Kit Review: Dragon Models Limited 1/35 scale '39-'45 Series Kit No.6288; 2cm Flak 38 mit Sd.Ah. 51; 202 parts (146 in grey styrene, 56 etched brass); price not known but estimated at US $22 based on similar kits
Advantages: the best 2 cm Flak going, with the most options and details; choice of three different style breeches, many "slide molded" details
Disadvantages: no crew figures included
Rating: Highly Recommended
Recommendation: for all German and AA fans
Probably the most ubiquitous German AA gun of WWII was not the 88mm gun, but the small and highly mobile 2 cm family of 20mm guns. Found in self-propelled, towed, single and quadruple mounts, it was everywhere, used by all formations, and very popular. Most modern modelers would remember it from the end of the movie "Saving Private Ryan" where one is use to kill the Ranger sniper.
Designed by Mauser as a high-rate replacement for the earlier Flak 30, the Flak 38 possessed a rate of fire of 420-480 rpm but due to its 20 round magazines the practical rate of fire was about half that. Over17,000 of both weapons were in service in 1944.
This has always been a popular weapon, and DML's entry is the fourth in plastic to come out following early efforts from ESCI (now Italeri) and Tamiya and the more recent Tristar offerings. But it comes with more options than any of the other ones and has some really well molded bits to it.
The gun itself has a pre-bored flash hider and also a choice of three different breech assemblies - DML calls them "barrels" which they are not, but the point is that they do offer three styles. A case with spare barrel molded in place is also included, as well as at least four magazines and two ammo carrier cans. (All that is missing are shell casings, but that's pushing it in this caliber and scale!)
The gun can be built for free elevation, but that requires leaving out some parts. DML's answer is to provide different length elevation buffer rods and sight mounts so that the modeler can position the barrel at 0, 20, 40 and 60 degree elevations. The mount provides for free traverse. The gun shields are - as is now normal for DML - either plastic or etched brass, your option.
The Sonderanhanger 51 trailer is nicely detailed but with rather conventional tires - none of the fancy sectional slide molding for tread depth used on the 88mm or Pak 40 kits.
Nice touches overall include the provision of accessories for the gun such as the aforementioned gun case, two ammo cases with magazines, and a gizmo (!) which I am guessing is a loading device for filling magazines.
A total of eight different units are offered, but all are basically paint jobs. A small sheet of decals is provided for "kill" marks and data plates.
Overall this is a lovely kit - the surprising thing is that DML did NOT provide a crew with the kit! Since their figures set the standard
- and this gun begs for a crew - I am surprised to find it does not have them. Maybe next issue...
Thanks to Freddie Leung for the review sample.