German 20mm FlaK38
mit Sd.Ah.51 Trailer

Tristar Kit No. 35010
1:35 Scale

Review by Terry Ashley
NOTE: This kit has been discontinued and replaced with kit #35037
German 20mm Flak38 Early /Sd.Ah.51/Waffen SS Crews

Tristar have followed up the excellent Panzer I kits with this petite kit of the 20mm FlaK 38 and trailer, which has been a while coming but the wait has definitely been worth it.

The kit consists of 86 parts in light grey plastic plus a small decal sheet and of course the instruction sheet.

The standard of moulding is excellent as we saw with the Panzer Is and there is almost a total absence of pin marks and those that are there are very small and easy to remove.

The 20mm gun is moulded separate to the gun mount and also has a separate shell ejection shut cover while the flash suppressor is partially hollowed out, something you don’t usually see on a gun this size but the six muzzle brake openings are only represented by small indentations.

Additional information in the form of the actual gun dimensions from the FlaK38 Technical Manual show that the kit barrel is the correct overall length but the barrel section is 2mm too long and the housing section 2mm too short.
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
Tristar barrel being 2mm too long and the gun housing 2mm too short.


The two sides of the cradle box with the large bearing rings have nice details included and there are only a few very small pin marks on inside lower surfaces to deal with.

The attention to detail is typified by the left side ammo rack being in three separate parts which allows the X stamping on each to be faithfully reproduced. Also on the inside of the right cradle is a separate perforated reinforcing bracket, which is barely seen after assembly but does add that extra level of detail.

While the gun will elevate when fitted into the bearing rings the instructions show to fix the gun in one of two positions, horizontal of elevated to about 45 degrees, this is due to the side elevation arm which is fixed to the lower cradle and the gun mount, but it would be fairly easy to alter this so the gun will elevate if you wish.

The round base plate has nice tread plate pattern included and bolt head details around the outside rim with the nicely represented gunner’s seat made up of four parts attached to the left side. There are only two small pin marks on the base tread plate but these are positioned where they will be covered by the gunner’s seat so you don’t have to worry about these.

The main gun sight is made up of five separate pieces and has excellent detail definition as a result but is designed to be fixed into place in accordance with the gun elevation so remember to line this up with barrel in what ever position you choose.

The large (or small whichever way you look at it) outrigger base has again excellent details included such as the front and rear lifting handles and the four tightening hand wheels around the base with very good definition on the cut outs, bolt heads and indentations.

Around the centre of the platform sides is a weld seam and this is represented by the mould seam line on the part and so be careful not to remove this. Unfortunately when you remove the part from the sprue the join points are right on this seam line which results it being removed from these areas and it could be an idea to re-do the weld seam as it is a little undersized in any case.

Very noticeable are the gun shields which are moulded quite thin and have very subtle bolt head detail as well as absolutely no pin marks to be seen and really do look very much to scale.

The Sd.Ah.51 trailer is also very well done but the main trailer frame has some prominent mould seam lines to be removed but this can be done very easily, the wheel mud guards are included in the frame moulding but still have well defined details.

The two wheels are very nicely done with subtle tread pattern and again no pin marks on either side of the wheel rims which again adds to the nice detail as does the multi part trailer hitch which is made up of seven parts.

Also included are four 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 only two markings for the front of shield, one showing aircraft kills and the other ground target kills, while the back of the box has three colour illustrations with a gun in overall German Grey, in overall Dark Yellow and one in German Grey with winter white wash but the schemes are virtually endless as the 20mm Flak was uses throughout the war in every theatre.

The instructions are the usual exploded view drawings are easy to follow but there is nothing tricky in the assembly anyway.

A superbly executed kit of the small 20mm FlaK38 that has many fine details included and will no doubt find its way into many a different modelling project.
Technical advice on the kit was proved by Thomas L Jentz and Tony Greenland and this input has been put to good use in the final kit.

Highly recommended.

The sprues
Click for larger image
Close new window to return to review

Update sets:
There have been numerous metal 20mm FlaK barrels released over the years mainly for the Tamiya kit and one that will add that final touch to the Tristar kit is the recent FlaK38 barrel from Schatton which is easily fitted to the Tristar gun in the same manner as with other flak kits.

Another update set just released and even marked as for the Tristar kit is from Brach Models and consists of a metal barrel and resin frame for the ejected shell container with fine mesh provided to cover the frame, see a full review here.

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

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 CK Pat from the Tristar Shop for the review kit.

Page created 17 June 2004
Updated February 25, 2006 (Blue Text)

Click Browsers BACK button to return to list
Home / Reviews / Vehicle Reviews / Tristar