by: Scott Espin [ ]
IntroductionThe JS-2 Heavy tank was originally introduced in 1943 with an A-19 122mm gun. The A-19 gun had 3.5 times the kinetic energy of the previous 76.2mm guns used in the KV and T-34 series and could penetrate completely through the front and rear armor of the German Panther tank. Often times it could blow the turret off a tank simply from the combination of the impact and the explosive filler of the shell on the turret. The gun had a potent HE round which was very effective against bunkers and other soft targets. The gun was handicapped however by the two part ammunition which proved difficult to handle and load, resulting in a slow rate of fire of about 2 rounds per minute. Because the 2 part rounds were so large, only 28 could be carried internally. An improved version of the JS-2 was introduced in 1944 and featured an enhanced version of the A-19 122mm gun designated D25-T. The new and improved D25-T 122mm gun allowed for faster loading, had better fire control, and featured a double baffle muzzle brake. This latest barrel set from Aber is designed to replicate the D-25T as an after-market set for use on either DML's or Tamiya's available 1/35 kits.
ReviewThe ABER barrel set comes packaged in a plastic sleeve 8” long and 2” wide. Included is an aluminum barrel, brass double baffle muzzle brake, and a photo etch fret with two small PE parts to be attached to the base of the muzzle brake. Assembly instructions are provided in color on an 8” by 6” fold out sheet. The instructions recommend soldering the parts together, although most modelers will probably just use cyanoacrylate (superglue). This set is designed to work with both the Tamiya and Dragon kits. I have the Tamiya but not the Dragon kit so the fit testing will be done only with the Tamiya kit for the purposes of this review.
The instructions in the set are a bit confusing, which is surprising considering that there are only 4 parts in the bag. They refer to two small peg looking items labeled “STB” which are not included and there is no explanation or guidance as to what to fabricate these parts from. I would imagine they could be made from a piece of stretched sprue or thin wire. You’ll need to study reference photos closely to determine exactly how long and thick they should be as the instructions offer no guidance here.
The barrel looks fantastic and is well machined and includes the threads on the end so you can screw the muzzle brake on. The barrel matches the shape and length of the real thing and also features rifling but that will be difficult to see with the muzzle brake installed. The brass double baffle muzzle brake in this set is fantastic! The rough cast texture of the exterior is magnificently done and the inner details are replicated accurately as well. The muzzle brake is very easy to install as it simply screws onto the end of the aluminum barrel.
The barrel will fit perfectly into the mantlet/gun collar part #45 in the Tamiya kit although you will need to remove the locating ridges inside the gun collar first. The locating tabs are not too difficult to remove if you carefully file them away with curved or round needle files just be careful not to accidentally score the outer rim edge of the gun collar when filing off the tabs.
ConclusionYou can’t go wrong with this barrel set for the 1/35 Tamiya JS-2. It accurately depicts the D-25T 122mm gun of the JS-2, including the cast texture of the double baffle muzzle brake and fits perfectly with just a little modification of the Tamiya mantlet/gun collar.