Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Sd.Kfz. 7, Flak 36 & kommandogerät 40

Aircraft play an important role in warfare since 1914 and since that time weapons are developed to counter the threat from aircraft. This can be done very well by other aircraft but they are not always around when you need them. In the past communication between aircraft and ground forces could also be difficult so there are reasons enough to be able to fight off aircraft from the ground.

One of the most famous anti-aircraft guns is the German Flak 18/36/37 used by the Germans during WWII (Flak means Flugzeugabwehrkanone or Aircraft Repelling Cannon in English). 3 variants of this gun exist, the Flak 18 was the first version and was used during the Spanish Civil war. Experiance led too a few minor modifications and this improved version of the gun was called Flak 36. It features 2 Sd.Ah 202 limbers instead of one enabling the gun to be fired while still on it's limbers. Other modifications include a slightly other barrel construction to allow for easier maintenance. The Flak 37 had a different targeting system allowing for even better communications with the kommandogerät 40, an analog targeting computer which could simultaneously direct the fire of the 4 Flak 36's in a battery.

The Flak variants where able to shoot 15 to 20 shells a minute and could fire a large range of different shells. The weapon was quite heavy and had be moved by quite a heavy truck or half track like the Sd.Kfz.7. Despite it's weight it took just under 3 minutes to put the gun in place and start firing shells.
Although designed as an anti-aircraft weapon the Flak 18/36/37 was also used very successfully as an anti-tank weapon. In the beginning of WWII the guns mounted in german tanks where not able to penetrate the armour of heavy allied tanks like the matilda. The Flak variants where used for this purpose because no other weapons where availible. This turned out to be such a succes that special AT ammunition for the Flak variants was developed. A tank mounted variant of this gun, the KwK 36, was also used in the Tiger I.

Revell produces a model of the Flak 36 with Sd.Ah.202 limbers and a kommandogerät 40 with it's Sd.Ah 52 (kit. no. 03174). A real bargain for just €15,00. At €11,50 the Sd.Kfz. 7 is also availible (for a review click here).

The Flak 36 set is a difficult model to make. The gun it self in made out of 85 parts, the Sd.An.202 limbers out of 35 parts each and the targeting computer with it's limber consists out of 40 parts. The grant total is about 200 parts of which 30 can be calles 'medium size' the rest of them is simply said small. The set is molded on 4 big sprues and when you're finished a few no needed parts remain. This set is a lot of work to make and I recommend to build it over several days. It breaks down in 4 subsets so this shouldn't be to difficult.
The fit and detail of all those tiny parts is outstanding however! I can't point out a single flaw or shortcoming. This is really one of Revell's best armor releases in 1/72 ever and indeed one of the best in this scale by any brand. The only thing not in scale is the thickness of the gunshield. It can be molded whit the correct thickness but the part would be to thin to handle. This really is a limitation in the material used.

Like the Sd.Kfz.7 the Flak 36 is used on every front during WWII so it can be painted in any color used during WWII. I painted mine in sand yellow and panzergrey to represend a vehicle used eary in the war.

On to the pictures!
The Sd.Kfz.7:

The Flak 36:

The kommandogerät 40:

The whole set and a Krupp Protze quickly repainted for these photo's:

The Sd.Kfz.7 is recommended, for beginners also. The Flak 36 is highly recommended by not for beginners.

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