Last year I wrote a review of Model Point set 3559-2 (link
) - the RH120 L55 barrel for the Tamiya Leopard 2A5 kit. That old product appeared on the market before Tamiya released Leopard 2A6 version of their kit and was supposed to allow modelers to convert older 2A5 kit to later A6 variant. unfortunately the set was based on some early prototype photos and information and did not correctly depict the production standard Rheinmetall 120mm L55 gun barrel. This meant that it was not really useful as a replacement part for the newer Tamiya Leopard 2A6 model, as plastic gun parts in the kit were much more accurate and better detailed.
Now Model Point introduced a new version of their RH120 L55 barrel for Tamiya Leopard 2 kit. The corrected set unfortunately has the same catalog number as the old one: 3559-2. This means that ordering of this new product online can be risky, as it may be difficult to predict which version you would get... And the difference is very significant!
While the new set is still described as designed for Tamiya Leopard 2A5 kit it is in fact currently suitable both to update the older Leopard 2A5 kit to 2A6 standard and to replace the plastic barrel in newer Leopard 2A6 kit. New Model Point product much more accurately depicts production standard Rh120 L55 gun.
In the new set we get more parts than in the older version. Three parts are identical as they were in the old set: the resin fume extractor, the small aluminum fume extractor mounting ring and a solid aluminum cylindical piece used to attach the barrel to plastic kit parts. All other parts of the gun are new. In the old set the barrel was provided in one piece with the fume extractor and muzzle parts attached to it. Now muzzle is not included at all - it is necessary to use the plastic kit part instead, but it is actually a good idea, as the complex shape of this part would be difficult to properly reproduce in metal. The main barrel is now composed of five parts instead of one. New thing in the set is also the inclusion of small instruction sheet that shows how to put all the barrel parts together.
All parts fit together very well with no excess play and only resin fume extractor require some extra effort to separate it from the casting block, but it is a simple task if you use fresh No.11 blade. The use of kit muzzle part means that this part also requires some cleanup to prepare it for assembly, but it then perfectly fits to the metal Model Point parts.
To attach the metal barrel to plastic parts some minor surgery is required to original kit barrel, but it is very easy. The process is exactly the same as it was in old MP set and was described in my previous review.
The length of the Model Point barrel is almost identical to the kit barrel. I don't have reliable references to confirm if the Tamiya barrel was fully accurate, but I have never heard any comments to the contrary. Just in case I took one picture that shows MP barrel, kit barrel and a ruler scale, so you can verify dimensions easily yourself. The shape of resin fume extractor is very good and very close to that of Tamiya part. As this part was not changed from previous version of MP set, the surface is still smooth - i.e it does not have the fiber texture visible on the real thing.
It is not a big problem, as it can be added easily if someone feels the need to do it.
Machined details on aluminum parts now quite correctly depict features of the real gun near the muzzle and around the collar connecting the main thermal sleeve section to the extended front section. Details between the gun mantlet and fume extractor are not that good, as weld seam line present on the Tamiya part (and on the real thing) is not represented on Model Point barrel and a line of small holes is too far forward on MP part. But these minor inaccuracies aren't very noticeable and in fact the weld line can be easily added from stretched sprue or using some other method if someone feels it is necessary.
I must admit that I still slightly prefer details present on the Tamiya gun parts over those on the Model Point barrel, but the latter now also looks very good and the advantages of metal barrel, i.e. the lack of gluing or molding seam along the part, mean that it is much easier to use. I would say that the only real problem with the new Model Point product is that is shares the same catalog number with the old set, what makes it difficult to differentiate them in online shops and can result in unpleasent surprises for those unlucky modelers who order the set and get the old version instead of the new one.
Many thanks to Mikhail Putnikov of Model Point for the review sample!