|Dragon Models Ltd|
|1/35 SdKfz.7/2 3.7cm Flak 37 w/Armor Cab|
|Kit Number: 6542|
|Reviewed by Robert DeMaio, IPMS# 45186|
Dragon continues to set an over-reaching bar of quality and details in their kits. Whoever researched this vehicle to make this kit must have disassembled the original somewhere and photographed every part on every angle. If I had wired up the truck, I think this kit would run. If I had live ammo, I think the gun would fire. With that said, do I need say more about the over 600 parts given here? I will anyway for it deserves recognition in detail. But before you tackle this or the other versions of this vehicle you will need to focus with horse blinders and tune out the family distractions.
The kit print states a 2 in 1 model, but after studying the instructions, they have you wondering how many versions are really in this box? If I tried to explain what they did, you'd stop reading this and may not purchase the kit. But since the two versions supplied are not explained, here is my unraveled explanation. It appears that the kit was studied and copied from a museum somewhere and then compared to available documentation where differences were found. Parts are included in the kit to make either of two versions, mesh and museum, but unless simple math has changed, two plus one equal three for there is a wood version indicated. They link the mesh and wood different than the museum until you reach step 12 where wood and museum versions are the same. Then there are other options in any of these versions, travel mode or combat mode. Now wasn't that easy? Trust me, go thru the instructions more than once and then mark the steps of what you will build, and make sure you have the correct tree parts for there are differences and you will have numerous spare parts in the end. Oh yeah! Watch out for the gun parts if in the combat or travel mode! The shield pieces are different.
My build was focused on the mesh version which includes the PE parts and plastic frames for the flatbed sides. The wood version includes the solid wood flatbed sides. I didn't do any extra additions to the kit for there was plenty to piece together out of the box in addition to time constraints.
Steps one and two are part of the chassis assembly and pretty clear for part placements, but watch out for C22 hoisting 'U' attachments on each side. I glued them in a vertical position instead of at rest on the frame because the picture shows it that way upside down. The instructions didn't indicate not to glue. I later found they were too high and interfered with gluing on the flatbed. No problem in step three's engine assembly but so detailed I felt guilty not adding any wires. Steps four and five dealt with a few pieces for the tranny and wheel assemblies. From this point we're cooking with gas here and running smooth. Parts start to point to locations in steps six and seven on the chassis that can be placed incorrectly due to a lack of the smallest locating mark that could have been. I took time placing the fuel tank B15 in the correct position and later found out it had to be moved slightly when the cab went on. Later it broke free near kit completion. It's totally unreachable or visible to secure. Now I have a pro-built model that I could use for a kid's toy rattle.
Step eight dealt with all the wheels and I skipped this until near end of construction. They have to be painted Dunkel Gelb and rubber color surround before used in place. Step nine separates the simple yellow brick road from thought processes. On a very positive note, two separate drawings accommodate the different choices with proper part callouts where different starting with the armored cab assembly.
With all the versions and options to pick thru, one thing is for certain for all, the track links are the same and the Smart Track is so easy to do. I assembled it and set it aside until I was ready for installing. In step 14 I removed a small locating pin where the spare tire was to be placed. I wanted to leave out the tire until all the painting was done. The tire fit so snug into place later on that glue wasn't necessary.
At any one time if you need a break from assembling the chassis and cab choices you have to make, you can go directly to step 16, 17, and 18 for the gun assembly. Caution: be prepared for a long, long, long night, maybe two. Most parts are small, thin, brittle and difficult to locate. In step 16 part A33 is supposed to be cemented in place, but at what angle? You won't find out until late in step 17. After assembling the 3.7cm gun in step 16, step 17 became the test of patience. The gun is sandwiched between two structure mounts. Somewhere in this step trying to locate every part, and which part should be placed in what order was not clear for there were parts and arrows all over the view, some bending around another part. I remember I couldn't focus my eyes on the instructions any longer and had to stop for the night. One part lacked an identity number in step 17 and there was a zigzag line that I thought was another part yet couldn't find any such piece. I believe I spent two whole nights on this gun because of steps 16 and 17. I finally figured out that they showed the assembly of pieces onto this unidentified part, then this bad zigzag line wanted you to flip it around to mount onto the side mount…?? That was really clear!? Step 16 thru 18 should have been broken out into more clarified views. There must be a paper shortage.
Wait! There's more! I thought that the gun would elevate but no! The rods A33 in step 16 are too short to work in parts A5 in step 17 and they all have to be glued in place anyway.. Decide to assemble the gun in travel or combat mode, douse it with glue, then glue the sides to the flatbed.
I found many arrows falling short and should extend further to the location such as in step 1 part B45 points on top of a chassis part and not behind it. Good thing it's shown on the opposite side in place. Step 6 part B4 I almost glued in the wrong place near the fuel tank because it seem to fit in a couple of places just by rotating the rod. Step 18 part E12 points to a cylinder edge, when it should go far beyond it. Step 20 parts G13 & G14 should go behind the fender to the chassis, not on top of the fender as it appears.
The decals were few and since five of the six schemes are unidentified units. The one identified was from the H.G.Division at Rome 1944 and happened to be one color, Testors Dunkel Gleb did the trick. I used a sludge mix that gave depth to the recessed and highlights alike.
In conclusion, the kit is great in every detail and is totally recommended for a great addition to the modeler, but I wasn't happy at all with the instructions. The time it took to figure out the instructions just wore down my enthusiasm to build this kit. If I created aircraft engineering drawings like this in my years, I would have been exited out a window and not the door. Whatever you do to promote the hobby to others, don't give this kit to a newbie builder.
Will I build the Flakvierling 2cm Quad? Probably but when my patience return to normal. Yes I highly recommend this kit. Why knock down a fine well detailed kit for poor instructions. My thanks to Dragon Models USA for the review sample.