by: Mike High [ ]
Originally published on:
The 122mm D-30 towed howitzer entered service with the Soviets in 1963, replacing the 122mm M-30. The D-30's longer barrel gave it a greater range and with the "tripod-style" mounting (three-trail carriage) allowed it to be traversed 360 degrees. Though no longer in service with the U.S.S.R., it is in use with many other countries. Egypt mounted a D-30 in a heavily modified turret of a T-34/85 (designated T-34/122).
This barrel can be used as a replacement for kits such as the Skif D-30 (#215), A.E.F. Design's T-34/122 (#KM-43), or Maquette's T-122 (#MQ-35035).
This barrel set includes one turned aluminum barrel, one brass multi-baffle muzzle, seven brass pieces for the base of the barrel, two brass pieces for the muzzle, and one photo etch (PE) fret consisting of seven parts (two of which will not be used).
Assembly of the barrel and its parts is quite straight forward (though no instructions come with the barrel, they are available online at RB Model's website).
A recommended sequence would begin by inserting the brass ring into the front of the muzzle then adding the second ring and screwing the muzzle to the barrel (both the barrel end and the muzzle are threaded). Once the muzzle is installed, the three PE parts (B, C, & D) can be attached. Although there are two each of B and C, only one of each will be used (based on the picture of the D-30). The next step is to fold both parts A as shown in the instructions, and finally add those along with the remaining brass parts to the base of the barrel.
I recommend starting with the muzzle first as once that is complete, you'll have a definitive top and bottom to the barrel; the remaining parts (notably parts A) can then be aligned.
The distinct advantages to this barrel are pretty obvious; highly detailed with no seams to clean up.
A couple of words on the barrel length (from breech to muzzle): This barrel represents a 122mm L/38; a barrel that is 122mm in diameter (bore) with a barrel length of 38 caliber (122 x 38 = 4636mm). 4636mm equates to roughly 132mm in 1/35th scale. The actual length of only the RB barrel is 117mm. Add the muzzle, and the length then becomes 135mm...2mm too long?
One picture included shows a D-30. I've superimposed a picture of the RB muzzle and the muzzle included in the Maquette kits resin offering, which the original version of the Maquette kit included metal parts such as the barrel. This should give an idea of how nicely engineered the RB multi-baffle is.
Another company, Tank Maker, offers a resin D-30/T34-122 muzzle that appears to be very similar to the Maquette muzzle; however, retailing at $8.95, it doesn't seem to make fiscally good sense.
RB Model has done a phenomenal job of producing a replacement D-30 barrel. The multi-baffle muzzle is an absolute jem. I would highly recommend this barrel to a builder of any kit utilizing the barrel of a D-30.