by: Guido Hopp [ ]
The 2cm Flak 38 was developed by Mauser to succeed the Rheinmetall 2cm Flak 30 being phased-out after 1939. With an increased rate of fire by more than 30% and an unprecedented reliability, even under toughest conditions, the gun was to become a mainstay piece of equipment of the German army, navy and air force.
Soon it became evident that the limited size of the ammunition would set limits to the gun’s performance. To expand the weapons capacities the gun was arranged in twins and quads. In the quad arrangement the Flak 38 was able to hurl 1800 rounds per minute at the enemy, each one with a muzzle velocity of 900m/s. The quad was used in a variety of vehicles, in armoured trains and as towed artillery. A navalised version was in widespread use on German ships. The 2cm Flak 38 Vierling built a reputation, especially being used against low flying planes, but as well was a fearsome weapon against soft skinned targets.
Tamiya’s kit of the towed 2cm Flak 38 Vierling on Sd.Ah 52 has been around for what seems to be an eternity. By 2009 new kits started to enter the market, threatening to make a gazillion of kits in modeller’s kit stashes all over the world obsolete: Who would want to build one of the olds dogs with brand new kits in state of the art molding technology becoming available?
As these new kits were put out onto the shelves, Lion Roar dedicated a full detail set to just that Tamiya kit. “Super Detail Sets” of Lion Roar promise a high level of detail with all essential bits and pieces delivered in one box.
Inside the black and gold box you’ll find detailed assembly instructions, 4 resin parts, 4 lathe turned and machined parts, 7 sheets of photo etch, a length of .3mm brass rod and a length of .5mm styrene rod. Immediately one wonders how much of the original kit will be left after putting on all that jewelry.
The 4-page instruction sheet illustrates the assembly in isometric drawings. The 3-coloured print helps to understand each step. Upon initial checking the steps of assembly are clearly illustrated. However, some parts on the sheets are not addressed at all.
The four cast breaches of the gun are protected by cellular foam. The parts are finely detailed and flawlessly cast. The casting stubs are thin and can be easily removed with a hobby knife and a bit of sanding. The joints to accept the lathe turned gun barrels are too shallow, so you’ll need to drill them or you need to cut the stubs on the barrels.
The lathe turned and machined brass barrels are flawless and feature flash suppressor slits and a finely drilled muzzle.
The photo etched sheets are protected by cardboard layers and small polybags and are wrapped up in bubble wrap. As was to be expected, the relief etch sheets are of high quality featuring fine surface detail and recessed folding lines. Great care seems to have been administered in reproducing the training and laying mechanism. A wealth of parts are supplied for both the gun and the trailer.
A nice feature is the 12 ready-ammo clips and 6 ammo containers. Unfortunately for the latter there is no assembly instruction to be found anywhere. So should we count ourselves lucky that one of the containers is shown in detail on the box top picture?
I like the set, because it promises to provide me with a lot of modelling fun. The quality is of the usual high standard. But the prices I have seen charged for the set are nothing short of ridiculous! Up to this point I have seen it sell for 12(!) times the price of the Tamiya base kit of the Vierling, or 6 times the price of a brand new Dragon or Trumpeter kit! Frankly, I can’t see an economic future of this set. It’s doomed to become a collector’s item, I fear.