Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Military Illustrated Modeller 10/2014

The Flakpanzer 38(t) was based on the Panzer 38(t) Ausf M chassis developed for Marder III production and mounted the proven Flak 38 to the rear. Folding side plates allowed the gun to be fired at both aerial and ground targets. The Czech manufacturer BMM completed over 140 examples with many being operated against Allied 'Jabo' (jagdbomber) fighters during the 1944 Normandy campaign. Tristar have an excellent track record with the Panzer 38(t) having produced various versions of the original gun tank with full interiors. In addition, they have released three versions of the Flak 38 providing early and late versions. This Flakpanzer is therefore a logical combination with elements taken from these previous releases plus four new sprues providing the superstructure and Ausf M hull. The quality of the new parts is perfectly acceptable, but in a few areas, the definition is not quite as sharp as seen with the original Panzer 38(t) or Flak 38 kits. Construction starts with the hull and interior fittings. Inspection of the inner sidewalls and floor reveals a number of deep ejector-pin marks that will require filling. Accessing these areas to sand away filler while not damaging the raised joint flanges can prove challenging, so I chose to remove all the raised detail, fill and sand the marks then re-instate the flanges with plastic card. Adding the flange detail after assembling the hull has the added advantage of covering any joins in the corners. The 'punch & die' set was used extensively to add the many tiny rivet heads seen on the finished model. The interior parts provided by Tristar are exceptionally well detailed, especially the gearbox and steering levers. The latter are made up of a sandwich of brass levers and spacers that are best threaded onto an appropriate diameter plastic spindle and clamped together before adding a small amount of cyano glue to secure the assembly. This can then be secured to the plastic housing with a little more cyano glue.

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