The standard anti-tank gun of Germany’s forces in September 1939 was the 3.7cm PaK, which is often but apparently erroneously referred to today as the PaK 36 or PaK 35/36. This was an excellent weapon that first saw real action in the Spanish Civil War, but by the hostilities of 1940 it was largely obsolete as tank armour was now thick enough to resist it. Replacements like the PaK 38 and PaK 40 were on their way, but the numerous 3.7cm guns were still used until they could be withdrawn, increasingly in secondary roles, garrisons or for training. One attempt to improve its potency and prolong its life was the stielgranate 41, a fin stabilised hollow charge rocket propelled grenade that was fitted into the muzzle of the gun. A special propellant cartridge was fed into the chamber which threw the grenade at the target when fired. This did improve the destructive power of the weapon but was not without drawbacks and in the long term the higher calibre weapons remained the way ahead.
The guns in this set are made up of only eight pieces, making them quick to put together. Of course some detail is lost by this simplified approach, and this kit does not pretend to deliver a completely accurate and detailed model, but it is faithful to the general appearance of the gun and looks pretty good to all but a detailed examination. The stielgranate 41 charge pictured with the crew does not, of course, fit into the muzzle, but can be glued on to produce the desired effect, and its inclusion in this set is a thoughtful extra that is welcome.
The crew are in fairly generic artillery poses, and strongly resemble the crews found in other Germany artillery sets from HaT released at the same time and listed below. The only real difference is the type of uniform, so by switching crews between sets you can obtain a crew in whatever uniform you desire. Those in this product are suitable for the Afrikakorps or other hot climates, with two wearing shorts and rolled sleeves while all wear the soft field cap and have removed all belts and other impedimenta. This weapon is lighter and much more mobile than those that followed, so moving the gun was easier and therefore more usual. As a result the crew might be expected to be fully equipped and ready to move when needed, although this is not to say that these unkitted individuals are wrong.
The poses are a bit flat, but the sculpting is quite poor, with unconvincing folds in the clothing and a fairly unlifelike appearance in general. However the fourth figure is interacting with the gun in a credible way and there is very little flash to report on either figures or gun.
This gun and crew is not a collector’s model, but anyone wanting to supply their 1/72 scale Wehrmacht armies with good numbers of this gun quickly and cheaply will find this set very useful.