by: Kevin Brant [ ]
Towards the end of World War 2, Germany was putting together many unusual vehicles to help defend the Homeland. Once such vehicle involved mounting an 8.8cm Flak 36 onto a Panzer IV chassis. While there are some pictures of the vehicles out there, there does not seem to be a lot of information as to the numbers built and units they were assigned to.
Dragon Models, having previously released the kit under the Cyber Hobby name, Dragon Models now re-release a kit of this unusual vehicle in their standard packaging and 1/35 scale .
22 Plastic Sprues
1 Clear Plastic Sprue
1 Small Fret of Photo-etched
1 Small length of Scale Chain
1 Small Decal Sheet
For those who have built previous Dragon Models Pz.Kpfw.IV related kits and/or the 8.8cm Flak 18/36 kits, you will find a lot of recognizable sprues and parts in this kit. The plastic parts are the typical well done and fine moldings from Dragon Models. A scan of the parts found no defects with the provided sample kit.
As mentioned, the kit is made up from lots of parts from previously released kits, boxed up to make this unique vehicle. While most of the chassis parts are directly from Pz.Kpfw.IV kits, a sprue labelled Brummbar is included. As for the 8.8cm Flak, the parts are directly from the Dragon Models gun kits. A quick look at the sprue layout diagram in the instructions show that while there are a lot of sprues, some sprues are provided for only a couple of parts, and this should make your spares box happy.
The chassis assembly, from the instructions, looks to be very close, if not identical, to previous Pz.IV kits, and from past experience with some of these kits, should not provide any issues with assembly. The only new parts for this kit would include the upper deck for the mounting of the 8.8cm gun.
As for the gun itself, assembly looks to resemble the previous releases of the kit. As I have a few 8.8cm kits in my stash, I have not built any, so this will be a first. The gun parts do look to be very well detailed, and should build into a nice looking Flak. The kit does provide the option of the Flak 18 or Flak 38, with two barrels included. The barrels are molded as one piece, with slide molded hollow end. There is also the option for different breech assemblies, so when building ensure to study the instructions to ensure correct option parts are used.
As for extra details parts, Dragon Models included a very small fret of photo-etched, mainly to build the gun barrel lock assembly. There is also a small length of chain for detail on the gun assembly. The kit does include clear plastic for view ports as well. Another detail item that could have made for a better kit is to have supplied some ammunition and ammunition boxes, again aftermarket to add the detail.
The dreaded DS tracks are included in the kit. While liked by some and hated by others, they do provide a quick option to track the vehicle, and do look rather well done. When I build this vehicle, I will be replacing the track with an aftermarket option.
The instruction sheet looks like typical Dragon Models fashion, looking straight forward, with some busy steps. And I will repeat, from experience, always test fit as Dragon Models instructions are known to include some inaccuracies when it comes to assembly steps and/or part numbers. For painting and markings, the instructions do provide four paint schemes for unidentified unit in Germany, 1945, and a tiny decal sheet with three Balkenkreuz only.
Overall this is a good collection of previously released Dragon Models parts to build this unusual vehicle. As per Dragon Models, the parts are very well molded and the kit does include some nice details. As mentioned this kit was previously released as a CyberHobby kit, which did include many more details, including extra photo-etched parts and Magic Track. The new Smart Kit from Dragon Models looks to be a 'cheaper' knock off of that previously released kit. I would recommend this kit for fans of the unusual German vehicles, and for those who can't find nor afford the high prices found online for the previous limited edition release.
Note: I will be starting a build log shortly for this kit for those interested in see how it builds.