8.8cm Flak 18
1/35 Kit #35022
Review by Terry Ashley

Image of finished model courtesy Calibre35

The Kit:
This 8.8cm Flak 18 is the first full kit from Calibre35 and represents the initial version of the ‘88’ encountered by the allies in Africa and Sicily/Italy before being replaced/supplemented by the improved Flak 36/37 and later Flak 41.

After having built the Tamiya kit many years ago and wrestled with the big 1/15th Verlinden 88 Flak 37 which is a whole different story I was pleased to receive this new kit of the earlier Flak 18.

The kit consists of 134 parts cast in the usual light cream resin from Calibre35 plus a small etched fret and the forward third of the barrel in turned aluminium as well as a small decal sheet with some stencil data for the gun controls.

Etched parts and decal sheet
Calibre35 Calibre35

The quality of the resin is excellent with virtually no blemished (there was the occasional very small air hole exposed when removing the casting block but that’s about it) with the most interesting exercise being the removal of the casting blocks from the parts.

The main cruciform base, outrigger legs, the barrel cradle and upper recoil cylinder all have large casting blocks and will require care when being removed. The many smaller parts also have their casting blocks and some resin film to be removed but so long as care is taken there shouldn’t be any problems and Calibre35 have helped here by including small indentations between the casting block and extremities of the parts which assist in their removal and in avoiding taking too much resin off the parts during cleanup.

One part that stands out is the large shield which is cast in resin and not in etched metal as you might think but this is no problem as it is very thin, almost translucent and is the same thickness throughout. It doesn’t suffer from varying thicknesses like the monstrosity in the big Verlinden kit and the two side panels are also very thin but both will require hinge detail added to the inside as there is none included.

Gun Assembly:
Click for larger view of parts during assemblyThe barrel is made up of three parts, two in resin with the muzzle section in aluminium plus the breech which strangely has no breech block except for the outer plate on the right of the breech. The breech itself is nicely detailed on the outside with the small levers as well as inside the breech opening which is hollow due to the lack of breech block.

The centre section of the barrel has two raised ribs around the diameter which are slightly higher on ¼ of rib, this raised section should be positioned at the bottom of the barrel when assembled but the instructions omit to mention this so you should ensure the ribs are aligned correctly when attaching the barrel to the breech. I also found that not attaching the breech until the barrel assembly is glued to the cradle made aligning the ribs and the breech flat on the cradle much easier.

The top recoil cylinder has the front section which includes the cradle support arms as a separate part that requires careful removal of the resin film inside the arms so as not to damage these and then must be aligned correctly with the main rear supports to ensure this assembly sits correctly when attached to the main barrel/cradle assembly, nothing too difficult.

The two lower side supports (parts 10, 11) have a locating pin and corresponding hole in the cradle to ensure the correct positioning of these parts, another nice user friendly touch by Calibre35 although the locating hole had to be slightly enlarged to accept the pin.

Lower base/trunnion assembly:
Click for larger view of parts during assemblyThis is well engineered to ensure the correct alignment by the inclusion of locating ridges on the inside of the trunnion sides (parts 17,18) that mate precisely with the central base (part 48) resulting in proper alignment, this is important as this assembly governs the whole gun alignment when its all fitted together.

The other details on the base/trunnion assembly are straight forward to assemble including the well detailed aiming gear on the right trunnion side and numerous small resin and etched parts as well as a decal to go on the elevation indicator. I didn’t attach the lower turntable (part 16) at this time but included this with the cruciform base to allow the assemblies to be separated later (see below).

There is also a large circular data decal to go on part 16 which is another reason not to attach this to the base/trunnion assembly as it would be very difficult to add the decal once part 16 is attached.

Cruciform base:
Click for larger view of parts during assemblyThe main T section has some hefty casting blocks to be removed with the other half of the fixed leg is a separate part which has the correct uplift, meaning the bottom of the leg is not parallel with the other leg which is how it should be, you can see this by the extended post for the foot plate on this leg as opposed to the shorter posts on the other legs and the two folding outrigger legs are also separate parts.

At the centre of the cruciform base are the upper and lower octagonal plates (parts 4, 5) and watch to make sure part 4 (with a raised circular centre section) goes on top of the base with the large pedestal added on top of this plate.

A couple of things to watch here in that the bolts around the base of the pedestal separated by small ribs are in groups of two with an empty space between each set of two bolts. The bolts must face out diagonally between the legs with the empty segment being parallel with the legs, this isn’t mentioned in the instructions and it’s important to line up the bolts correctly.

Also many photos show a large number of large round rivet heads on the upper octagonal plate (part 4) as well as on the fixed legs themselves while the kit parts don’t have these. There is some evidence that the plate was smooth on some guns as with the Flak 36/37 base plate which is what Calibre35 have depicted here but you would have to add these rivets yourself to depict the rivets which seems to be more common.

The legs have etched panels on the outer top which include the hole for the end post and the cut out for the securing stakes, the post hole goes right through the legs but the hole for the stakes does not so these will have the cut and positioned about and below the legs if you depict the gun in firing position. The stakes are cast complete with holes included although there is some minor resin film to remove from the holes so these can be stowed on the side of the legs as they are when in travelling mode.

The tools that are positioned on the side of the main legs have etched tool clips for good detail definition and there are other smaller details added from resin and etched parts to complete the legs. The outrigger legs can be position in the folded travelling position or in the lowered firing position as you wish and have the hinge and securing pins as separate parts and again the holes for these needs to be drilled in the legs and centre supports.

As mentioned above I made an alteration to the assembly sequence in that I added a plastic pin to the bottom on the lower turntable (part 16) which was inserted into a corresponding hole drilled in the centre of the pedestal mount, the lower turntable will eventually be glued to the underside of the trunnion assembly after painting and decal placement which will allow the upper barrel assembly to be removed from the lower pedestal/cruciform base at any time and also the gun can traverse freely.

The instructions:
These are in the form of exploded view drawings with the parts called out by number and are fairly easy to follow although there are a couple of omissions such as the positioning of the ribs on the barrel and the bolt orientation on the pedestal base as mentioned above and some additional reference would be helpful as it is with any kit.
Small camouflage scheme drawings are provided for two guns, one in overall German Grey in Sicily 1943 and the other in overall sand with German Grey splotches on the shield for a DAK, Lybia 1942 gun.

Image of finished model courtesy Calibre35

A well engineered and detailed kit of the Flak 18 with many finely cast details plus the inclusion of the etched parts for added detail.
Experience with working with resin and etched parts would be helpful for what will build into an attractive kit of the Flak 18 and there were no real problems with the fit of the parts being excellent for a resin or any other medium kit.
As with any kit there is scope for additional detailing but the level of detail provided is such that only finer details will be needed to enhance the kit.

Highly recommended.

Click on Thumbnails to view the resin bits
Close new window to return to review

Easy 1 Productions

WWII US War Department
Technical Manual CD-ROM
TM E9-369A German 88mm Anti-aircraft Gun

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
The Scourge of Allied Armor

Janusz Piekalkiewicz

Schiffer Military History
ISBN 0-88740-341-7


88mm Flak 18/36/37/41 & Pak 43 1936-45
John Norris

Osprey New Vanguard 46
Osprey Publishing

ISBN 1 84176 341 1


88mm FLAK 18/36/37 L/56 in Detail
Militaria in detail 11
Wydawnictwo Militaria

Soft cover, 50 pages illustrated with 118 color and b/w photographs

book Dreaded Threat
The 8.8cm Flak 18/36/37
In the Anti-Tank Role

By Thomas L. Jentz

Panzer Tracts
ISBN 0-9708407-0-5


The 88 Flak
in the First and Second World Wars
Werner Müller

Schiffer Military History
ISBN 0-7643-0393-7


The 88mm Flak
Werner Müller

Schiffer Military History
ISBN: 0-88740-360-3

Thanks to David from Calibre35 for the review kit.

Page Created 21 February 2004

Click Browsers BACK button to return to list
Home / Reviews / Vehicle Reviews / Calibre35