Dragon 6523 8,8 cm Flack 37 mit behelfslafette
6523, 88mm Flak37 mit Behelfslafette. 1/35th-scale injection-molded styrene/multi-media kit containing 413 styrene parts (including four clear), four (tiny) etched brass frets, three clear styrene parts with integral dials, one length of chain, three turned-aluminum parts, four turned metal parts, one water-slide decal sheet and eight pages of instructions comprised of 16 steps.
This is DMLs third kit based on the 8.8cm FlaK gun. In this case the improved FlaK37 has been mounted on what is apparently termed a Behelfslafette, which appears to be either a simplified or stationary Kreuzlafatte (cruciform mount). In the case of this kit, the Sd.Ah.202 limbers for motorized hauling are not included. To describe this new variation of the 8.8cm FlaK, a fraction of what can be seen in my ToT review of DMLs FlaK37 kit will be repeated here in modified form.
The Gun and Carriage.
The gun itself has three different means of displaying the tubes elevation. One is in the 85-degrees position and static. The second is in the zero-degrees position, also static. The third uses turned metal sleeves and tubes and is movable. If one wishes, the fuse-setting box can be shown with a shell inserted into the orifice, or a second part can be used instead with caps in place over the opening.
The curved splinter shield features three sets of side extensions that can each be depicted at different angles (two for operation and one for travel). Also included are parts to place shield sections over the recuperater cylinder. DML also includes parts for the fire control system, the so-called Folgezeigeempfaenger (directional indicator with dials) in a very unique fashion. The parts consist of clear styrene with dial faces embedded in the plastic during the manufacturing process. After carefull painting, these will look most realistic. As an option, there are also conventional parts with separate decals if the modeler prefers that route. Various linkages, consoles, hand-wheels, sighting apparatus, seats and brackets embellish the carriage. The recoil sleigh is a multi-part item and includes separate quadrant, end cap, recuperator cylinder and trunnion mounts. The latter comes with one variation that can mount the shields, while the second can not.
There are choices of either the earlier mono-block gun tube or the later RA9 sectional gun tube (which have absolutely nothing to do with the guns designation, despite the box art and the notes in the instructions). Both of these options are given as either full-styrene assemblies (with rifling at the tubes bore) or turned aluminum items that use some styrene parts for details. Each version of the gun tube also includes a different breech-block and other unique parts. All can be displayed with an open breech-block that can also have a shell inserted into it. There is also another option, that of either a folded-away ramming assist bar and deleted shell tray, or an extended bar with the tray in place for use.
There are a total of 50 new parts for the simplified Behelfslafette. Several are slide-molded to include the main Kreuzlafette (cruciform mount), the separate outriggers and the core of the pedestal mount. Separate detail parts include multi-part lift hook mounts, leveling pads and their mounts, various cross-members, studs, slide-molded ground anchors, and, tiny pieces of conduit. A multi-part gun tube travel lock is provided. It features overall movement as well a separate, movable gun tube clamp.
This kit includes some accessories for diorama use. These consist of two wooden ammo boxes, which can be shown opened or closed, and four wicker ammo boxes that can also be shown opened or closed. To these are added six styrene full rounds and six spent round casings. These are all detailed with brass bases featuring tiny data etched into them.
Accuracy and Details.
Photos and drawings confirm the accuracy of the original FlaK37 bits in this kit. There are a hand-full of photographs of a version of the Behelfslafette in a couple of the references listed below. However, this kits Behelfslafette does not match these photographs in several particulars. The pedestal appears identical; the cruciform platform is quite different. It is presumed that there is more than one of these types of simplified cruciform platforms extant. It may safely be assumed, then, that DML has probably got it visually correct.
The decal sheet provides markings for gun tube kill-rings and decals for the fire control systems dial faces for an optional configuration. There are painting and finishing instructions for three different guns in a 1945 scenario, with the colors keyed to Gunze and Testors paints.
Molding, Fit and Engineering.
As I had previously constructed the upper portion of this kit, the FlaK37, for a T0T review, I can say that that part of the kit goes together well. I assembled the entire new Behelfslafette and encountered nary a problem that a bit of super glue and clamps couldnt fix. In addition, since artillery kits usually feature a number of in-scale moving parts (this one is no exception), the modeler will be rewarded by carefully cleaning and finishing the parts before paint is applied.