88mm FLAK 37
Dragon Kit No. 6287

1:35th Scale
First Look Review by Terry Ashley

The Flak37 was the final version mounted on the cruciform base and incorporated a number of updates from the Flak36, most notably the right side mounted “follow the pointer” dials and fuse setter dials which were changed to dials in square box mountings as opposed the round dials of the Flak18-36 with this being the most obvious way of telling a Flak37 from the others. As with the other guns it is possible to exchange the Flak18 and Flak36/37 barrels and Dragon again give you a choice of both barrels as well as a choice of three gun shields, hence the 3 in 1 label.

The initial shield from the Flak36 kit is still included as well as an extended shield which is basically the initial shield with an extension on the right side to give more room for the gunner in the ground role with numerous photos showing this shield in use, most notably on the Russian front and later war period.

The final pressed steel shield is also included which was fitted to later war guns and again there are many photos showing this shield in use on guns in Normandy and Russia.

The kit contains 527 parts in the usual light grey plastic with a further eight metal parts for the barrels and gun, five turned brass 88mm rounds/shells, two short lengths of chain, three small etched frets and the decal and instruction sheets.

Metal parts
Etched parts

Most of the sprues are from the previous Flak36 kit (#6260) with additional sprues (G, H, K and U) for this kit. Sprues A, B and C have had minor alterations with additional parts added and I presume these will now be in future Flak36 kits also?
There are also a couple of additional metal shell cases and the re-worded Flak18 barrel as well as two new small etched frets.

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 37:
The main barrel assembly gives you a choice of plastic or metal barrels for the Flak 36/37 or Flak 18 barrels with corresponding separate breech assembly and three part breech blocks. The Flak 36/7 barrel collar are alternate separate parts to add to your choice of barrel but only the plastic barrels have rifling added to the hollowed out muzzle, although this is a little over scale. The Flak18 barrels have been retooled to correct a dimensional error with the initial kit but this has unfortunately led to some distortion of the plastic barrel where the final barrel length is deformed off to one side. This isn’t really a problem as most will use the metal barrel in any case but shows what can happen when segments of the moulds are altered.

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 choice of three configurations depending on your choice of gun shield setup. For the initial shield there is a metal tube insert to ensure it is perfectly round while for the extended and pressed shields there are outer covers added to the recuperator cylinder with additional small shields which were added to later guns due to the extended ground attach role and this shows nice research into the kit. The instructions clearly show which parts go for the corresponding shield and you will have to make a decision early on your final shield setup.

The barrel assembly is slid into the lower cradle without glue to enable this is recoil back and forth after assembly.

The rear cradle folding ammo loading tray is not used on the Flak37 and you are provide an alternate side cradle part without the tray mountings so make sure you use the correct parts here, the instruction do indicate clearly the part to be used.

The large rammer guard is also not used on this version so just add these parts to the spares box.

The top carriages are from the Flak36 kit with the same superb details on both sides and no pin marks to be seen with all of the carriage accessories are separate parts for excellent detail definition with again the four carriage sides have two with the shield supports and two without depending on your choice.

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 top fuse scale offers the choice of the new clear plastic dials or plastic dials with decal faces 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 “follow the pointer” indicators again gives the choice of the superb clear plastic dials or plastic dials with decal faces with the clear items being the obvious choice as these really do look the part. The quadrant elevation pointer incorporates the direct sight elevation pointer and lower half moon quadrant scale which has the gradients included on the part as well as additional etched gradients to use if you wish as this will make painting the scales easier.

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 gives you a choice in plastic of retracted or extended cylinders for ground or air targets. The other option provides the equilibrator cylinders in two telescoping metal parts that are movable allowing them to be extended or retracted depending on the barrel positions.

The initial 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 second extended shield option again is moulded in one piece with excellent details on both sides and no pin marks with the brackets for the extension nicely represented. The shield is again moulded a little thick to retain the shield rigidity with the outer and inner edges bevelled to simulate the thinner shield and looks convincing due to the nice details on both sides.

The final shield option is the later pressed steel shield and this is again moulded with details on both sides with bevelling at the top and bottom and around the barrel opening to simulate the thinner shield with the contours of the rounded shield captured nicely. There are additional etched parts for the sight opening covers and alternate mounting brackets for this shield. The outer folding panels are supplied as separate parts with six parts supplied allowing them to be shown in the two firing positions and the transport position. As the edges of the shield is a little thick providing these alternate side shield panels eliminates any unsightly gaps when fitting your choice of shield and is another nice inclusion by Dragon.

As mentioned there are also the small upper shields supplied which were added for the later extended ground attach pole of these guns.

Cruciform base:
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.

Gun Carriage:
The detail on the two carriage bogies is superb as with the Flak36 kit with the detail on the wheel hubs being 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 even though these can’t be seen easily after assembly but does show the attention and level of details on the assembly.

The “rubber” tyres have been reworked from the segmented tyres in the Flak36 kit and have really extended the use of slide moulds with each tyre being a single moulding with just the inner lip separate to trap the wheel hub in place. The only cleanup required was to remove the small sprue from the inside of the tyre with the inner tyre lip being on a “normal” sprue (G) with the usual cleanup here.

The diamond tread pattern is very cleanly done as is the side wall detail and the tyres include a subtle weighted effect that is not overdone thankfully. I was little concerned when first hearing of this as most military tyres do not show any weight distortion when properly inflated (The M26 Dragon Wagon being a classic example which doesn’t show any distortion even when fully loaded, but I digress). The weighted effect is not overdone and may not be that noticeable but make sure you assemble the wheels with the “flat” section at ground contact, that may seem obvious but something to watch for. Including this will mean that every built kit will have the same weighted tyre effect on an aspect that would usually vary between guns, if there at all but again shouldn’t be an issue with a single model.

Assembling the wheels highlighted a minor fit problem with the inner tyre lip which fits perfectly without the wheel hub but sits a little high when the hub is fitted. There is a small notch on the inside and even making sure this was lined up correctly resulted in the fit issue with all the wheels and some inner trimming was needed to get a good flush fit of the tyre lip.

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.

The details included are very nicely detailed such as the brake levers, fender supports and optional towing hitch to use in the travel mode and these build into very busy assemblies.
Vinyl tubing

Bonus parts:
There are again some 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 and two aluminium shell cases.
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.

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. There are dials as mentioned above as well as a selection of gun numbers typically seen on the guns.

The instruction sheet shows marking and paint schemes for four guns;


This is superb model of the Flak37 following on from the Flak36 with the inclusion of the three shield options and associated detail upgrades applicable to the Flak37 show good research into the kit.  The new pressed steel shield and innovative rendering of the gun laying dials are notably features that again add that bit extra to the kit.

The choice of barrels in either plastic or metal again add further options to cater for most tastes and the kit should prove popular even if you don’t a crew thrown in with this one.

Highly recommended.

The Sprues:

Click on thumbnails for larger view
Detail images
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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 my credit card and the excellent service from Rainbow Ten for the review kit.

Page created November 20, 2005

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