105mm M4 Barrel
armorscale Set No. B35-073
1:35th Scale

Review by Terry Ashley

The Set:
Armorscale have released this metal replacement barrel and resin gun mounting/mantlet for the M4 105mm Sherman with the set having the aluminium barrel and two parts cast in light grey resin. The instructions don’t give any indication what kit the set is designed for so we will look at the three available M4 105mm kits, Academy M4A3 Sherman105mm HVSS (kit#13207), Dragon M4A3 Sherman105mm HVSS (kit #6354) and Tamiya M4A3 105mm Sherman (kit #35251) to see how it apples to these kits.

The resin mantlet is the correct dimensions in width and height as well as the barrel being the correct length with fine rifling included in the drilled out muzzle which is quite noticeable with the larger calibre gun.

Resin and metal parts

Quality of the resin casting is excellent without any blemishes and only very small remnants of the casting blocks remaining on my parts with the resin mantlet being a direct reproduction of the Tamiya M4 105mm (kit #35251) mantlet including the same small casting numbers as on the Tamiya part.
The gun mounting is also a reproduction of the Tamiya part but the front curve for the mantlet has been simplified from the kit part and the back of the mantlet has also been filled in to conform to the gun mounting. The only other alterations from the Tamiya parts is a slight roughing of the cast effect when seen from some angles and the neck of the gun collar is slightly thicker than on the Tamiya part which has a bearing on fitting the metal barrel as we will see below.

Comparison of armorscale and Tamiya mantlets

Comparing the mantlet to that in the three kits, it is better proportioned than the undersized mantlet in the Dragon kit and has better detail that the plain Academy mantlet but offers no additional detail over the Tamiya mantlet being the same part but in resin.

And so to seeing how the gun mounting fits to the respective kits, on the Academy kit there is a very small gap along the top of the gun mounting to be attended too but other than that the fit is better to the Academy kit than the other two.

Fitting of the resin gun mounting to the Academy kit turret

Test fitting the gun mounting to the Dragon kit turret sees an almost impossible fit with large gaps above and below the mounting and clearly some major work will be needed to fit the resin mounting to the Dragon turret. Also fitting the resin mantlet only to the Dragon kit gun mounting will also need considerable work as the back of the resin mantlet is filled in more than the kit mantlet meaning it will not conform to the kit gun mounting easily.

Fitting of the resin gun mounting to the Dragon kit turret

This has more to do with the gun mounting on the Academy and Tamiya kits being undersized rather than a problem with the Dragon kit in regards the gun mounting size.

Fitting the resin gun mounting to the Tamiya kit on which it is based should be a straight fit but it appears the resin part has shrunk because there is a large gap along the top of the gun mounting that will need to be filled. And as there is no discernable increase in detail on the resin mantlet it’s not really worth the effort.

Fitting of the resin gun mounting to the Tamiya kit turret

To fit the armorscale metal barrel directly to the Tamiya mantlet will need a little work as the diameter of the metal barrel base is fractionally less than the kit plastic barrel, hence the slightly thicker neck on the resin mantlet as mentioned above. This means the metal barrel is a rather sloppy fit to the Tamiya mantlet and you will have to add a thin “sleeve” inside the mantlet barrel hole to fit the metal barrel snugly.

If you wanted a metal barrel for your Tamiya M4 105mm, then the Lion Roar 105mm barrel (set #LB35013) would be a good option as the single aluminium barrel is the correct length with rifling in the muzzle and is also designed to fit to the Tamiya kit without alterations which is does nicely.

While the barrel is cleanly machined to the correct dimensions and the resin parts nicely cast being a straight reproduction of the Tamiya M4 105mm parts means they offer little or no additional detail for the Tamiya kit and requires considerable work to fit to the Dragon kit. This just leaves the Academy kit where only a small gap needs attention on fitting the gun mounting and is probably the best option for using this barrel set.

Recommended only just 6/10

See the Sherman Subjects page for other Sherman kit/accessory reviews.

Thanks to me Credit Card and Lucky Model for the review set.

Page created August 31, 2007