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3 cm Flak 38/103 Jaboschreck w/Trailer

DML 1/35 3 cm Flak 38/103 Jaboschreck w/Trailer Kit First Look

By Cookie Sewell

Date of Review September 2006 Manufacturer DML
Subject 3 cm Flak 38/103 Jaboschreck w/Trailer Scale 1/35
Kit Number 6353 Primary Media 240 parts (172 in grey styrene, 63 etched brass, 5 pre-formed etched brass)
Pros Late-war German conversion weapon has interesting configuration; large number of detail parts Cons Obscure item; no crew figures
Skill Level Intermediate MSRP (USD) $19-$22

First Look

As WWII progressed, the Germans found themselves losing air supremacy and as such switching from being the hunters to being the hunted. The 9th Tactical Air Force in particular had a field day with retreating German formations, and at least the 3rd US Armored Division had a cab rank of at least four P-47s on call for each combat command during daylight hours in 1944.

The trusty 2cm guns were no longer as effective against them unless quadrupled, and the larger 3.7cm guns were few in number. Apparently the solution the Germans turned to was to convert aircraft cannon – here the powerful 3cm MK 103, a "lead slinger" which was very nasty in use by late-war German aircraft, was simply mounted on a converted 2cm Flak 38 carriage and used against the "Jabos" – fighter-bombers. The title given this piece - "Jaboschreck" – roughly translates as "fighter-bomber wrecker." (It should be noted that many free-roaming P-47 pilots only had a four hour combat career in 1945 thanks to weapons such as this and the quad 2cm weapons.)

DML has now done the same thing, taking its very nice 2cm Flak 38 and making the exact same conversion that was performed on the actual guns. Two of the sprues (C and D) in the original kit have been replaced with 34 new parts that replace the unneeded 2cm parts as well as 68 new etched brass parts, including pre-formed gun shields and cartridge casing catch bins.

Construction closely follows that of the earlier 2cm gun (kit number 6288, released in January 2006), and many of those parts are now excess (such as all of the 2cm magazines and clips) as well as the various dedicated 2cm bits on the Sonderanhaenger 51 two-wheel carrier trailer. The replacement parts include the MK 103, magazines and a belt of ammo plus single rounds, and the aforementioned new brass parts.

The MK 103 has a very complex muzzle brake to cut down on its vicious recoil (which was rumored to stop German fighters cold in mid air if four of them were fired at once) but DML has done a yeoman job to replicate it via "Slide Molding" of the parts. The gun itself consists of some 10 parts; note that the use of etched brass is unfortunately mandatory for the gun's muzzle brake and shell feed chute. A choice of either styrene or etched brass gun shields is provided, however.

As with the 2cm gun the modeler is offered one of four fixed elevations: 0, 20, 40 or 60 degrees, and appropriate parts are provided from the 2cm kit for the elevation gear to fix the gun in one of those positions.

The trailer is the same, with two-part wheels with fair representation of the tread pattern.

One finishing option is provided, a generic Panzerbraun on the Eastern Front in 1945. A small but busy Cartograf decal sheet provides a number of options for use on the gun shield and barrel, such as kill rings, victory silhouettes, or even Eisenkreuz stencils.

Overall a nice if somewhat obscure antiaircraft gun that should find a home on a number of dioramas. It is a shame that it, like the 2cm, does not come with a crew set.

Thanks to DML for the review sample.