ARM: Review - AFV Club 8.8 cm Pak 41/43

Kit Review: AFV Club 1/35 Scale Kits and Accesories:
No. 35059; German "Scheuntor" Pak 43/41 8.8 cm Antitank Gun; 288 parts (230 in
olive drab styrene,11 in etched brass, 2 black acetal tubes, 2 brass rods, 2
black vinyl tires, 1 turned aluminum barrel); price not given but estimated at
around $40
No. 35073, 8.8 cm Pak 43/41 and 7.5 cm Pak 40 Brass Shield Bolts; 40 turned
brass bolt heads; price not given but estimated a $10-12
Advantages: First plastic kit of this weapon; amazing level of detail provided;
innovate new methods for packaging
Disadvantages: many modelers who hate "fiddly" bits not going to be happy with
gun shield construction
Rating: Highly Recommended
Recommendation: to all WWII and Artillery fans
F I R S T L O O K
Imagine the frustration of famed German General Erhard Raus in 1941 when he
came face to face with a Soviet KV-1 that turned into a pillbox and kept his
division from advancing. He was horrified at how many troops and weapons had to
be sacrificed to knock it out, and even after repeated damage it survived. Even
the vaunted 88 ? the 8.8 cm FlaK 36/37 combination antiaircraft antitank gun
? had only penetrated its armor with 3 out of 10 rounds, and in the end the
tank was finished off by an infantryman who slipped a grenade into one of the
88 penetration holes.
The German planners likewise panicked, as even the new German Tiger I tank
with its L/56 8.8 cm gun (based on the FlaK 36 ballistics) was suddenly seen as
not as capable as had been thought. So a crash program to develop guns capable
of dealing with such tanks was conducted. As is normal, the Germans developed
an elegant solution in the purpose-built PaK 41 heavy antitank gun, but while
completely effective it was too complex to build with any sort of haste. The
solution was to cobble up a faster method of getting the guns to the field.
The compromise weapon, now dubbed the PaK 41/43 (both for years of
introduction) used a simplified PaK 41 barrel with a new breech on a simpler
two-wheel carriage that combined a gun shield design copied from the 7.5 cm PaK
40 and the trails of the le FH 18 10.5 cm howitzer. The combination also used
the steel wheels with solid rubber tires from the s FH 18 15 cm howitzer.
Overall the combination did permit faster production, but of a clumsy and
awkward gun. Even with simplification, the gun only shed about 1000 pounds (500
kg) and still weighed nearly five tons. It was quite long (the barrel alone was
20 ½ feet long and the trails had to provide some balance) and cumbersome,
with a high center of gravity. This was not a weapon easily moved anywhere on
the battlefield, and one nearly useless in city fighting. As a result, the
German troops sarcastically dubbed it "Scheuntor" or "the barn door."
It was also a very nasty weapon on both ends. While no tank made during WWII
could withstand the rounds fired by the PaK 41, it also used such large amounts
of propellant and fired at such a high velocity (1100 mps or 3700 fps) that the
resulting CRACK tended to deafen its gunners with only a few rounds. 829 PaK
41/43 guns were built, and were encountered on all fronts. A number of them
were captured and preserved, including examples at Aberdeen Proving Ground and
Carlisle Barracks.
AFV Club has outdone the job they did on their earlier le FH 18 kit, and this
one is an amazing testament to the moldmaker's art. It combines
state-of-the-art moldmaking with the judicious use of other materials. The
barrel is gorgeous ? none of the previous "working" types here ? and the
gunshields (there are an accurate four main sections to creat the sandwich
effect necessary) are very nicely done as well. Surprisingly, based on
historical accuracy only one sprue from the le FH 18 kit is needed or provided;
all other molds are new and unique.
Most problematic for many modelers will be the gun shield assembly in Step 6.
The modeler either has to use the plastic bolts provided (parts E45, and there
are several extras included due to their tiny size) or to purchase the
aftermarket brass set listed above. But while the directions do give some hints
on how to get the shields together and also bend them to shape, it will be
tricky and require some skill to get a nice, neat assembly. Note that while a
choice is offered for the protective slide for the gun shield (parts G10 in
brass or E57 in styrene) there is no choice for the main gunshields.
The tires are very nicely done and are shipped slipped over two of the four
wheel halves. AFV Club managed to get them molded without any seams and only
some small teats to cut off to get a nice smooth tire. They even bear the
"Continental" logo.
The gun can be presented in either march or firing order, but you must pay
close attention to the directions as some times they are not too clear on which
is which. Three paint schemes are suggested. No markings are included.
Overall this is an elegant and very nice model of an important gun, and one
that will be popular with German fans. Note that AFV Club will also be
releasing a set of styrene ammunition for this gun (AFV 35072.)
Thanks to Miin Herng Tsueng of AFV Club/Hobby Fan for the review sample.
Cookie Sewell
Reply to
AMPSOne
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To anyone contemplating buying this kit can I just say that, having just = finished building it, the shield clipped together no problem at all, = though I did lose a few of the plastic bolts but there are plenty = spares. One trick is to cut the bolts from the sprue but don't try to = trim their sprue connecting points yet. Glue the bolts to the rear part = of shield and then trim them when the superglue has set, you'll lose far = less this way.
HTH Andy
antiaircraft antitank gun
=E2=80=93 and the
Reply to
Andy Macrae
Andy,
Thanks! It looked to be something of a handful in the box, and many times the manufacturer's comments of "just stick here" are the begining of a short nightmare...
Cookie Sewell
Reply to
AMPSOne

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