2cm FlaK 38 mit Sd.Ah.51
DML 1:35 Scale Smart Kit No. 6288
Review b
y Terry Ashley
The kit:
This new kit from Dragon if the fourth FlaK38 and mit Sd.Ah.51 Trailer to come our way following the original Tamiya (#35102) kit some 25 odd years ago through the Italeri (#377) of about six years ago to the recent Tristar kit (#35010) and given the quality of recent Dragon kits we would naturally expect this kit to be above the rest in detail.

The kit consists of 147 parts in light grey plastic plus 50 etched parts and a small decal and instruction sheet.

The standard of moulding is excellent with virtually no pin marks present but many of the small plastic nodes which will need care to remove from some of the finer parts but again this is small price for the clean mouldings. There are quite a few very small parts that again will require care removing from the sprues and during assembly.

Etched parts

The lower turntable base has excellent details with a separate turntable with subtle tread plate pattern and around the edges of the base is the weld seam as it should be but unfortunately the sprue attachment points are right on the weld line and you will have to add back the small seam after cleanup for a uniform weld seam appearance.

The notable thing here are the four small tightening hand ‘wheels’ around the base which are superbly moulded with good definition especially considering the small size and really look the part. There are also etched wheels included as alternatives but these are best ignored as they are flat one dimensional and simply don’t look as good as the plastic items. It goes without saying that due to the small size extreme care will be needed when handling the small wheels.

The gunner’s seat is made up of six parts again with very good details and another small hand wheel on the back of the chair base.

The two gun cradle sides have separate upper bearing rings as per the real gun for good definition with additional separate parts for the elevation assembly and hand wheel plus the gunner’s foot rests and on the inside of the right cradle is a separate perforated reinforcing bracket and at the back is the rotation box and hand wheel.

The main gun sight is made up of five parts for excellent definition and the X stamped ammo clip container on the left side has three separate parts with the stamping on both sides.

The 20mm gun is moulded separate to the gun mount and also has a separate shell ejection chute cover while the flash suppressor is partially hollowed out with the six muzzle brake openings only represented by small indentations. There are three alternate chamber covers allowing different versions of the gun to be built.

Additional information from that first posted in the form of the actual gun dimensions from the FlaK38 Technical Manual show that the kit barrel is the correct length with just a minor descrepancy in the overall gun length.
The measurements are; full length of the gun (housing and visible barrel including flash suppressor) is 2252.5mm which equals 64.357mm in 1:35 scale and the visible length of the barrel with flash suppressor is 995mm being 28.429mm in 1:35 scale.

Kit barrels compared based on Technical Manual dimension showing the
Dragon gun to be all but the correct length with the barrel section matching exactly.


There are alternate elevation arms and sight linkage rods to position the gun at 0°, 20°, 40° and 60° elevation with corresponding lower carriage panel for the applicable angle so you best make your choice of angle early on in the assembly.

The plastic gun shields are a little on the thick side with bevelled edges to give a thinner appearance and also include nice bolt head and attachment details with the upper and lower main shields as separate parts.

As an alternative you get a full set of etched shields which are far thinner than the plastic shields with separate etched attachment brackets and look more the part. The gunner’s shield is in three parts with three alternate right hand panels with minor detail differences.

While the etched shields are more to scale thickness there are a couple of issues in that the bolts are fairly flat in profile and not rounded as they are on the plastic shields and there is also an indentation at the outer bend line of the main shields which should not be there and you have to fill these with solder if using the etched shields.

The kit includes the spent cartridge basket with plastic frames and etched mesh for the netting, while its inclusion adds nicely to the overall model there are a few issues with the basket that should be mentioned.

  1. The top etched sections (part MC1, MC2) are quite thin with the correct diamond mesh profile and if annealed the larger section (part MC1) can be given a nice natural appearance. But the frame for the lower section of the basket (part A46) is only half the width it should be and should almost be the same width as the upper basket section. As a consequence the upper mesh (part MC1) and lower basket halves (parts MB1) are also not wide enough being designed for the undersized kit part.
  2. The mesh for the inner basket section (part MC2) is designed to go on the inside of the plastic frame when it should in fact be on the outside, you can fit the mesh to the outside but the mesh will then be too short to completely cover the frames.
  3. The two lower basket sections (parts MB1) are overly thick with the wrong round hole mesh profile which is quite noticeable on the assembled basket. There is also quite a bit of work needed to assemble and fit these due to the thickness of the parts making them difficult to manipulate.
    Firstly the two halves should be soldered together as some heavy filing is needed to smooth out the lower join seam and to file the top level so it will mate with the plastic frame

Overall the upper mesh looks good when fitted but the design of the thick lower basket mesh with the wrong profile mesh does mar the final appearance of the basket.

The Sd.Ah.51 trailer is also very well done with the wheel mud guards included in the frame moulding but still have well defined details. The front trailer hitches have separate parts to allow the frame to be assembled raised or lowered depending on your choice.

The two wheels are very nicely done with subtle tread pattern and again no pin marks on either side of the wheel rims which are included on the outer wheel with just the inner tyre section as a separate parts making for a commendably thin wheel disc. On the inner rim is the tyre valve which protrudes through the hole in the wheel disk when the two wheel halves are fitted together for a good appearance.

The small storage box on the right fender is in three parts and can have the top shown open if required while there are other smaller details such as grab handles and other fittings for a good representation of the trailer.

Also included are spare 20mm ammo boxes and a spare barrel box with nice details included to add to dioramas.


The small decal sheet is well printed and has markings for eight guns with different kill markings for the front of shield plus additional stencilling to add as required.

The instructions with the usual exploded view drawings are easy to follow but you should carefully study the sequences as some are quite busy especially where there are a few alternate parts.

A superb little kit of the FlaK38 with excellent details throughout and interesting handling of the spent shell cage. The weakest part of the kit (for want of a better word) is probably the gun shields as both mediums are a little off in detail but overall will build into an excellent kit.

Hopefully we will see this kit as the basis for many more vehicles such as the Flakpanzer 38(t) Sd.Kfz.140, Sd.Kfz.251 2cm FlaK38 (Luftwaffe version with dropdown sides) and maybe a newly tooled Sd.Kfz.10/5?

Highly recommended.

See a full comparison of the Dragon, Italeri, Tamiya and Tristar FlaK38 mit Sd.Ah.51 Trailer kits here.

The Sprues:

Sprue images
Click on thumbnails for larger view

Sprue detail images

book German 20mm FlaK in WWII

By Werner Müller
Schiffer Military History
ISBN: 0-88740-758-7

Soft cover
47 pages

bookTamiya Photo Album 4
Tamiya Plastic Model Co.

Krupp Protze
Flak30, Flak38

book2cm FlaK 30/38 Sfl

Wydawnictwo Militaria 172
Thanks to my credit card and Rainbow Ten for the review kits.

Page created February 1, 2006
Updated February 25, 2006 (Blue Text)

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