Remember those days when Jordi Rubio was about the only company making turned barrels? Nowadays there are other companies that have entered this market, providing us with barrels of a very high standard of detail, making the JR barrels look crude and basic.
This is the case with the barrel that is the subject of this review. Not crude and basic, but highly detailed and very refined. The subject on show is the Aber Panther G barrel, or as they themselves call it: German 7.5 cm KwK 42 L/70 gun barrel with muzzle brake for PANTHER Ausf. G - Late production.
What do you get?
A clear plastic bag contains the aluminum barrel, 3 brass parts and a PE-fret that make up the muzzle brake, the instructions and a piece of carton for strength during shipping. The instructions are extremely clear and leave very little room for mistakes.
When I got this barrel, I was struck by how similar it is to barrels by Armourscale. I've used an Armourscale barrel on my under construction Tiger-B, and both the layout of parts and the instruction sheet are identical. Makes me wonder, are these barrels coming from the same company?
Constructing the barrel
Before starting to put any parts onto the barrel, take attention of the fact that the kit mantlet and turret front have to be placed onto the barrel, at least, before adding either the muzzle brake or the kit parts for the gun breech. You can't slide these parts over the muzzle brake. I started by adding the gun breech parts. It is best to use CA-glue to join these parts together, as using only plastic cement takes too long for the parts to bond.
In order to be able to adjust the muzzle brake later, I didn't add glue to the barrel itself between the gun breech parts allowing the barrel to remain rotatable. After assembling the turret front parts to the gun breech as per the DML instructions, I turned attention to the muzzle brake.
Now, I had experience with the Armourscale barrel for the Tiger-B, and with that one I had to file and sand quite a lot to have the parts fit each other and the aluminum barrel. Nothing of that kind with this barrel, it all fits like a glove! The parts slide over the tip of the barrel easily, and when you follow the instructions it is all very straightforward. One word of advice about PE parts 1 and 2, these need to line up on each other and the hole in them is of a smaller diameter than the muzzle brake, so you can't use the muzzle brake as a guide to position them. Once these parts are added, the joy of adding 3 tiny, fiddly bits finishes off this barrel. And there you have it, a very nice and excellent looking addition to an already impressive kit.
Really, is it so perfect?
Unfortunately, no. After the whole assembly was complete I checked it against drawings in Panzer Tracts 5-3 on the Panther-G. This revealed that the barrel is 4 mm too long. This difference is in the aluminum barrel. Checking the muzzle brake showed it to be spot on.
Is this a problem? Unless you display your Panther with a ruler next to it 24/7, it is a HUGE problem. But I don't loose any sleep over it. You won't notice it by just looking at it. It's not like your Panther is suddenly equipped with an L/100 75mm gun.
The point of the barrel being too long is minor. It measures up to 14 cm in real life scale, but that is insignificant when looking at the clean finish of the barrel and the extreme ease of construction.
Aber markets this barrel for the DML Panther G smart kit, but it will also fit the DML Premium Panther Ausf. A late (6358) and the upcoming Panther G Steel Wheel smart kit (6370).
My thanks to Jim Rae and Aber for providing this barrel.
Highs: Very well detailed, a clean and refined finish and extremely straightforward and easy construction.Lows: It is 4 mm too long...Verdict: Highly recommended to make your smart Panther even smarter!
About Herbert Ackermans (H_Ackermans) FROM: GELDERLAND, NETHERLANDS
I'm a 34 year old Dutchman, currently living in Ammerzoden, Gelderland. My main interest is German armour from WW-2, and specifically Panther and Tiger and their variants. And I count every nut and rivet!