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Italeri - 8.8 cm FLAK 37 AA gun with Crew (7512) _________(EXT)

 

Manufacturer

Italeri
Scale 1/72
Set Code 7512
Year 2010
No. of Figures 8
No. of Poses 8
Additional Items 1 FLAK37
Aspect Tall
Material Hard Plastic
Colour Light Brown
Flash Level Medium
Glue-ability Excellent (polly-cement)
Convert-ability Medium
Optimal Period 1943 - 1945

 

Review 


Renowned as one of the most active companies in the field of 1/72 WWII German Army figures and equipment, by the end of 2010 Italeri prepared a pleasant gift for the impressive number of modellers interested in the topic. The surprise set, consisting in an 88mm FLAK37 cannon and its crew was not promoted either on the website of the manufacturer or elsewhere, it has simply reached the shelves of stores. Still, there exists the reverse of coin, the price of kit being quite high while the box supplies a single cannon and one sprue of figures. This fact contradicts Italeri’s good custom of including in a fast assembly set two cannons and two sprues of figures, in this regard proper examples establishing “WWII PAK 40 AT Gun with Servants” or “ZIS 3 AT Gun with servants”. However, the principle was firstly encroached by their “Italian 90/53 Gun with servants”, a set offering a single cannon and crew, but at least its price was much below than the one asked for the new “8.8 cm FLAK 37 AA gun with crew”. Possible explanations pertaining to the market strategy applied for this particular kit might be the crisis affecting the world economy during 2010 and the intention to save some funds. Aiming this, it would be reasonable companies decreasing the number of poses per set and implicitly the expenses with sculptor's work and mould. Still, adding another sprue in the box means almost nothing in terms of cost efficiency, barely the price of plastic.   

On the other hand, exactly in the same period Revell has launched at a lower price their “8,8 cm FLAK36”, by far a more detailed kit. For enhancing the price issue, Revell brings in a large array of optional parts for the cannon, the Sd.Ah 202 trailer as well as the fire detector Kommando Gerat 40 and its Sd.Ah 52 trailer, but no crew. In fact, in order to achieve a lifelike appearance of an 88 mm FLAK, perhaps the best solution represents a combination of both kits, Italeri proposing a sufficient number of highly detailed figures perfectly suitable for manning the outstanding Revell gun. Likewise, it might not be just coincidence both these gigantic manufacturers have made available in the same moment their versions on almost identical cannons, differences between FLAK 36 and 37 being imperceptible in Braille Scale. In the last period, among these two companies has been instituted a quite fruitful collaboration, noticed through others, by producing a joint figure kit “WWII German Elite Troops / WWII German Mechanized Infantrymen 1944” as well as Revell receiving the permission from Italeri to re-issue the old Esci “Afrika Corps Soldiers”, a bizarre decision while Italeri itself re-manufactures that set. Consequently, these fact-findings might explain the Italeri’s rush in distributing without previous announcement their 88 mm FLAK.           

Until now, all Italeri easy assembly cannons and crews have been cast in their own invention “SSM” (“Superspecial Material – Let’s Glue It”), an extremely sturdy soft plastic, glue-able only with cyanoacrylate (CA) adhesives. Fortunately, although correctly integrated by manufacturer within the fast assembly category, not only the gun, but also the crew have been issued in a hard plastic with identical consistence and colour to the one used for re-marketing the aged Esci vehicle kits. Such approach comes out as an excellent choice because the nature of the set and the necessary putting together operations better fit and fix in hard plastic, the material also permitting eventual trouble-less conversions carried out on the figures.

While from an extremely long period Hasegawa’s "88 mm Gun FLAK 18" and "88 mm Gun FLAK 36” had been the only mass production tenders covering an essential WWII German cannon, the year 2010 stands as an immense step forward on the matter through the appearance of Revell and Italeri interpretations. Due to these, both wargamers wanting quick assembly and static modeller builders, desiring a complex replicahave got the opportunity to select the needed version. Besides the just highlighted model kits, it should be added one coming from cottage industry, namely Miniaturas Alemany’s “88mm Flak 36/37 with Crew”, a white metal set comprising not only the gun but also twelve figures as crewmen.

Probably along with Tiger tank and 81 mm mortar, the 88mm FLAK might occupy a top position in the extended list of prominent WWII German ground weapons, some statistics assessing it as the best WWII gun. First tested during the 1936 Civil War in Spain and fighting on all WWII fronts since the beginning to the end, as its name “Flugabwehrkanone” divulges, the 88 mm FLAK was initially developed by Krupp as an anti-aircraft gun. A little later started to be employed in anti-tank and anti-infantry roles and covered itself by glory. Its fame is seems closely linked to the name of an illustrious commander, Erwin Rommel who gave the order to exploit 88 mm FLAKs for combating enemy armour in Africa, although some sources reveal the usage in the same purpose during 1940 French campaign and even earlier, in Spain. However, its achievements in the new role set out as a key discovery, the cannon succeeding to engage and knock-out all enemy armour for a very long distance. The success concluded to mount modified versions of the 88 mm FLAK on chassis of a large number of vehicles such as Nashorn, Ferdinand, Elefant, Jagdpanther, or even few others like Sd.Kfz 8, but definitely the most well-known example is conferred by the legendary Sd.Kfz 182 Panzer VI "Tiger". Moreover, different models based on 88 mm FLAK were used as main weapon by U-boats and military ships.

Featuring little modifications between, German engineers built up on the 88 mm FLAK three versions, respectively FLAK18, FLAK36 and FLAK37 in around 14,000 copies, all accommodating the high velocity L/56 gun and having inter-changeable parts. Because of the last mentioned characteristic, as references clearly attest, it was quite common to encounter a FLAK36 barrel mounted on a FLAK18 trailer or other mixtures. Depending on its target, the cannon fired high-explosive projectiles against aircraft and enemy infantry or armour-piercing and high-explosive projectiles in anti-tank role. Like FLAK36, the 37 model could be fired either form fixed position, on its cruciform carriage or from its trailer, the twin wheels of the Sd-Anh 202 placed on each of the two separate carriages allowing opening fire against ground targets in all directions from travelling position. Anyway, Italeri kit does not provide the trailer, so the sole destination for their FLAK37 is a fixed position.

The kit consists in two spures, one for the cannon parts and another for the figures, being distributed in a regular Italeri 1/72 box presenting as front artwork the FLAK37 and its crew in full action somewhere in Africa during the last stages of that campaign due to trousers dressed by the troopers. Although a drawing, the artwork illustrates sharp representations of the minis put forward by the kit, a major facet bearing in mind that except Dragon, no matter the name of manufacturer, it is not very often a drawn artwork to show faithful copies of the poses from inside. Seven of the eight figures of the kit are introduced by the artwork, only the seat trooper not appearing while his place and low stance are hidden by the cannon. As featured by the artwork, the arrangement of crewmen around the artillery piece might have been more accurate if at least one of the standing soldies holding projectiles would have come out on the left of the breech. In this way he could embody the gunner/loader, 88 FLAKs being loaded from that side. Anyway, for comprehensive information, the back of the box delivers the assembly instructions for the cannon as well as a basic painting guide drafted for the artillery piece and crew while on one side there are offered the photos of the sprues. A funny aspect refers to the photo of figures sprue and aims the seat one, in the picture this mini appearing in a slightly modified stance than the one proposed inside the box. The difference rests in the left arm, on the image of the sprue it is waved in the air while both in the assembly instructions and the market version the trooper arrives as holding both palms on the knees. Perhaps Italeri took the photo of the test shots, but then for various reasons modified the pose and either forgot about the change or was impossible to replace the image, the box being already in print. However, this is an insignificant aspect, not diminishing at all the quality of the set, it is simply an amusing one. Not only the extended and in view info, but also the logo “Fast Assembly Kit” as well as the manufacturer’s statement “especially developed for wargame use” emerge as sufficient clues for the buyer to get an accurate picture on what he must expect without opening the box.

Correctly labelled as a fast assembly kit while putting together the seventeen parts of the cannon lasts only few minutes, the pieces still benefit by a fine sculpture incorporating several small characteristics of the cannon. Furthermore, taking profit by the quite clear instructions printed on the back of box and the excellent parts fitting in places, the set is recommended for not so experienced modellers, too. In order to ease the operation as well as for allowing some components like barrel, outer triggers, jack pads to be re-arranged in the desired position anytime, the pin and hole system was put in practice. Nonetheless, there are enough parts requiring glue, so the kit cannot be listed as snap build. Obviously, the level of detailing at a fast assembly kit is lower and more simplified, but with the support of the spare parts box and scratch-build activities, this FLAK can be transformed by diorama builders into a more than acceptable representation of the original. Flash is kept pretty low, but comes out on barrel, carriage and outriggers while several parts registers mould marks, the most visible encountered on shield and loading tray. Anyway, both flash and mould marks are quite fast removed, hard plastic emerging as ideal for these operations.

The bottom carriage incorporates several nice particulars as well as the side outriggers showing the locking bar plungers and other small details. The side outriggers are mobile thanks to pin and hole ensemble whose security is here superior if glued. Still, missing the trailer, there is no need the outriggers to be movable. All four levelling jacks might be permanently stuck or not in their position, the same pin and hole method ensuring a good catch for the square shaped jack pads. Not only the bottom carriage received some details like pedestal levelling hand-wheel and cross-levelling one, but also the pedestal itself. 

Muzzle rest attaches through pins but the connection with carriage in not safe at all, so in order to avoid the hungry carpet monster to grab it, it would be wise gluing it. If decided the gun to be in combat, the muzzle rest appears folded down on the bottom carriage, so it does not hamper further re-settings of barrel direction. Moreover, the muzzle rest lock and its chain are opened, so the artillery piece surely is prepared to fire.

Through others, on the upper carriage we can perceive a basic fuse setter device on the left and on the right the elevation quadrant, indicators and the traversing hand-wheel but miss both the elevation one as well as the telescopic sight FLAK ZF 20E used for direct fire. Perhaps the hand-wheel in case was primarily intended to be fixed in the hand of a figure, but later the idea was dropped off and producer forgot to affix it to the gun. However, such approach would have not been singular, Italeri implementing the method of adding a hand-wheel in the palm of a crewman within their PAK 40 set. The top carriage fixes into the bottom one through a long pin truly conferring a good fixation between the two pieces and the absence of glue will allow rotating gun in desired positions in later stages.

Of note is the nonappearance of rammer mechanism, a system facilitating loading the projectiles at high angles of elevation and its size and location made it immediately noticed. The rammer was mounted in a two parts folding cylinder set on the left top of the cradle, but its absence does not contradict at all the reality. References shot in WWII repeatedly reveals 88 mm FLAKs missing the rammer, including FLAKs grouped in anti-aircraft batteries, in other words exactly those for which the mechanism was designed in order to ease the job of the loader.

The muzzle comes already drilled and features a nicely depicted locking collar for front section of liner and inner tube. Although simplified, the breech might pass as satisfactory, advancing the breech operating handle and similar fine points. Recuperator cylinder set over the muzzle emerges as an interesting part because the manufacturer decided to grant the opportunity of modelling the cannon while firing during recoil or in normal position. The approach is facilitated by separate barrel and cradle as well as by supplying the whole length of the rod entering in the recuperator cylinder. Barrel has to be glued in the cradle and during recoil various positions are possible, the shorter the length of the loading tray, the larger part of the rod outside the recuperator cylinder is visible. Emplaced above the recuperator cylinder, a basic panoramic sight bracket is exhibited but the elevating arch set below the breech block looks pretty fine. 

The shield comes as a single piece and incorporates several particularities of the original model both on the outer and inner sides, also missing some others. The sight opening is modelled closed although on account the model aims cannon attacking a ground target, it would have been more indicated leaving the hobbyist the choice to depict it closed or open. The shield fasten to the upper carriage is done through a method permitting good catch without glue. Still, for avoiding any fall out, especially if the cannon will be often moved, like in wargaming for instance, then shield is recommended being enduringly stuck in its place. Moreover, the adopted way of attaching the part does not impede modelling the gun without shield. Regularly 88 mm FLAKs, especially the 17 version, miss shield and such appearance came into sight more frequent to FLAKs set in anti-aircraft defence. In antitank role there also exist plenty of photographic and video evidences featuring it without shield. Exactly like for the barrel possible positions, here there is another alternative conferred to the hobbyist by the producer. As previously pointed out, Italeri’s FLAK37 misses its trailer, but this is not an important issue, firing from fixed positions representing the rule and from travelling position the exception.

Regulations imposed that an 88 mm FLAK to be operated by an eleven member detachment, a slide distinction between the tasks of the personnel establishing if the cannon engaged aircraft or ground targets. The crew consisted in gun commander, layer for elevation, layer for line traversing, loader/gunner, four ammunition handlers, fuse setter operator, range setter, and tractor driver as well as another round handler in anti-aircraft role which was turned into lateral deflection setter in case of attacking ground targets. However, in most cases in combat, barely ten crewmen had been more actively employed around the cannon and the driver had fulfilled almost no duty.

For their cannon, Italeri proposes just an eight men crew, not enough for covering the number required by rules, but for sure adequate for achieving an attractive image when set in the vicinity of weapon. Anyway, photo and video references regularly show FLAKs operated by less crewmen than the enforced one. The stances, objects held in hands and other related evidences permit a certain identification of the great majority of positions assigned by sculptor within the detachment for the present crewmen. Few others could be presumed according to the same criteria and vary based on how each modeller decided to display them around the cannon. Between the standard poses we clearly recognize the gun commander, gunner/loader, layer for line traversing, range finder, and three ammunition handlers while the eighth figure is appropriate for assuming both the layer for elevation and the fuse setter roles.

Making a fast comparison of the regulated detachment for 88 mm FLAK and the one put forward by Italeri, it is obvious that the last mentioned one miss one ammunition handler, the driver, as well as either the layer for elevation or the fuse setter. Through the inclusion of M34 rangefinder and corroborating it with the artwork, it seems that the producer had in mind the crew of a FLAK attacking ground targets. Still, nothing keeps away the modeller to place his FLAK as harassing aircrafts while the difference between the tasks of the crewmen in any of the dual purposes is insignificant and nearly impossible to detect. 

Most of crewmen are dressed in the same way, wearing the third, (last pattern) of Luftwaffe tan tropical uniform, but two gave up to their field blouses and remained in shirts. The field blouse is almost identical in cut with the M43 continental tunic and characterised by un-pleated pockets with straight edged button flaps. Under most of the tunics we can perceive shirts while few other troopers preferred to put the tunics directly on skin, giving emphasises to a warm climate. The trousers, similar with the second pattern of Herringbone Twill (HBT) Panzer trousers (M41), feature a large pocket on the front of the left thigh and inspired the M43-H version of continental trousers. Ankle boots are worn by all and diversity between figures in terms of garment is introduced by head covers. In this regard, we can see three steel helmets, two overseas cap, two tropical caps and a “Herman Meyer” cap for the officer. The last mentioned item instantly catches the attention of any hobbyist due to the button-on neck flap attached to it. The flap in case, issued as a protection against sun entirely covered the back-head and partially the face of the army-man, being adjusted to the cap through three buttons, two on each side to the bottom edge of the centre-band and one to the centre of reverse. In spite the small scale, thanks to the ability of the sculptor, we have the possibility to clearly perceive on the mini the two side buttons, the same buttons being used to fix the chin strap of “Herman Meyer” cap. Until now, neck flaps have been missing in mass production kits and almost inexistent in cottage industry tenders as well, so the figure emerges as an immense attraction in the field of 1/72 WWII Germans.

For those modellers not wishing to represent either DAK or Luftwaffe soldiers, and consider the attire present on the minis an obstacle, as stressed a little above, all of them are virtually identical to any continental German unit uniform, so nothing restricts painting them in feldgrau, reed-green, or even Waffen SS or Wehrmacht camouflage patterns. Likewise, the same applies to the tropical cap, the differences between this and the M43 continental version being impossible to detect in the scale. All items of garment make these figures ideal for Africa or continental Late War period, but in some extent, the not buttoned up tunics restrict the use to warm and temperate environments. In case the modeller wants to enrol the officer in a continental unit but keeping his excellent head, a little more intricate issue raises the “Herman Meyer” cap and its neck flap. On the topic there are also more possible solutions, either painting the cap as the model it faithfully represents or to assess it as a field conversion, painting it as regular visor cap to which the officer added the neck flap, following the experience gained during Africa campaign.     

On the other hand, initially designed as tropical uniform and sent to the troops fighting in Africa, identical items in colour and shape were also distributed to troopers camped in Mediterranean area. An excellent example on the matter confers Otto Skorzeny, the Fallschirmjager captain who planned and commanded Gran Sasso operation of rescuing Mussolini from captivity. Reference materials recorded during that mission undoubtedly reveal Skorzeny wearing exactly the uniform here presented, the third pattern of Luftwaffe tan tropical uniform. Moreover, other inter-connected still or motion pictures show some of his subordinates who performed connected ground combat missions dressed in garment specific to Afrika Korps, including shorts. Certainly, it is quite funny seeing Fallschirmjagers heavily armed and full of ammo wearing shorts, and even in warm areas the item emerged as extremely unusual for paratroopers activating in Europe.           

Starting with the most important position within the detachment, the commander is immediately disclosed by his cap while other accessories such as binoculars and pistol holster are simply confirmations of his rank. Dressed like his detachment, the officer comes in a position truly different than the classic ones, a little bent in front and with the left hand almost straight behind while in the right holds binoculars close to chest. He persuasively portrays a commander that has already spotted the target and signals his gunner to wait for the right moment to release the deadly projectile. The first class details, stance and the uncommon neck flapcertainly turn this officer into a most wanted mini.

Due to the dual role of the gunner, acting as loader as well, one of the two standing figures with projectiles in hands are appropriate for taking the position within the team. Perhaps the best would be the trooper wearing steel helmet, highlighting an activity carried out close to the gun and better matching with the layer for line traversingwhich stays on his assigned chair set on the right. Wearing shirt and not tunic, the later indicated soldier can be accommodated quite fine by his chair, and depending how the modeller intends to use the kit, it is not mandatory the figure to be glued in the seat. Both these army-men are delivered unarmed and un-geared, which is more than fine, many times 88 mm FLAK crews performing without accessories on them. The other standing figure holding a shell was endowed with a Walter P38 pistol in holster and he gave up to steel helmet in favor of tropical cap. The soldier might be apprised as one of the ammunition handlers and emplaced on a diorama right behind the gunner/loader as bringing the new round. Besides, switch between the just proposed assignments is more than possible and appropriate. A plus point of the two standing figures with ammunition rests in holding the projectiles in a correct manner, the 88 mm FLAK being loaded from the left side, with the left hand in front and the right one pushing the round along the loading tray.

Two crouched crewmen handling ammunition are also supplied, one wearing overseas cap and shirt while the other is dressed in tunic and has got tropical cap. These are excellent figures to be posted next to some ammunition boxes, but unfortunately, the kit distributes none of such key accessories for cannon in action. However, the issue has a quick solution if the hobbyist is in possession of Hasegawa sets dedicated to 88 mm FLAK that deliver a number of suitable ammunition boxes.Furthermore, Italeri’s “PAK 40 AT Gun with servants” supplies some ammunition boxes with lifted lids, the size of the visible projectiles better fitting to an 88 mm FLAK than a 75 mm PAK40. Though not the ideal shape of standard ammunition box allocated to such FLAKs, some references reveal quite similar containers, so these could be useful adds to the here reviewed gun.

The kit further provides two standing figures, one with binoculars on the chest and another with M34 rangefinder. The crewman with binoculars might embody either the layer for elevation or the fuse setter but not performing his duty in that moment. Such tasks are even more suitable on account the fighter wears steel helmet and superior goes with the other two crewmembers working near the cannon, respectively the loader/gunner and the layer for line traversing. Even if not sitting in his chair on the left of the gun, the pose is very appropriate to portray not only a fuse setterbut also a layer for elevation who has already executed his job and now waits to spot through binoculars if he performed well and target is hit or not. The function of the trooper is confirmed by the position on the left or right side of the cannon assigned to him by the hobbyist.  Except binoculars, no item of gear or weapon was granted by the sculptor for him, so another crewman who wanted nothing to obstruct his movements.

Considering the excellent research carried out by its maker and the unusual accessories put forward by the mini, a special paragraph should receive the soldier with M34 rangefinder. Undoubtedly, the figure is ideal for taking over the role of range setter while one method for establishing the distances was done with the support of the device he holds in his hands. The M34 rangefinder is also a quite rare presence in the scale, but there are again the old Hasegawa FLAK 88 kits the places where we can find such important instruments. Nevertheless, the Italeri one is by far superior, not only the eyepiece, but also the objectives and buffers turning the awful simplified Hasegawa accessory into an obsolete one. It has to be appreciated the effort of including M34 rangefinder shoulder harness composed by spacer and springs. The piece is damaged a little because of mould and scale limitations, distance between the mounted holders of each spring being filled with excess of plastic. On account of accurate rangefinder M34 rarity in 1/72 scale as well as the overall proper sculpture featured by the part, it would be pity not trying to solve the problem, removing the disagreeable plastic. The restricted access and sensitivity of part make the manoeuvre complicated, but achievable with some effort and adapted tools. Perhaps better is to drill a hole in order to create the necessary space for a modelling blade to conclude the work, getting rid of all undesired material. Like in case of commander, a particular item instantly captures the interest of the modeller. It is about a back-pack whose unusual shape indicates a link with the M34 rangefinder. That assessment would be right and indeed, that back-pack was specially designed for keeping the shoulder harness. Shape, straps and buckles as well as the easily distinguished lid which many times was made of metal reiterate not only the outstanding skills of the sculptor, but also the intensive research work fulfilled for making proper figures. Furthermore, through the decision of adding only on the left side Kar98K ammunition pouches accurateness reaches perfection. Generally, in the scale there is established the concept of showing Kar98K ammunition pouches on both sides of the soldier, which definitely is a correct one. As a huge number of references attest, extremely often WWII German troopers worn just on one side those ammunition pouches, but the approach is scarcely reflected in 1/72 scale. Likewise, this is the single mini of the kit requiring some assembly, specifically placing the M34 rangefinder in his hands. An useful information might rest in that it is not compulsory gluing the device in the hands of the trooper. Those were carved in a manner fully capable to hold the item in its place and the narrow distance between palms and head confers grand stability and keeps it still even during powerful shakes. The necessary guidelines are distributed on the back of the box and it has to be taken little care to adjust the eyepiece to cover the eyes for achieving an enhanced depiction of a crewmember measuring the range of a target. Besides, the spring mounted holders should appear as extended in front of the soldier and in line with his eye, but here the holders do not reach the shoulders, remaining a hair distance for a perfect job. Anyway, all niceties and rarities as well as his genuineness turn this range setter into an extremely useful and really needed fig. On the other hand, the distribution of M34 rangefinder, major device for FLAK while combating vehicles or other ground objectives as well as the fact that no crewman watches up the sky, strengthen the opinion that Italeri had in mind a FALK37 and its crew attacking a ground target. 

In some extent and with clear exceptions, several poses might be apprised as a little flat, but taken entirely, the detachment submitted by Italeri accomplishes its mission in giving a proper picture of a cannon in the mist of combat. From the first glance, the abundance of small details, rapidly spotted owing to abilities of sculptor, might charm any viewer. World-wide acknowledged for their passion and ability in recreating even the ultimate minuscule characteristics, as true successors of Michelangelo, the Italian sculptors, no matter the scale, make no discount in pushing to the final stage the level of detailing. At his turn, the author of the figs here proposed definitely wanted to show off with his impressive carving skills as well as great knowledge in terms of WWII German army issues. Accurate in shape and distinctive characteristics, uniforms come fully detailed, with shoulder and collar boards, insignia, and buttons. Even stiches of trousers and tunics are effortlessly noticed and give the possibility to acquire a comprehensive picture on the overall appearance of a WWII German uniform. Pockets, including the front one on the left thigh, are genuine in size and form. The quality of facial expressions impresses and individualise each trooper through outstanding carved mouths, noses, ears, eye-brows and eyes with perceptible eye balls. Furthermore, their hair cuts also benefitted by special attention thanks to which we can identify their ringlets and whiskers. Though encompassed by the tall side of 1/72 scale but not suffering of “gigantism”, the anatomy of the minis sets out very fine, with well proportioned bodies and limbs as well as appropriate size of heads. Palms are not over-scaled and reveal all fingers in their places, adequately grabbing the objects when it is the case. A tiny difference between the heights of some figs is detected with difficulty here, neither contradicting the human diversity nor making an incongruity between the poses. Gear is scarce, but the existing one such as pistol holsters, binoculars or ammunition pouches emerge all right and without any dissimilarity. Projectiles held by crewmen arrive quite fine in shape and size, suitable for the 88 mm caliber despite few minor issues such as excess of material and little too short in length. Apart the seat crewman that has to be emplaced in his chair, the rest come based, a normal approach considering the company’s remark clearly tagged on the box especially developed for wargame use”. Because the figures are ideal for static modeller builders, those wanting to separate the warriors from the stands will allocate only few minutes for the matter, hard plastic not opposing strong resistance to any blade. Even without bases, not only the crouched crewmen but also the standing ones may keep a good balance, key aspect for checking the appearance of the troopers around the gun before lastingly sticking in the allocated places. However, on account of the brilliant details provided on the boots, including shoe strings, soles and heels, ideally would be the cut to be done as close as possible to the base. For not creating any damage, a two step surgery comes out as the most successful, first from the top of the boot till the heel and another backward, starting from the heel.       

As usual for the new generation of Italeri minis, flash records low percents and it is extremely easy to be swept away bearing in mind that the product is made of hard plastic. Likewise, all troopers holding shells are accompanied by excess of plastic, a higher quantity featuring the ones establishing a contact between their bodies and projectiles. On the one hand, such excess is almost impossible or extremely hard to be removed without damaging the shell, but on the other hand, it is harder spotted, the round and adopted stances obstructing the sight. With this kit, Italeri had the great opportunity to avoid the problem, commonly shared by all their related products made of SSM. As it was preferred for the soldier with M34 rangefinder, a multi-part advance definitely would have facilitated a free of excess of plastic product and parts would have been fast and durable put together taking profit by hard plastic propensities. To the highly glue-able characteristic, there should be also stressed the excellent ability of the material in receiving paints and artistic oils as well as the capacity of maintaining the work of the modeller even after long periods and heavily handling.

Because the figures are nearly un-geared and benefitting by the constructive characteristics of hard plastic, the modeller has a good number of options for conversions. Plenty of possibilities are at hand provided on separate sprues of gear and weapons by Preiser, Dragon, and Caesar, the same kits making available alternatives for heads, too. In case of having those kits, and if he considers necessary, the hobbyist might endow the Italeri crew in accordance with his own needs. Furthermore, if he has two or more boxes of 8.8 cm FLAK 37 AA gun with crew” and for enhancing diversity, through others, head replacements emerge as a reliable and facile method. Likewise, considering the size of Italeri figures, Dragon accessories and weapons, as well as body parts are most recommended while Caesar is the last, those better fitting on figs encompassed by the small range of 1/72 scale.

Based on size of bodies and assessing their tunics as M43, these soldiers goes very well with Caesar’s “WWII German Infantry – Late War”, Plastic Soldier Company’s “Late War German Infantry 1943-45” as well as troopers wearing M36 tunics enclosed in Hasegawa’s “German Infantry Attack Group”, Forces of Valor's "German SS Cavalry Division" and “German PanzerGrenadier Regiment”, Imex’ “German Troops”, Pegasus Hobbies’ “German Mortar Teams” and “Germans in Berlin 1945” as well as various cottage industry products coming from TQD Castings/Under Fire Minatures, CMK or Miniaturas Alemany. Likewise, they match in size or are very close with all the new Italeri kits dedicated to WWII German Army. Taking the 88 mm FLAK crew in its standard approach, as wearing tropical uniform, they might be used almost without hesitation next to Italeri’s “DAK Infantry”, “WWII German Motorcycles” and “German Paratroopers (tropical uniform)” and in some extent near the giants from Atlantic’s “German Afrikakorps” and Esci’s hard plastic “Afrika Korps”. The projectiles held by the crewmen from Italeri’s ”PAK 40 AT Gun with servants” are closer in size to an 88 mm cannon and those crewmen can join or even replace the FLAK37 detachment. As previously stated, the same Italeri kit might furnish few ammunition boxes for the 88 mm FLAK, the size of the projectiles better fit to such a gun than a PAK40 for which were initially created.

Although the fast assembly cannon might tempt more wargamers and collectors than diorama builders, the inclusion of highly manufactured figures sets out as an admirable marketing policy of Italeri. The strategy was further boosted by the decision to launch their 8.8 cm FLAK 37 AA gun with crew” exactly when Revell made available the long expected “8,8 cm FLAK36”, in this way both kits becoming visible in the same time. Simply perfect for operating more complex models of 88 mm FLAKs than their own, Italeri’s crew turns into an attractive offer for diorama builders, too. This aspect is expanded both due to the hard plastic utilised for casting the figures, creating room for endless conversions and the fact that most of the times, exceedingly detailed cannon kits miss the necessary crew for manning it. Attire is appropriate for Afrika Corps but also for continental operations, especially the M43-H trousers with their specific left thigh pocket that are so rare in the scale, representing a great attraction for the numerous fans of the Late War period. Moreover, deployment of the same minis is not limited to 88 mm FLAKs, plenty of opened top vehicles accommodating 88 mm calibre guns aching for such a crew while with appropriate ammo in hands, they could “serve” any WWII German gun. Additionally, the cost of the kit might be somehow restrictive, but it should be taken into consideration that often the much more expensive resin or white metal figure sets provide fewer troopers and definitely the quality of the here presented product is on par with cottage industry tenders. Likewise, particular items extremely uncommon for 1/72 scale, such as the nicely shaped M34 rangefinder and case of its shoulder harness as well as the “Herman Meyer” cap with neck flap attached worn by the officer simply increase the value and charisma of the whole kit. 

 

Historical Accuracy 10
Anatomy 9
Poses Quality 9
Details Quality 10
Mould Quality 9
Sculpture 10
Recommendation/Utility 10
Reviewer’s opinion 9