AFV ClubDragon
PaK 40 7.5cm L/46
1:35 AFV Club/Dragon comparison
Review by Terry Ashley

With the release of the Dragon PaK 40 7.5cm hot on the heals of the AFV Club PaK 40 kit will we now have a closer look at each to how they compare in relation to accuracy and detail.

For a more detailed look at each kit contents see the individual reviews while for this comparison I will keep the text to a minimum and let the pictures do the taking and while this is primarily looking the AFV Club (AFV) and Dragon (DR) kits I will mention the Tamiya kit occasionally to illustrate a point.

The break down of the kit parts is very similar in each as there isn’t really a lot of choice in depicting a fairly simple gun assembly and this does make a direct comparison a little easier as you see directly how each manufacturer have depicted the parts.

Lower Carriage and Trails:
PaK 40Starting from the ground up with the lower carriage we see DR have broken this down into more parts with the brake drum in three parts while the AFV kit has this in just one but you will hardly notice the difference once assembled.

There is not a lot between the two with the rest of the parts but the AFV parts have much finer detail overall. On the DR kit the axles can be positioned in three positions, neutral, raised or lowered depending on the final setting for the gun while the AFV axles are fixed in the neutral position.

The parts that make up the trail arms are again very similar on both kits with separate rear spades, grab handles and other fittings except for one glaring difference when comparing the DR trails to 1/35th scale plans in the Nuts & Bolts Vol.18 Marder III book and scaled up Bellona 1/48th plans plus the corresponding AFV and Tamiya PaK 40 kits parts. The DR trails are some 13mm (1/2in) longer, that’s 13mm in real size not a scale 13mm which is quite some discrepancy and it seems what DR have done is include the sleeve on the end of the trail as extra length instead of incorporating this sleeve in the overall length of the trail as it should be.

Note: With the latest PaK40 kit w/Fallschirmjäger (Kit #6250) Dragon have corrected the lengths of the gun cradle and trail arms to the correct proportions and I can only assume that Kit #6249 now has the corrected parts also.

The AFV trails were spot on to the Nuts & Bolts plans with the Tamiya only very slightly longer. Both the AFV and Tamiya trails also have the weld seam that runs the length of the trail arm but this is not on the DR trails.

PaK 40The main difference is that DR give you a choice of the three types of wheels with the early pressed steel and two types of steel spoked wheels with separate rubber tyres and again there are choices here with ‘clean’ or ‘worn’ tyres while the AFV kit has just one type of steel spoked wheel also with separate rubber tyres that includes the “Continental” embossing which the DR tyres do not have.

One minor point is that apart from the pressed steel wheels I have not seen photos of the other two types in the DR kit and they differ from the steel spoked wheels in the AFV kit which do appear in quite a few photos although with the central flange behind the spokes is a slightly different shape.

Gun Cradle:
PaK 40The gun cradle is split longitudinally in both kits with some bolt head details on the inside rear section but with minor pin marks on both kits which are basically unavoidable but kept to a minimum. The main problem here is the DR cradle is some 4mm too short when compared to the Nuts & Bolts Vol.18 plans and against the AFV cradle which matches the plans perfectly.

Note: With the latest PaK40 kit w/Fallschirmjäger (Kit #6250) Dragon have corrected the lengths of the gun cradle and trail arms to the correct proportions and I can only assume that Kit #6249 now has the corrected parts also.

The rest of the cradle parts are noticeably finer on the AFV kit such as the hand wheels and other fittings while the left side breech guard is a separate part on the DR kit but this doesn’t achieve much as the AFV part has finer details even though it is moulded as part of the left trunnion. The DR kit gives you a choice of front cradle covers with an early and later type while the AFV kit has only the later type.

Barrel and Breech:
PaK 40Both kits give you a turned aluminium barrel while the DR kit also includes a plastic barrel if you prefer this as well as a choice of three types of muzzle brakes with the AFV kit having only one type of muzzle brake. The detail on the DR muzzle brakes is clearly better than the AFV part as they have separate end plates with the inside flanges in plastic or etched metal and are probably the best muzzle brakes seen in plastic to date.

The gun breech assemblies are very similar in both kits with the same break down of parts and both having separate breech blocks but the AFV parts again have finer details including stamped numbers on the breech block face for nice definition.

Gun Shields:
PaK 40The main gun shields in the AFV kit are in pre-formed brass with small plastic ‘spacer’ bolts with additional etched parts for the top ‘sliding’ guard and really do look very much the part with the correct spacing between the entire shields. The DR shields are in plastic and while moulded commendably thin don’t have a space between the two shields with just bevelling around the edges to simulate the spacings. The top sliding shield is also provided in etched metal and both have the extra items fitted to the rear of the shields for a good appearance although the AFV shields are clearly better defined.

The lower gun shields attached to the carriage are plastic in both kits but much thinner in the AFV kit while the DR shields are not only thicker but are oversized when compared to the Nuts & Bolts Vol.18 plans with the top shield being 2mm too tall and the lower shield 1mm too tall. The AFV lower shield is spot on while the top part is 1mm too tall and the AFV tail light has finer details and also includes the electrical socket not present on the DR shields and both can be assembled in the travelling or firing position. Each has the rear cylinder while the DR kit has one shovel and the AFV kit has two shovels and each could benefit by the clips being replaced with etched items.

Extra Parts:
DragonObviously the inclusion of the nice gun crew and additional brass and plastic ammo rounds, ammo boxes and containers with decal stencilling is a plus for the DR kit as the AFV kit is purely the gun only so in this respect there is no comparison and this is really the only advantage the DR kit has over the AFV kit apart from a cheaper price.


Clearly the AFV kit is superior to the DR kit when looking at the gun only in almost every area except the muzzle brakes with much finer details throughout and accurate dimensions to boot with the brass gun shields providing very nice detail definition.

The glaring dimensional errors on the DR kit really do show a lack of research or just a rushed job to get the kit out into AFV’s face, but whatever the reason it is a big let down in the accuracy stakes.

Note: With the latest PaK40 kit w/Fallschirmjäger (Kit #6250) Dragon have corrected the lengths of the gun cradle and trail arms to the correct proportions and I can only assume that Kit #6249 now has the corrected parts also.

So you have a clear choice, a dimensionally accurate and nicely detailed kit or a dimensionally suspect kit with okay details but with plenty of options and additional parts at a cheaper price.

See the PaK40 Subjects page for additional reviews of PaK40 related kits/update sets.

Nuts & Bolts Vol.18
Marder III H & Pak40


Thanks to Hobby Easy for the two review kits.

Page created 30 October 2004