Dragon 1/6 3.7cm PaK 36
|KIT:||Dragon 1/6 3.7cm PaK 36|
|REVIEWER:||Scott Van Aken|
The PaK 36 (Panzerabwehrkanone 36) was a German anti-tank gun that fired a 3.7cm caliber shell. It was developed in 1936 by Rheinmetall and first appeared in combat that year during the Spanish Civil War. It formed the basis for many other nations' anti-tank guns during the first years of World War II. The KwK 36 L45 was the same gun but was used as the main armament on several tanks, most notably the early models of the Panzer III.
The PaK 36, being a small-calibre weapon, was outdated by the May 1940 Western Campaign, and crews found them all but useless against heavy allied tanks like the British Mk.II Matilda and the French Char B1 and Somua S-35. A group of these guns claimed to have knocked out a Char by firing at its flank, but this is most likely made up. The poor performance against heavy enemy armour resulted in the PaK 36 being dubbed the "Door Knocker".
The PaK 36 began to be replaced by the new 5cm PaK 38 in mid 1940. The addition of tungsten cored shells added slightly to the armour penetration of the PaK 36. When the German troops engaged the Soviet T-34 for the first time, the PaK 36 was proven totally obsolete. Despite this, it remained the standard anti-tank weapon for many units until 1942. PaK 36 crews could still achieve kills on enemy tanks but had to wait for an opportunity to hit the tank's rear armour from close range, a task requiring nerves of steel and allowing for no second attempt.
As the PaK 36's were gradually replaced, many were removed from their carriages and added to Halftracks to be used as light anti-armour support. A number of PaK 36s were also supplied to Germany's allies. The PaK 36 served with the armies of Finland, Hungary, Romania and Slovakia. In 1943, the introduction of the Stielgranate 41 shaped charge meant that the PaK 36 could now penetrate any armour, but only at a range of less than 300 meters. The PaK 36s, together with the new shaped charges, were issued to Fallschirmjäger and other light troops. The gun's light weight meant that it could be easily moved by hand, and this mobility made it ideal for their purpose.
This sort of kit is perfect for Dragon's 1/6 scale military line. It also fits right in with their 1/6 scale soldiers, a staple of Dragon for many years.
Even a small gun like this is large. The diameter of the wheel and tire is over 5.5 inches just to give you an idea of its overall size. It can be built either ready for use or ready to be towed. I'll bet it hooks right up to the Dragon 1/6 Kettenkrad previewed a while back. Even the shells provided measure nearly 2.5 inches.
With a kit of this size, there is no need to resort to photo-etch or resin for detailing as it is all right there on the sprues. As one would expect from Dragon, the parts are superbly molded and I'm pleased to see a minimum of ejector pin marks. What few are there will be hidden during construction or easily removed. In fact, there are a lot of hinges with this kit, primarily for the gun shield pieces. These are all quite sturdy and should provide no problems at all.
In addition, it appears from the instructions that the trails can be moved, the breech seems to be workable as well. Even the vision slots have movable covers. One of the sprues contains a pair of ammo cans with the ammunition. The handles and latches for these are also movable. It also appears that the gun can be traversed and elevated as well.
The instructions are very well done with photo-realistic construction steps. I particularly like how previous assemblies are in a darker color. As expected, there are a lot of little 'do not glue' icons. No decals are provided, and I'd bet few of these guns had any sort of markings. Standard color for this is Panzer Grey as befits early war equipment. I stated that there was no photo-etch and it appears I'm wrong. There is a tiny sprue, according to the instructions, that is used as part of the ammo can latches.
This sort of kit should do quite well. It is large for those who use the excuse that they can no longer work with little parts, but is not so large as to be overwhelming. It has a ton of detail, and yet is a relatively simple kit when compared to some of these 800 plus part tank kits that are so common. Best of all, it is a piece of artillery, or field gun as you would. Perhaps a 20mm flak will be in the offing next. This PaK 36 is something that I know I like, and I'm sure you will too.
My thanks to www.dragonmodelusa.com for the review kit. Get yours today at your local retailer or ask them to order it in for you.
If you would like your product reviewed fairly and fairly quickly, please contact the editor or see other details in the Note to Contributors.
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