Built Review
Flak 38
2cm Flugabwehrkanone 38
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by: Eirik Sandaas [ SUPERSANDAAS ]


ACE are better known for their kits in 1:72 scale. For the purpose of this review I have built their Flak 38 in 1:48, to see if they can retain the quality when the size increases!

Flak 38 was a 20 mm anti-aircraft gun used by various German forces throughout World War II. It was not the only primary German light anti-aircraft gun, but by far the most numerously produced German artillery piece throughout the war. It was produced in a variety of models, notably the Flakvierling 38 which combined four Flak 38 cannons onto a single carriage. This weapon was a development of the earlier Flak 30. (via Wikipedia)


The Kit
ACE is a Ukrainian company, maybe better known for their kits AFVs and artillery in 1:72 scale. But they have also kitted several kits in 1.48 scale one of which is the subject for this review. The kit was released in 2012 and is a new tooling, it comes packed in a small and rather flimsy box with a lift off lid. Inside there are 2 sprues in soft grey plastic, a smaller sprue with one part (I assume there is a technical reason for why this single part is made separately) a single sheet of instructions in black and white, and a small decal sheet, for one of the suggested finishes. All of the parts except the instructions are sealed in a plastic bag.

The level of detail is quite adequate for the scale, but there is plenty of flash, and a few sink marks on the thicker parts. In other words, you will have to do a bit of clean up on the parts, and do some test fitting before you commit to glue. In addition, one of the brackets for the gun mount was short shot (i.e. not fully moulded). I had to make a replacement part using two-part epoxy putty, not a big problem, but a poignant reminder that this is more of a short-run kit than fully main-stream release.

The gun shield is somewhat bulky, due to the practical limits of injection moulding, but does not look to bad when installed. The gun can be assembled either limbered or unlimbered, and with care the modeller should be able to preserve both lateral and horizontal movement of the finished model.

The instructions are quite appear to be straightforward, but unfortunately are a little vague with some placement of parts. Luckily it is easy to find good reference photographs online.

Painting and finishing

The instructions present three finishing options:
  • Whitewash over Panzergrey
  • Medium Green over Sand yellow, with the barrel in Gun metal
  • Panzergrey with markings of the Herman Göering Division of the Luftwaffe, with a striking kill tally painted on the gun shield.

The third option is the only one with any description of unit affiliation, and a bit of detective work lead me to believe it is from the time period between October 1942 and January 1943. In October 1942 the Herman Göering Brigade was reorganized as a full Division, and sent to Italy for training before being deployed to Tunisia in January 1943. The decals were thin, went on with no fuss and have good opacity.

Historical Note
In October 1942 the Wehrmacht also decided to replace the old RAL 7021 Dunkelgrau with RAL 7028 Dunkelgelb as the primary color of all equipment in the European theatre. On the other hand, in Africa all equipment was still supposed to be painted in a combination of RAL 8020 Gelbbraun and RAL 7027 Sandgrau. As it would be a waste of paint to repaint old equipment first in dark yellow and then just a few months later in the brown Afrikakorps-scheme, I would assume the Division kept their old equipment in the grey scheme whilst in training.

This would present a perfect opportunity to adorn one of the guns with a special scheme for the benefit of the wartime photographers and as depicted by ACE. I haven't been able to find such a photo, but I expect it exists and is where ACE found the inspiration for this finish. (If any readers have access to such a photo, link it in the comments!)

All in all this was an enjoyable build, and the subject matter should appeal both to those who build AFVs and softskins in 1:48 scale, (it would look great behind an Opel Blitz for instance) as well as aircraft modellers who want to add some detail to a diorama scene. There were also several field modifications where the gun was mounted on a truck or half-track chassis, and the kit lends itself nicely to anyone wanting to build such a vehicle in 1:48.

I can recommend this kit for all but the most novice modellers, but you might want to keep your tweezers nearby, as some parts are tiny!
Highs: Welcome and versatile subject in this scale. Good level of detail. Reasonable price.
Lows: Some molding flaws, most parts need clean up. Instructions less than perfect.
Verdict: A good kit for both aircraft and AFV-modelers alike, suitable for anyone but the most novice.
Percentage Rating
  Scale: 1:48
  Mfg. ID: 48103
  Suggested Retail: ca £8
  Related Link: Producers homepage
  PUBLISHED: Jun 09, 2015

About Eirik Sandaas (SuperSandaas)

Started at an early age building Tamiya tanks and Matchbox planes Then I moved onto miniature games for many years. Started building kits again in earnest in 2011. Mostly b1:144, 1:72 and 1:48 planes and 1:72 and 1:48 AFVs from the 1930s to post-korean war.

Copyright ©2021 text by Eirik Sandaas [ SUPERSANDAAS ]. All rights reserved.


Thanks for the review, I was only looking at this kit the other day and wondering what it is like. It seems OK and not a bad price; from the instruction sheet it looks possible to thin the gun shield down. The plastic is stated to be quite soft, but presumably the muzzle could be drilled out - or is it already open? I was contemplating putting it in the back of Airfix's Beford MWD.
JUN 09, 2015 - 03:49 AM
Ah, I forgot to mention that: Yes the muzzle is open (at least the conical part at the front) but that also leads to a lot of flash around the front of the barrel. I'm not sure how easy it would be to thin down the shield, as there is molded details on both sides, but as far as I know there's aftermarket PE sets available.
JUN 10, 2015 - 03:54 AM

Click image to enlarge
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