Review - Roco #740 (Flak 8.8cm)

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Kit Review: ROCO 1/87 Minitanks Kit No. 740; FlaK 8.8 cm; 52 parts (42 in dark grey styrene, 8 black vinyl and 2 steel axles); price between $8 and $12 depending upon source
Advantages: LONG overdue kit in this scale (about 35 years!), nicely done
Disadvantages: some serious injection pin marks to remove, some compromises due to scale
Rating: Highly Recommended
Recommendation: For model railroads and small scale German armor fans
 On occasion you wonder why some kits never see the light of day for a long, long period of time. The new 88 from ROCO is such a kit, which has had me personally wondering why it took so long to release it. The prime mover for this gun, the Sdkfz. 7 8 ton halftrack, came out in the mid 1960s as kit No. 227. Only now, some 35 years later, does the actual gun appear. Considering that the 15 cm came out at that time, it’s surprising the more popular (at least with modelers) 88 was ignored. Oh well, at last there is one in this scale, and ROCO has done a nice job of it.
 This is not what one could call a miniaturized Tamiya kit, but it is easily recognizable as the FlaK 37 with ground mount gun shield and Sd.Anh. 202 carriage. Both units are interchangeable.  It also has working outriggers, and separate sprues provide gunners spikes, ground stakes, hand wheels, fold-down seats, and a tow bar and gun cradle. The gun itself is accurate, but a bit disappointing as the gun, recoiling mass, and cradle are molded as a single piece, much in the manner of the old Airfix 1/76 scale one. There are also at least five big ejector pin marks on the barrel and cradle; while “standing proud” and thus easy to remove, it’s surprising that ROCO’s mold makers would make a retrograde move like this, compared with some of their other nice recent kits like the Pzkw. IV. The muzzle is also solid and will have to be drilled out, as will the breech which is also a solid chunk of plastic.
 The gun can be displayed either in march order “Variante A” with all parts tucked up for travel, or two pins can be removed and the gun displayed in combat order “Variante B” with stakes in the ground and prepared for firing. No ammunition nor crew are included with the gun, but Preiser figures for similar artillery weapons (the new Preiser 10.5 cm with limber and six horse team) and should be easily adapted to this gun. The only drawback is the fact that the Sd.Kfz. 7 has never been updated other than to mold it in sand plastic rather than olive drab, and as a result will need a lot of work to make it into an acceptable tractor for this gun.
 Still, the most recognizable weapon of WWII is now available as a reasonably price HO scale model, and that is good news for small-scale German fans.
 Thanks to Art Wollam for the loan of the review sample. 
Copyright 2009 - Cookie Sewell
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