PAK 97/38 Gun with Servants
Reviewed by Alastair Bowie
The German Army were masters at integrating captured weapons into their growing armies as they swallowed up most of Europe, this weapon is one of those weapons but in a hybrid form. The PAK 97/38 is a marriage of the German PAK 38 50mm AT gun Carriage and the venerable French M1897 75mm gun. The weapon was produced in a need to get better AT guns to the troops in response to the Heavier Russian Armour appearing on the battlefields. The 50 mm PAK 38 was ineffective against a lot of these heavier Russian designs and the production of its successor the excellent PAK 40 75mm was not sufficient to meet the demand. As a result the Germans adapted the PAK 38 Carriage to take the French 75 firing new German Ammunition.
The weapon tended to be found in second line formations as it was inferior to the PAK 40 and the Captured Russian 76mm AT guns. A lot of these weapons were deployed in France where they were more than adequate given the combat ranges and opposition faced. Later Ammunition development saw this weapon gain a much better performance in the AT role but by then it was too late.
As far as I am aware, this is the second kit of this weapon following the DML example which I originally thought this was a reboxing of. That is not the case and the kit like its real life example is based on the existing PAK 38 kit. New parts are included for the Gun and its trail wheels plus ammunition for the gun in full and spent rounds (8 of each). A crew of four figures of Esci origin are provided which have previously been included in the Esci Light 75 Infantry Gun and the Italeri PAK 38. They are in action poses and depicted in Camouflage smocks with ankle boots and gaiters but one figure has Jack Boots. Ammunition boxes for the original Lt 75mm Infantry gun are supplied and the instructions indicate its use but these are much too small for the Pak 97/38 ammunition.
Click the thumbnails below to view larger images:
Construction is covered in 9 stages and offered a pretty easy build with only a few little concerns.
Stage 1 covers the carriage and the only parts I found a problem were 1a & 2a where they mount to the lower carriage. These are the gunn mounts and have little in the way of locating tabs which makes attaching them to the lower axle difficult. Take your time and ensure their alignment is correct.
Stage 2 details the construction of the trails and the crew handles – parts 22c should be fitted first because parts 4c and 3c cover the locating holes. They also need to be angled upward slightly.
Stage 3 is the gun shield construction and offered no problems although part 7a’s (sight or tool case) positioning is not clear. Parts 15,16, & 17 are shield supports and quite fiddly to fit, ensure they are attached to the gun mounts prior to fitting the shield and that they can still move.
Stage 4 sees the gun tube fitted to the carriage and offered no problem
Stage 5 sees the guns inner sliding shield fitted (drop fit – no
glue required) along with the lower splinter shield in either towed
or firing position.
Stage 6 details the trail ends with options for the firing or towed positions
Stage 7 is the final detail of the trials with Stage 8& 9 cover the crew construction. The crew had a lot of flash to remove and really show their age (originally a 1970’s release by ESCI)
No decals are provided
This is a solid well detailed but simple build that should give a much cheaper option to the DML kit. It offered few problems in construction and gives an adequate crew for an in action Diorama with crew poses well done. This is a good introductory kit for youngsters getting into the hobby but with a little building experience under their belts. This kit offers excellent value for money.
One thing that I feel Italeri kits lack in is historical notes. Once upon a modelling time, kits had a small (or large) history of the modelled subject. These were great as they told you something about what you were modelling. When I was a kid I couldn’t remember much of what they taught me in school but knew a lot about aircraft, ships and tanks from the excellent histories in kits from Airfix, Tamiya etc.
Maybe Italeri would like to consider a few paragraphs of the subjects history in future kits.
Thanks to Italeri for the review sample.
Text and Images by Alastair