AFV Club 1/35 German Pak 43/41 'Scheuntor' 8.8cm Anti-tank Gun

Kit no. AF35059

By Ray Mehlberger

History

Due to the restrictions brought on by the Versailles Treaty, German development of large caliber guns had gone no further than design stage during the 1920s. After the Nazi Party seized power in 1933, the German Armed Forces were being remobilized. The famous 88mm Flak gun had also entered production. Originally designed as an anti-aircraft gun, the 88mm Flak was in fact a dual purpose weapon, which also made a highly effective anti-tank gun. The 88mm Flak 18 made its debut in the Spanish Civil War, that was fought between 1936 and 1939, in which it was proven an excellent weapon.

As the war turned its tide against the Axis in 1943, demand for the 88mm cannon had grown even greater, with an attempt to simplify production, a 88mm L/71 gun was mounted on the existing two-wheeled or 'split trail' carriage of leFH 18 105mm howitzer to complete an anti-tank gun, designated as the Pak 43/41. This was mounted on on steel wheels. The gun needed these steel sheels in order to hold its weight. The weight of the Pak 43/41 and its awkwardness were notorious to the troops that used it and they gave it the nickname of 'Scheuntor' (barn-door). It was also equipped with a spaced gun shield, and a pair of recoil springs to reduce the recoil distance. When firing armor-piercing projectiles, the Pak 43/41 was capable of penetrating armor plates of 13cm at a distance of 1370 meters. A total of 829 Pak 43/41s were produced until the 1st of January, 1945.

What's in the box?:

Years ago, a dear friend of mine who died of cancer last year, turned over his entire armor model collection to me as he was diagnosed only to have a very short time to live. Two of the kits were of Gunze Sangyo German field pieces. These are of the white metal casting and PE parts type - and very expensive. I thought these were the most intricate field piece models I had ever seen to date. Well, this new AFV kit will not take much of a back seat to those. It is a very detailed, multi-media kit. It has various different materials in it.

The kit comes in a very sturdy tray and lid type box. The box art shows the gun in an overall earth yellow scheme and the side panels show it in a three color cammouflage. Around the inside edges of the box lid are 12 full color pictures of other armor kit offerings in the AFV Club line. The bottom tray continues this, with 12 black and white pictures of box arts of other kits.

The box is a little blousy for the kit contents.

There are six cello bags that contain six trees of olive green colored styrene parts trees, a turned aluminum barrel, rubber tires, pressed copper gun shields, vinyl equilbrater dust covers, two brass rods, a fret of brass PE, and the instruction booklet. There are no decals or gun crew figures provided.

There is also enclosed a jet black single sheet, with the parts tree drawings (in white) printed on it. This shows what the parts trees will look like in the upcoming new kit of the German Sd.Kfz. 251/1 Ausf. C half-track that AFV plans to release in March 2004 (kit no. AF35063).

The instructions are a 8" x 11 5/8" format booklet of 16 pages.

Page 1 of the instructions gives the gun's history in English and Chinese.

Page 2 begins with the history, this time in Japanese. This is followed by assembly symbol explanations, decal application instructions, and a color listing for six different brands of hobby paints to use for finishing the kit.

Pages 2 through the top of page 14 gives us a total of 21 assembly steps. Alternate assembly steps are shown for finishing the gun in either the towed or firing position. So, careful attention must be given to those steps. The assembly drawings are very, very BUSY and a lot of care will have to be taken to get things just right. The kit box says for over 14 years and I would add that, if you have only done one or two armor kits before, you should steer away from this kit until you have more assembly experience. It is definately not for the neophyte.

The bottom of page 14 shows us two accessory kits, that AFV sells seperately, that go hand and glove with this kit. One is a box of 8.8cm ammo (kit no. AF35072) and the second one is a set of brass shield bolts (kit no. AF35073). Also shown is a future kit of the U.S. Tank Destroyer M36 'Jackson' (kit no. AF35058).

Page 15 gives us three color scheme drawings:

1. A gun in overall earth yellow.

2. A gun in earth yellow with a panzer gray barrel.

3. A gun in a 3 color camouflage scheme: earth yellow, panzer gray, and red brown.

The top of page 16 gives the parts tree drawings followed by reply coupons to order any parts that are missing in your kit.

Conclusion

I highly recommend this kit to all advanced armor modelers. It is truly awe inspiring to see the detail that's in this kit! There are tons of little bitty parts to handle and, by skim reading the instructions, I can see that a lot of care will have to be taken to get this gun assembled correctly.

It would be nice if AFV Club would come out with a gun crew for either this gun or their earlier release of the 105mm gun.

I purchased my kit from GreatModels web store.

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