by: Darren Baker [ ]
Bronco Models has followed up on a model they released 2 or 3 years ago of the Versuchsflakwagon Fur 8.8cm Flak 41 Auf Sonderfahegestall (Pz.Sfl.IVc) with the 88mm Flak 37 version. It is my understanding that there were three versions of the 88m Flak 41 armed vehicle built, but due to the Flak 41 proving to be problematic, one of the vehicles had its gun replaced with an 88mm Flak 37. It was the vehicle that was armed with the Flak 37 that saw combat in Italy with Abt (Sf) 304 as part of the 26th Panzer Division. The name of this weapons system is a mouthful if you donít speak German and so it is helpful that this vehicle was referred to as the Grille 10.
This assembly will take some time to complete, just look at the sprue count in the list below and thatís before you get to the huge number of parts. All of these sprues are supplied in a large number of plastic bags which are then packed inside one of Bronco Models large cardboard trays with a separate card lid. The huge number of sprues makes it difficult to get everything back in the box, you have been warned. The contents break down as follows;
37 light grey sprues
34 brown sprues
3 clear sprue
1 decal sheet
A length of string
1 photo etched fret
Track assembly jig
A correction sheet
A box top artwork
This model is a mix of Dragon models 88mm Flak 37 and Bronco Models Grille 10 hull, so do not expect this model to be a weekend build as it will take time to complete. The model parts from both Dragon Models and Bronco Models are of the usual high standard being free of flash and any moulding faults that I was able to detect. The gates between the sprues and the moulded parts are small and so should not present any issues during parts removal, but you will need to deal with quite a few moulding nipples that are present attached to the parts. Bronco Models has of course tackled this with their zeal for very small detailed parts and while this will likely upset some it will please those who love all of the added detail, the kind of detail only a modeller could love due to the headaches of attaching them all.
The suspension and tracks of the model are workable. The tracks are supplied as individual links with separate pins that need to be glued in place, if care is taken with the glue these will remain workable. It should be noted that the pins are designated for the left and right sides of the tracks. The suspension has been tackled just as the real torsion bar suspension worked on the real vehicles and so the combination of these two aspects allows the modeller to accurately display the model on an uneven surface and look natural if so desired. The wheels are nicely detailed and so everything in this area will look good.
The hull has a host of nice touches present, not least of which is the crewís personal weapons, backpacks and helmets. Photo etched grills have been supplied for the engine deck, as you would expect, plus of course these are just the largest parts of the photo etched sprue. The main difference between the original kit release and the previous model as regards the Bronco Models element is the pedestal mount for the 88mm, I can only assume that this was changed at the same time as the main gun and pedestal; I am impressed that Bronco Models managed to find out that this had been altered in this version, as I found it hard to find pictorial reference generally let alone specific areas.
The 88mm Flak 37 is completely Dragon models and is very nearly the complete kit from memory. Anyone who has built one of Dragon models 88mm gun kits will know what a well detailed model this is and is an excellent collaboration between the two companies. The only negative I can think of in regards to the 88mm portion of this model is that the turned metal barrel from the original model is not included with this release.
Bronco Models has been clever with the finishing options for this model as there are three to choose from. They have supplied details for the vehicle as it is expected to have looked after being sent to Italy and attached to the 26th Panzer Division, To make clear they have said in their own way that this is best guess. They have also supplied a three colour camouflage scheme finish, it is indicated that the pattern depicted is the planned standard pattern. Lastly you have the single colour option with no markings, a finish we know to be accurate from the few photographs available. The model can be finished either in travelling mode or in action; if you decide to finish the model in travelling mode I would suggest looking in getting MiniArtís German artillery crew riders and for in action I would look out for a set of Dragon models artillery crew; both of these options will finish the model off a treat I think.
This release from Bronco Models is a very nice offering, especially so as it depicts the one vehicle that is believed to have seen combat in Italy. I also like that they have gone to the trouble of providing the finishing option that we know is accurate, plus finishes that are believed to be how it looked in Italy and the three colour finish of production vehicles if production continued. There is a good mix of photo etch and plastic that should please the most discerning modeller.