ABER is a company that has been providing excellent update and upgrade detail sets for modelers since 1995 and are well known for their quality products. In this review I take a look at the ABER (part # 35 L-58) German StuK.40 L/48 7,5 cm Barrel with early model muzzle brake for StuG. III Ausf. F/8 and StuG. III Ausf. G early. I have used aluminum barrels on many of my builds in the past and they usually consist of a single piece turned aluminum barrel with a drilled out muzzle brake. This barrel set is far more detailed and I must say that upon initial inspection I was really impressed! The parts certainly look like the real thing!
This set comes packaged in a plastic sleeve 6” long and 2” wide. Included is an aluminum barrel, 3 brass parts for the muzzle brake, 1 brass gun collar and a small photo etch fret with 16 parts including slotted screw heads for the gun collar. Detailed assembly instructions in color are provided on an 8” by 6” foldout sheet.
It is a good idea to have some experience working with very small PE parts, although this set might be a great way to gain that experience. The ABER instructions recommend soldering the parts together, although most modelers will probably just use cyanoacrylate (superglue). Either way care will be needed when installing the screw heads and the detail parts of the muzzle brake.
This barrel set is designed as an upgrade/replacement for the 1/35 Tamiya and Dragon kits. I just happen to have the Tamiya 1/35 Sturmgeschütz III Ausf. G Frühe (recently built) and the Dragon 1/35 StuG III Ausf. G Early Production Smart kit so I’ll compare the ABER set to the kit parts of both. Right off the bat it was obvious to me that the ABER parts have far more detail than the Tamiya kit parts. The plastic Tamiya parts don’t include any of the details inside the muzzle brake and the Tamiya gun collar is molded smooth all the way around without any screw head detail. The Dragon Smart Kit is much more detailed than the Tamiya offering and includes plastic details for the inner muzzle brake as well as the slotted screw heads around the plastic gun collar, although the detail is a bit soft. The ABER details are much crisper and more closely resemble the look and feel of the real thing. The ABER set is a huge improvement over the Tamiya parts and is somewhat of an improvement over the Dragon Smart Kit parts.
Next up was checking the fit of the parts. The ABER brass gun collar fits perfectly into the mantlet and tube of the Dragon part and looks fantastic! However, when I attempted to fit the aluminum barrel into the brass gun collar I quickly realized that there is no way to get the barrel all the way into the gun collar without damaging the barrel because the fit is just way too tight. In order for the barrel to fit you’re either going to have to slim down the attachment base of the barrel or slightly bore out the brass gun collar. This was a huge disappointment after the initial great first impressions. I suppose you could opt to use the plastic gun collar in the Dragon kit in place of the brass, and you could use the PE screw heads around the plastic collar to make up for the soft details in the Dragon kit.
This would be a very impressive detail set if only the barrel would fit. When you factor in the hefty price tag you should certainly be able to expect the parts to fit. You could still take advantage of some of the detail included here by mixing and matching ABER parts with the kit parts, but then why bother paying $25.95. Because of the fit issue, I can’t really recommend the set. I’m hoping the review sample fit problems were just a fluke, but without having another set to test there is no way for me to know. If it weren’t for the fit problem I would have given this set an almost perfect score.
Highs: Excellent and very accurate details. Lows: Aluminum barrel will not fit into the brass gun collar.Verdict: Great detail, but disappointing fit.
About Scott Espin (Spiff) FROM: NEVADA, UNITED STATES
I have been an avid student of military history for over 35 years, especially World War II with my focus mostly on German military equipment (tanks and aircraft). I'm especially interested in anything relating to the Eastern Front and North Africa.
My Dad ignited my passion for modeling when I...