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PaK 40 w/Heer Gun Crew

DML 1/35 PaK 40 w/Heer Gun Crew Kit First Look

By Cookie Sewell

Date of Review November 2004 Manufacturer DML
Subject PaK 40 w/Heer Gun Crew Scale 1/35
Kit Number 6249 Primary Media 254 parts (239 in grey styrene, 6 etched brass, 4 in rubber, 4 turned brass, 1 turned aluminum barrel)
Pros State-of-the-art kit of this popular AT gun, many build options Cons Gun shields not in brass (see text); no crew weapons included
Skill Level Basic MSRP (USD) N/A

First Look

Reading over WWII memoirs from US, Commonwealth and even Soviet soldiers all presents a similar picture: "...a Kraut 88 knocked out the lead tank...", "...Jerry potted us with an 88 from the woods...", "...the Hitlerists dragged up an 8.8 cm gun but we crushed it under our tracks and kept going..." One would think 99% of all German artillery consisted of 88mm guns! In point of fact, most Allied tanks were knocked out by either the 5 cm PaK 38 or its bigger brother, the 7.5 cm PaK 40.

The latter was probably the best overall antitank gun of the war, when one compares its size, weight, weight of shell, penetration, and overall capabilities to other weapons of a similar nature. It was surely the equal of the Soviet 76.2 mm ZIS-3 in most respects, and while not as capable as the British 17-lber it was a smaller, lighter and handier weapon to use on the battlefield. The PaK 40 was capable of dealing with all Allied tanks at combat ranges with the exception of the Soviet IS-2 at longer ranges (1000-1500 meters).

There are several older kits of this popular weapon around, but the two main ones - the Italeri and Tamiya ones - are both well over 25 years old and while great kits in their day now somewhat dated. DML has now provided a new kit, with a wealth of optional parts and a very nicely done set of detail parts. This is included in the same manner as all other recent DML "prize" parts, namely fastened to a separate cardboard mask inside the box.

The PaK40 kit comes with plenty of options, including optional etched brass detail parts, four turned brass rounds, a turned aluminum or plastic barrel, and four soft rubber tires. The kit provides for options in regard to three different styles of wheels and three different styles of muzzle brakes (each formed of a casting and a face, with the casting being hollow molded.) Also, the modeler has optional positions for shields, trails, suspension arms, breech block, and gun servicing panels. The gun is fixed, however, so traverse must be set during assembly.

The gun shield is interesting, because unlike recent AFV Club efforts the shield is composed of two injection molded styrene sections with a brass gun mask (MA1) between them. The edges are "feathered" to a knife edge, so the modeler winds up with a shield that looks think but is actually quite sturdy and easy to attach.

The kit provides the four German 1941 pattern figures from Kit No. 6190 ("Frozen Battleground 1941") which fit well with the model, but come with no personal weapons. Still, most modelers who build German figures should have a good "parts box" if needed and provide them as they see fit.

There are a number of additional items, such as four turned brass AP rounds, four styrene HE rounds, two ammo crates and a number of shipping tubes and three expended cases. The decals are primarily for these parts and provide the necessary stencils in both black and white. Since guns rarely bear any markings other than stray "serviced on" decals, there are none included. Two finishes are shown, either grey or "Panzer brown."

Overall this is a beauty of a kit and should prove popular with anyone having an idea for a diorama or an AFV Club Sd.Kfz. 11 or Italeri Opel Blitz looking for a "job."

Thanks to DML for the review sample.