Great Wall Models 1/35 3.7 cm Flak 43
|REVIEWER:||Scott Van Aken|
|NOTES:||Includes photo etch|
WThe 3.7 cm FlaK 43 was one of a series of medium-caliber anti-aircraft cannon produced by Nazi Germany and which saw widespread service in the Second World War. The cannon was fully automatic and effective against aircraft flying at altitudes of 4200 meters and lower. The cannon was produced in both towed and self-propelled versions. Unbound by flexible doctrine, the Germans used the Flak 43, among other anti-aircraft pieces, in ground support roles as well. With Germany's defeat, production of the Flak 43 ceased, and overall, 37-mm caliber anti-aircraft cannon fell into gradual disuse, being replaced by existing 40-mm Bofors guns, and later, 35-mm anti-aircraft pieces produced by Switzerland.
As Allied air power grew dramatically during the mid-period of the war, the 20 mm quad-mount proved to have too little power and the 37 mm was turned to as its replacement. Not content with the existing versions, Rheinmetall-Borsig and Krupp were asked to produce a new version that was less expensive.
Krupp initially won the contract, but at the last moment the Krupp design developed weaknesses and Rheinmetall-Borsig got the award. This immediately resulted in the factional wrangling in the Nazi party that often beset German wartime industrial production, so by the time Rheinmetall-Borsig was actually able to go ahead well over a year had passed. The design partially able to made up for the delay, however, as it was produced with stampings, welding and simple components in the same way as submachine guns. The production time for a gun was cut by a factor of four.
The new 3.7 Flak 43 was a dramatic improvement over the older models. A new gas-operated breech improved the firing rate to 250 RPM, while at the same time dropping in weight to 1247 kg. It was also produced in a twin-gun mount, the 3.7 cm Flakzwilling 43, although this version was considered somewhat unwieldy and top-heavy.
The Flak 37 could be found in some numbers mounted to the ubiquitous Sd.Kfz. 7 or (later) the sWS. The newer Flak 43 was almost always used in a mobile mounting. Most famous of these were the converted Panzer IV's, first the "interim" M÷belwagen, and later the Ostwind, which was considered particularly deadly.
Compared to its closest Allied counterpart, the 40 mm Bofors, the Flak 43 had over double the firing rate, could set up in much smaller spaces, and was considerably lighter when considering the gun and mount together. Although the weapon was complete in 1942, production did not start until 1944. About 928 single and 185 double versions were produced by end of the war.
Great Wall is part of the Lion Roar company and as such has produced some very nicely done and highly detailed kits. This one is no exception. Molded in their usual grey plastic, each different sprue is individually bagged. One of the sprues is duplicated so those two are together. This kit has the rather nice feature of having the tire molded in several concentric pieces so there is no loss of tread pattern when they are assembled.
The Flak 43 is apparently designed to be able to be moved in elevation and perhaps in azimuth as well according to the instruction. There is a photo etch fret included. It is mostly for the shell catching basket, but there are other smaller items included as well. Nothing major so those with a phobia about p.e. should find this to be rather straight forward.
In addition to the gun there is the Sd.Ah 58 trailer included. The gun can be built mounted on this trailer or separate from it. Unlike many other guns, there is no complex set of braces and mounts for setting it in the firing position so one could theoretically build it and have it removable from the trailer.
Instructions are quite well done with clearly done drawings. Typically, there is no painting info provided during construction and really, none afterwards. One goes by the box art and paints it in panzer yellow. No decals are provided and none are needed.
This is really quite a nice kit. It is very detailed and well worth the price paid for it. It will look great by itself or being towed by a vehicle.
Thanks to www.dragonmodelsusa.com for the preview kit. Get yours today at your local shop or on-line retailer.
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