The 2.8 cm schwere Panzerbüchse 41 (sPzB 41) or "Panzerbüchse 41" was a German anti-tank weapon working on the squeeze bore principle. Officially classified as a heavy anti-tank rifle (German: schwere Panzerbüchse), it would be better described, and is widely referred to, as a light anti-tank gun as its construction was much more typical of an anti-tank gun. It was produced between 1940 and 1943 with a total of 2,797 seeing service.
The design was based on a tapering barrel, with the caliber reducing from 28 mm at the chamber end to only 20 mm at the muzzle. The projectile carried two external flanges; as it proceeded toward the muzzle, the flanges were squeezed down, decreasing the diameter with the result that pressure did not drop off as quickly and the projectile was propelled to a higher velocity. The barrel construction resulted in a very high muzzle velocity - up to 1,400 m/s. The gun was equipped with an open sight for distances up to 500m and a telescopic sight could also be fitted. (source: https://www.wikipedia.org)
Bronco brings us this historically significant piece of anti-tank weaponry in typical high-quality Bronco fashion. The kit consists of 100 styrene parts molded in light gray as well as a small, 12-piece photo-etch (PE) fret. Like other Bronco kits there is no options for swapping styrene for PE. In order to make the kit complete and accurate one must use the PE. While not as complicated as other Bronco kits the size and simplicity of the real 2.8cm sPzB41 makes this 1/35th version a rather quick and easy build. However, like all other Bronco kits, patience and attention to detail help make the kit truly shine.
- Molded in light gray styrene: 100
- Photo-etch fret: 1
- Decals: none
The parts are molded well with very little flash or visible ejection pin/sink marks. Those that are visible are smartly placed out of sight on the completed build…except for two: If you pose the carriage ramps (parts A3 & A4) in the deployed/down position there are several ejection pin marks that must be dealt with. I tackled mine with thin sanding sticks and thus easily cleaned them up.
The engineering of the kit is sound with all parts going together at logical locations and thus making gluing and attachment go rather well. The only area that needs close attention is the fitting of the wheels to the cannon and the trailer: these are very loose connections and special care is need to make sure they are aligned properly during the drying/curing process. Overall fit of the pieces is also a positive aspect of this kit…everything fit very well and I did not need to use any fillers or putties at all.
Bronco does such a great job molding small parts that one must be attentive and careful when cutting from the sprue as well as cleaning them up before gluing to the model-in-progress. I was successful in 99% of this process. The parts that posed a challenge for me were the support brackets (parts A27) for the ramps on the trailer. These are very fragile and if care is taken then they will clean up without breaking.
The barrel is molded as a single, solid piece and this is welcome as separately molded halves would have been a challenge in this size and scale. There are seam lines on both the top and bottom these are easily cleaned up with the (very gingerly) perpendicular passing of a sharp blade or light sanding.
The one mistake I did make but decided to press with the build regardless was the unloading ramp hinges (parts A36 and A37). These parts are used if you display the trailer with the ramps raised for travel. Since I posed my 2.8cm sPzB41 in the deployed position I posed the ramps down. Later in the instruction manual (near the end) there is an addendum that shows to use parts A39 & A40 instead of the ones listed above for the deployed-ramp position. One of the basics we always teach is to read the instructions thoroughly before the build. Obviously I need some remedial training in this area.
The build was quick and took me only 6 hours for both the cannon and the trailer with another 2 in painting and finishing. Finishing consisted of my own formula of German Gray which is a mix of XF-63, XF-53, and XF-8. The tires were painted with a newer Tamiya color: XF-85, Rubber Black. Since this is a review build I didn’t want to weather or chip the piece so I only applied an oil pin-wash to highlight the superb raised and recessed details on this small piece. One can easily knock this kit out in a day if you have the liberty of a whole day at your bench presented to you.
Overall I can highly recommend this Bronco kit to modelers of all skills although beginners should be ready to tackle the small amount of PE to make a completely accurate build. If you’re an aficionado of WWII armor and armaments, then this piece will definitely fill a historical niche in your collection. A huge thanks to DragonUSA for supplying IPMS/USA with this review sample.