Dragon FlaK artillery Crew 1943-45
by Frank De Sisto
1/35th-scale injection molded styrene plastic. Contains 99 styrene parts
and 15 photo-etched brass parts, plus a one sheet, full-color assembly
and painting guide. Price: unavailable.
DML’s recent 8.8cm FlaK36 was one of their major releases of the
second quarter of 2005. It actually includes the set of figures that are
the subject of this review, as well as several of the accessory items,
plus the etched brass parts that are also included in this box. But, there
are several subtle changes that make this set worthwhile as a stand-alone
item or as a supplement to the figures and the FlaK gun previously released.
This set includes new arms and legs that will allow the modeler quite
a bit of flexibility in depicting the gun with its crew. For instance,
the figures included in the FlaK36 kit depict a crew conducting a ground
engagement, since the man operating the range-finder and the gun’s
commander, holding binoculars, are looking straight ahead. This set gives
extra arms and heads so that they can now be depicted looking up, as if
engaging an aerial target. One of the figures who, in the original gun
kit, is depicted picking up a complete round from the ground, can now
be modified to be depicted as lifting one end of an ammunition box. Another
figure, who was originally depicted loading a round into the gun’s
breech, with the gun set at zero-degrees elevation, can now be modeled
as loading a round at a much higher angle, suggesting again, that the
gun is engaging an aerial target. Another ammunition handler can now be
modeled as inserting a complete round into the fuse-setting mechanism.
The sitting gunner can now be depicted at rest, as well as in the action
pose with his head pressed to the sights, and his hands on one of the
control wheels. I suspect that he can also be adapted to sit in the brakeman’s
seat on the transport bogie unit as well.
All of the figures are clothed in the cold-weather hooded parka with
matching trousers. Molding throughout is crisp with fine detail on the
clothes as well as on the range-finder and other accessories. They wear
steel helmets and a variety of foot-wear, but no web gear or belts. There
are no individual weapons or equipment provided, but for anyone who possesses
a decent spare parts collection, this should not be a problem. Besides,
given the choice of the manufacturer including those items or extra ammo
and boxes, I’d take the latter, which is precisely what DML did.
So, this kit contains the same set of plastic complete rounds and spent
cases, as well as four wicker and three wood ammunition boxes, which were
originally provided in the FlaK36 kit. The complete rounds and spent shell
cases are enhanced with etched parts for the base plates, a rather nice
touch. The cases can be shown opened or closed, and as empty or filled
to any degree. These supplement what’s given in the gun kit and
will go a long way towards giving any vignette or diorama that cluttered
In a departure for DML, the box contains no painting guide. Instead,
there is a clearly laid-out A4-sized sheet consisting of a full-color
painting and assembly guide. The colors are keyed to Gunze and Testors
paints. Each figure has four separate illustrations, which quite adequately
describe the variations in poses and uniform colors.
In summary, this is not simply a re-hash of the figures in the gun kit,
but a valid supplement to them. With resin heads and some slightly different
head-gear, one could model quite a scene.
Reviewer’s note: Since May of 2005, I have been working on books
for Concord Publications, a sister company to DML. The reader may wish
to take this into consideration. For my part, I will attempt to maintain
an objective viewpoint when writing these reviews.
DML kits are available from retail and mail order shops. For details
see their web site at: www.dragonmodelsltd.com.