Voyager Models follow their general detail/update set for the Dragon sFH 18 15cm Howitzer w/limber (set #PE35207) with this set replacement metal barrel for the German sFH 18 15cm Field Howitzer and can be used on either the Dragon (#6392) or Trumpeter(#02304) kits with a little more work required to fit the Trumpeter kit. The barrel can also be used with the Dragon "Hummel" kits if required but the construction notes here are for fitting the barrel to the two sFH 18 15cm Field Howitzer kits.
The set has a single aluminium barrel and two cleanly cast resin parts for the breech and breech block to overcome the fitting of the barrel to the two kits but this does raise other fitting issues as we will see below.
The barrel has the muzzle drilled out to a depth of only 6mm which is quite shallow for the larger calibre but does include fine rifling added inside the muzzle but you can see the bottom of the drill hole easily from most angles that distract from the overall appearance of the barrel.
Close up of barrel rifling which is quite shallow as can be seen
Comparison of the available metal barrel rifling.
There is another issue with the barrel in that the overall length is some 2mm shorter than the references indicate as well as being 2mm shorter than other available barrels with a 1mm difference in the position of the gun cradle, this then means the barrel will not fit the Dragon and Trumpeter kit gun cradles precisely. See below
The two piece resin breech and breech block is basically a resin reproduction of the assembled Dragon breech but there is a quite large casting seam along one side and some excess resin to removed from the breech block opening before assembly.
The fully cast breech does eliminate the filling needed on the Dragon kit breech seams but on mine the locating hole for the barrel plug was not central and I had to trim this to fit the barrel centrally in the breech collar.
To fit the lower gun cradle (Dragon part #A8, Trumpeter part #F9) to the resin breech requires a bit of alteration of the parts on both kits. On the Dragon cradle you only need trim off the locating lug on the cradle and fit directly to the bottom of the resin breech but as mentioned the barrel will not mate with the cradle support due to the short barrel.
As the Trumpeter cradle is designed differently to the Dragon kit you will need to make some additional alterations to fit this to the resin breech which as mentioned is the Dragon breech design and test fitting will determine the appropriate alterations required. I have not modified the Trumpeter cradle to fit the resin breech as I simply do not have a spare Trumpeter kit to use, sorry. Once this is fitted in place there is still the alignment of the barrel to the cradle support due to the lenght issue to contend with.
Probable the easiest solution is the add a 1mm card plug to the rear end of the metal barrel just in front of the breech collar as this will increase the length to align the cradle barrel support to the contours of the respective barrels but the overall lenght will still be 1mm short which may not be that noticable once the gun is fully assembled.
The join of the plug to the barrel doesn't need to be all that flash as this section of the barrel is all but hidden between the main gun trunnions with the barrel in the neutral position.
Modified with addition of plastic plug ring to align the gun cradle and barrel
Once the kit cradles have been fitted to the resin breech and the barrel length addresses the remainer of the assembly is per the two kit instructions.
The resin breech saves on the filling needed on the kit breeches but the barrel length issue as well as the shallow muzzle holes all means on face value this is not one of the better aluminium barrels available for the sFH 18 15cm Howitzer.
The length issue can be partially rectified with a bit of work as above but not the shallow rifling with the fitting to the kit cradles to the resin breech also requiring a bit of work, more so on the Trumpeter kit. I have tried to find a saving grace to recommend this set but it is simply not up to a couple of the other metal barrel sets available such as those from ABER and Griffon Models.
Recommended only just if you want a resin breech to save on the kit breech assembly.
See the sFH-18 150mm Howitzer subjects page for additional reviews.
German Heavy Field Artillery
Ground Power No.70
Thanks to Voyager Models for the review set.