ARM: Review - DML 1/35 scale 88mm Flak 37 Behelfslafette

Kit Review: Dragon Models Limited 1/35 Scale =9139-=9145 Series Kit Number
6523; 88mm Flak 37 mit Behelfslafetter;
6 w/Flak Artillery Crew; 436 parts (407 in grey styrene, 21 etched
brass, 3 turned aluminum, 4 aluminum tube, 1 length steel chain);
retail price US$41.50
Advantages: alternate 88 version for semi-fixed locations; great for
those who want a diorama without need for wheels or transporters
Disadvantages: deceptive number of parts due to the number not used
Rating: Highly Recommended
Recommendation: for all WWII German fans as well as all =93duck
hunters=94 (Air Defense Artillery)
Somewhere along the line the German military came to the conclusion
that they did not need a lot of high mobility medium antiaircraft
artillery pieces. The Flak 18/36/37 series was designed for just that
purpose, but each gun then required a heavy 8 ton halftrack and
complex transport bogies. Also while they were brought into service as
emergency antitank guns, the Flak 18 was not designed to fire from its
carriage when in transport mode, and the height and complexity of the
guns made it tactically unsuitable. The other problem was since they
were optimized for antiaircraft work, either alone or as part of an
analogue predictor guidance system, losing one to artillery fire was
an expensive proposition.
As a result, somebody designed what was dubbed a =93Behelfslafette=94 =96
literally a makeshift carriage =96 which could be transported to a
location and set up for semi-permanent duty. This made it easier to
move than fixed guns but not requiring the permanent allocation of
expensive vehicles which could better be used elsewhere.
According to the =93Waffen Arsenal=94 book (Number 101, 8.8 cm Flak
Volume 2) the following 88mm guns were built: 8.8 cm Flak 18/36/37
(mobile) - 3,590; 8.8 cm Flak 36/37 railway mounting - 41; 8.8 cm Flak
18/36/37 on Behelfslafette - 1,493; and 8.8 cm Flak 18/36/37 fixed
mounting weapons - 4,178. (Since this only comes up to about 9,300 and
other sources give numbers of over 10,300 built, something may be
missing.)
DML has now created a new Behelfslafette mounting for their excellent
Flak 36/37 kit. But the kit now comes with but one weapon on its
carriage; no transport bogies and no crew. They do provide 12 rounds
(six full and six casings) and six ammo boxes (four wicker and two
wooden) but nothing else.
Basically the kit constitutes the upper carriage of the early kit,
complete with alternate Flak 18 or Flak 36/37 barrels in styrene and
an extra Flak 36/37 barrel from turned aluminum. The barrel muzzle
sections are slide molded with rifling but the barrel from the collar
on back is in two parts so a seam must be dealt with.
The modeler must choose early on if he wants the optional splinter
shield or not, as the kit provides a different cradle for each one.
There are also alternate parts, either an option for styrene or brass
or different styrene parts, throughout the kit. Note that a goodly
number of parts in the kit =96 since they are for the Sd.Anh. 202 bogies
=96 are not used and thus the overall parts number is deceptive.
As with the Flak 36/37 kits the new one comes with pre-painted dial
faces on the fire control matching units or a set of decals is
provided for those who prefer to paint first (or mess these up!)
Most parts are for later weapons with the dual fuse setters, but as
with the actual guns you do have the choice of either the Flak 18 or
Flak 36/37 barrels.
Technical consultation was provided by Tom Cockle and Gary
Edmundson.
Finishing directions are provided for three pieces: Unidentified
unit, Cologne 1945 (grey gun, sand base); Unidentified unit, Germany
1945 (tri-color gun, sand base); Unidentified Unit, near Dulmen,
Germany, 1945 (sand with =93squiggle=94 pattern in what may be brown; the
directions do not call out the camouflage colors by name, only
numbers).
Overall this is a good idea and a great one for somebody who wants to
model a flak pit rather than a gun on the move, but a new crew with
the kit would have been a nice idea.
Thanks to Freddie Leung of DML for the review sample.
Cookie Sewell
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AMPSOne
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