Following the experiences of the Wehrmacht with the Russian 122mm gun in 1943, a similar weapon was called for. Asking for a field artillery piece initially, anti-tank requirements were added soon after. Rheinmetall Borsig and Krupp received the order for prototypes to be delivered by the end of 1944.
Due to shortages of capacity and material the guns were never put to large scale production. Only 50 weapons, mounted on a variety of emergency carriages of most different origins, saw action in the late stages of the war.
In late July 2010, the 1/35 Rheinmetall K44 L/55 High Velocity Anti-Tank Gun from Great Wall Hobby
will hit the shelves of the traders. It's another surprise release of the model maker from the city on the Jangtse river mouth.
In the nicely designed and generously spaced box we find 7 injection molded sprues, a small photo etch sheet, metal springs, a length of wire, a coloured painting sheet and the assembly instructions.
The final product will depict the gun with a 6-wheeled carriage as designed by Rheinmetall Borsig.
Two of this sprue are included and holds the wheels and rubber tires, suspension and a multitude of small parts including the muzzle brake.
This one consists mainly of parts of the mounting cross and base of the mounting.
Holds mounting parts, the gun cradle, and recuperators. Prominent on this sprue are the parts of the double gun shield, too.
This sprue supplies parts for direction and laying mechanics, the lock, and slide. More parts for the carriage are to be found here, as well.
This frame holds the gun barrel consisting of 2 parts. The first third behind the muzzle is molded in solid styrene, while the later two thirds are split in two along the length of the barrel. Even with the massive styrene front part of the barrel, there are no sink marks whatsoever.
This one is taken from early GWH kits and holds tools such as a shovel, crank-bar and fire-extinguishers.
As is mostly customary today, a small PE sheet is supplied for parts that cannot be represented well using the injection mold technique. Additionally two metal springs and a length of wire are supplied to better represent the spring bars of the carriage and the electric and hydraulic wiring/tubing respectively.
Instruction Sheet and Colour Profile:
The instruction sheet seems to be easy enough to understand on first inspection, and is less packed compared to former Great Wall Hobby instructions. The instruction points to the possibility of showing the gun deployed or ready for transport.
The colour profile shows one painting option without giving reference to a historical unit. Colour systems given are Gunze, Tamiya, and Vallejo.
If you havenít worked with Great Wall Hobby products, be advised of the use of pretty soft plastic. Use of only small amounts of glue is required, and recommended, to avoid melting down finer parts.
The sprue connectors are fine to very fine and promise to create little clean-up effort upon removal. There are no sink marks on any of the parts upon first and second inspection. Unavoidable ejection marks will be hidden behind other parts or in hard-to-see locations, which has been a mark of quality in GWH kits so far. There is the tiniest bit of flash on the muzzle brake, removing this will only be a matter of minutes. Mould separation lines are well hidden or in such places where they will pose as welding lines on the real gun.
The density of detail is high and state of the art. Some parts will require special care upon removal, because they are right at the limit of finesse in casting. A dry fitting of some of the larger parts reveals no problems whatsoever. With a bit of care even a novice will be able to build this kit, given careful treatment of the finer parts.
While some would think it to be a step backward, a new product policy is being implemented at GWH. Former small artillery pieces such as the Nebelwerfer 41 and 42 and the 37mm Flak43, with all their use of multimedia parts, were so far out in finesse, and price, that interested modellers were scared away. The new concept aims to supply finely detailed, but buildable and affordable kits. For such kits, a detail set will be issued to satisfy the AMS-Modeller for an up-charge at their convenience. As I write this, the upgrade set complete with PE shields and lathe turned aluminium barrel is well on the way!
A Build Log
has been started on the Forums to evaluate the kit construction.