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PaK 43/3 L/71 mit Behelfslafette

DML 1/35 PaK 43/3 L/71 mit Behelfslafette - Smart Kit First Look

By Cookie Sewell

Date of Review September 2009 Manufacturer DML
Subject PaK 43/3 L/71 mit Behelfslafette - Smart Kit Scale 1/35
Kit Number 6522 Primary Media 403 parts (386 in grey styrene, 11 etched brass, 4 clear styrene, 1 vinyl hose, 1 copper chain)
Pros First model of this weapon in styrene Cons Probably should have been a kit
Skill Level Experienced MSRP (USD) $46.95

First Look

They say that necessity is the mother of invention; alas, sometime necessity produces a red-headed stepchild and this weapon certainly qualifies. A desperation mounting of the 8.8 cm gun built for the Jagdpanther on a Behelfslafette semi-mobile cruciform mounting, this weapon looks to have been one which – while powerful – would not have a long or successful life. With Soviet artillery used en masse to crush antitank weapons on the Eastern front and “cab ranks” of fighter-bombers (“Jabos”) on the Western front, clunky designs like this would have a very short operational life.

Also complicating the weapon was the fact that field artillery recoil systems and tank recoil systems rarely have anything in common. The tank gun has a recoil system that relies on dead weight – here a 45 ton or 68 ton chassis – to absorb much of the recoil; a five ton field mount needs a much better recoil system to take that kind of shock, and this arrangement does not offer such a basis.

At least it was not a widely deployed weapon, and as such one could assume many antitank gunners could appreciate the fact that the few guns of this type fielded did not offer them a short and unhappy career on the battlefield.

DML has now released this in their mainstream kit series, but it would seem better to have been an option for their affiliate as it was a low-rate item and relatively obscure. It does appear to have been a simple kit to gen up as well – something also common to – as it has but one new sprue. The rest are from the Jagdpanther, series produciton Flak 36/37, and FlaK 37 am Behelfslafette kits.

The gun is straight from the Jagdpanther with conversion parts provided to adapt the gun mount to the carriage. The carriage is a virtual repeat from the FlaK 37 kit, and the bogies are complete from the Flak 36/37 kit.

No ammunition is provided nor are any accessories such as ammunition crates.

Technical assistance on this unique weapon was provided by Thomas Anderson, Tom Cockle, and Gary Edmundson.

Finishing directions are only for three unidentified weapons in sand brown; one of them surprisingly has the gun mantelet installed upside down! A small sheet of Cartograf decals are provided for the tire pressure instructions on the bogies and other details.

Overall this is another nicely researched and presented kit, but an odd choice for DML. It should please “Eighty-Eight” fans as it adds another member to the family.

Thanks to Freddie Leung of Dragon Models USA for the review sample.

Sprue Layout:

  • B 19 Behelfslafette - center cruciform mount
  • C 7x2 Behelfslafette - outriggers
  • E 22 Pak 43/3 - Behelfslafette mount, sights, details
  • E 32x4 FlaK 36/37 - Sd.Ahn. 202 wheels, reels, details
  • E 2 FlaK 36/37 - Sd.Anh. 202 fender assemblies
  • F 52 FlaK 36/37 - Sd.Anh. 202 bogie details
  • F 62 FlaK 36/37 - Sd.Anh. 202 bogie details
  • G 10x4 FlaK 36/37 - tires
  • J 4 Clear styrene
  • L 1 Behelfslafette - base mount
  • P 37 Jagdpanther - gun and mount
  • Q 9 Jagdpanther - muzzle brake, mantlet
  • Z 1 Vinyl hose
  • MA 11 Etched brass
  • MA 1 Copper chain