The M24 has always been one of my favourites, but unfortunately it is only available in 1/35 scale plastic in the form of the 1980's vintage Italeri kit (either the original release No.244 or the later release No. 6431). While the kit is basically sound, it can be brought up to speed considerably with a few add-ons. RB Models of Poland have provided us with a turned aluminium barrel for this purpose.
This set is as simple as it gets: one turned aluminium barrel in a small plastic bag. No instructions are included, but the “assembly” is rather straight forward. The barrel includes the two rings about halfway between the muzzle and the exit point from the mantlet. It also has nice rifling in the muzzle.
Fit to the Italeri mantlet is perfect and theoretically no glue is needed. To fit the barrel to the breach (which is necessary to fit it and the mantlet to the turret) you will simply have to cut the kit barrel as shown in the attached picture. It is best to do this before joining the two halves of the breach as you can then use the groove and fit the barrel into that. The barrel length protruding from the gun mantlet is exactly the same as the Italeri part (4.3cm).
I also compared this set to the resin gun barrel included in Verlinden’s update set No. 2045 and the choice clearly goes to the metal barrel. Not only will it be hard to fit Verlinden’s barrel to the breach, it is also too short and my example had air holes and was badly warped. This is on top of the lacking details: the two rings are shown as one wide ring and there is no rifling.
A simple and effective update that fits well and can be thoroughly recommended, especially considering the price! I ordered mine directly from RB Models and it arrived within a week.
Thanks to Darren Baker for the use of the last picture, which was taken at the Bovington Tank Museum.
Highs: Simple, effective and inexpensive.Lows: No instructions.Verdict: Highly recommended.