Kit Review: Tristar 1/35 Scale Kit No. 036; 20mm Ammunition and Accessories for KwK/Flak 30/38; 121 parts (108 in tan styrene, 13 etched brass); price US$20
Advantages: permits dressing up any 2cm display or vehicle mounted system, nice choice of options for display
Disadvantages: relatively high price would mean a simple 2 cm Flak diorama with figures and gun would be about US $60
Rating: Highly Recommended
Recommendation: for all German diorama fans and "duck hunters"
One of the features of modeling that has become more and more common today - for good or for bad - is the use of separate supplementary kits that join with a base kit to produce a ready-to-assemble diorama or system. The most expensive one of these so far has been the Tamiya GMC 2 1/2 ton truck, which bases about $40 but requires two additional kits (a $13 cab machine gun ring, doors and accessories set and a $16 cargo assortment set) to build a complete model - total is now about $69 plus tax or tax and shipping. Think back to the days of the Tamiya Flak 36/37 kit with a set of eight figures, ammunition, choice of on or off carriage assembly, and a motorcycle and rider to boot for about $10 and you can see the big rise in both costs and moves to establish profit margin.
Admittedly kits molded to today's standards do cost more, and are better molded to start with even if they have some errors in the kits. But it appears this will be with us for the foreseeable future, and good or bad it does have some advantages. If you don't like the kit's figures, you can either make your own or buy suitable ones from another manufacturer. If you don't like styrene accessories, you can get resin or etched brass ones. At least you don't have to pay a very high price for the base kit to get things you do not want.
Tristar has done this with their very nice little 2 cm Flak gun, first offering the figures as a separate set and now offering the accessories as a separate set as well. This isn't a bad idea, as there are a lot of different 2 cm guns on the market in both single and quad mounts, as well as the shorter ground mounts in armored cars or halftracks. And this kit comes with a wealth of well-designed accessories.
What you get in the kit are lots of items that would be found either in or on a mount or in the immediate vicinity. Tristar gives you at least two of each item, which makes for a lot of parts. Among them are two twin spare barrel chests with an extra recoil spring in each one; the spring itself is molded to the base, but the barrels are separate. Note that part of the cost of this kit comes from the use of "slide molding" and here the barrel flash hiders are molded open.
Also included are 18 different magazines, both 10 and 20 round varieties, with 10 of them being empty and 8 loaded. 10 loose rounds are included (one of the major tasks for the crews was loading the magazines from bulk ammo supplies during lulls in the action) as well as two bulk ammo chests with optional position tops. It also includes four twin magazine carry cases (two 20s and two 10s), two sight cases, two lubrication oil cases with eight separate lubricant tins, and two adjustment tool cases, and two small objects I do not recognize (parts40).
Overall this is a great idea and should give both flak and armored car crews plenty to do in a diorama.
Thanks to Bob Lewen of MRC for the review sample.