Tristar German 20mm Flak 38 and
Sd.Ah. 51, Item 35010
by Frank De Sisto
Tristar German 20mm Flak 38 and Sd.Ah. 51, Item 35010. Contains 89 injection-molded
styrene parts, six pages of instructions in eight steps and two waterslide
decal options. Price: $20.00 USD, plus shipping.
There are already two other Flak 38 kits on the market; one from Tamiya
and the other from Italeri. So Tristar’s choice for their latest
full kit would at first seem a bit odd. But I believe there are reasons
why they have chosen to tool up for this latest release. First, although
both previous kits are fairly well done, with the older Tamiya offering
being my choice for the better of the two kits, time, and injection-molding
technology have indeed marched on; this new kit illustrates that point
in an excellent fashion. Secondly, it would not take very much for Tristar
to combine this Flak 38 kit and their previously released Pz.Kpw. I Ausf.
A kit, in order to produce a Flakpanzer I.
Upon opening the box, one is confronted with a single small sprue with
commendably thin shields for the gun and parts for the ready magazine
tray. Another sprue contains parts for the Sd.Ah. 51 trailer, while the
final sprue contains the gun itself, as well as some accessories that
would commonly be seen with the gun. These last parts consist of a carrying
case for spare 2cm gun tubes and four ammunition boxes with separate lids.
One box can be posed open and includes representations of 2cm magazines
The trailer consists of a single molding for the main frame and fenders,
to which the detail parts are attached. These include various storage
boxes, handles and towing gear, as well as spring/axle combinations and
finally, the wheels with tires.The Flak 38 itself can be assembled with
the gun tube in either traveling or firing configuration. This is facilitated
by the provision of two different arms for the gun sight linkage. But
it is then not movable in elevation. The Flakvisor sight itself includes
the telescopic sight as well as the reflex sight, something the Tamiya
kit does not provide (it only contains the reflex sight). The gun can
rotate freely if displayed in a firing position. There are also four 2cm
magazines included, one of which is to be fitted to the gun’s receiver.
The others can be left in the ready ammo tray.
Overall, molding is quite crisp, while parts breakdown allows for maximum
detail. There is a noticeable absence of ejector pin marks on visible
surfaces, while mold seams on the trailer frame and gun platform are in
precisely the places that weld seams are to be seen on the prototype.
I conducted a dry fit of several major components; the fit was quite precise.
Slide mold technology is used to provide for complete details on the accessory
ammunition boxes. It is also used in a rather unique way to provide for
a single piece 2cm gun tube that already has the bore drilled out. Usually
when this is done, the sprue makes a “bend” so that the sliding
part can do its job. But, in this case, there is a small hole, through
the center of the sprue, where a rod passes through. Good show Tristar!
There is also a rather large open space on this sprue, indicating, perhaps,
a future modification or addition. Stay tuned.
The instructions are quite clear and completely adequate for what is
essentially a rather simple kit. The tiny decal sheet provides for two
different styles of “kill” markings, both in white, which
are meant to be placed on the gun’s shield. Colors are keyed to
Tamiya, Gunze and Humbrol paints, while three generic schemes are depicted
in color on the back of the box. They are for a dark grey, dark yellow
or winter whitewash gun and trailer. Finally, credit is given to Tom Jentz
and Tony Greenland for the kit’s design. So, somebody was doing
This gun can be used in a number of ways. It can be mounted on a variety
of vehicles from trucks, heavy cars and tank chassis, to half-tracks.
It can also be towed behind many different vehicles. It can be mounted
on a sled or railroad car, a bunker or field emplacement.
In short, the only limit to what can be done with this kit is the modeler’s
imagination. I plan on mounting my sample on the Italeri Sd.Kfz. 10, along
with other improvements to that particular kit. With all this going for
this kit, what else can I say but: highly recommended.
CHESAPEAKE MODEL DESIGNS
As well as manufacturing their own line of resin kits and conversion sets,
Chesapeake Model Designs (CMD) is the US Importer and distributor of Tristar
products, and will ship worldwide. For more information see their web
site at: www.chesapeakemodels.com.
Phone/fax number is: 410-357-5496, NEW email: email@example.com.