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5cm PaK 38 with Crew

DML 1/35 5cm PaK 38 with Crew - Premium Edition Kit First Look

By Cookie Sewell

Date of Review June 2008 Manufacturer DML
Subject 5cm PaK 38 with Crew - Premium Edition Scale 1/35
Kit Number 6444 Primary Media 224 parts in grey styrene
Pros Combines two older kits to get one new one and adds new parts as well Cons No brass parts; figures a bit thicker on details than true “Gen2" figures
Skill Level Basic MSRP (USD) $22-25

First Look

The PaK 38 was created in response to a need for an effective antitank gun which was foreseen as early as 1936. The weapon appeared in service in 1940, and during the bitter battles in Russia in the winter of 1941-42 it was the only pure antitank gun which was capable of defeating the Soviet T-34 tank. The weapon and its ballistics did well, with the gun being closely used to create the Kwk 42 L/60 tank gun, the BK5 aerial cannon, and the prototype Flak 214 AA gun. But surprisingly recent information has noted that even with its sub-caliber (APCBC) ammunition it could not penetrate the glacis of a T-34 at combat ranges, which forced the Germans to use them in “trap” situations to get side shots on the Soviet tanks. But even at the end of the war this gun was capable of knocking out Sherman tanks, and did garner reasonable respect. It was extremely light and handy for its power – at just under 2,200 pounds, it weighed 300 pounds more than the British 2 lb gun and 400 pounds less than the 6 lb gun; the only other weapon which shared its overall penetration capabilities was the Soviet ZIS-2 57mm AT gun. This weapon truly deserved the sobriquet “ubiquitous”.

DML has been releasing older kits which are still considered to be good models with some changes and upgrades as “Premium Series” kits. In this case, they took their kit No. 6118 (5cm PaK 38 with Fallschirmjaeger) ad Kit No. 6057 (German Grenadiers - East Prussia 1945) and combined them with two generic sprues and one new sprue of parts.

The gun is a very nice kit in its own right and comes with a good amount of detail, plus the third wheel mount used for castoring the vehicle when being moved by its own crew. But as it is an older kit it does not come with any brass, and to my great surprise DML did not give it any in its “Premium” makeover. Modelers who particularly prefer etched brass gun shields will be disappointed even though the styrene ones are reasonably thin with tapered edges.

The directions are somewhat muddled, however, and bear close scrutiny. While the trails are installed in Step 5, they are not fixed to the lower carriage until Step 8, when parts A48 are cemented in place. It seems DML wanted to leave them loose to simplify installation of the two halves of the lower gun mount in that step. Also note in Step 11 that the gun balancer (part A44) and sight assembly (part A43) are actually the trunnions for the gun, and care must therefore be taken when cementing them in place.

There is one component which DML could have left loose, however: the gun aperture shield section of part A37 should be moveable with the gun, and here DML provides it as fixed in its uppermost movement position to the inner half of the gun shield itself. This will be tedious to remove, but a simple sheet styrene one can be made up and trapped in place with strip styrene if the modeler wants a more realistic shield.

The figures provided are of four figures in shelter half/poncho garments and come with the original “combat” arms when they were infantrymen. They are early model DML figures with each one comprising nine parts – head, torso, legs, arms, and three sections of the poncho skirt to complete the basic pose. DML has taken this into consideration and each figure gets a set of two new arms for his “reassignment” to an antitank gun crew, as well as two 5cm rounds and a new “Slide Molded” barrel with muzzle brake and barrel in two parts (barrel and muzzle reinforcing ring) vice three (barrel and two-piece muzzle brake).

The kit also includes the generic A kit sprue with upgraded detail parts and the generic A weapons sprue with two Kar 98K rifles and ammo clips. As DML does make etched brass slings for these weapons, again I was puzzled why they did not include any in the kit. However no ammo boxes or more than the two rounds mentioned above are included.

There are no decals and finishing is limited to one version (grey). Figure painting is unfortunately covered in a black and white sheet and is not as good or useful as the Ron Volstad ones.

Overall it is nice to see this kit back with a new crew for variety, but for a “Premium” kit it is a bit disappointing that it did not come with brass or at least more ammo boxes.

Thanks to DML for the review sample.

Sprue Layout

  • A 58 PaK 38 and third wheel
  • 6057 67 Four figures in ponchos
  • 6444 13 New arms, “Slide Molded” barrel
  • GA 68 German generic kit – helmets, canteens, bayonets, entrenching tools
  • WA 18 German generic weapons - 2 x Kar 98K