In Trumpeter's rush to produce kits in plastic in 1:700 scale that used to be available in resin, if at all, the company has produced a huge variety of classes. Whether
its the Big Five of the USN,
Queen Elizabeth Class for the Royal Navy or the three Littorio Class battleships of the Italian Navy, everybody has their favorites. Lost
in the latter releases is the French
Richelieu Class. Trumpeter produced three versions of ships of this class, the Richelieu after her US refit during World War Two
and post war versions of
Richelieu and Jean Bart. The WWII version has the 15-inch guns with blast bags. The Polish firm of Aber has produced brass barrels for
the 15-inch guns in two patterns, as well as a set of the 6-inch guns.
The three Aber sets are Aber L-01, which has 15-inch guns for use without blast bags; Aber L-02, which has 15-inch guns for use with blast bags and Aber L-03,
which has the 6-inch secondary gun barrels. The guns for the L-01 set are the longest that gets thicker at the base for the reinforcing bands. Since the Trumpeter
Richelieu 15-inch gun parts are one piece with blast bags that plug into the front face of the turret, you'll need to find another way to secure the barrels to the turret.
One way would be to place putty on the inside front face of each turret and insert the barrels through the gun opening until they are secure in the putty. Another way
would be to a plastic sprue bar cut to the width of inside front of the turret, drill four holes in the bar at the gun opening locations and then insert the barrels through
the gun openings into the locater holes. The guns for the L-02 set are designed for use with blast bags. They are shorter than the L-01 barrels and lack the reinforcing
band at the base as that area would be covered by the blast bags. The simplest use would be to cut the Trumpeter plastic barrels from the blast bags, drill a hole for
the brass Aber barrels and then attach the Aber barrels to the Trumpeter blast bags. Aber set L-03 are the 6-inch gun barrels. The Trumpeter plastic parts have three
barrels as a single piece with a horizontal bar inside the turrets. You can still use this approach by cutting of the plastic barrels from the horizontal bar, drill holes at
their former locations on the plastic bar and then attach the brass barrels to the plastic bar. Whether the Aber turned brass gun barrels are 15-inch or 6-inch barrel
replacements, the muzzles are hollow.
Aber provides the modeler with nice choices of turned brass barrels. You have a choice of brass barrels designed for use without blast bags or with blast bags, as
well as another set for the 6-inch secondary barrels.
Steve Backer