Trumpeter 1/35 2cm Flakvierling 38 Auf Selbstfahrlafette (Sd.Kfz.7/1) Kit First Look
By Michael Benolkin
|Date of Review||April 2009||Manufacturer||Trumpeter|
|Subject||Sd.Kfz.7 + FlaK 38||Scale||1/35|
|Kit Number||1523||Primary Media||Styrene, Photo-Etch|
|Skill Level||Intermediate||MSRP (USD)||$69.95|
The Sonderkraftfahrzeug (Sd.Kfz.) 7 was an eight-ton-class German half-track designed in the mid-1930s to serve as the prime mover for artillery pieces like the 8.8cm FlaK and 15cm sFH.18 howitzer. The vehicle was designed to provide the capability to move its gun, gun crew, and a supply of ammunition wherever needed on the battlefield.
The Sd.Kfz.7/1 was a Selbstfarlafette (self-propelled gun carriage) for the quad 20mm FlaK 38 gun mounted on the rear of the vehicle. These deadly gun systems provided the German forces in the field with an air defense umbrella against roving allied straffers and low-level raiders. While this gun system was effective against aircraft that wandered into range, these vehicles had to be deployed around an area to be protected to effectively engage those that would dare to attack the target(s) that these guns were charged with protecting.
Early versions of this vehicle were distinguishable by the standard open cab of the prime mover. The vehicle was later produced with an armored cab to protect the driver from incoming fire from the allied fighters strafing thise guns to silence them. The gun crew had the protection of the armored shield that surrounds the front of the guns.
It is hard to believe that it has been almost a year since Trumpeter first released their 1/35 scale Sd.Kfz.7 half-track kit.
The kit consists of 985 parts (according to the specs) molded in light gray styrene and presented on 12 parts trees. The track is composed of individual track links molded in brown styrene and presented on eight parts trees. One tree of clear parts, also in styrene, provide windshields and lenses. Five frets of photo-etched details and three rubber tires round out this kit.
So what's different about this release? Well this kit naturally shares about five of the original nine parts trees representing the chassis and engine, plus the eight trees of track links and one of the two original photo-etch frets. That means we have seven new gray parts trees and four new photo-etch frets. In short, this isn't last year's half-track.
The Maybach engine and transmission/transfer case are the same super-detailed kits of their own right, and these mount into the common chassis frame. The winch system, suspension, fuel tanks, and even front fenders are all in common with the first release.
The differences begin with the new cab and flatbed that mounts behind the cab. The flatbed has mesh-covered siderails that fold down on the sides and rear to extend the flatbed out to a gun platform. The instructions only show you how to assemble the siderails in the stowed position, but these are positionable.
The same is true of the engine hood - the sides of the hood are separately molded, but the top is molded as one piece, so if you want to pose the hood open, you'll have to cut the hood top in half (along the hinge line of course) and then fold the hood open. Or you can use a photo-etched hood replacement to achieve scale thickness as well.
The windshield is stowable because you don't want to be sitting in the cab or have that windshield up if the gun crew is fixated on a target moving out ahead of the vehicle...
Among the other new parts in this kit is a completely new tool FlaK 38 quad 20mm gun that sits on the pedestal at the center of the flatbed. The guns are nicely detailed with separate ammo clips, sight, recoil mechanisms, crew seats, ammo racks, and operator controls. Of course the shielding for the guns is all photo-etch!
The other new kit in this box is the Sd.Ahnlaenger 51 ammunition trailer. The trailer has a compartmented interior with ammo boxes stowed in one of the compartments and the top is molded separately, but like some of the other features in this kit, the top is positionable even though the instructions don't show you.
Among the wealth of details and features in this kit:
- Detailed engine and compartment
- Detailed cab
- Removable hood
- Positionable windshield
- Movable front wheels
- Individual track links
- New quad gun system
- New ammo trailer
- Positionable side rails
- Photo-etch details
Trumpeter provides the paint colors using equivalent colors from Gunze Sangyo, Vallejo, Testor Model Master, Tamiya, and Humbrol. Nice job guys!
Four different vehicles are portrayed with these markings:
- Two Luftwaffe gun mounts
- One Wehrmacht gun mount
- One SS gun mount
The color profile depicts the vehicle in panzer gray overall, which is accurate for all vehicles produced up to a certain point late in the war, but these vehicles were all individually camouflaged to blend in to the surrounding terrain and season (no point in having the gun system if every straffer can see you against the background).
This is another very impressive model. Trumpeter has created a masterpiece in this box and they must have hit a nerve because DML is responding with their own version of this vehicle. Let the half-track wars begin!
My sincere thanks to Stevens International for this review sample!