Dragon 88mm Flak37 (6287)
by Frank De Sisto
1/35-scale injection-molded styrene kit containing 514 styrene parts,
33 etched brass parts, three clear styrene parts with integral dials,
one length of insulated wire, two chains, three turned-brass and nine
turned-aluminum parts, two decal sheets for four decal schemes, and ten
pages of instructions comprised of 36 steps.
This is DMLs second kit based on the notorious 8.8cm FlaK gun, in this
case the improved FlaK37. The major difference between this gun and the
earlier weapons was as follows: “A later change was introduced in
1939 when the FlaK37 was produced with a revised data transmission system,
which did not lend itself easily to any other role than that of the anti-aircraft
gun.” (From Peter Chamberlain and Terry Gander’s “WW2
Fact Files, Anti-Aircraft Guns”, published in 1975). In 2001, Tom
Jentz stated in his book “Dreaded Threat, The 8.8cm FlaK18/36/37
in the Anti-Tank Role”, the following: “The final model of
the 8.8cm FlaK with the L/56 caliber length tube was the 8.8cm FlaK37.
The Lampenempfaenger (light signal receiver) used for fire control from
a central director for the FlaK18 und 36 was replaced on the FlaK37 with
a Folgezeigeempfaenger (directional indicator with dials). In most other
details, the FlaK37 remained un-changed from the predecessor model, the
FlaK36.” The back cover of Jentz’s book also shows a photograph
of a FlaK37 mounting a Flakzielfernrohr 20E (direct-fire sight) for use
in the anti-tank role. The way I read this, it would seem that none of
these sources have specifically stated that this particular piece could
not be used against tanks, especially since Jentz shows a gun set up to
do just that. So much for our technical-history lesson …
To describe this new variation, it’s best to repeat (in modified
form) some of what is seen in my review of DMLs FlaK36 kit, as follows:
The best place to start is with the display options. The gun itself has
three different means of displaying the tube’s elevation. One is
in the “85-degrees” position and static. The second is in
the “zero-degrees” position, also static. The third uses turned
metal sleeves and tubes and is movable. The next option is the position
of the cruciform legs. They can be modeled either folded-up for travel,
with the leveling pads retracted, ground anchors and locks fixed in place.
Or, they can be in the extended in the firing position, with the pads
dropped down, ground anchors driven in and locks holding the legs in position.
The gun will also swivel in azimuth a full 360-degrees. If one wishes,
the fuse-setting box can be shown with a shell inserted into the orifice,
or a second part can be used instead with caps in place over the opening.
The new parts in this kit will allow for several variations in the specific
type of gun shield used, as well as minor variations of the shields themselves.
The three shields are: the original as included in the FlaK36 kit, a widened
version of the original shield and curved shield for the FlaK37. The first
two shields include pivoting gun sight flaps. The third shield features
three sets of side extensions that can each be depicted at different angles
(two for operation and one for travel). Also included are new parts to
place shield sections over the recuperater cylinder. DML also includes
parts for the later Folgezeigeempfaenger (directional indicator with dials)
in a very unique fashion. They consist of clear styrene with dial faces
embedded in the plastic. After carefully painting, these will look most
There are choices of either the earlier one-piece gun tube or the later
RA9 sectional gun tube (which have absolutely nothing to do with the gun’s
designation). Both of these options are given as either full-styrene assemblies
(with rifling at the tube’s bore) or turned aluminum items that
use some styrene parts for details. Note that some errors in the position
of certain details on the turned aluminum gun tubes have been corrected,
due to modeler feed-back. (In fact, it would be remiss of me not to mention
that DML is virtually the only major manufacturer that carries on any
sort of major dialog with their consumers, i.e. YOU.) Each version of
gun tube also includes a different breech-block and other unique parts.
All can be displayed with an open breech-block that can also have a shell
inserted into it. There is also another option, that of either a folded-away
ramming assist bar and deleted shell tray, or an extended bar with the
tray in place for use.
The Sd.Ah.202 “special trailer” sections are small models
in their own right. The basic fender sections are produced from a multi-part
slide mold so that all details can be properly presented. But, this means
that there are several fairly discreet mold seams that must be carefully
cleaned up. The axles and leaf springs assemblies are beautifully rendered
and also include steering linkages. The braces, lifting gear, tools and
cruciform links are all equally well-represented. The front bogie features
a two-position tow bar (hitched for towing or un-hitched for firing),
while the rear bogie features a brakeman’s seat and controls. There
is also an option of attaching the four reels that held the cables that
were used to link a FlaK battery’s guns to the central anti-aircraft
fire control device. In the case of this kit, I will indeed include them
as I will model a gun optimized for the anti-ai
rcraft role (I left them
off my FlaK36 model).
Next, we come to the wheels and tires. These feature brake-drums and
exquisitely detailed hubs. By far, the most innovative item in this kit
has to be the tires. In order to have the tread detail on the face of
the tires, the traditional means has been to use soft rubber, vinyl or
other materials, such as the new soft styrene. But, these always left
the modeler with an unsightly seam, which was difficult, if not impossible,
to properly remove. DML has cleverly molded each hard styrene plastic
tire from an eight-part slide-mold, leaving the sprue point inside the
rim so there is no nasty seam to clean. The tires have excellent tread
detail and include a very subtle bulge at the contact point with “mother
earth”. Small rings are to be glued to the back side after the hubs
are inserted. Paint everything separately. Then after you paint the hubs,
sandwich them in between the two painted tire assemblies, cement, and
touch up the paint if needed.
This kit is also loaded with accessories for diorama use. These consist
of three wooden ammo boxes, which can be shown opened or closed, and three
wicker boxes that can also be shown opened or closed. To these are added
turned brass rounds (three of them), six styrene rounds and six spent
shell casings. These are all detailed with brass bases featuring tiny
data etched into them.
The two decal sheets provide for generic as well as specific markings.
The first includes divisional insignia for the 1. through 14.Panzer-Divisions,
tire pressure markings and nice (but useless in the context of this kit)
variations of the Balkankreuz national insignia. The second sheet provides
markings for the “A-B-C-D” markings that the Germans used
to distinguish guns within a battery (I criticized the first kit because
these were not included…but here they are!). There are also various
styles of barrel kill-rings and “scoreboard” markings for
the gun shield. Lastly, there are decals for the fire control system dials
faces. Whatever scheme is chosen, there will be plenty of spares left
for the decal collection. There are painting and finishing instructions
for four different guns, with the colors keyed to Gunze and Testors paints.
I test-fitted a number of major and minor assemblies and can say that
there should not be any problems. As I did this I noted that DML’s
designers engineered the parts so that they could only fit one way. They
do this by intelligent placement of tabs and sockets so that it is impossible
to misalign anything. This is a nice touch as there are so many parts
(which are similar, but not identical) that can be improperly placed by
a hasty modeler, regardless of how well he follows the instructions. The
modeler will also note that there are a large number of small knock-out
pin “nodes” attached to many of the parts. They are a chore
to remove and clean up, that’s certain. But, I’d rather have
these than knock-out pin marks to clean on the parts themselves. In addition,
since artillery kits usually feature a number of in-scale moving parts
(this one is no exception), the modeler will be rewarded by carefully
cleaning and finishing the parts before paint is applied. For instance,
part A14 will need the hole ever-so-slightly slightly enlarged so that
the completed gun trunnion assembly, once painted and inserted, will be
free enough to rotate easily in azimuth.
Overall, this kit is an improvement over what was an outstanding 21st-Century
kit to begin with. The new innovations such as the dial faces and fully-detailed
“weighted” tires simply indicate that no one is resting on
their laurels at DML.
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.