by: Darren Baker [ ]
The AS90 is a 155mm lightly armoured SPG (Self Propelled Gun) which is built by BAE systems. The AS90 went into service with the British Army in 1992, which have so far purchased 179 AS90’s. The AS90 currently equips six regiments in the RA (Royal Artillery) and RHA (Royal Horse Artillery) of the British Army. There are two types of this SPG, which are the AS90 and AS90 Braveheart. The AS90 Braveheart has a 52 calibre weapon as opposed to the 39 calibre of the standard version. There are only two trial versions of the AS90 Braveheart at this time, as the programme has been put on hold.
This barrel is going to be used on the Trumpeter version of the AS90, which does supply a plastic version of both gun types and is, I believe, the only plastic injection moulded version of the AS90 there is.
The barrel is packed in a clear zip lock bag with a white sticky label with the product details printed on it, the bag is stapled to a printed card listing contact details for JB Model.eu. The bag contains;
• A turned aluminium barrel.
• A turned brass collar.
• A turned brass muzzle brake.
• Two profiled brass baffles for the muzzle brake.
• A brass ring.
• A profiled brass collar.
• A small Photo Etched fret containing two rings and 2 aiming points.
• A resin piece replicating the rubber recoil cover.
Despite my best efforts, I have been unable to locate specifics of the AS90 155mm gun in order to confirm the accuracy of this product. I have measured the components with a digital caliper and those measurements can be seen on the attached pictures in order to clarify exactly where the measurements have been checked.
The aluminium barrel is cleanly turned and well finished, the portion of the turned aluminium barrel that can be seen once assembled tapers down from 6.78mm to 5.83mm. The location for the muzzle brake is a threaded area allowing for the secure connection of the muzzle brake, this end of the barrel is drilled out to a depth of 9.95mm and rifling has been imparted. The rifled portion does have one fault in that it is straight, as opposed to rotating around the inside of the barrel, in my opinion this does not matter as it is only just visible once the muzzle brake is attached.
The muzzle brake, which consists of four brass pieces and one PE ring are cleanly turned and fit together very well. Attaching the outer of the two baffles in the muzzle brake will take some careful planning, as despite being an outer part of the muzzle brake it still fits inside the muzzle brake body. This means that regardless of whether you solder or use CA to attach the piece, the task will need be done on a flat surface and the preferred method executed via the holes in the sides of the muzzle brake. The aiming point for the muzzle brake has been supplied in the form of a PE piece, and two of these have been supplied should the carpet monster get hungry.
The breech end of this barrel overcomes one of the most obvious problems with the kit supplied item. The kit supplied barrel has not replicated the droop of the rubber corrugated sleeve. This error has been overcome in this after market barrel by supplying this part in resin, which is cleanly moulded, well detailed, and without any air bubbles in my sample, and is far superior to the kit version. In order to mate the assembled barrel to the mantlet, you need to remove the locating tab inside the mantlet and the resin “rubber corrugated sleeve” then fits cleanly.
The two brass pieces and the PE ring slide on easily and will need to be attached using your preferred method. I have noted one omission at this end of the barrel which is that the toothed retaining ring, which I believe retains the rubber sleeve, has not been replicated.
From the pictures I have attached to this review you will observe just how much shorter the AM barrel is compared to the kit supplied item. I do know that the kit supplied barrel is too long to be accurate, unfortunately I have been unable to determine by how much. There is one other weakness with this product which is the lack of any instructions, this weakness however is being addressed and instructions will be available on the JB Model.eu website shortly in a PDF format.
My inability to locate exact dimensions of the AS90 main gun means that I cannot comment to confirm or deny its dimensional accuracy. I do, however, feel it is a superior offering to the kit supplied option in terms of finesse of parts, the general look of the assembled main gun, and of course the well replicated droop of the rubber corrugated sleeve.