Kit Review: Tristar (via MRC in the US) 1/35 scale Kit No. 35010S; 2cm Flak 38 with Crew Set (Limited edition); 131 parts in grey stryene; price US $18
Advantages: nice, compact kit of this gun with a full five man crew; small accessories make the kit work well as a diorama centerpiece; given Tristar prices, this kit is a bargain!
Disadvantages: not as cleanly done as the competing DML effort; some crudity on both the figures and the gun
Rating: Highly Recommended
Recommendation: for all German and AA fans
I had received these kits long before the DML Flak 38 kit was released (there was a delay while import licences were being worked out and product lines developed for sale in the US by MRC) but only now have word that MRC will release Kits 35010 (the 2cm gun) and 35013 (the crew) in the same box as a "limited edition" set. Given the fact that Tristar kits in the US are not cheap, this is a genuine bargain and should merit serious consideration. ]
The 2 cm guns were among the most prevalent of the German AA weapons, and were found in a number of different towed and SP mounts, and in single and quadruple use as ground systems (and some naval mounts as well). They were marked by having a high rate of fire and good explosive rounds, and were probably responsible for many of the 9th Air Force close air support and battlefield air interdiction aircraft lost in 1944-1945. As such, they have been popular modeling subjects; this is the third kit to be released of this weapon after the late 1970s ESCI kit and early 1980s Tamiya one.
The gun itself consists of 89 parts in a mid-grey styrene on three sprues, and even includes a "slide molded" barrel with hollow muzzle. The parts are well done but the fixing points on the sprues are heavier than most and speak to low rate production kits. There are ejection pin marks on the major parts, but they are either in inconspicuous places or easily removed.
I have to admit as my gun was a pre-release sample there was no direction sheet that came with it, but the parts are pretty easily sorted out and the excellent artwork on the boxtop could be used in a pinch to assemble the kit. This kit does not have the details of the DML one, but it has free elevation so many modelers will be happier with that (one good thing about free elevation on an artillery piece is that it means fewer broken barrels if snagged or the "gefingerpokener schlumpfen" twang it at a show to see what happens!)
The Sonderanhanger 51 is nicely done but uses one-piece wheel and tire assemblies and simplified mounting bits.
A spare barrel case and what appear to be canvas ammunition cases are also provided with the kit, as are four magazines.
The figures are not bad, about on a par with the early DML ones and much better than the Tamiya "dwarves" of 20 years ago or the awful ESCI crews. They are a bit soft in some areas but appear to be quite serviceable and will paint up nicely. They are all wearing the standard field uniform, a good idea unlike the unfortunate DML choice of winter wear for their 8.8 cm Flak 36 crew. There are even "hobnails" on the bottom of one of the "other number's" boots!
A small decal sheet is provided for marking the gun and magazines. Three different options are provided - grey, sand and whitewash.
Overall this is a nice kit, and coming with a good crew is an advantage (considering the crew alone sells for US $14.50, getting the gun for another $3.50 is very good value indeed!)
If I were to rank the four kits, it would be DML first and this kit second - especially as it comes with the crew. The Tamiya is third, and the ESCI/Italeri one last, mostly due to their obsolete crew figure sets and simplified guns.
Thanks to Bob Lewen of MRC for the review sample.