|REVIEWER:||Scott Van Aken|
Antiaircraft defense became very important with the advent of powerful air forces in WWII. As the war progressed, the German side was frantic for weapons to oppose Allied aircraft on both fronts, and so they tried mounting weapons, including the famous 8.8cm cannon, on any functioning chassis. One such makeshift solution placed a FlaK 36 gun on the chassis of a Panzer IV Ausf.H tank chassis. Mounted high atop the hull and without any stabilizer jacks, this was clearly an ad hoc solution that was not destined to enter production. Furthermore, there was no protection whatsoever for the crew.
Several years back, this was kitted by Cyberhobby. Apparently there were issues and so now Dragon has produced it using the latest and greatest tooling. This is basically a combination of the Panzer IV kit along with their FlaK 36 kit as well as the new mount required for this vehicle.
It means that there will be quite a few bits left over as Dragon uses mostly extant sprues to produce this one. A few things of note is that this version has the DS tracks and so that keeps the parts count down to about 330 pieces. Some of the features are three different gun barrels, the ability of the gun to recoil, open or closed driver and radio operator hatches, open or closed engine hatches, open or closed fuel cap and some other nice options.
There are two small photo etch frets included, though these items are limited to duplicating the breech brace that fits on the back of the vehicle. A small length of chain is also supplied. As usual with kits of this kind, there will be some modification of the kit bits in order the properly model this one, though none of it is very onerous and anyone who can build a kit like this should be able to pull it off without any issues.
Instructions are nicely done and a bit crowded so one will have to pay attention during construction. In addition to showing modifications, additional placement diagrams are provided for areas that may be a bit unclear. The decal sheet consists of three insignia and all four markings options are different and from 'Unidentified Unit, Germany, 1945. Sufficient differences in camouflage scheme are provided to give you the ability to do something interesting.
Those who are fans of either the Panzer IV or mobile AA guns will want to have this one in their collection. It is unusual enough to draw the interest of just about any military modeler.
Thanks to www.dragonmodelsusa.com for the preview kit. You can find this kit at your favorite hobby shop or on-line retailer.
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