The FlaK 38 2cm was Germany’s main light anti-aircraft gun during the Second World War. It was mounted on vehicles, in aircraft and as a stand-alone AA gun in the FlaK 30 and 38 versions. Several half-tracks were mounted with it: the Sd.Kfz.7/1 (in a quad configuration), and the Sd.Kfz.10 as a single-barrel. A slightly different version (the KwK 30 L/55) was the main gun on the Pz. II, and early wheeled reconnaissance vehicles like the Sd.Kfz.222 and 232 sported FlaK 38s. A quad version was even mounted on the Pz. IV chassis (the Wirbelwind
or “whirlwind”). Gradually the war’s evolution to larger and larger caliber weaponry left the 2cm behind. The Army especially didn’t like the light “throw weight” of the projectile, preferring the heavier 3.7cm round.
As part of a large release of After Market photo etch brass for the recent Sd.Kfz.7/1 kit from Dragon, Griffon Model has included an upgrade for the single barrel 2cm FlaK 38. Griffon also makes a “value” pack of four barrels suitable for the Vierling
(“quad”) reviewed here
Griffon Model always packages their upgrades well in “clamshell” clear plastic boxes that protect the delicate brass pieces. The small packages contains:
1 aluminum turned barrel
1 formed brass flash suppressor
1 fret of PE for the attachment screws and both early and late type 2cm ammo containers
The barrel is beautifully-made with a hollowed-out muzzle. The flash suppressor is delicately-formed and includes the openings no styrene technology can replicate. The instructions are clear and easy to follow, and show how to remove the styrene portion of any kit barrel. The ammo containers are in four parts and look like they go together with a minimum of hassle. The only tricky part is bending the breech opening, with six folds required to render a flat piece of PE into a rectangular orifice. While this upgrade set was released as part of Griffon Model’s sets for Dragon’s Sd.Kfz.7/1, at this price, it really is more suitable for improving one of the several single-barrel 2cm kits on the market:
6220 Flak38 auf Pz.Kpfw.I Ausf.A Flakpanzer I
6288 2cm Flak 38 w/Sd.Ah.51 Trailer
6353 3cm Flak 103/38 with Trailer
6368 2cm Flak Crew with Sd.Ah.51 Two-Wheeled Trailer
6590 Flak 38(t) Ausf. M Late Production
35029 German 20mm FLAK 38 Late - Sd.Ah.51
35037 20mm Flak 38 Gun Early/SdAh51 w/4 Waffen SS Crew
There are numerous replacement barrels on the market for the 2cm, but not all of them have the level of detailing the Griffon has. One important feature for those who demand the greatest accuracy is the inclusion of “grips” for changing the barrels. With a rate of fire of over 100 rounds per minute, the heat and wear & tear on the barrel meant it had to be replaced periodically. Not all AM barrels have these grips included on the surface (see photos at right).
No styrene barrel can equal a metal turned one, especially given the delicate fluting and exhaust holes on the Flak 38’s muzzle brake/flash suppressor. The upgrade is not overly complicated, and I think would work even for a beginning modeler or someone with little or no experience handling photo etch. If you are looking to add a significant level of accuracy to your builds, this upgrade is highly recommended.