The quality of etching is again excellent with very clean parts featuring very fine relief and the usual engraved bending lines where required. As with previous sets there are some very fine parts that will require care when removing from the frets, in filing the attachment burs and during assembly and some experience working with etched parts would be helpful.
The main item on the set is the resin barrel and mantlet which is a single casting in light cream resin and is designed to simply replace the AFV Club barrel parts SC1, SE2 and the etched rifling provided.
The only cleanup required is to cut off the casting block from the breech end of the barrel and remove the two small pour pins on either corner of the shield, all very easy and there were no air bubbles or other blemished to worry about.
Detail on the resin barrel is excellent with very subtle cast texture on the mantlet as well as the subtle ridge on the lower section of the mantlet with the barrel including rifling already in the casting.
The other notable feature is the 31 gas holes around the muzzle are spaced the correct distance from the centre with the holes on the AFV Club barrel having the holes too close to the centre.
Adding the resin barrel during the kit construction is very straightforward and does not require any alterations to the kit or resin parts with the kit barrel ball mounting parts SE3 and SE4 attached to the resin barrel in the same manner as the kit barrel (part SE2). Just watch as the Voyager instructions show the outer ball mountings (parts SE4) positioned the wrong way around but by following the kit assembly instructions you shouldn’t have any problems.
One thing to remember is you have to add the large gun mounting collar (kit part SB19) over the resin barrel before adding the ball mounting parts as you can’t add this later as with the AFV Club assembly, so watch this or you will have a problem.
The inner breech plate (kit part SE5) fits neatly to the back of the resin barrel and the rest of the construction is as per the kit instructions with the alternate kit barrel counter weights (parts SC28, SC29) also fitting perfectly to the resin barrel if you wish to use these depending on the Sturmtiger you are modelling.
Included are the four large engine deck screens in fine etched metal, but the AFV Club kit comes with etched screens already I hear you say and so do these replacements offer anything?
The Voyager screens have slightly better defined mesh effect on the screens but the meshing is also slightly thicker than the kit screens and for mine the kit screens look better when fitted in place due to the finer meshing but the final decision is up to you as you will have both to choose.
The other major etched parts are the front and rear folding fender extensions and these are made up of multiple parts (14 for one front fender) and have separate outer bolted frames and workable hinges for the outer flap using the thin wire provided. Care is needed when assembling if you want them workable but even not the definition is extremely good as is the thinner appearance of the etched parts.
The rear fenders are similar with separate brackets and more workable hinges for the side flaps and the hull hinges. Also at the back are the sheet metal exhaust covers which also included the small spacer brackets under the hull attachment points with most kits missing this detail.
The raised lip around the top and bottom of the covers has to be embossed out using a ballpoint pen or similar soft point before bending which is best done after running the covers through a candle flame to anneal the parts making the bending easier. Also be careful not to flatten out the lip while bending the curve as the metal will be quite soft after annealing.
The full length side fenders are also included in four segments like the originals with additional small brackets added to the undersides as well as separate bolt heads to be added along the hull attachment and again give a nice scale appearance as well as allowing damage to be easily included.
On the superstructure the kit shell loading crane is virtually replaced with etched parts apart from the main post with the upper arm and pulleys made up of multiple fine parts as is the rear plate support bracket which has workable hinges if you are careful during assembly.
Also included for the superstructure are nicely turned brass pistol port plugs that include the inner hull brackets and fine etched chain to use if showing the plugs dangling down as they do when open. If you want to show the plugs closed you will have to open up the holes in the superstructure a little but if not showing them open you may as well use the kit plugs in any case.
All the tool clips and brackets are provided in etched parts requiring you to cut off the moulded on tool clips with the jack and fire extinguisher brackets made up of multiple parts and again the jack brackets will hinge allowing you to show open or closed as required.
Other smaller fittings and brackets are added around the hull and superstructure that replace moulded on kit detail for a more refined appearance.
The instructions are the usual exploded view drawings which are quite easy to follow but as normal careful study before any cutting or gluing will eliminate any problems.
The resin gun barrel and shield offers considerable advantages over the kit parts in addressing the gas hole spacing issue with the kit barrel as well as eliminating the need to add the etched rifling which does take a bit of effort.
While the etched engine deck screens don’t offer much the intricate fenders extension and the many small tool clips and brackets certainly add greater definition to the kit.
With the increased quality of kits these days you wonder if some update sets are really needed but this set certainly offers some major advantages over the kit parts not only to add finer details but making the barrel assembly easier as sell as adding better detailing.Highly recommended
Thanks to Voyager Models for the review set.
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Page Created January 2, 2007