Dragon 1/35 Flakpanzer 38(t) ausf L 'Gepard'

KIT: Dragon 1/35 Flakpanzer 38(t) ausf L 'Gepard'
KIT #: 6469
PRICE: $
DECALS: Six options
REVIEWER: Scott Van Aken
NOTES: Smart Kit

HISTORY

The Flakpanzer 38(t) was designed around the chassis of the Czech-built LT-38 tank and was built from November 1943 to February 1944, entering service in 1944. As the vehicle used the 38(t) Ausf M chassis, the engine was near the middle of the vehicle and the armament was placed at the rear in a specially designed armoured section. The upper part folding down to allow 360 degree traverse at low elevation. During World War II, a total of 141 Flakpanzer 38(t)s were built, including the single prototype vehicle.

The Flakpanzer 38(t) was intended to be issued to the anti-aircraft Platoon of each tank Regiment in a Panzer division. Most of the Flakpanzer 38(t)'s were issued to Panzer Divisions on the Western Front, the remainder served on the Eastern Front. An example user being the 12th SS Panzer Division.

Later in the war, the Flakpanzer 38(t)'s single 2 cm FlaK main armament was no longer sufficient to ward off enemy aircraft, and it became an easy prey for Allied fighter-bombers.

As its folding structure allowed a very low (-5) elevation the Flakpanzer 38(t) was often used against enemy infantry and unarmoured or lightly armoured vehicles.

THE KIT

Dragon very much wants to be your armor model company and has been striving over the last few years to provide the most accurate kits that it can. The research they put into these latest batch of kits shows that they are doing all they can to provide a kit as accurate as can be.

This Sd.Kfz 140 Flakpanzer 38(t) ausf L shows a considerable number of innovations and improvements. For instance, the fighting compartment's armor plating is as close to scale  thickness as can be molded. The rest of the kit shows that they have paid attention to detail with a full interior, an engine for the power compartment, modifications to the 20mm flak 38 to bring things up to specs and much more.

As part of the Smart Kit series, there is all you need right in the box without need for aftermarket. The Magic Track individual link track system is one of the best around. There are several photo etch sheets  for various detail bits and includes several pre-formed screens as part of the spent shell catch basket. There are alternate gun sights, the engine compartment can have its covers left open to show engine detail and the main gun can be posed in several optional angles, each with different parts to correspond to each position.

The instructions are quite complete and well drawn. Gunze and Model Master paint references are provided throughout the 19 construction steps, several of which have detail drawings of some of the more complex assemblies. Markings are provided for six vehicles, some of which are unidentified, and all are from France in 1944, most with the 12.Pz.Div. A variety of camouflage schemes are given. There is little actually used in the way of decals so the small sheet is more than adequate as basically insignia are it, though a couple sport a number.

CONCLUSIONS

This truly is not a kit for the beginner as there are over 540 parts, some of them quite small. But if you are one who is looking for accuracy and detail, then this one is for you.

REFERENCES

http://en.wikipedia.org

January 2008

If you would like your product reviewed fairly and fairly quickly, please contact the editor or see other details in the Note to Contributors.

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