Developed to deal with the heavier tank armour that was emerging, the PaK 40 first saw service in late 1941 and proved to be an excellent anti-tank gun which was extensively used for the rest of the war. Several companies have made models of this weapon, of which those from HaT, Esci, Italeri and Odemars have been reviewed on this site, but this set does not include the gun itself, just a crew of five, which of course allows their use for other weapons and in other scenarios.
Several of the above sets include crew, and all these are pretty good, but Preiser have gone for figures that are more intimate with the gun. Therefore no one has a base, and the two main crewmen (first and fourth poses above) are clearly resting on the gun as they crew it, which seems usual judging by the many photos of this gun in use. Two more crew are sitting holding rounds while the last man is standing - or rather stooping - and holds binoculars, so is clearly in charge of the team. We grouped these figures round several of the above mentioned models and found they gave a very natural appearance which, as we said, had a more hands-on feel than the other based figures which can only be placed close to the gun but somewhat detached from it. As choices of pose then these are great.
With no bases most of these figures will need to be anchored in some way, perhaps by gluing to the gun. The standing man certainly will need some means of support, and only the kneeling figure - the last in our picture - successfully stays upright by himself.
With such complex and natural poses it will come as no surprise that all these figures have a fair bit of assembly involved (see our picture of the sprue for details), but each man is between three and five pieces. All these fit together well enough, and while they require gluing the hard plastic means this works very well. The multi-part aspect also allows some variation in pose, particularly when used in conjunction with parts from the rest of the extensive range from Preiser.
As we have long come to expect Preiser have produced some very nicely sculpted figures with all the detail these relatively simple figures require. The figures all wear smocks and covers on their helmets, and quite possibly camouflage overtrousers too. Apart from the standing man all have short boots and ankle gaiters, so in total the uniform is entirely in keeping with the latter part of the war when this gun saw service. The standing man has managed to retain his long boots, which were certainly still to be seen late in the war. Such clothing has few details, so the quality in these figures is in the folds of the clothing rather than small refinements, although even those, such as the smock closures and of course the faces, are well done.
We particularly liked how all these figures are keeping low, both to serve the gun and to keep out of harm’s way. As crew for any German anti-tank gun these are splendid figures and could equally serve alongside the other crew figures in other sets. This is a small set, and expensive on a cost per figure basis, but well worth considering for portraying those guns in an even more realistic setting.