Heavy Anti-Aircraft Gun
|Kit #: 6158||Construction review by Rob Haelterman|
We've had quite a number of reviews of other 8.8cm Flak 18/36/37 kits on On The Way over the years, and I gladly refer to them for an introduction about this weapon:
come to like the new releases by Zvezda. Not only are they cheap,
but they also assemble easily, are reasonably well-detailed (considering
that they are actually meant for wargaming, we could say that they
are very well detailed), while the poses of the figures are realistically
done and chosen such that they make for an instant vignette.
One other thing I appreciate about Zvezda's offerings is that they are no box of chocolates as the images on the back show exactly what you will get. Furthermore, the boxart generally corresponds very well to the content as well and helps with painting.
comes with four figures: two loaders, a gunner and a commander, all
in poses that correspond to the ground firing role. I understand that
the typical crew of an 8.8cm Flak consisted of a dozen people.
carriage for the gun is not given, while the only ammunition that
is provided are the two rounds held by the loaders.
Assembly can be done without the use of glue, even though most modelers will choose to apply a few drops after all, just in case. The plastic is hard enough to be cut, scraped and sanded, and soft enough to react well to most standard glues.
Rather untypically for Zvezda, we get decals for two marking options. The marking option with the kill rings on the barrel is rather generic, while the other with the scoreboard on the gun shield seems to be based on a well-known picture. (Timothy Lau points out that another picture of this gun exists, showing that it was equipped with the monoblock barrel, which the kit doesn't provide.)
A painting guide is not given, but the boxtop can help, showing the gun in Dunkelgrau, which is entirely accurate for any early to mid war setting, but as the gun was in use right until the last days of the war, a modeler preferring Dunkelgelb will not be left out in the cold. Even then, I feel a bit of extra help in the form of color call-outs for gun and crew might not have been unwelcome for some.
The instructions are simple, but more than adequate, and very clear.
Based on Al Magnus' identification guide (vide supra), this kit depicts a Flak 36, not a Flak 37, which means that the boxtop is not entirely correct (even though the instruction sheet more accurately only mentions "Flak 36"). For a wargaming kit, you will get a highly detailed and generally accurate Flak 36 however. A case in point are the rivets which seem just right for this scale. The inevitable ejector marks are strategically placed where they will easily be removed.
Even though the engineering of the kit is such that the barrel can be put at any elevation, the equilibrators' position corresponds to a low elevation, but the needle indicator would only be correct for a high elevation. The crew's position, on the other hand, is definitely only correct for the ground firing role. This is confirmed by the observation that the shield for the direct firing optics is in the open position. The way the kit is engineered also allows for easy omission of the shield, as sometimes seen in wartime pictures.
The ground anchors are stowed on the outriggers, while I assume they would have been driven into the ground (just outside of the outriggers' base plates) when firing, except perhaps in an emergency. (It is noteworthy that these anchors are driven in the ground in the boxart.)
The gun barrel, while very nicely rendered with a convincing collar, will get an accuracy boost if the business end is hollowed out.
are nicely sculpted, as we've come to expect from Zvezda, and the
gun itself is nicely detailed. They wear the early war M1936 tunic.
Zvezda has paid attention to the details as one of the loaders wears
gloves protecting him from the heat of spent rounds. The rounds themselves,
on the other hand, are rather on the small side.
rounds for the Flak 36 were the same as those of the KwK36. A complete
Pzgr.Patr. for that gun should measure 873mm (12.12mm in 1/72) .
The rounds in this Zvezda kit are only 10.23mm long. The calibre is
very close to 88mm, though.
Construction is very easy, as can be expected from a snap-together kit with few pieces, but don't be fooled, Zvezda has had to make next to no compromises to end up with a well-detailed result. Compared to the Hasegawa kit for instance, Zvezda includes the supports for the gun shield, which admittedly need to be glued if they are to be used. One also has to note that Al Magnus complained about the over-engineering (with too many subassemblies) of the Revell kit. The Zvezda kit sits on the opposite side of the spectrum in this respect.
A few things that might be worth pointing out:
I didn't use the crew on this gun, as I needed it for another project. Incidentally, this allowed me to build the gun at a certain elevation, corresponding to the needle indicator and gun equilibrator configuration. My idea behind this was that the gun was being used in a dual role, having last fired at Jabos, but with the direct firing sight still open from recent anti-tank combat.
Compared with the Revell Flak 36, which can be considered the best Flak 36 currently on the market, this kit has some pros and contras:
I painted the gun dark grey and added decals from Fantasy Printshop.
 Tigr boevoe primenenie germanskih tjaelyh tankov (cyrillic), Tornado.
 Dreaded Threat, the 8.8cm Flak 18/36/37 in the Anti-Tank Role, T.L. Jentz, Panzer Tracts
 www.toadmanstankpictures.com/88.htm (The gun is missing a few parts, and while labelled as a Flak 36, it's actually a Flak 37 with Flakrohr 18)
 www.primeportal.net/artillery/gunther_neumahr/flak_36/ (While labelled as a Flak 36, it's actually a Flak 37)
Review sample purchased by the author.