of fitting the barrel to the kit mantlets as the assumption is obviously that the resin mantlet will be used.
Retuning to the initial question; is this is a worthwhile update over the metal barrels already in the target kits the answer would have to be yes for the barrel and muzzle brake which is a marked improvement over the plastic kit muzzle brakes but no for the replacement mantlet which is undersized and offers no improvements even given it has the zimmerit applied.
So overall your kit will benefit from this update set but not as much as it would if the mantlet were better proportioned.
Thanks to armorscale for the review set.
Page created May 20, 2006