DKM 3,7 cm FLAK /L 83 in Doppellafette C30

This ‘Mittlere FLAK’ / medium AA Gun of 37 mm caliber was a standard weapon on most German warships during the early years of war and sometimes was kept on board throughout.
As many German artillery systems, it was a mechanically rather complex build with focus on accuracy vs. rate of fire. During the course of the war this concept proved wrong, and less complicated, less accurate systems with higher rates of fire were much more effective.
Anyway, as many other guns like this, it was a very interesting looking system and is rather complex to build, if you strive for an accurate model. Most representations in 1/350 are very simplified.
However, with various aftermarket companies offering individual sets for various guns, some very interesting versions of it can be build.

Here I am going to show four different builds: a version from Dragon (as a part of e.g. the 1/350 Scharnhorst kit), a version from Flyhawk, Veteran Models and finally VeryFire (Thank you very much once again, David (RollTide) for sending my this kit that I still can’t obtain in Germany!).

So here’s the four of them, from left to right Flyhawk, VeryFire, Veteran Models, Dragon.

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Early on in my Gneisenau build log I briefly presented the Dragon, Flyhawk and Veteran offering. I’ll come back to them here later on in more detail, but will start with the latest addition, the VeryFire one. There are eight guns in the small box.

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The gun mounts

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and the breeches, already with small holes to accept the brass barrels.

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Resin casting is fine and highly detailed.

The PE for eight sets. It is rather thick but very finely etched, that makes it easy to handle.

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Ground plate, gun layers’ seats and gun mount.

I decided to attach the seats and a structural part before I attached the ground plate to the gun mount, which proofed practical.

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The brass barrels fit snuggly into the breech, they just need to be cut a little as the holes in the breeches are not deep enough.

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Breech block with barrels and training mechanism.

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I disconnected the quarter geared wheel that resembles the training mechanism again and attached it to the gun mount, that proofed much more practical for the build.

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And completed.

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This is a fine offering, highly detailed and accurate, and it is engineered in a way that building it is comparatively easy, straight forward and fun. I like this one very much!

To complete the comparison, over the next weeks I will add similar step-by-step builds from the other three kits.

I hope you enjoy,
Cheers

Jan

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Excellent review and detailed photos!

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WOW, Jan, thanks for posting this! The comparison is fascinating, and the step-by-step really paints the picture. I really enjoyed watching the Very Fire version come together, can’t wait to see the others… and which will be the winner!

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Dear all, thanks for your kind comments and looking in.

Now for part two, the Veteran Models version. I did one of those early on in my :arrow_right: link Gneisenau build log , but here comes a more detailed step by step.

So here’s the box:

You start with a base plate

Gneisenau 36 - 1

that has to be double folded for stiffness. The etch is much softer than the Very Fire ones.

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Base plate with gun mount and gun layers seats

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I decided to not follow the instructions but glue the seats to the base plate, together with two structural parts, and the ‘forward seat’ to the gun mount first.

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Then the base plate to the gun mount.

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Several controls and hand wheels.

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Turnend brass barrels into the individual breeches.

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The geared wheel to set the elevation and one barrel installed.

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Both barrels.

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Number one and number two…

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Number two built already a lot easier, most small stuff fond its places better and more precisely, but the breeches are not so nicely aligned - I was focused on getting the barrels aligned, seeing too late that the breeches are somewhat off. But I#d say I can live with that.

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So here’s Very Fire and Veteran together. Veteran is the better model, but much more complicated to build. The Very Fire is really a fine offering, a very good compromise looking at accuracy and detail vs. trouble to build.

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I’ll go over the Flyhawk and dragon ones briefly again later on, but for me the decision is between these two.
So honestly, I’d go for the Very Fire, but I doubt that I will get eight guns out of the package, I’d assume that I fumble one at minimum. As I expect to get three out of a four from Veteran, maybe seven out of two boxes. Point is, I do have more Veteran and can get them in Germany, I can’t get the Very Fire models. So I will keep the Very Fire for one of the heavy cruisers, the need only six, so that’s safe!

More on the other two later, but that will be doubled from my Gneisenau build log just for completeness.

Thanks for looking and cheers

Jan

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Super nano engineering Jan! :relaxed::+1:

Just bought some Veteran AM myself, so looking forward to giving it a go :cowboy_hat_face:

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That’s Extraordinary! I believe those AA guns would look good in 1/35 scale! Just amazing for 1/350 AA.

Just out of curiosity, how will painting those very fragile looking AA guns be accomplished?

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I’ll try one soon. Plan is to spray it very, very carefully and softly with light grey (as the don’t have any camouflage scheme on Gneisenau) and paint some details like the barrels and possibly some hand wheels in black. And try to break as less as possible…

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And here’s the rest of the bunch , very briefly:

Flyhawk, ‘as is’ plus Master turned brass barrels added.

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That one is really easy and safe to build and detail is still ok, though not nearly on the level of either Very Fire or Veteran. A real weakness are the barrels, which are two dimensional etched, as one piece with the breeches. I would find that not acceptable, that really is plain and open visible on a model, so I cut them off and replaced them with turned Master barrels, which are of high quality. With this enhancement they do their job and I consider them for a smaller build like a destroy in the future.
Without the extra added turned brass barrels I would not recommend them.

Dragon - if I had nothing to compare them with, I’d say they are really good. By far the best I’ve seen as ‘organic kit parts OOB’.

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They come with nice etched details ‘OOB’ as well, but without brass barrels. While the styrene is really well done and some exceptionally fine detail compared to anything I’ve seen ‘OOB’, as soon as you compare them to either Very Fire or Veteran, or even Flyhawk, the styrene looks clumsy, it simply can’t be produced as fine and detailed as resin or etched parts. The barrels are fine and even have an opened muzzle, but compared to the turned brass parts they are simply too big/thick and look clumsy.

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If I didn’t know about those Veteran, Very Fire and Flyhawk offerings, I’d be really happy with those Dragon kit’s parts. But those others do exist and they are so much better…

So here’s my ranking:

1 - Veteran Models; by far the best and most detailed. Low: complicated to build, needs experience and routine, and rather expensive. And you should not plan to get four out of a box the contains four - unless you accept to loose the occasional small part and build the gun without.

2 - Very Fire; very fine detail, almost like Veteran, but then again, only almost. Easier to build, less expensive. Could be the best compromise, but I can’t get the in Germany so far.

3 - Flyhawk with additional Master barrels; easy and safe to build, good detail, but the ‘flat’ barrels to me are not acceptable. So with additional barrels they are ok, ‘as is’ I would even prefer the Dragon kit’s parts.

4 - Dragon; really nice for kit’s parts, but can’t reach the level of the three above, if you add turned barrels to the Flyhawk. ‘As is’, neither Flyhawk nor Dragon with any extra parts, I’d rate Dragon 3 and Flyhawk 4, ‘flat barrels’ to me are a no-go.

Heres them all together:

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That’s it for this little excerpt, hope to see you back in the main build log!

Cheers
Jan

3 Likes

Jan,

Very nice work on those guns. The Veteran versions, while superbly detailed, gave me fits when I used them on my 1/350 Revell Tirpitz. You’ve done a much better job than I did! Black Cat also makes a 3D printed version of these weapons - when (if?) I get around to Bismarck, I’ll be using those.

Keep up the great work.

Martin

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That sounds like an excellent plan! Looking forward to seeing the test gun.

Your expertise inspires me want to refurbish a couple of old Heller 1/400’s Scharnhorst & Tirpitz.

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Hi Jan! :smiley:

What a great little side story to your main event. :+1::slightly_smiling_face:

I absolutely agree with your rankings mate :relaxed: Especially about the Flyhawk offering, which was let down by the 2D barrels. In hind sight I should have added the turned barrels to the ones I built for the Prinz Eugen just as you did, as the Veteran and Very Fire sets weren’t around then :cowboy_hat_face:

Just goes to show how there’s never been more choices available to us model makers :slightly_smiling_face:

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Thank you all for your kind comments, very much appreciated!

Just to make sure you know what you are up to - those Heller models are from the seventies, and that shows. They were models I built as a kid, and again later on when I re-started my hobby. Scharnhorst and Gneisenau are mostly the identical sprues, as are Bismarck and Tirpitz. Only a few of their differences were shown, which made them better than many kits of their time, but compared to todays 1/350 kits, even the softer detailed ones, they are really simplified. As for Scharnhorst/Gneisenau, they don’t represent a certain point of lifetime of the ships, but a rather crude mixture of how they looked at different times combined in one model…

Well, and here they are painted.

Dragon

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Very Fire

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Flyhawk

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and my favorite Veteran Models

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Cheers
Jan

4 Likes

Looks even better painted :slight_smile:

On second thought, probably best to leave my old 1/400 Hellers on the shelf other than maybe a basic repair or two.
It’s good to have it confirmed the Heller configurations are “generic” and not correct for any time period.

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