Dragon 6577 Flakpanzer I ( PREMIUM EDITION) Für Military Vehicles Plastikbausätze
Kit Review: Dragon Models Limited 1/35 Scale '39-'45 Series Kit No. 6577; Flakpanzer I - Smart Kit - Premium Edition; 654 parts (366 in grey styrene, 192 "Magic Track" track links, 62 etched brass, 18 preformed etched brass, 16 clear styrene).
Advantages: "Tweaks" the original 2006 kit and adds another 70 parts; fixes some areas of earlier complaints about Ausf. A chassis
Disadvantages: a lot of work by DML to correct a kit of a relatively obscure vehicle
Rating: Highly Recommended
Recommendation: for German armor fans and "duck hunters"
When DML released their first version of this kit in June 2006 (No. 6220), I could not find any information about it and speculated (bad move) that it was a prototype. Ah, no; the "faithful" proceeded to bombard me with e-mails that it was real and 24 were built, issued and used in combat.
Mea culpa. I did some research using Russian sources, however, and found this vehicle did exist but was quickly reduced to a deathtrap and a disaster by the Soviets. Apparently they were used on the front line as both tactical air defense and fire suppression of ground troops. When the Soviets figured that out, they simply brought up PTRS and PTRD 14.5mm antitank rifles and began to snipe the gunners through the gunshields, turning them into instant death traps. The Germans got the point and moved the survivors back to rear area positions.
For reasons best known to themselves (but apparently related to negative comments about their early Pzkw. I tank releases) DML has now re-released this kit as a "Premium Edition" version. The new version has another 70 parts, mostly etched or preformed brass, but many of the original sprues show signs of "tweaking" with one or two new parts added to the earlier version, plus a cargo body for the Sonderanhanger 51 2 cm transport trailer to permit using it as an ammo trailer. A second set of early Pzkw. I Ausf. A wheels are also included as well as new suspension units.
As before the kit is beautifully engineered with "slide molding" used on many of the parts, 18 preformed etched brass provided for the wheel rim "lips" and also the "catch" baskets for expended 2 cm rounds, and more etched brass. In addition to the original Kit 6220 frets there is now an addition one of generic German tie-downs and straps for the OVM, as well as OVM without tie-downs molded to them. This latter idea may pop up in more DML kits as the parts sprues are generic as is the brass fret.
The hull appears to be the modified one from later Panzer I kits and there are also changes made to each sprue with either additional or modified parts on each of the original Pzkw. I Ausf. A sprues. Note that a number of holes must be drilled out in the fenders from the underside before attachment.
The kit now comes with "Magic Track" links but instead of an "L" and "R" pair it comes with a double set of "R" links in one bag. I have no idea if this is correct or not but somehow seems sensible from a German point of view as the track links are so small.
As before, the kit comes with the complete 2 cm Flak 38 kit and some modified parts for that model as well. Three different breech assemblies and shrouds for the 2 cm are now provided as is an etched brass gun shield and other elements. The stowage box for the trailer can be mounted as is, or a smaller one mounted on the unused 2 cm Flak 38 ground mount base can be attached as an option.
As before , technical assistance credit for this kit does to Dan Graves, Ed Kusiak, Tom Cockle and Gary Edmundson.
This time five schemes are provided for finishing: one unidentified unit, Eastern Front 1941 (grey overall); and four vehicles from Flak Abt. 614 on the Eastern Front in 1941-42, all in grey schemes (white 2; 2/Flak Abt. 614, white 213; 3/Flak Abt. 614, white 3; and one in overall whitewash with no markings). A small sheet of Cartograf decals is provided.