Articles

MAC Distribution - 50mm Pak36L Gun w/3-Figures (72110) _________(EXT)

 

 

Manufacturer MAC Distribution
Scale 1/72
Set Code 72111
Year 2008
No. of Figures 3
No. of Poses 3
Additional Items 1 PaK38; Resin Extra Projectiles
Aspect Small
Material Hard Plastic
Colour Cream
Flash Level Intermediate
Glue-ability Good (polly-cement)
Convert-ability Easy
Optimal Period 1939-1945

 

Review 


MAC Distribution's great merits for developing the range of WWII German vehicles in Braille Scale, are well-known and fully acknowledged, the company issuing several high quality series of AFVs on the same chassis such as Opel Blitz (most of them Late War versions), Horch, Einheits-Diesel or Krupp trucks. The manufacturer also granted attention to several guns not often encountered on the market such as 20 mm Flak30 and 20 mm Flak38 (single barrel), sold either by individual model kits or found inside other boxes of the same company, mounted or towed by some vehicles, Flak30 on two Horch and Flak38 on two Opel Blitz. After two antiaircraft guns, it came the turn of anti-tank guns to benefit by MAC Distribution's attention. Intending to expand their range of canons, MAC Distribution issued two of the most common WWII German guns, namely PaK35/36 and PaK38, registering in the same time another premiere, the kits incorporating an identical sprue of figures, the first effort on the matter of this manufacturer.

Both MAC's PaK36 and PaK38 sets are short run model kits, and the mould is really extremely short run. Each part of the guns is loaded with plenty of flash and vague details, but when it comes to figures, the shortage of the mould is awfully annoying. The included figures are probably some of the poorest on the 1/72 market, not only full of quite normal issues such as flash and excess of plastic, but also with air bubbles in plastic and deformed body parts. One figure has his head so flattened out that his entire face appears less wide than a Preiser bayonet, he looks as if an evil guy put his head in a screw vice and squeezed. Moreover, on the back of all soldiers, in the pistol holster area, the mould went completely mad, leaving an enormous gap, some arms and palms were also flattened out, and the list of problems is endless. Taking into account these issues, it should be clear that the only available solution for MAC Distribution is binning at least the mould of the figures and try making a better one. The disappointment is bigger because the company distinguishes through high quality products in the last period, and the expectations were high, the target groups hardly waiting to see their first 1/72 figures. Better quality is encountered on the extra ammunition sprues, which were made in resin. When hearing "resin parts" we might get the impression that we are in the presence of an excellent multi-media kit, but when opening it, we get the whole picture of a set with horrible figures. Perhaps aware by the low quality of their PaK guns, MAC distribution does not list them on their official site even if the kits can be found on the shelves of the stores.

The MAC Distribution PaK38 kit is sold in their standard 1/72 box, including one sprue for the gun, a sprue for figures, two resin sprues with projectiles and the instruction sheet printed on A4 piece of paper. The artwork of the box shows a PaK38 as well as the poses of the figures. The assembly guidelines are not always very clear and in order to know where some parts should be glued, it is necessary studying either instructions of other manufacturers or reference images.

Due to the limited performances of PaK35/36 to penetrate armour, since 1938 the German Army had started developing a more powerful anti-tank gun firing 5 cm projectiles. Ready for production in 1939, the new PaK38 reached the front line in mid-summer 1940, and in the initial stages of Barbarossa Plan, it was the only German gun capable to destroy the formidable T34, thanks to the new tungsten-cored ammunition (AP40). Becoming a standard weapon, the canon remained in service until the end of war and also provided the base for its scaled up version, the famous PaK40.

The parts of this MAC Distribution gun kit feature plenty of flash and received in most cases indistinct details. The modeller who decides to start working it will have not only to remove the flash, but also to drill some holes in the muzzle brake and in the breech ring. However, an important thing is that comparing with Ace's version of the same gun, MAC Distribution's PAK38 looks over-scaled and full of mistakes regarding shape. The barrel is much thicker and fitting a huge and innaccurate muzzle brake more suitable for a PaK40, the shield is larger and wrongly shaped for a PaK38, the tubular legs are longer and the wheels are bigger. Despite featuring on the artwork of the box a genuine PaK38, all the just mentioned issues, make this kit to be closer to a PaK40 than a PaK38. In addition, this kit is quite simplified, missing more specific details, and with the barrel in recoil position, just like the old Esci/Italeri PaK40. Made of resin and provided on two separate spures, the spare projectiles are the finest part of the kit, accurate in shape, but appearing more suitable for a 7.5 cm PaK40 than for 5 cm PaK38.  The same spures are also incorporated in PaK35/36 set, being completely useless for this one. Two types of projectiles and some fired tubes are delivered, one sprue holding six rounds while the other brings two rounds and two tubes.

Now it is the turn of the sprue with figures to be analysed and it is no need reiterating the horrible quality of these figures made of the same hard plastic as the gun. However, it should be highlighted there are serious clues indicating that in the initial stage these figures benefit by a proper sculpture, the man who worked them putting in lot of effort, trying to bring something new in the field, such as a soldier with the flap of  the right chest pocket lifted. Nevertheless, for the catastrophically final product that reached the market, it is only the mould to blame. Some limbs are separately delivered, one figure needing both arms and legs to be glued, one both arms and for the last a single arm having to be fixed in its place. The initial designation of arms per figure cannot be confound, both because there are provided instructions in this regard and due to the fact that the separate arms are delivered on the sprue in the same square with the body, exception being made the trunk for which in the forth square, except the legs is also given one arm. All crewmen are dressed in the Early style, with M36 tunics, regular trousers and marching boots. In addition, two have on their heads steel helmets, but quite nice is that the bare head figure retains at the belt his helmet. They are lightly equipped, only with belts and two of them have also gas masks with straps around the trunk. At the standing figure and the crouched one with both knees on the ground it looks like being another item of equipment, but the mould ruined them in such manner, that it is impossible an accurate identification. The lack of ammunition pouches is fully covered by the presence of pistol holsters, each of them being armed with a pistol held in its holster. The presence of an arm with binoculars points out the gun commander, in manufacturer's vision this role being played by the standing figure, but this might be replaced by any of his colleagues. Except the standing guy with binoculars, there are incorporated two crouched artillery-men, after gluing their arms one looks like doing something at the gun while the other wave his right arm in the air, ordering fire or signalling other things. Three gunners are enough neither for this canon, nor for larger or smaller ones and in order to complete the crew they should receive enforcements from other sets with figures dress for warm periods, the thickness of the uniforms of these soldiers making them appropriate for such environments. More reference images show just two or three gunners manning this type of gun, but not all the time the photographer could catch in the same photo the entire crew. For PaK38 the crew was formed by eight, the chief of section being responsible for seeing that all duties are properly performed, all commands executed and all safety precautions observed, the gunner set the announced deflection and laid for direction, no. 1 loaded and fired the gun, no. 2, 3, 4 and 5 handled the ammunition and no. 6 drove the prime mover.

For sure the details of uniforms were a little better when the mould had been done for the first time, but at present, at least the mould of the figures is good for the trash basket. Several buttons and collar boards survived to deformation, but also awfully undesired things, such as holes, gaps, excess of plastic and flash emerged during the casting process. Few might say that these issues are workable through covering the mistakes using extra gear form different manufacturers. When arriving to anatomy, then here we get no chance except complete replacement, so finally MAC Distribution's WWII German gun crew is capable only to provide a trunk and some legs where the modeller to add gear, weapons, head and arms from Preiser or Dragon. Practically, this is the only way to get something acceptable from this set of figures while a head is seems to be tortured with a screw vice, some arms and palms are awful and there are also a lot of other things that should be hidden. Luckily they were made in hard plastic, so the job is ease a little, but do not expect that you have in front of you a quick task. Excess of plastic, flash, holes in material and huge mould errors find a good place for development here, requiring a lot of time to clean and repair, even if it is about only three figures. Comprised by a standard model kit, the soldiers come un-based and no such device is found in the box. They do not have a good balance and in this regard the crew should be glued either straight on the diorama or attached to scratched bases or even directly linked to the gun. Enclosed in the small to medium size of 1/72 scale, these figures match the best with their colleagues from HaT WWII German guns series, Armourfast Mortar and MG teams, Pegasus Hobbies Waffen SS Set 2 as well as with soldiers from the rich range dedicated by Preiser to WWII Germans and CMK "Wehrmacht Mounted Infantry". More or less, they would also fit with other gunners enclosed in Esci/Italeri "German Guns" or Airfix "Opel Blitz and PaK40". The gun can be used on the one hand with crews taken from the just named sets, but on the other hand, fortunately, better choices are available. In this regard, Pegasus Hobbies' crews from "German le IG18 Infantry Gun with Crew", Preiser's "German PaK40 Crew" or some figures from Italeri's "PaK40 AT gun with servants" represent appropriate solutions for a more dynamic appearance.

MAC Distribution's intention to bring on the market not only two of the most common WWII German anti-tank guns, but also their crews, might be assessed as a not very successful attempt, while neither the weapons nor the figures do a good impression. Released by a company with a rich catalogue of fine products, expectations were very high, but this time the final product is poor, the figures representing the biggest disappointment, mostly because of the extreme short run mould that led to an unpleasant number of rough mutilations. Except the low number of crewmen provided for each gun and unable to cover the necessary required for handling the weapon, another minus is the replication of the same sprue of figures in both kits. Because it appears over-scaled and wrongly detailed, being closer to PaK40 than PaK38, this kit is even worse than the kit of PaK35/36 that looks more accurate in shape and from the size point of view. It has to be taken into consideration that in the rush to launch a new kit, and even if the artwork of the box shows a PaK38, this gun to be incorrectly labelled as PaK38 and inside to get a PaK40, several clues sustaining the idea.

A quick comparison with Ace's PaK38, also a short run kit, will reveal not only shape and scale issues but also the fact that MAC's Distribution version of the same gun has a huge amount of flash and scarce or incomplete details, in such a manner that Ace canon can be assessed as top quality. Returning to the identical crewmen provided by the manufacturer for both Pak sets, the possessor will notice that he can bring little diversity while most arms come separately and may be switched between the figures. We are keen to see some progress at MAC Distribution and a superior edition of their crewmen. The company should not be disappointed by their first try in the field of soldiers, even famous producers of 1/72 figures from nowadays such as Preiser and Revell had a hesitant start, with sets and moulds full of mistakes. We wish MAC Distribution to join in the next close future these prestigious manufacturers not only in on AFV matters, because this has already been achieved, but also in the figures domain. Last remark refers to the below chart with marks, mentioning that only the figures were rated.

 

Historical Accuracy 8
Anatomy 3
Poses Quality 7
Details Quality 3
Mould Quality 1
Sculpture 7
Recommendation/Utility 3
Reviewer’s Opinion 3