Trumpeter German 8.8cm Panzerjagerkanone PAK43
Developed from Krupp's Gerät 42, this incarnation of the venerable 8.8 cm PAK43 gun used a new cruciform mount with the gun much closer to the ground, and a much stronger and more angled armor shield to provide better protection. The standard armament of the Tiger II, the KwK/PAK43 tank gun was able to penetrate about 200mm of armor at 1,000m, allowing it to defeat any contemporary tank on the battlefield.
Also included are three sheets of photo-etch and an aluminum barrel. A delicate photo-etch outer sleeve for the barrel comes in a separate bag.
The three sheets of photo-etch contain:
1. An optional gun shield (from the one provided in plastic) and various pieces that provide detail for the gun shield.
2. A superb ammunition rack that is mounted on the inside of the gun shield (which should remain empty if the gun is mounted on its wheels).
3. Flat, imprinted disks that go onto the ends of 16 plastic ammunition rounds provided in the kit (8 live rounds, 8 empty casings). The empty casings are hollowed out at the end – very nice.
The 12-page instruction booklet is well illustrated and easy to follow - for the most part. A separate glossy, two-sided color Painting and Marking Guide is included and provides a late-war standard color scheme of a German Dark Yellow base. One side of the guide shows a five-view layout of the gun in its towed configuration, the other side provides the same as a fixed emplacement. These were invaluable in determining the placement of many of the very small parts included in the kit. The box art shows the weapon sporting a dark yellow, green and red-brown late-war scheme.
Based on more error than trial, I would recommended the following assembly and painting procedure:
1. Assemble the cruciform mount (Steps 1-3) and set aside.
2. Assemble the gun base (leave gun barrel off) (Steps 4-6) and set aside.
3. Assemble Gun Shields (Steps 7-10 – leave gun barrel off) and set aside.
4. Assemble four wheels and attach rubber tires (Steps 12 and 13) and set aside.
5. Assemble both limbers (Steps 14-16 – leave the wheels off) and set aside.
6. Attach both limbers to the cruciform mount.
7. Prime, paint and weather the gun base, gun barrel, cruciform mount (with limbers attached), gun shields and the four wheels separately.
8. Attach the shields to the gun base.
9. Attach the gun base to the cruciform mount.
10. Attach the wheels to the limbers on the cruciform mount.
11. Attach the barrel to the gun base.
* ‘Connecting’ parts that I left out of the assembly sequence until later:
Step 3 – B46
Step 4 – E17, E18
Step 15 – B10, B11
Step 16 – C41 (2 parts)
The rubber tires looked nice but proved to be a disappointment. Each wheel has two tires, and for some reason there was only one wheel out of four where both tires fit. I checked the wheel diameters and found that they were identical, as well as the outer wheel ‘ring’ areas where the tires are supposed to slip around. This means that there must have been some minute difference in the way the rubber tires were made. To keep the tires from rolling off the plastic wheels I used some 5-minute epoxy to make them stay. They did.
The attachment of the main gun shield to the gun assembly went relatively smoothly. I had to open up some of the attachment points and proceed slowly, letting each part dry before starting on another. I attached the large ammunition case after the shield was in place since it sits directly adjacent to one of the delicate rods that hold the shield to the gun, and I needed complete access to that rod in order to fit the shield on and hold it. Once the shield was firmly attached to the gun, I attached the gun to the cruciform mount.
Trumpeter included three sheets of photo-etch with the kit. You get a beautifully-rendered alternative to the plastic gun shield which, if you choose to use it, must be augmented with many very small rivets, plates and other bits, front and back. I thought that the plastic shields were thin enough for use, and Trumpeter thoughtfully provided a back plate to the shield that effectively covers the sink marks found there.
Another PE sheet provided contains 16 disks that attach to the ends of the 8.8cm ammunition rounds – beautiful. But since I wanted to build the gun with its transportation limbers attached, the ammunition rack would be empty, so the PE and accompanying rounds will be saved for another build. That left me with precious little of the wonderful PE to use on the build. But I’m not complaining too much!
Once you finish the sub-assemblies and have accounted for all the parts, the kit comes together quickly. With a little effort, I think the final result looks pretty good and crazy-complex – which is the look I was after.
Painting and Finish
Once the Future dried for 2 days, I applied (first) a very thin filter of Mig Dark Brown. I use Mona Lisa White Spirits to thin my oil paints. Mona Lisa is about as mellow as paint thinner can get while still actually thinning the paint. Once that was thoroughly dry, I applied a pin wash, mixing Winsor Newton Burnt Umber and Ivory Black oils with Mona Lisa. The last step was to (very carefully) touch up everything with Mig P231 Metallic Gun Metal pigment using my finger to give these parts a proper metallic ‘glint’.
The build took me about 15 hours to complete, most of the time spent on the two transportation limbers and fit problems.
On the positive side, however, the completed kit conveys the sinister look of a high-caliber anti-tank weapon and I think it will look perfect behind a halftrack on a muddy road somewhere on the Eastern front.
I would recommend this kit to modelers experienced in solving problems. That said, however, the kit builds into a very nice and unique representation. I'd like to thank Steven’s International for providing the review sample, and Internet Modeler for giving me the opportunity to build the kit.