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German 7.5cm Anti-Tank Gun Pak40 Early Prod. (35394) 1:35


Mike

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German 7.5cm Anti-Tank Gun Pak40 Early Prod. (35394)

1:35 MiniArt via Creative Models Ltd

 

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As WWII loomed, the Nazi high command got wind of new tank developments in Soviet Russia, and realised that their 3.7cm Pak36 was inadequate for the task ahead, starting work initially on the 5cm Pak38, which was abandoned in favour of a 7.5cm barrel once the rumours were confirmed.  It was essentially a re-engineered Pak38, with everything enlarged to suit the bigger rounds, in development between 1939 and 41, with the name Pak40 given to it during its gestation.  As Operation Barbarossa began, the project was given a higher priority, and early examples reached the Eastern Front in late 1941, becoming the Wehrmacht’s standard artillery piece from then on, with a total of over 23,000 built before the end of WWII.  The success of the weapon was such that it was also re-developed into a main gun for use by tanks and other armoured vehicles, such as the StuG III and Panzer IV, as well as a relatively makeshift mount on the Marder series of self-propelled guns.

 

It was an effective artillery piece, capable of penetrating the armour of everything the Allies fielded, from the Sherman to the Pershing in US service, and the IS heavy tanks that the Soviets operated.  It was a heavy piece however, and that affected its mobility, particularly in bad weather where it was prone to bogging down in muddy terrain.  It shared projectile with all German 7.5cm rounds, but was mounted in a larger brass cartridge casing that gave it more power and range than the smaller rounds fired by the KwK variant use in the armour installations.  Other variations included the driver bands around the projectile and the method of initiating firing, using traditional percussion caps for the Pak40, and an electrical mechanism for the KwK.  Three types of round were able to be used, an armour-piercing explosive round, an armour-piercing kinetic penetrator with a tungsten core, and the standard HEAT or High Explosive Anti-Tank round, each of which differed in shape and colour of the projectile, and were marked with stencils accordingly.

 

 

The Kit

This a new tool from MiniArt, who seem to have recovered well from their production hiatus that began in February 2022.  The kit arrives in a modest top-opening box, and inside are ten sprues of various sizes in medium grey styrene, a cardboard envelope that contains a sheet of Photo-Etch (PE) and the decals, plus a glossy-covered instruction booklet with colour profiles printed on front and rear covers.  Detail is exactly what we’ve come to expect from MiniArt, and is excellent throughout, and with options to pose the model in transport mode or ready for action.  You also get a few shells and wooden cases to dot around the gun if you intend to place it in a diorama.

 

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Construction begins with the chassis of the gun, on which the wheels and trails are installed, fixing many parts on it, adding brakes to the axles and a front fender, then cutting some lengths of wire from your own stock to link the brake cylinder to the pistons, with PE tie-downs holding them to the underside, and additional scrap diagrams showing the completed loom to help you with location.  The trails are detailed with tools, grab-handles and spades at the rear, plus additional parts that differ depending on whether you are opening them up for combat, or ready for transport.  They are mated to the chassis and locked in place by the top pivots, again changing some parts and their positions depending on the option you have chosen.  A choice of two methods of attaching a shovel to the bottom plate are offered, one using a simple pair of PE clasps, the other creating a fully articulated retention clamp for the handle.  The finished plate is fitted vertically for transport, but tipped up horizontally for action.

 

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There are actually three configurations for the gun, the traditional ready-for-action pose with the trails spread, plus two transport options, one for towing by a vehicle, the other for moving the gun off-road with a third wheel perched behind the trails, raising them off the ground for manual fine-tuning of position by the crew.  The trails have a pair of cross-braces to hold them together during towing, with a split towing bar made from two halves connecting it to your choice of prime-mover.  The wheels are laminated from three layers plus a central boss, making up two of these and a third without the boss that sits across the trails for the vehicle transport option, held in place on a sturdy bracket.  For the manual transport option, the bracket is reused and fixed to the towing arm from underneath with the third wheel attached on an axle to raise the trails above the ground.

 

The gun barrel is a single part with a keyed peg on each end, the thicker end inserting into the eight-part breech, which includes a sliding block if you leave it unglued.  The barrel slide is made up from three sides and an end-cap, adding more details on the sides, and a cover on the front portion made from three sections.  The barrel drops over the slide with the addition of a small PE crutch and is surrounded by a pair of pivots to the sides, the elevation arc-gear under the slide, and a few other detail parts, popping the pivots into the trunnions that glue to a detailed bottom plate, holding the gun in position from there.  Dampers with corrugated gaiters are attached to the trunnions, with different parts for transport and combat positions, then the adjustment wheels and their actuators are fixed onto the left side, with a stubby axe on the right, again with PE socket and clasp on the handle.  The sighting gear is also installed on the left, then it’s time to protect the crew from incoming fire.  A U-shaped armour panel is built from two layers of styrene with a PE layer in between them, slotting it over the barrel from above and mounting on four supports, adding an additional link on each side using scrap diagrams to locate them properly.  The cheek armour panels are also two layers per side, with cylindrical stowage items including a torch to the inner face before they are mated with the centre armour and braced by additional links to the sides of the trunnions, with an angled PE lip on the inside just below the top edge.  There are three choices of muzzle-brake, each one made from similar but slightly different shaped parts, plus an optional part that is covered with a bag and PE ring to prevent debris ingress.  The gun is then lowered onto the chassis, locating the pin in a corresponding hole in the top.

 

To add detail around your model, a set of ten ready rounds are included on a sprue, with another four empty brass casings on another, plus a pair of shell boxes that have slots for three shells each, and are made from individual sides, bottom and lid plus handles, and can be posed open or closed if you wish.  Stencils for the shells and boxes are included, as well as a full painting guide next to the colour chart that gives codes for Vallejo, Mr Color, AK Real Color, Mission Models, AMMO, Tamiya, as well as swatches and generic colour names.

 

 

Markings

There are a generous six options included on the glossy pages of the instruction booklet, with a number of different colour schemes relating to their service location.  From the box you can build one of the following:

 

  • Infanterie-Division, Heeresgruppe ‘Süd’ Eastern Front, 1942
  • Armée, Heeresgruppe ‘Don’, Stalingrad, late 1942
  • Deutches Afrikakorps, North Africa 1942-43 camouflaged with mud
  • Deutches Afrikakorps, North Africa 1942-43
  • Unknown unit, Eastern Front, Winter 1942-3
  • Unknown unit, Eastern Front, Winter 1943

 

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Note that the paint options have been rearranged on the profiles and list for tidiness’s sake.  Options D and E are the opposite way around on the kit instruction sheet.

 

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Decals are by Cartograf, which is a guarantee of good registration, sharpness and colour density, with a thin matt carrier film cut close to the printed areas.

 

 

Conclusion

This is a incredibly well-detailed kit of an important German artillery piece that ruined many an Allied tanker’s day, with full options for transport and combat.  All it needs now is a crew.

 

Very highly recommended.

 

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Review sample courtesy of

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