ARM: Review - 1/35 scale Maultier w/3.7 cm FlaK 37

Kit Review: 1/35 scale Kit No. 77 (Dragon Models Limited ?39-?45 Series Kit No. 6768); Sd.Kfz. 3a Maultier Half-Track mit 3.7 cm
FlaK 37 - Smart Kit; 661 parts (447 in grey styrene, 197 ?Magic Track? single links, 7 clear styrene, 8 etched brass, 2 window masks); price HK$384 (about US$49.50)via
Advantages: another low-rate conversion vehicle from combin es two nice DML kits; modern, well molded state-of-the-art kit
Disadvantages: single track links nearly HO scale size!
Rating: Highly Recommended
Recommendation: for German softskin fans
    When the Germans ran up against ?General Mud? in Russia ? especially during the ?rasputitsa? spring thaw ? they desperately needed more m obile vehicles to provide supply to forward units. One solution was to take reliable trucks and simply modify them to take a tracked drive system. One of the best known of these conversions was the Opel ?Maultier? (mule) based on the 3 ton variant of the Blitz cargo trucks.
    While DML?s boutique affiliate likes to go after interesting conversions which either saw service in limited numbers or only as prototypes, this on e seems to be a truly makeshift weapon. While the Opel Blitz was a sturdy c hassis and the ?Maultier? conversion made it more flexible, the use of a relatively heavy weapon firing from its cargo bed would not seem to promo te long service life of the chassis components. I think that makes it easy to see why this was not a widespread conversion!
    This time they have simply combined their recent Maultier kit with the 3.7 cm Flak 37 parts from the Sd.Kfz. 7/2 halftrack kit to create this convers ion, and as such both kits have been vetted before and found to be very goo d.
    For the Maultier, as with its predecessor Blitz cargo versions this is a t ypical DML kit of recent vintage with lots of slide molded parts ? and fa r fewer of them than the armored vehicle kits. The kit includes a nicely do ne radiator shell with open bars and etched brass Opel Blitz badging. It co mes with a complete engine and nicely done hood frame for opening the hood to view the engine. Also the driver?s compartment is complete with all pe dals, levers and ?stick-on? instruments for the panel (A16). Doors have inside and outside handles and separate clear windows.
    This kit receives a totally new chassis and suspension, with the multi-pie ce tires for the front and a fairly intricate rear suspension. The modeler gets both early (six bolt) and late (eight bolt) wheels to choose from as w ell. A new engine block and crankcase are provided for the modified drive line.
    The four-plank body has complete underside bracing and mounts but has no t roop seats. This is probably due to the folding sides, which DML designed f or replication in the kit. Top bows for canvas are provided but only in the ir stowed position at the front of the body.
    Where modelers will probably start to hate this kit is when they go to ins tall the tracks. The ex-Panzer I links are very tiny ? about the size of that of a medium tank in HO scale (1/87) and very, very petite. Each link i s only 6mm x 3mm and there is not much surface for gluing provided, which t ranslates as ACC cements are not a good idea. I would recommend some combin ation of Tamiya Orange and Green or even Testors Liquid Cement on them, and you will need to make a jig of some sort for best results. At least they p rovide 27 extra links for those of us with ten thumbs and a carpet monster!
    For the 3.7 cm FlaK 37, this replicates the original issue of the kit. Li ke its predecessors the gun uses a slide molded barrel and flash hider. But unlike the previous DML antiaircraft gun offerings, this gun possesses fre e elevation and traverse and may be posed in any position the modeler choos es, unlike the others which only offered fixed options. However, it still o nly comes with 12 rounds loaded into its feed tray and no extra ammo racks or clips.
    The model does come with masks for painting that cover the windshield, but also it provides the blast shield protection for the windshield and roof s tiffener/deflector as etched brass components.
    Technical support was provided by Tom Cockle and Gary Edmundson.
    One finishing option is provided for the model: Unidentified Unit, Eastern Front 1942 (grey overall with whitewash camouflage, no markoings and no re gistration number). A Cartograf ?number jungle? and registration plate decal set is provided.
    Overall, this kit offers a very popular version of the Blitz, and by conte mporary standards, at a reasonable price. But the tracks will frustrate som e modelers.
    Thanks to Freddie Leung.
Cookie Sewell
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