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Zvezda - German Anti-Tank Gun PAK 36 With Crew (6114) _________(EXT)

Manufacturer Zvezda
Scale 1/72
Set Code 6114
Year 2011
No. of Figures 2
No. of Poses 2
Additional Items 1 PaK35/36
Size Tall
Material Soft Plastic or Hard Plastic
Colour Gray
Flash Level Low
Glue-ability Excellent (Polly-cement)
Convert-ability Medium
Optimal Period 1939 - 1945

Review 

In the attempt of providing for “Art of Tactic” board-game the most representative units and cannons, the small PaK35/36 could not be forgotten by Zvezda which also dedicated to it a kit within the “Mini-Box” series. Since the beginning of the review it should be highlighted a most sensitive issue of the kit, namely the material is made of. From the four boxes I bought, in two the content was made of soft plastic while in the other two the pieces were cast in hard plastic. Within Zvezda’s “Mini-Box” series both materials were previously used, in soft plastic emerging the first set “German MG34 with Crew 1939-42”, in the following kits of the series soft plastic being replaced by hard one. Unfortunately, the manufacturer did not provide on the box any clue regarding the material the kit is made of, so it is simply a matter of luck in getting the desired material. Initially, when it was launched on the market, I bought three boxes of this kit from a Romanian supplier and two were cast in soft plastic and one in hard. Many months later, because I wanted another kit made of hard plastic, I took a box from a store in Bruxelles and luckily, the wish came true.  

The mixture of materials registered in “German Anti-Tank Gun PAK36 with Crew” might have several explanations, either in the first boxes launched on the market were packed surpluses from “Operation Barbarossa” cast in soft plastic or less probable, Zvezda tried both materials and at the end, they have oriented to soft plastic from gaming purposes, in order to prevent eventual breakages. The second interpretation is less feasible due to the fact that Zvezda’s hard plastic is ideal for wargaming, sharing many attributes of soft one such as elasticity and resistance to shocks, the same material being deployed for more fragile kits like “German 20-mm Anti-aircraft Gun with Crew FLAK-38”.

Nevertheless, both Zvezda’s plastics are extremely glue-able, the difference mainly resting in the adhesive used, for hard plastic the standard modelling glue (polly-cement) and for soft one cyanoacrylate, super glue gel giving awesome results, with a tremendously durable bond, and not only between soft plastic parts, but also extraordinary fixing hard and soft plastic pieces. It must be strongly emphasised that between the two materials utilised there are no differences concerning the cast of the present kit, and maybe surprisingly, the details on the crewmen made of soft plastic appear slightly sharper. However, the differentiation is petite, really almost impossible to spot but for figure conversion reasons I would rather go for a hard plastic kit.   

One of the most important anti-tank cannons in the first years of war, PaK35/36 turned out to be inefficient in front of French, British, and Russian armour, even gaining the unpleasant nickname of "door knocker". Manufactured in over 15.000 pieces by Rheinmetall, the cannon set out as the standard anti-tank weapon of Wehrmacht at the beginning of war. Firing small 3.7 cm projectiles, despite its performances, PaK35/36 remained in service till the end of war, its capacity for penetrating enemy armour being improved in 1943 by Stielgranate41, a hollow shaped charge warhead rocket loaded in the muzzle. The cannon was towed by various motor vehicles as well as horse-drawn or other improvised means such as motorcycles. Due to its light weight, the weapon could be easily towed into action by its crewmen. Likewise, plenty of WWII German vehicles were endowed, in standard or field-converted versions, with PaK35/36 as main weapon.

In spite its quite limited utility, PaK35/36 seems to be one of the most depicted cannons in 1/72 scale, companies likeEsci/Italeri, HaT, MAC Distributions, and Dragon offering their interpretations inside more or less accurate and detailed kits, also comprising related crewmen. Almost obvious, all troopers are dressed in the M36 uniform, except HaT’s version giving soldiers wearing Afrikakorps attire. In addition, ACE has a model kit of the cannon but without supplying any figure.

The standard “Art of Tactic” small box offered enough space for accommodating the two sprues of the kit, an assembly guide printed on a piece of paper and one wargaming card. Contrary to the custom of Zvezda’s artworks of the series, featuring soldiers in close poses and clothes as those included in the box, this time the manufacturer utilised a part of the artwork deployed for the similar 1/35 kit, the figures appearing in the artwork having no connection with the ones encountered inside, both in terms of poses and garment. While the artwork illustrates Late War winter soldiers dressed in parkas, the 1/72 versions wear the M36 uniform, also the poses being dissimilar and missing weapons. Moreover, the title of the set makes reference to an inexistent cannon, PaK36, the name of the anti-tank piece in case in the official designations being 3,7cm PaK and unofficially known as PaK35/36. Still, on the back of the box the customer receives better and accurate information on the kit, three small images presenting the assembled and painted gun and figures. Similarly, extra data are granted such as number of parts, length of the model, an image of the wargaming card etc.

The sprue with figures is one of the simplest, comprising two minis and a single arm that has to be attached as well as a wargaming flag and a larger base where, if desired, could be snapped the cannon and crew. Each figure and wheel has got a pin for fixation on the base, but if used somewhere else, the pins could be immediately resolved with a simple cut. In addition, on the base there are sculptured two ammo boxes and two fired tubes, items that would have been much better to be suplied as separate parts. Due to their utility in recreating a more credible scene, with some efforts, those might be removed from the base and fixed in other locations next to the cannon. On the other sprue, the customer finds the parts for assembling a PaK35/36, the carriage being delivered in two options, either for transportation with legs folded or in combat with open ones. The assembly guide provide clear instructions for an uncomplicated kit and the wargaming card shows as reference image a well-known photo of a PaK35/36 in action.   

Taking into consideration the main purpose of the Zvezda kit, respectively gaming, corroborated with the modality of putting together, namely snap fit, the model turned out quite simplified, the most annoying representing the lack of traverse and elevation mechanism with related hand-wheels. Nevertheless, for a fast-build, the small cannon looks pretty fine, with a detailed and not so thick shield with rivets and other characteristics, a visible but basic sight and quite accurate and in scale trails with fair spades and two aiming stakes set above the right one. For many manufacturers the tiny barrel of PaK35/36 raises a provocation but this time is not over-scaled and requires drilling. Furthermore, the breech, though simplified, appears satisfactory. Putting the gun together is a matter of minutes, the seven parts composing the kit snapping very well. Of course, for better handling the end-model, its parts might be glued, though as stressed on the box, the process is not mandatory.

According to regulations, PaK35/36 was manned by a six member crew, the chief of section being responsible for seeing that all duties are properly performed, all commands executed and all safety precautions observed, the gunner laid the gun, no. 1 loaded and fired the gun, no. 2 and 3 handled the ammunition, and no. 4 drove the prime mover From them, Zvezda limited in depicting just two, the gunner and maybe no. 1 or one of the others handling ammunition, definitely an insufficient crew for a static modeller but enough for some wargaming purposes.  

The two figs wear M36 tunics, regular trousers, marching/jack boots, and steel helmets, their gear being scarcer but in accordance with the one worn by real soldiers when manning the cannon. Gear rests in bread bags, canteens, bayonets and Kar98K ammunition pouches even if according to KStN the soldiers they represent should have had pistols. On the other hand, on account the cannon was operated by regular infantry-men, plenty of images shot in the war reveal soldiers with Kar98K manning the gun, so the presence of such ammunition pouches on Zvezda’s minis must not be taken as a mistake.

Both soldiers are crouched, the pose of the gunner depicting the army-man most probable operating the sight with the left hand while no.1 holds a projectile in hands, prepared with the next round. Doubtless, their stances are suitable for other roles and tasks inside a PaK35/36 team, in conformity with the needs of the hobbyist. The gunner was cast as single piece, for the other being necessary to set in position the right arm and the left palm, holding the end of a projectile emerging proper for the caliber of the cannon. The classic pin and hole method was applied and the design did its job very good, the parts perfectly matching and firmly staying even without gluing. Nonetheless, for increased durability and handling without any care, a drop of glue both on the arm and wrist do no harm. The pose of the gunner looks a little flat and to some extent, the two stances remember about the excellent Pegasus Hobbies miniatures.    

Having nothing linked to PaK35/36, due to the adopted position, the gunner fits to operate many other cannons or mortars while in the same purpose the projectile held by his comrade must be replaced with one matching the new location. As previously stated, two soldiers for a PaK35/36 are not enough for a static model and to complete the crew very fine troopers are on disposal inside diverse Zvezda sets. Obviously, in order to stress their membership to a PaK35/36, some minor conversions would be necessary, the most recommended for at least two of them would be adding PaK35/36 projectiles.

With a view to details on the crew, these two figs are some of the best inside the increasingly larger Zvezda catalogue on 1/72 WWII Germans. Of foremost importance is that no mould ditches, quite familiar to many Zvezda figures, are registered. Likewise, no excess of material and just a small amount of flash are encountered, cast being superb, with sharp small details, nicely shaped pockets and flaps, buttons, collar and shoulder boards as well as genuine creases. Boots always impress at Zvezda and also here do not disappoint,the stitched central, vertical spine to the reverse clearly emerging for hobbyist’s joy. Moreover, anatomy is awesome, with ideal facial details, proportions and palms, fingers being all in place. Size, details and position of gear are appropriate and compatible with similar items featured by miniatures belonging to this manufacturer. No matter the material the kit is made of, both plastics wonderfully accepts enamel, acrylics, and artistic oils, firmly holding the painting effort even subdued to intense handling.

Belonging to the tall side of 1/72, proper comrades are plentiful not only inside Zvezda’s tender, but also many other companies provide figures similarly dressed, in fact the Early War German attire being one of the most common in the scale. Perhaps because of size and general appearance, some of the best companions from other firms might be found inside Pegasus Hobbies’ “German Mortar Teams” and “German 75 mm le IG18 Infantry Gun with Crew” or Imex’s “German Troops”.

As all “Art of Tactic” sets, the present one has not only a wargaming but a modelling value, the figures being truly good and the cannon, with few improvements from the spare parts box can be turned into a very nice and accurate in size model. In addition, especially if it is selected the transport option or mounted on a vehicle, its crewmen can be easily deployed to other cannons aching for such soldiers to operate them. The price paid for the kit is almost nothing comparing with the quality received and certainly represents a great opportunity to encourage the hobby, the few parts of the cannon recommending it even for new and young modellers.

Historical Accuracy 10
Anatomy 10
Poses Quality 9
Details Quality 10
Mould Quality 10
Sculpture 10
Recommendation/Utility 10
Reviewer’s Opinion 9