The German Flak 38 was transported on a two wheeled carrier with a robust “U” shaped frame. At the end of each frame there was a thick flat hook that engaged a metal lift bar attached to the end of each of the short legs on the triangular firing platform.
In order for the hook to engage the metal bar the front of carrier was rotated up and the carrier was then pushed forward allowing the base of the hooks to slot into a recess in the platform legs. As the carrier was then moved downward, being pulled down by the towing bar, the hooks simply grabbed the metal bars and pulled the front of the gun off the ground. Once this was accompanied all that remained was to lift up the long leg of the gun platform and insert a pin through 2 brackets on the “U” shaped front tow bar and a central bracket on the front platform leg. The gun itself weighed in at around 900 + lbs. and a trained crew could accomplish the above in a couple of minutes.
The kit for this model was published by Halinski of Poland and consisted of 3 sheets of A4 paper with coloured parts possessing the weathering and wear and tear features of a well used WW2 AA cannon. I found the printing to be crisp with no fold line markings or glue tabs, a good feature as it results in a cleaner build and model. All instructions are in Polish, but are accompanied by appropriate schematics and diagrams of sub-assemblies. Although there are ten specific construction symbols, I was unable to determine whether to cut outside or inside out the cut lines so I decided to cut through the centre of the lines. There are 37 wire components to cut and shape with reference to 1:1 templates. Including these, and the 200 odd tire treads, I estimate that this model is comprised of between 500 and 600 separate parts. Compared to high end Eastern European card models this number is somewhat low.
Although the part count is low, and there are many schematics, Polish kits of this genre are complex and difficult builds. Even with the assistance of a Google translator I was a third of the way into the build before I became comfortable with the characteristics of the paper and how the designers envisioned the assembly of the model, especially as there a many small parts bordering on 1 to 1.5 mm in size. Construction is typically sequential and follows a simple number sequence 1, 2, 3, etc., with sub-assemblies a, b, c, etc. All exposed paper edges were masked with appropriate colours using Tombow water-based brush pens. I painted the gun barrel, receiver and cover with Humbrol semi-gloss black to achieve a more prototypical look. I added the analog predictor computer with gauges and knobs, a cover plate for the gun ejector port, modified the elevation and traverse crank wheels and placed clear lenses in the gun sight optic. All exposed wires were either painted or chemically stressed to simulate weathering/corrosion. The quality of the kit and its design are excellent. I estimated a construction tolerance of between 0.015 and 0.010 inches. I consider this acceptable considering that card stock/paper is a “living” material, constantly changing due to ambient temperature and humidity.
The photographs give you some idea how the model turned out, although in two dimensions only. This is my first venture into the world of scale armour, and especially these high end Polish kits. I would consider this a complex and moderately difficult model to build and would not recommend it for a novice card modeller. I built this model as an exercise and learning tool that I hope will lead to other similar projects. As evident in the photos, my Flak 38 is currently displayed on a temporary base. I will try to bring it to a club meeting ASAP.
The carrier frame has a total 6 bends (3 on each side), all of which are designed to support the leaf springs and the fenders. Due to Gauss’s “remarkable theorem” the only way to build this frame in paper is to divide the frame into separate pieces. All together there are 30 such pieces from one frame hook to the other. The recesses for the lift hooks are built into the two short platform legs, and are constructed separately then placed into the formed platform. Having constructed the gun platform and the carrier several months apart, when I went to place the gun on the carrier, as in a prototypical manner, the base of the carrier hooks fell into the previously built platform leg recesses perfectly, the hooks engaged the wire grab bars, and when I put the front pin through the fame and tow bar bracket, the gun was off the surface and there was minimal slack in the carrier frame hooks! I was gob smacked!! There was some clearance between the sides of the hooks and the sides of the platform recesses and these looked to be about the width of the kit paper. This card stock is approximately 0.009”-0.010” thick.
At a scale of 1:25 this works out to be roughly 1/4” on the prototype – if my math is correct! So I think this it is acceptable to estimate a 1/4” to 3/8” tolerance on the prototype for this model given that it’s constructed from card stock. I think this reflects the excellent design of this model and the extensive use of CAD programming for this quality of kit.
Halinski 1/25 Flak 38