The Set:Following on from their earlier 17pdr barrel for the Achilles (set #B35-012) armorscale have now released this metal replacement 76.2mm Ordnance Q.F 17pdr barrel for the British Sherman Firefly which includes the aluminium barrel, 6 brass parts including the .30cal co-axial MG and 3 resin parts for the rotor shield, rotor cover and inner gun mounting.
Quality of the resin casting is excellent with just the usual casting blocks to be removed and minor cleanup of some resin film in the gun shield openings, there was some minor warping of the top corner of the rotor shield but nothing that couldn’t be fixed with a quick dip in warm water.
The inner gun mounting is attached to the back of the gun shield and held in place when you butt join the resin rotor shield to the gun mounting as the two locating pins on the Tasca part are not on the resin part and care will be needed when gluing these parts together to align the rotor shield correctly.
The resin gun mounting still has the locating pin holes from the Tasca part but not the pins on the back of the rotor shield as mentioned and it may be easier to glue the rotor shield to the gun mounting before adding the barrel as you can see through the gun hole to aid in aligning the two parts.
The aluminium barrel has nice contours but is about 3mm too short when compared to available 1:35 plans and the known barrel dimensions and has a threaded end for easy fitting of the muzzle brake as well as having rifling inside the muzzle and also fits snugly into the resin gun mounting.
The Ordnance drawing dimensions, measurements of the actual 17pdr barrel and the plans in the Hunnicutt Sherman book show the tapered section as it comes out of the mantlet is 11 inches (27.94cm) along the tapered edge and the barrel from the front of the tapered section to the back of the muzzle brake is 110.625 inches (280.1cm). This equals in 1:35 scale 7.98mm (8mm rounded) and 80.02mm (80mm rounded) respectively and the armorscale barrel measures 8mm and 77mm give or take a fraction of a millimetre indicating the barrel is 3mm too short in length.
The brass muzzle brake is the same design as that in the recent ABER 17pdr barrel set #35 L-57 with the muzzle brake in two halves trapping the inner ring as you join the two halves together resulting in a join seam that will have to be eliminated. There is also a separate brass muzzle brake collar but this required a fair bit of filing as it would not fit over the barrel threads and the inner diameter had to be enlarged to fit which was a bit fiddley as the collar is quite small.
Assembled armorscale muzzle brake with views of the ABER and
Lionmarc/Passion Models muzzle brakes for comparison
Also included in the set is a two part brass .30cal co-axial machine gun with the perforated cooling jacket and separate barrel with muzzle cap. There is quite a bit of excess brass inside the cooling jacket holes to be removed and using the barrel to clean this out by carefully pushing the barrel through the cooling jacket will sheer off most of the excess brass. But you will need to clean out a few holes to remove the last of the residue which can be done with a #11 blade as it comes away quite easily, no need to actually drill the holes.
There was a problem with the .30cal barrel in my set in that the bore hole in the muzzle was not drilled centrally and there is little you can do about this unfortunately.
Note enlarged view of offset bore hole
The brass cooling jacket is designed to slip through the recess on the end of the resin gun mounting but don’t try and clip this in place from the side as it must be inserted from the front as the recess extends partially around the barrel to ensure a positive fit afterwards. You can easily push the cooling jacket as far through the mounting to get the correct length of exposed barrel out of the rotor shield as the hole in the rotor shield is the perfect size for the barrel.
Tascapart it appears to have shrunk a little as it is about 1mm too narrow to fit properly to the front of the Tasca turret leaving a gap to be dealt with and test fitting the Dragon Firely turret sees an even bigger fit problem as the Dragon gun shield is about 0.5mm wider than the Tasca part and coupled with the narrow armorscale shield to start with means a bigger gap on the Dragon kits.
Conclusion:While the parts are nicely produced overall the size dimensions of the barrel and resin gun shield are of concern as they don’t match the known data or fit the target kit properly and the offset bore hole in the .30cal is a little careless at best but may not be that noticeable on the finished kit.
But when compared to the other 17pdr barrels available this set doesn’t really measure up (excuse the pun) despite having the additional resin parts and the .30cal co-axial MG included.
Not recommended in light of other more accurate barrels available 5/10
Thanks to me Credit Card and for the review set.