Home > Reviews > Germany WWII > Tristar German 20mm Flak 38 and Sd.Ah. 51, Item 35010


Tristar German 20mm Flak 38 and Sd.Ah. 51, Item 35010

by Frank De Sisto

Tristar German 20mm Flak 38 and Sd.Ah. 51, Item 35010. Contains 89 injection-molded styrene parts, six pages of instructions in eight steps and two waterslide decal options. Price: $20.00 USD, plus shipping.

There are already two other Flak 38 kits on the market; one from Tamiya and the other from Italeri. So Tristar’s choice for their latest full kit would at first seem a bit odd. But I believe there are reasons why they have chosen to tool up for this latest release. First, although both previous kits are fairly well done, with the older Tamiya offering being my choice for the better of the two kits, time, and injection-molding technology have indeed marched on; this new kit illustrates that point in an excellent fashion. Secondly, it would not take very much for Tristar to combine this Flak 38 kit and their previously released Pz.Kpw. I Ausf. A kit, in order to produce a Flakpanzer I.

Upon opening the box, one is confronted with a single small sprue with commendably thin shields for the gun and parts for the ready magazine tray. Another sprue contains parts for the Sd.Ah. 51 trailer, while the final sprue contains the gun itself, as well as some accessories that would commonly be seen with the gun. These last parts consist of a carrying case for spare 2cm gun tubes and four ammunition boxes with separate lids. One box can be posed open and includes representations of 2cm magazines within.

The trailer consists of a single molding for the main frame and fenders, to which the detail parts are attached. These include various storage boxes, handles and towing gear, as well as spring/axle combinations and finally, the wheels with tires.The Flak 38 itself can be assembled with the gun tube in either traveling or firing configuration. This is facilitated by the provision of two different arms for the gun sight linkage. But it is then not movable in elevation. The Flakvisor sight itself includes the telescopic sight as well as the reflex sight, something the Tamiya kit does not provide (it only contains the reflex sight). The gun can rotate freely if displayed in a firing position. There are also four 2cm magazines included, one of which is to be fitted to the gun’s receiver. The others can be left in the ready ammo tray.

Overall, molding is quite crisp, while parts breakdown allows for maximum detail. There is a noticeable absence of ejector pin marks on visible surfaces, while mold seams on the trailer frame and gun platform are in precisely the places that weld seams are to be seen on the prototype. I conducted a dry fit of several major components; the fit was quite precise. Slide mold technology is used to provide for complete details on the accessory ammunition boxes. It is also used in a rather unique way to provide for a single piece 2cm gun tube that already has the bore drilled out. Usually when this is done, the sprue makes a “bend” so that the sliding part can do its job. But, in this case, there is a small hole, through the center of the sprue, where a rod passes through. Good show Tristar! There is also a rather large open space on this sprue, indicating, perhaps, a future modification or addition. Stay tuned.

The instructions are quite clear and completely adequate for what is essentially a rather simple kit. The tiny decal sheet provides for two different styles of “kill” markings, both in white, which are meant to be placed on the gun’s shield. Colors are keyed to Tamiya, Gunze and Humbrol paints, while three generic schemes are depicted in color on the back of the box. They are for a dark grey, dark yellow or winter whitewash gun and trailer. Finally, credit is given to Tom Jentz and Tony Greenland for the kit’s design. So, somebody was doing the homework!

This gun can be used in a number of ways. It can be mounted on a variety of vehicles from trucks, heavy cars and tank chassis, to half-tracks. It can also be towed behind many different vehicles. It can be mounted on a sled or railroad car, a bunker or field emplacement.

In short, the only limit to what can be done with this kit is the modeler’s imagination. I plan on mounting my sample on the Italeri Sd.Kfz. 10, along with other improvements to that particular kit. With all this going for this kit, what else can I say but: highly recommended.

As well as manufacturing their own line of resin kits and conversion sets, Chesapeake Model Designs (CMD) is the US Importer and distributor of Tristar products, and will ship worldwide. For more information see their web site at: www.chesapeakemodels.com. Phone/fax number is: 410-357-5496, NEW email: bill@chesapeakemodels.com.