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Sd.Kfz.3a Maultier Half-Track mit 3.7cm FlaK 37

DML 1/35 Sd.Kfz.3a Maultier Half-Track mit 3.7cm FlaK 37 - Smart Kit First Look

By Cookie Sewell

Date of Review December 2012 Manufacturer DML
Subject Sd.Kfz.3a Maultier Half-Track mit 3.7cm FlaK 37 - Smart Kit Scale 1/35
Kit Number 6768 Primary Media 661 parts (447 in grey styrene, 197 "Magic Track" single links, 7 clear styrene, 8 etched brass, 2 window masks)
Pros Another low-rate conversion vehicle from combines two nice DML kits; modern, well molded state-of-the-art kit Cons Single track links nearly HO scale size!
Skill Level Experienced MSRP (USD) $49.95

First Look

When the Germans ran up against "General Mud" in Russia – especially during the "rasputitsa" spring thaw – they desperately needed more mobile vehicles to provide supply to forward units. One solution was to take reliable trucks and simply modify them to take a tracked drive system. One of the best known of these conversions was the Opel "Maultier" (mule) based on the 3 ton variant of the Blitz cargo trucks.

While DML's boutique affiliate likes to go after interesting conversions which either saw service in limited numbers or only as prototypes, this one seems to be a truly makeshift weapon. While the Opel Blitz was a sturdy chassis and the "Maultier" conversion made it more flexible, the use of a relatively heavy weapon firing from its cargo bed would not seem to promote long service life of the chassis components. I think that makes it easy to see why this was not a widespread conversion!

This time they have simply combined their recent Maultier kit with the 3.7 cm Flak 37 parts from the Sd.Kfz. 7/2 halftrack kit to create this conversion, and as such both kits have been vetted before and found to be very good.

For the Maultier, as with its predecessor Blitz cargo versions this is a typical DML kit of recent vintage with lots of slide molded parts – and far fewer of them than the armored vehicle kits. The kit includes a nicely done radiator shell with open bars and etched brass Opel Blitz badging. It comes with a complete engine and nicely done hood frame for opening the hood to view the engine. Also the driver's compartment is complete with all pedals, levers and "stick-on" instruments for the panel (A16). Doors have inside and outside handles and separate clear windows.

This kit receives a totally new chassis and suspension, with the multi-piece tires for the front and a fairly intricate rear suspension. The modeler gets both early (six bolt) and late (eight bolt) wheels to choose from as well. A new engine block and crankcase are provided for the modified drive line.

The four-plank body has complete underside bracing and mounts but has no troop seats. This is probably due to the folding sides, which DML designed for replication in the kit. Top bows for canvas are provided but only in their stowed position at the front of the body.

Where modelers will probably start to hate this kit is when they go to install the tracks. The ex-Panzer I links are very tiny – about the size of that of a medium tank in HO scale (1/87) and very, very petite. Each link is only 6mm x 3mm and there is not much surface for gluing provided, which translates as ACC cements are not a good idea. I would recommend some combination of Tamiya Orange and Green or even Testors Liquid Cement on them, and you will need to make a jig of some sort for best results. At least they provide 27 extra links for those of us with ten thumbs and a carpet monster!

For the 3.7 cm FlaK 37, this replicates the original issue of the kit. Like its predecessors the gun uses a slide molded barrel and flash hider. But unlike the previous DML antiaircraft gun offerings, this gun possesses free elevation and traverse and may be posed in any position the modeler chooses, unlike the others which only offered fixed options. However, it still only comes with 12 rounds loaded into its feed tray and no extra ammo racks or clips.

The model does come with masks for painting that cover the windshield, but also it provides the blast shield protection for the windshield and roof stiffener/deflector as etched brass components.

Technical support was provided by Tom Cockle and Gary Edmundson.

One finishing option is provided for the model: Unidentified Unit, Eastern Front 1942 (grey overall with whitewash camouflage, no markings and no registration number). A Cartograf "number jungle" and registration plate decal set is provided.

Overall, this kit offers a neat conversion of the very popular Maultier. But the tracks will frustrate some modelers.

Thanks to Freddie Leung.

Sprue Layout

  • A 16 Opel - cab, hood, fenders
  • B 16 Maultier - cargo body and sides
  • C 49 Opel - chassis, axles, running gear, engine
  • D 83 Opel - cab interior, handles, details, lights
  • E 17x2 Opel - wheels and tires
  • F 7 Opel - clear styrene
  • G 21 Opel - Early style body panel details and top bows
  • G 11 Opel - eight bolt/eight hole wheels
  • H 47 Maultier - chassis, drive axle
  • J 17 Maultier - engine, front wheels, details
  • J 14 Maultier - idlers, details
  • K 12x2 Maultier - suspension bogies
  • K 4x2 Maultier - road wheels
  • Z 197 Magic track single links
  • MA 6 Etched brass
  • MB 2 Etched brass
  • A 87 Flak 37 gun and carriage components
  • E 20 Flak 37 gun shield