Armorscale 1/35 76.2mm M1A2 Gun Barrel for US Tanks M4 Sherman First Look
|Date of Review||May 2006||Manufacturer||Armorscale|
|Subject||76.2mm M1A2 Gun Barrel for US Tanks M4 Sherman||Scale||1/35|
|Kit Number||B35028||Media||11 parts (4 turned brass, 3 etched brass, 3 grey resin, and 1 turned aluminum barrel)|
|Pros||Barrel does a good job of replicating the original; built-up construction captures all of the details||Cons||Resin parts somewhat lackluster (see comments below)|
|Skill Level||Intermediate||MSRP (USD)||$15.00|
Sherman add-ons and accessories come and go, and while some are absolutely dreadful (I can think of a "Easy Eight" suspension kit from about 15 years ago that consisted of white metal castings of the Revell Sherman suspension and sections of Tamiya T-62 tracks) there are occasionally ones that make you stop and back up to check them out again. This little gem is one such accessory, and one would be hard pressed to find one that is more impressive.
Armorscale provides a complete drop-in kit to fit most of the T23 style turreted Shermans from either DML (Dragon) or Italeri. The kit comes with a new mantelet and separate "horns" for attaching it to the mantelet mounting on the turret, a new turned barrel, and a seven-piece muzzle brake made from turned and etched brass parts.
The turned brass parts are the two baffles of the muzzle brake, the separator, and the attachment collar. The etched brass parts form the inner flanges of the muzzle brake and are built up to capture some of the intricacies of the original, and also the fitting and lock washer that attach it to the muzzle of the gun. The gun barrel comes with threads (!) and also is rifled inside for a depth of about 7-8 mm. Note that the finished muzzle brake is designed to be SCREWED onto the barrel and not cemented!
The resin mantelet is not anything special, but there is one thing that it does provide and that is the correct distance of insertion for the barrel. Too often critics carp about the barrels being "too long" or "too short" without noting how much or how little of the butt end of the barrel has been used to attach it to a kit mantelet; most barrels are just barrels and have no instructions or markings on them to show how much is to be inserted into the mantelet or recoil housing. By providing their own, Armorscale has solved that problem for the modeler.
This barrel is a bit more expensive than others but most of the cost here is involved in the machined components of the muzzle brake. If it looks too smooth for you, once it is assembled a coat of "Mr. Surfacer 500" should serve to "rough it up" if you want a cast appearance.
Overall, this is a very nice addition and if you are going "whole hog" on a late war or Korean Sherman it should fit the bill. The American distributor is Chesapeake Model Designs, PO Box 393, Monkton, MD 21111 or check out their listing at http://www.chesapeakemodels.com
Thanks to Bill Miley for the review sample.