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In-Box Review
172
7.5cm PaK 40 w/Gun Crew
7.5cm PaK 40 w/Gun Crew + 3.7cm PaK 35/36
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by: Jan Etal [ TREAD_GEEK ]


Originally published on:
Armorama

Introduction

Represented in this kit are two standard World War II German anti-tank guns, the 7.5 cm PaK 40 and the 3.7 cm Pak 35/36. Both of these guns were developed by Rheinmetal. The PaK 35/36 was developed in 1936 and appeared in combat that year during the Spanish Civil War. By May 1940 it was considered outdated against several Allied tanks that were being introduced on the battlefield.

The 7.5 cm PaK 40 began development in 1939 but was not initially deployment until November 1941. By 1943 it formed the bulk of German anti-tank artillery and was the standard anti-tank gun until the war ended. With approximately 23,500 having been produced, these guns also found their way into the hands of other Europeans nations and continued in use after the war.

The Dragon 7.5 cm PaK 40 with Gun Crew and 3.7 cm PaK 35/36, kit 7374, is part of their 1/72 scale Figure Pro series.

Contents

The kit contains no less than 10 separate and varying sized sprues of typical Dragon grey styrene. Parts count on the sprues comes in at no less than 304 styrene and 1 photo etch. Decals are by Cartograph and represent kill rings for the gun barrels and stencil markings for the 7.5 cm shells. A one page, four sided instruction sheet with parts plan, two sets of build diagrams and one page of paint/decal instructions are also included. The build diagrams are standard Dragon exploded view drawings broken into 11 construction steps. The first four steps deal with assembling the PaK 35/36 while the remainder are for the PaK 40.

The gun crew assembly and painting instructions appear on the last page and are actual pictures of the assembled and unpainted figures. As is typical with many Dragon kits there will be extra parts that are not used, but in the case of the actual guns the unused parts (shaded in blue) total only four. That being said, as the builder is given several choices of optional parts the spares count of unused parts will certainly grow.

review

In General:
These guns have appeared in various forms in other Dragon kits (7314, 7351, 7369, 7371). In all these cases they are either mounted on half-tracks or being towed by them. Having had no first hand exposure to a Dragon Figure Pro kit before this review, I was unsure what to expect. After opening he box and quickly reviewing the contents my first impressions left me stunned and perhaps more than a little surprised. I have built other manufacturers 1/72 and 1/76 versions of these guns but was hardly prepared for the number of sprues and individual parts. With one exception, the PaK 40 wheels sprue (6 parts), the average parts count per sprue is around thirty and in two cases sixty-seven parts are present.

Dragon has the sprues logically packaged in plastic bags. Two sprues in one bag are the parts for the PaK 35/36 while three sprues relating to the PaK 40 are combined in another. The parts sprue for the figure bodies is packaged individually, as is the two sprues containing personal equipment such as bayonets, canteens, storage bags, ammunition pouches and the like. The final package contains two sprues of assorted weapons and helmets.

Generally all parts are moulded with intricate and in many cases miniscule detail. Indeed the level of detail appears to approach that of a larger scale and the casual observer may be hard pressed to determine the scale of the completed model from a picture. Ejector pin marks are minimal and in virtually all cases will be hidden after assembly. Flash is minimal and where it can be found is extremely light.

3.7cm PaK 25/36:
Comprising 19 parts on two sprues, the greatest challenge with this gun will be in handling all the tiny parts. The gun is moulded on its recoil slide but thanks to Dragon’s unique “Slide Moulding” the details are superb, even to the point of the gun bore being hollowed out. The manufacturer has provided optional hand wheels for traverse and elevation mechanisms. Moulded on these mechanisms is a solid disc hand wheel with a handle jutting out from the outer edge of the wheel. The instructions give the builder the option of cutting these off and replacing them with discs that have a prominent shaft jutting out of the centre of the disk.

Although remarkably thin for this scale the one piece gun shield will never approach a true scale thickness, but Dragon is to be commended for achieving what they have with this part. One final note about this piece is that the trail legs can be posed in either the towed or firing position configuration. In reality, the Dragon instructions more than slightly suggest that the trails not be glued and therefore the implication is that the trail orientation will remain flexible after assembly.

7.5cm PaK 40:
The three sprues that comprise the parts for this gun contain a total of 65 individual parts. The kit’s sole PE part is used in construction of this gun and represents a sliding armor that is sandwiched between the two gun shield pieces. Of the parts on these sprues, three are not used but other parts may find their way into your spares box as Dragon has provided a choice of options for certain details.

The most prominent option will be to select from three gun barrels. The barrels main differences are that each sports either an early, mid or late production muzzle brake. However, nowhere in the instructions are you informed as to which is which. From observation, care will need to be taken with two of the barrels as the muzzle brakes have an oval cross section where the wider part needs to be orientated horizontally after assembly.

The next options will be to choose between two recoil slide end caps (H6 or H7), two different trail end handles (J2 or J25) and two recoil guards (H3 or H4). Again the instructions fail to mention anything about these options. The last option will be for the modeler to choose whether to build the gun with cast or spoked wheels. As with its smaller cousin the instructions imply that the trails can be functional after building.

Finally as an example of how minute the moulding details are one has only to look at part J11. This part is a bar that locks the two trails while in the traveling configuration. On each end of this part is a bolt that attaches to a flange on each trail. While the left (looking down the barrel from the breech) bolt is in a fully depressed configuration the right bolt is moulded to show it in a raised position. Unfortunately it is also with this part that we see a minor omission in the instructions. In viewing several pictures of this gun from various sources it shows that this part is folded against the left trail when in firing configuration. In the instructions the part is only shown glued perpendicular to the trail. A word of caution is warranted here.

One must take care and study the instructions as there are two ‘J’ sprues for the PaK40. There are overlapping numbers namely J1, J2 and J3 so confusion is possible. As with any build the modeler would be well advised to do their own research about the subject before starting construction.

Gun Crew:
The gun crew consists of five figures in various poses. Each figure is assembled in six parts, torso, legs, arms and head. Having once built early 1/35 scale figures it’s as if Dragon has scaled down their larger offerings to this scale. The detail on these figures is at least equal to if not superior to the best 1/72 scale figures. When assembled you end up with one figure with binoculars that one might presume is the gun commander, two figures holding ammunition and one kneeling and one standing gun members. On this sprue are also present four complete 7.5 cm rounds.

Two accessory sprues contain a vast selection of personal equipment. Canteens, bayonets, entrenching tools, gas mask containers, various pouches, satchels and even what appears to either rolled up blankets or ponchos. Two sizes of pistol holsters, various ammunition pouches and binoculars are also present.

The final two sprues are Identical and contain eight regular infantry helmets as well as eight paratrooper helmets. Also present are the following:

• 6 x Kar 98K rifles
• 6 x Gewehr 41/43 semi automatic rifles
• 2 x MG34
• 2 x MG42
• 2 x MP38/40 SMG
• 2 x MP44 assault rifles
• 2 x MP 3008 (German Sten gun)
• 2 x Folded Bipods
• 2 x Deployed Bipods

The Gun Crew and its plethora of extra weapons and equipment could in itself be a separate kit. To the modeler that prefers this scale all these extra pieces of equipment will seem like treasure trove. All the left over pieces can be used to add detail to their existing or future builds.

Finishing:
Painting and markings are minimal at best. The painting guide offers the suggestion of painting either piece Panzer Grey or a sand colour. The ready rounds are to have a silver projectile and brass coloured case. Decals are provided in the form of kill rings for each gun, as well as stenciling for the 7.5 cm shell heads and cases.

Conclusion

As far as my research shows this kit appears to have accurate details and offers the builder remarkable value for the money. It’s almost like getting three or more kits in one. The level of detail is stunning and the left over parts could almost be considered a detail set in themselves. The provision of several optional parts for the guns is commendable, but the instructions give no indication of their proper grouping or use.

I would definitely not recommend this kit to a novice Braille Scale builder. The sheer number of tiny parts will require a steady hand and appropriate tools. Also, be forewarned that in many cases you will find the sprue attachment points (gates) positively huge compared to their respective parts.
SUMMARY
Highs: Superb and minute detail. Extra and left over parts can be used to accessorize future builds. Almost perfect as a base for a diorama.
Lows: Instructions can be ambiguous and unclear as to use of optional parts. Sprue gates on some smaller parts are thick and will require extreme care when removing parts.
Verdict: A stunningly detailed kit for the scale. Definitely requires more than average skill in building.
Percentage Rating
90%
  Scale: 1:72
  Mfg. ID: 7374
  Suggested Retail: CDN$19.95
  Related Link: 
  PUBLISHED: Apr 04, 2010
  NATIONALITY: Germany
NETWORK-WIDE AVERAGE RATINGS
  THIS REVIEWER: 84.51%
  MAKER/PUBLISHER: 86.19%

Our Thanks to Dragon USA!
This item was provided by them for the purpose of having it reviewed on this KitMaker Network site. If you would like your kit, book, or product reviewed, please contact us.
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About Jan Etal (tread_geek)
FROM: ONTARIO, CANADA

I've been building models since about age 10 with the occasional hiatus due to real life events. First armour model was a 1/76 Airfix Tiger I and was followed by a 1/72 Revell F4U Corsair. I've built primarily 1/76 and 1/72 armour and aircraft but occasionally have tinkered in other larger scales....

Copyright ©2017 text by Jan Etal [ TREAD_GEEK ]. Images also by copyright holder unless otherwise noted. Opinions expressed are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of TankRat's. All rights reserved.


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Comments

AJ, the movement of the guns on the carriage was something that I overlooked. I've rechecked the plans and the parts and unfortunately the PaK 35/36 must be assembled with barrel in a fixed position. There is a notch in the gun slide bottom that mates with a lug in the upper part of the carriage. Also with this gun is a rather small pin that is insufficient in size to support lateral traverse. The PaK 40 traverse potential appears to be the same as it;s smaller cousin. However, for the adventurous I can see a potential to replace the moulded traverse pin with something more substantial that might permit post construction traverse. The slide part of the PaK 40 has a couple of shallow lugs gutting out each side that appear to fit into a 'U' shaped recess in the support frame. At this point it "appears" to look like elevation might be possible after assembly. That is a distinct possibility but probably at a future date. There is also the possibility of a build article or feature. Thanks for your interest. Cheers, Jan
APR 05, 2010 - 11:24 AM
It has taken some time and research but I am fairly certain that I now know the difference in the PaK 40 muzzle breaks. If you read my review here on Armorama of this kit you will have noted that I mentioned that there was no indication given of which was early, mid or late. Since then I have still found it difficult to get a definitive answer. That being said, I did manage to find a couple of references that I am pretty sure are accurate. Basically, the double flange type was first used from May 1943. Front flange and rear disk type from March 1944. Finally, double disc type. From that part H27 is early, H25 is mid leaving H26 (double disk) being the late version. Cheers, Jan
JUL 22, 2010 - 11:49 AM
@tread_geek – Jan, Was looking through the Dragon review section for figures in this scale and stumbled across your review. Excellent review with equally excellent photographs. I must add this to my growing stash of 72nd scale WWII kits. For the price you get three fully detailed kits in one box – figures with optional gear, and two anti-tank guns also with optional parts. How can you go wrong! ~ Eddy
MAR 19, 2012 - 12:03 AM
@Braille - Eddy, what a surprise to see this thread resurrected out of the blue! Thanks for posting your comment as it is a great pleasure to see that even after all this time someone might find a review helpful. This truly is an interesting combination of sorts. It really shows that Dragon can do justice to 1/72 figures. As I point out in the review, you have enough equipment to potentially outfit a dozen more figures than the kit contains. From what I have seen of other Dragon kits that include figures, this plethora of extra equipment seems standard. I can't help speculating that figure sets from this manufacturer might eventually make an appearance. One can only hope! If you or anyone else has any further questions about this kit, please feel free to inquire. I have built two of the diminutive PaK 35/36 guns (still one more in the stash) but have yet to tackle its larger brother. Although I've wanted to, running and participating in campaigns and writing reviews have kept me distracted. When I get a chance I'll surely start a blog to give everyone my build impressions. Cheers, Jan
MAR 19, 2012 - 11:45 AM
@tread_geek Jan, Oh, my goodness! I hadn't thought to look at the date your review was first posted . . . Better late than never, I guess? Jan, you brought up another good point in making my purchase of this kit worth acquiring and that is the amount of equipment included in the kit, as much of this could be used as vehicle stowage. one vote from me on a build review! ~ Eddy
MAR 30, 2012 - 12:35 AM
Eddy, I'd have to say that it's never too late to find something that you are looking for! It just goes to show how important these types of sites with their reviews can be. Yes, as I mention there is plenty of extra equipment with this kit. Surprisingly, yesterday I attended a meeting of our local IPMS club's Braille Special Interest Group. The topic of decent styrene figures came up and besides this kit, one member mentioned that Dragon has three or four other kits with figures. Two are Tiger II's (#7361,#7362), there is a Panther (#7363). He said he has these kits in his stash and that one of those kits comes with eight figures, four seated, four standing and double the amount of equipment sprues. I cannot confirm this but he was quite adamant that that was the case. Thanks and I hope that others will also find it interesting. Cheers, Jan
MAR 30, 2012 - 10:38 AM
Eddy, I'd have to say that it's never too late to find something that you are looking for! It just goes to show how important these types of sites with their reviews can be. Yes, as I mention there is plenty of extra equipment with this kit. Surprisingly, yesterday I attended a meeting of our local IPMS club's Braille Special Interest Group. The topic of decent styrene figures came up and besides this kit, one member mentioned that Dragon has three or four other kits with figures. Two are Tiger II's (#7361,#7362), there is a Panther (#7363). He said he has these kits in his stash and that one of those kits comes with eight figures, four seated, four standing and double the amount of equipment sprues. I cannot confirm this but he was quite adamant that that was the case. Thanks and I hope that others will also find it interesting. Cheers, Jan [/quote] Jan & Eddy, I have both Tiger kits and in both kits, you get 8 figures and double the amount of weapons and field gear. In the Achtung Jabo set, you only get one set of figures and no weapons or field gear. In the LAH Panzergrenadiers, you get 4 figures with one sprue of weapons, and 2 sprues of field gear. I have purchased multiple sets of the Pak35/36, Pak40 and LAH panzer grenadiers just for the figures. Good luck on finding the Actung Jabo and Paratrooper sets as they are sold out. All figures produces so far are superb in detail and quality. Charlie
MAY 29, 2012 - 10:50 PM
Thanks very much, Charlie! As this thread is linked in the review I am sure it will prove informative and helpful to many in the future. In travels to hobby shops in my area (+/- 50 miles) I not too infrequently run into one of these kits every now and then. I'm sure they are old stock but aren't exactly in demand as they carry a higher price tag than other Dragon offerings. The last couple I saw was about three weeks ago in a city about 30 miles away. Now that I know what to expect in the kit I might have to make a point of picking them up whenever I see them. Cheers, Jan
MAY 30, 2012 - 11:31 AM
Thanks again Jan. They are a good reference for future projects. Regards. Pedro.
JUN 10, 2012 - 05:06 AM
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