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Alan Ltd's Gepard Flakpanzer 38(t)

by Tor Riley

Brief history

The Flakpanzer 38(t) was another attempt to provide anti-aircraft protection for German armoured units, and mounted a 2cm FlaK 38 medium AA gun. The engine was moved to the centre of the vehicle and the superstructure extended to the rear to accommodate the gun platform. The armour around the fighting compartment was eight-sided and the upper sections folded down. The crew numbered four, driver, gunner, loader and commander.

Approximately 140 were built. Their major weakness was inadequate firepower, and the last ten chassis were converted to Grilles. They were issued in January and February 1944 to the AA platoons of each Panzer regiment in the Panzer Divsions. A large proportion were issued to divisions in the West and saw action in Normandy.

The kit

This is an in-the-box review only, so I can’t comment on construction problems. Firstly, I can’t find any evidence that this vehicle was ever known as Gepard in service, with the only vehicle of that name I know being its modern Bundeswehr counterpart.

The kit comes in grey plastic, with four sprues containing the individual tracks, wheels, sprockets, etc. The wheels are detailed on both sides. I noted some sink marks in the springs, but as these will be hidden behind the large road wheels, it’s not necessary to fill them.

The remaining three sprues provide the hull, superstructure, gun and fittings. The drivers two-part hatch covers are separate and have the pads molded on the interior face. The driver's visor is also separate. The hull comprises a separate floor, sides, rear plate, and top (which includes the floor of the fighting compartment). All this means that the modeller has to ensure a good fit, otherwise the model will sit skewed, rather than straight. The upper superstructure around the gun compartment has individual plates so the model can be built with the side armour up or down. No engine or crew is provided. One photo-etched part is provided, the track-bin with its many holes. It’s good to see Alan have thought about how best to represent this part.

The gun itself seems a bit simplified, but the mounting and compartment interior look as though they will reward subtle drybrushing. The 2cm gun barrel could be replaced with a turned aluminium one. Included in the kit are ten 150mm shells and curved storage brackets, presumably used for the 15cm Grille ausf M on the same chassis, also produced by Alan. These can go into the spares box. One thing to note is that a raised rib on the upper hull behind the drivers hatch needs to be removed, and the hole immediately in front of it filled. This is another ‘leftover’ from the Grille, and is the fitting for the front barrel lock.

The instructions are five pages of history, diagrams and painting guide. The diagrams are a bit ‘naïve’, but still very helpful. Painting options are for 12 SSPzDiv Hitlerjugend, 9 SSPzDiv Hohenstaufen, and 10 SSPzDiv Frundsberg, all on the Eastern Front, 1945, and all in the same three-tone scheme of Dark Green and Brown over Dark Yellow. The decal sheet provides the appropriate units markings, a loading stencil, and individual numbers in white and red. Register is fine.

Overall the kit is of a very high standard, although modelers might want to replace some of the tools, the jack for instance, with Tamiya’s Panzer IV tool set. All those rivets will weather up a treat. Alan should be congratulated for producing another original kit, ignored by other manufacturers to date.


AFV Interiors (http://www.geocities.com/CapeCanaveral/Lab/5182/mardr2.html)

Chamberlain, Doyle & Jentz: Encyclopaedia of German Tanks of World War II (revised)

Squadron/Signal No. 19: PzKpfw 38t in Action

Tech Intel No 2 p.11-12 and 21-22. Only two photos.


Tor Riley