Conversion Clinic: Yugoslav Stuart PaK 40

Our friend Jakob Lotz has a penchant for digging out the oddities among WWII vehicles. Today is no exception as he takes us through the steps to add a German Pak40 onto a Stuart light tank:

Jakob Lotz Stuart PaK40 a

Jakob: There isn’t much information on the internet about this vehicle however there are a fair few good pictures that are a great source for reference and inspiration.

Yugoslav PaK40

From what I’ve gathered the Stuart PaK 40 (based upon the Stuart M3A3) was used by the Yugoslav 1st Tank Brigade, a unit raised on Bari by the British in the summer of 1944. This unit was given fifty six Stuart Vs, and landed on the Yugoslav coast in the autumn of 1944. It was used to support Tito’s partisans. In November 1944 the unit captured a German arsenal at Sibenki and used the captured weapons to modify some tanks. At least one had its turret removed and a 7.5cm PaK 40 anti-tank gun put in its place and so the Stuart PaK 40 saw the light of day.

Yugoslav PaK40 b

What you need:

How I made it:

First I needed to make some changes to the chassis of the M5a1 Stuart in order to get it to look like a M3a3 Stuart which is what the Yugoslav Stuart PaK 40 was based on. Using a saw I cut off the rear deck part so that the whole upper part of the chassis was level. One should be carefull here since some parts of the piece that is cut away will come in handy later. Also round off the upermost part of the rear deck.

Jakob Lotz Stuart PaK40 b

Then, using my saw, I cut away the side corners of the hull front. The easiest way to get this right is to use some reference pictures from the internet.

Jakob Lotz Stuart PaK40 c

Then I added some plasticard to cover up the cuts and some green stuff was also added where necessary.

Jakob Lotz Stuart PaK40 d

Next I added some plasticard to the front of the turret ring as well as some extra details here and there. The engine deck was rebuilt from parts cut off and removed earlier.

Jakob Lotz Stuart PaK40 e

Now I moved on to the making of the additional side ”shields” intended to protect the gun crew. I used a square piece of plasticard tubing roughly 1 cm in diameter from which I cut a length approximately 2 cm long. I then cut the tubing into two L-shapes.

Jakob Lotz Stuart PaK40 f

I then took a plasticard sheet roughly 1 or 2 mm thick and cut out two rectangles about 13 x 35 mm.

Jakob Lotz Stuart PaK40 g

I leaned these rectangles against the L-shapes I had made previously and glued the shields to the chassis. I added a standard Warlord 25 mm base (with a magnet at the center) on top of the turret ring. I also added two small triangles of plasticard to the front of the shield pieces.

Jakob Lotz Stuart PaK40 h

After this I made what would pass for the gun mount. I took another two warlord bases and cut them down to a smaller size, one smaller than the other. I also added a magnet to the smaller one.

Jakob Lotz Stuart PaK40 i

I then glued the PaK 40 to the gun mount, and so the build was done and ready for paint.

Jakob Lotz Stuart PaK40 j

Here the magnets can be clearly seen.

Jakob Lotz Stuart PaK40 k

I base coated the whole tank, painted some of the details and gave it a wash and so the vehicle was done and ready for the table top.

This was a slightly complicated build, mostly due to the fact that I had to modify the chassis in order to get a chassis that resembled the M3a3 Stuart closely enough. However I am more than pleased with how it all came together in the end.

How to use it in Bolt Action:

Jakob Lotz Stuart PaK40 l

It won’t come as a big surprise that there are no rules for this particular vehicle. I would suggest using the same rules as the M10 Tank destroyer found on page 42-43 in the Armies of the United States book. Whilst the damage value of 8+ and the open-topped construction of the vehicle makes it vulnerable to pretty much everything out there, the PaK 40 heavy anti-tank gun gives it reach and a very solid punch.

If you decide to use a vehicle like this one then I’d suggest giving it some infantry support. Your best bet though is probably to keep it away from danger until the opportunity to strike at a worthy target presents itself.

m3a3_75mm_m40_02 YugoslavPaK40

Since most tanks (many of which are in the points range between 250 to 400 points) won’t be feeling to well after a hit from a heavy anti-tank gun I’d say the risk/reward factor on this little thing is quite good. One just has to be a bit cagey with how you deploy and use it. To me it therefore seems that it’s a fairly good investment and if nothing else it looks quite unique and would really be thematic with your Yugoslav partisan forces.

Yugoslav PaK40 c

Do you have an article within you? Are you itching to show your collection to the world of Bolt Action? Then drop us a line with a couple of pictures to