by: Guido Hopp [ ]
background Following the Wehrmacht's encounters with the Russian 122mm guns in 1943 a similar weapon was called for by the German High Command. While initially intended to be a pure field piece, calls for anti-tank capabilities were continuously becoming louder.
Orders to develop such weapons based on the tooling of the 12,8cm naval gun were awarded to Rheinmetall-Borsig and Krupp. With ever increasing production problem towards the end of the war the Rheinmetall’s gun production was hampered, which should have helped Krupp.
If and how many gun went into service and action however remains subject to discussion.
On the test range the Pak44 performed quite similar to the 8,8cm Pak 43, but was able to carry her punch much farther than her counterpart. The Cross-Mounting and shield were as well similar to the Pak 43. Even though there’s nothing know about the field performance, the Krupp Pak44 counts as one of the best and most balanced designs in the arsenal of the Wehrmacht.
Instructions and Special parts The instructions are well laid out. Big drawings partially printed in colour should ensure no parts will be missed, no step overlooked. Based the experience of building the GWH K44 however, I still recommend to study the assembly steps closely and be certain if you want to show the gun in traveling position or deployed when you start the build.
A colour print shows a desert/dark yellow paint scheme sing Mr. Hobby Colors, Tamiya or Vallejo paints respectively.
The special parts consist of a small photo etch fret and two brass tubes, which will represent the casings of the elevation cylinders of the Pak 44. The relief etched fret consists of 5 parts only and is protected by a low-tack foil.
Parts Without going into details of each individual fret it seems obvious Great Wall Hobby has learned a lesson or two from the K44 kit. It seems that they had taken even more care to position the ejection marks into places where they would be hidden from view. Of course no injection molded kit can be made without ejection marks. However the few that will be visible in spite of best efforts seem to pose only a small challenge even for the laziest modeller.
Sink marks are absent. There is no other way of putting it. Even in places that had such problems on the K44 kit you won’t find any this time. To achieve this some gun parts have a different parts breakdown, most notably on the breach and lock of the gun. A good bit of filling and sanding was necessary to make these most obvious sink marks disappear on the K44. This time around the breach and lock are broken up into a number of parts avoiding sink holes completely. Well done I say!
Initial dry fitting reveals no problem wit the bigger parts whatsoever. In this the Pak44 is in best tradition with the K44 kit.
Details All parts are nicely detailed. Plating is sufficiently thin with rivets and such detail all over. One may argue that extended use of photo etch would have prompted a better result. That may or may not be true… It’ll show in construction!
Apparently there are no devices to secure the retractable mounting arms for transport. However I can’t make out any on the pictures I hold of the original Pak44.
As well, it strikes me that there are no connector or pressure lines to connect the carriage to the hydraulics of the prime mover. Quite obviously a 11ton (metric) monster like that needs active breaks for transport. Yet again, nothing can be seen in the photos either. I think the maker has properly left the decision to modeller and to further facts, yet to be discovered about the Krupp 12.8cm Pak44.
Conclusion This kit is even better than the K44. It won’t come cheaply, but same as on the K44 I think that every buck you invest is coming back to you translated into quality.
Conveniently, Lion Roar has learned form the release of the K44, too. This time the add-on set containing a lathe turned aluminum is readily available along with the kit. Look for the review coming up soon.