World War Two was the war where airplanes changed the balance of power on the battlefield.
At first, Germany enjoyed air superiority in Poland and later France, but beginning with the invasion of the Soviet Union in 1941, the Wehrmacht saw a need to deploy anti-aircraft guns into a fluid battlefield situation. The Germans employed a variety of gun platforms, including pulled arrays, and mounted on trucks, softskins and tank chassis. The advantages of a vehicle-mounted gun vs. one that was towed and had to be set up to fire were apparent, and as the war progressed, more and more vehicle-mounted AA guns appeared.
One of the more successful was the Sd.Kfz. 10 chassis, starting with the 2cm FlaK 30 and later taking on the Flak 38 (the Sd.Kfz. 10/4 and 10/5 respectively). The army was dubious about the stopping power of the small 2cm projectile, but the gun proved very useful when used against infantry.
Dragon has released two versions of the Sd.Kfz.10/5 that was fitted with the 2cm FlaK 38, and now Griffon Model has brought out what is likely the ultimate upgrade set.
Inside a 7" x 3" box are:
5 glassine envelopes containing 20 frets of brass photo etch
1 glassine of:
7 resin parts (shovel, wire cutters, pick and hatchet, along with a gear box cover and 2 hand wheels)
2 brass shift lever knobs
2 widths of ABS plastic rounds
14 pages of detailed instructions
If you hate PE in your kits, this set definitely isn't for you. But if you want the ultimate in upgrades, this one comes pretty close.
Griffon Model has perhaps the best photo etch sets on the market, with thick brass where to-scale, and dense detailing. Their "mesh" sides for the Sd.Kfz.7/1, for example, blow the doors off other PE "mesh" for that kit, since in reality, it wasn't mesh at all but thin slats. They have the same to-scale "slat mesh" for the 10/5
The focus of the set is the gun, its shields and the load bed. The kit does not include the slat "mesh" sides, instead relying on the kit-supplied PE mesh. The gun details include ammo magazines and containers which will add realism to any build.
This set also replaces many of the items in DML kits that are molded-on (like tool clamps), and add details to the engine compartment, dashboard and interior. Other nice touches include resin tools; while modifying a kit's tools isn't a deal breaker, it's nice with a set this extensive (and expensive) to be able to avoid the clean-up required in putting a brass blade on a shovel, for example.
Another good touch is the brass sling for the hood-mounted Kar. 98 rifles from the kit, or the brass shift lever knobs. All of it adds lovely touches to your build.
The directions are overall pretty clear, though they are combined from separate sets, so make sure you go through them carefully prior to assembly. I usually keep the PE set instructions and the kit instructions side-by-side and mark sub-assemblies with PE in yellow so I don't inadvertently run a "stop sign" and glue in place something that's discarded or modified with brass.
About the only thing lacking in the set is a turned aluminum barrel, though these are easy and cheap-enough to pick up if you feel the necessity. For those who prefer one-stop-shopping, Griffon has a second, slightly more-expensive set (BPL36011) that includes Otherwise this is an upgrade set that establishes a standard of completeness and quality that other manufacturers will have to meet.