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Originally intended as an anti-aircraft weapon, the German 8.8cm cannon (commonly called an ‘eighty-eight’) turned out to be a formidable antitank weapon too. The 8.8cm gun appeared in the guise of the FlaK 18 and FlaK 36/37, which have already appeared in kit form in Dragon’s 1/35 scale range. An even more potent version of this famous gun was the PaK 43, which had an L/71 caliber. This same gun was fitted in the Jagdpanther, Hornisse/Nashorn and Ferdinand/Elefant tank destroyers. A mounted version of the same weapon was fitted in the Kingtiger, where it was known as the KwK 43. The weapon was enormous, measuring 6.4m long, and the ammunition used an 82.2cm-long casing.
Dragon has now released a 1/35 scale kit of the PaK 43/3 L/71, a gun originally destined for insertion in the Jagdpanther tank destroyer. The weapon comes with its Behelfslafette (this German term translates as ‘simplified gun mount’) useful for static defense. This cruciform platform is fully functional, with the legs able to swing up or down. Not only does the kit come with the simplified mount, but there is also a gun carriage based around Sd.Ah.202 limbers designed to transport the weapon and its cruciform mount.
This kit is thus very versatile, allowing modelers to show the cannon in transport mode on wheels, or dismounted ready for combat on its legs! Such an ad hoc arrangement of weapons and simplified construction was typical of the late-WWII period as Germany struggled to field as many antitank weapons as possible to keep its enemies at bay. The massive 8.8cm gun barrel is molded as one piece thanks to slide molds. The breech is workable too, which opens up the possibility of inserting a shell in an action scene. This is a high-quality kit of a rare piece of German artillery, ideal for a dramatic late-war diorama.