Dragon’s new kit will build the 88mm Flak 36 variant only but there are parts not used that apply to the Flak 37 so we will probable be seeing that version released at some stage and there is also the Flak 18 barrel included to use an a alternative although the Flak 18 gun itself was a very different beast than the Flak 36.
I have been intimate with the 88mm Flak previously when wrestling with the big Verlinden resin 1:15 88mm Flak 37 some time back and armed with the research from that adventure I’m pleased to have a look at this latest kit.
The kit contains 549 parts in the usual light grey plastic with a further eight metal parts for the barrels and gun, three turned brass 88mm rounds, two short lengths of chain, two small etched frets and the decal and instruction sheets for again a very full box. Also included is 43 figures parts from the Flak Gun Crew since released as set #6275.
Standard of moulding is again excellent with fine crisp parts and excellent detail definition which extends to small readable engraving on the small dials on the gun controls with pin marks virtually no existent due to the extensive use of the small plastic nodes on the small parts. This does require more cleanup and care should be taken when removing these from the small and thin parts but is far better than having to deal with pin marks; the few pin marks evident are all very shallow and easily dealt with.
The 88mm Flak 36:
The main barrel assembly gives you a choice of plastic or metal barrels for the Flak 36 or Flak 18 with corresponding separate breech assembly with three part breech blocks. The Flak 36 barrel collar is a separate part to add to your choice of barrel and all have hollowed out muzzles, but only the plastic barrel has rifling which is a little over scale. The lower barrel support has separate bolt strips either side for added definition and the lower carriage is in two halves with excellent details on the outside and inside of the rear cradle with just a couple of very minor pin marks to contend with.
The recuperator cylinder supports and upper recuperator are in two halves with again separate bolt strips for the support base for good definition while the main recuperator has a metal tube insert to ensure it is perfectly round and the barrel assembly is slid into the lower cradle without glue to enable this is recoil back and forth after assembly.
At the rear of the cradle is the separate folding ammo loading tray which can be fitted raised or lowered but you have to make a choice as small tabs have to be removed from the tray supports depending on the location. The other choice of course is to leave off the loading tray as it was often removed by anti-tank crews as it slowed down the loading sequence during action.
The large detailed rammer guard is supplied extended or folded and if you choose not to fit the loading tray this would be in the folded position or removed altogether.
The top carriage is where the detail really kicks in with the two large carriage sides having superb details on both sides with no pin marks to be seen and all of the carriage accessories are separate parts for excellent detail definition.
There is actually four carriage sides included, two with the shield supports and two without depending on your choice which is nice of Dragon instead of just giving you one and saying ‘cut this off’ if you don’t want the shields.
On the left side is the large fuse setter assembly made up of multiple parts with a choice of fuse setters with or without caps and you can insert one of the 88mm rounds supplied into the setter for an action scene while the detail on the top fuse scale is superb and there is a small length of chain supplied as fitted to the side of the carriage as well as other small detail items and the forward crew seat.
The right carriage side has multiple details including the traverse and elevation hand wheels with the detail extending to the very small traverse limit indicator which is located low down on the carriage side between the traverse hand wheel and carriage which has the small needle indicator and “L” and “R” which is actually readable, impressive stuff.
The two data transmission indicators are nicely detailed as is the quadrant elevation pointer which incorporates the direct sight elevation pointer and lower half moon quadrant scale which has the gradients included on the part.
The gunner’s seat can be fixed folded up or down depending if you choose firing or transport mode and the whole assembly is attached to the lower cradle support box made up of eleven parts with equally impressive details.
The two large balancing equilibrator cylinders that extend out the front of the lower carriage give you a choice of three positions with two alternatives in plastic with retracted cylinders for ground targets and extended for gun elevation. The third option provides the equilibrator cylinders in two telescoping metal parts that can be positioned extended or retracted for a choice of barrel positions.
The large one piece gun shield has nice details on both sides including hinge detail on the outer shield joins but the shield is moulded a little thick to retain the shield integrity with the outer and inner edges bevelled to simulate the thinner shield although the bevelling isn’t around the sight opening which does show the thicker edges but overall the shield looks quite adequate.
The four outrigger legs are in two parts each to allow for good details on the sides with two of the legs are fixed in position with the central pedestal mount while the two outside legs can be folded up as per the real base. Each leg has separate end brackets for the ground stakes which have etched top and bottom plates while the stakes themselves have excellent details included open lightening holes.
The many small fittings added to the legs are all included as well as the correct square “feet” with the four legs fitting into the central lower base which in turn has the two hand wheels and storage box added to the sides of the base between the legs. The upper pedestal has excellent lower bolt details and a separate upper disc with traverse teeth included as well as other small fittings.
The detail on the two carriage bogies is superb and these could almost be classed as kits in themselves with the standout feature being the treatment of the wheels and tyres which is done like no others. The detail on the wheel hubs is extremely well done with segments in the rims and very well defined spoke details, this extends to the spoke and hub details on the inner wheel of each bogie unit which can’t be seen after assembly but does show the attention and level of details on the assembly.
The “rubber” tyres are made up of five thin plastic discs with the outer two having the sidewall tread pattern while the inner three discs are slightly different diameters and once fitted together portray the ribbed tread pattern extremely well. The discs have locating tabs and holes included which makes it very hard not to fit them in the right place and the assembled wheel looks excellent and being all plastic makes painting easy. This new method shows good lateral thinking to overcome a perennial problem in simulating the cross ply tread pattern effectively without using the normal vinyl or rubber material where removing the mould seam is always a headache and the points go to Dragon for this innovation.
Each brake drum unit is attached to the axles and can be made steerable allowing you to add some animation to the wheels while the remaining details on the bogies are superb with many fine and delicate detail parts with the detail on the side disc of the cable racks typifying the level of detail.
Additional vinyl tubing is supplied for the cabling as well as short lengths of chain used when attaching the bogies to the outrigger legs and there is also a separate detailed tow bar hitch to attaching to the Sd.Kfz.7 towing vehicle to finish off superb assemblies.
The bogie fenders are moulded as a single large part each with many excellent details included but due to the complex shape of the fenders there are some fine mould seams to be removed from the front, back and sides of the fenders but this shouldn’t be a problem as they are quite fine and there is no other detail around the seams and is a small price to pay for the correct shape and fine details.
As with most recent Dragon kits there are bonus parts included with six plastic 88mm ant-tank rounds, six empty shell casings which have etched bases to add for good details and an additional three turned brass 88mm rounds.
There are two multi-part ‘wooden’ ammo boxes with nice woodgrain effect included as well as four of the distinctive wicker ammo cases with separate end sections with shell bases included in two of the cases with one having one empty space and the other completely empty to add good variation to diorama settings. The weave effect on the cases is very well done and is most convincing with careful painting enhancing the effect even further.
As an added bonus there are six Flak Crew figures in winter gear from the soon to be released Flak Artillery Crew (Winter 1943-45) Kit # 6275 and these figures have excellent uniform details and very well detailed and animated facial features and expressions as well as a nicely detailed range finder with fine shoulder supports to add to one of the figures.
There are two decal sheets included, one new for the kit and the divisional and balkenkreuz sheet first appearing in the Sd.Kfz.251 Ausf. C Rivetted Version (kit #6246). The new sheet has typical barrel kill rings and shield kill markings which can be used as they come or cut up to use individually. A full rather garish cam scheme decal for the gun shield is also included to use if you wish?
The instruction sheet shows marking and paint schemes for six guns;
This new generation 88 Flak 36 raises the bar with a superb level of fine details throughout and an attention to detail certain to challenge AFV Club as the artillery kit producer of choice.
Innovative features such as the wheel design and new Flak Crew figures add to the appeal as does the metal and etched parts with the finesse of the many small and fine parts adding to the overall impression of the kit which is sure to become a classic among artillery pieces.
A comparison of this kit and the Tamiya 88mm Flak 36/37 is inevitable but due to the 33 years between the kits release the outcome is like the proverbial chalk and cheese, so instead of wasting time in a detailed comparison I have simply included images of the corresponding Tamiya parts against the Dragon parts shown in the detail images below with comments where applicable, the pictures as they say speak for themselves.
Click on thumbnails for larger view
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WWII US War Department
Easy 1 Productions #T001
This CD has 77 colour images a museum 88 plus 219 black and white images of the manual pages to provide plenty of details.
The German 88 Gun in Combat
Schiffer Military History
88mm Flak 18/36/37/41 & Pak 43 1936-45
Osprey New Vanguard 46
ISBN 1 84176 341 1
88mm FLAK 18/36/37 L/56 in Detail
Soft cover, 50 pages illustrated with 118 color and b/w photographs
The 8.8cm Flak 18/36/37
In the Anti-Tank Role
By Thomas L. Jentz
The 88 Flak
Schiffer Military History
Schiffer Military History
Thanks to Dragon Model Ltd for the review kit.
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Page created 21 May 2005