Friday, August 15

Clayton's build review of the Verlinden re-released FlaK 37mm in 1/16th scale...

Clayton regularly takes on a varied assortment of kits – E-boats, armour, mechanized fighting vehicles – but in his latest build he takes on Verlinden’s just re-released kit of the very nice but daunting 37mm FlaK gun. He will be including more stuff in a diorama but until then let’s look at the start with this challenging but rewarding build….

Review Build:

German 37mm Flak
1/16th Scale
$99.95 directly from Verlinden Online
Model By Clayton Ockerby…

An unfamiliar scale, unfamiliar subject and unfamiliar medium, resin. What could go wrong I hear you ask!

I am always looking to extend myself beyond my comfort zone, and build all types of scales and subjects, so when I got my hands on this new kit from Verlinden I felt this was a great opportunity to tick all of those boxes.

I had never built anything beyond a 1/35 figure in resin, so this really was new ground for me.  I probably wasn’t prepared for the journey ahead, but pressed on nonetheless.

After a couple of hours of cutting off the moulding blocks and sanding I called it quits. It made a heck of a mess; so setting up on the dining table probably wasn’t the best of ideas. 
The instructions seemed simple enough to follow until it was time to actually action them. 
I started with the footing for the gun. I followed the instructions and glued all the larger pieces on. I was completely confused at this stage because I couldn’t get it to sit properly. Turns out that the casting of the main structure was so horribly warped that it wouldn’t allow the thing to sit flat. It was so bad I had actually thought it was supposed to be like that. On closer inspection of the parts I also found the barrel was pretty badly bent too. (hard to show in pics, but very prominent in the flesh)
I found the most effective way to correct this was to hold the piece over and open flame, soften it up and manually correct the bend.

The footing of the gun was now assembled with relative ease. A little bit of guesswork with positions on some parts.
It was here everything started to become a chore....

If you are unfamiliar with the law of Superglue here it is. Thou shalt take 5 minutes to dry when you are hoping for 5 seconds, and thou shalt take 1 second to dry when you are hoping for 1 minute. I digress.

The main structure assembled. I was unsure of how it was to actually all come together, but after multiple test fits found the sides but up to the base plate and not sit on top of it. Pretty crucial piece of information as everything relies on this structure. Also note I have substituted a piece of metal rod in place of the supplied plastic rod. I felt it looked a little more authentic.

Trying to work out the exact locations of the pieces and how it was all going to stick together was challenging to say the least. The instructions don’t give you many clues about the finer points of the construction and you are left to work it out for yourself. The fit of the body of this gun is pretty crucial. If the pieces are in the wrong positions or even slightly out the kit isn’t going to assembly properly later in the build. I test fit the gun cradle to find the angle of it was about 3 deg out. When the barrel is about 450mm long this is really apparent. I will have to correct this later by adjusting one of the pivot points on the gun cradle. This picture shows the best I could get the structure after about 4 attempts.
Applying the various detailed bits and pieces on the main structure was a guess at best. Positions shown on the instructions were out of scale and were unclear. Upon reviewing later steps some of the locations seemed to contradict each other.  It was about now I contemplated buying the 1/35 Tamiya or Dragon kit of this subject to try and give me some type of reference to cross check it against. Some reference photographs would have been a welcome addition to the kit.   That said I pressed on.

I had some metal tube in the stash and substituted it for plastic rod that was supplied. It was my hope this would add some strength. I drilled into the resin and poked the rod in place to further strengthen the structure. 
I made the decision early to try and reinforce parts where I could. The superglue on the resin can be very brittle, especially on the bigger parts.
 The gunner’s seat didn’t seem to line up with the pedals and footplate. The angle of the site was also a cause for concern due to warping in the large panels in the main structure. Again it was difficult to detect until in became an issue with the placement of other things.  Trying to force it resulted in a break, so after carefully gluing it back I tried to ‘persuade’ it back into place with a cigarette lighter (note the black residue from melting plastic.  (I learnt here superglue burns too….) Also note the misalignment of the points where the gun will mount to the structure (toward the bottom of the model)
Straightened, reinforced gun barrel now assembled. Even though the kit is 1/16 scale I was still surprised at how long it was. This is going to be a big model when it is done. 
Time passes….

It had probably been a couple of weeks since I had had a chance to look at this kit again, so please forgive me as I was a little neglectful in taking progress pics when I picked it back up again.

Here you now see the gun cradle in place as well as the gunners shield and sight. I again had a lot of issues with warped parts that only became apparent once everything had been fixed in place.  I managed to correct the angle of the gun but manipulating one of those pivot points. 
A few more of the details were added.  It is starting to come to life.
Proudly displayed on the bench ready for paint.

These brutal little machines saw action pretty much everywhere, so I would image they would have been painted in many different schemes.

For this build I have decided to go with the good ole German 3 tone. The Dunkelgelb base with over sprayed reddish brown and green patterns.

I started the process by spraying the whole model in Vallejo Armour Brown and various tones of it to try to basically replicate rusty old metal. The majority of this wouldn’t be seen once the model was painted, but it sets the foundations for a convincing end result.
A gloss varnish was then applied and small amounts of Vallejo ‘Liquid Mask’ were then randomly sponged over the model where wear and tear would affect the gun.

After drying the model was sprayed with Vallejo Dunkelgelb. I then lightened the base colour with white and sprayed highlights in the appropriate places. You can see on the stand where I have started to rub away the liquid mask I had used earlier. See how it looks like the paint has been chipped exposing the rusty metal underneath. 
The camouflage pattern is now sprayed. I use Vallejo Tank Green and Burnt Umber mixed with a touch of red. I am not sure if this is historically accurate in terms of colour, but I knew it would give me the look I was after.

I have also sprayed the gun barrel in Vallejo NATO black. Also note the chipping effect I have achieved using the liquid mask. Very subtle but looks terrific.  A little tip for removing the liquid mask is to get a ball of Blutac and rub it over the surface. 
The model now received a wash using enamel paint (although I would generally use an oil paint, but the result is similar). The dark brown wash helps to define the detail in the model. It brings some life to the model and acts as artificial shadows and general grime.

You can also see the barrel has had a treatment with Dark Steel pigment. I literally just buff that on with my finger. Gives a pretty convincing metallic finish.

I added some chain I had in the stash to the pins on the base.  I am not sure if this was ever done, but it seemed plausible to me and was a good excuse to add a little bit of detail to the model. 
Small amounts of a rust coloured pigment were applied to some of the chipped areas and manipulated with a small brush to simulate streaking rust.

The entire model then received a coat of Alclad FLAT to dull everything down.

The ammunition and cases were sprayed with Alclad Polished Brass and Aluminium. The cases then received some of the liquid mask via a sponge.
Details were picked out on the ammunition and the cases were then sprayed with tones of Vallejo German Grey and chipped up.
Finally I thought I would give this gun some street credibility and put some kills on the barrel. I masked it up with some self-adhesive vinyl I had and lightly sprayed the white in place.
Thought I would place a 1/35 figure next to the model to give a concept of scale.
I do have some plans for a little vignette for this one, but for the time being I am calling this build complete. Some smaller pictures of details around the gun -
Finished pictures of the complete gun reveal some of the reward of taking on a kit like this..
Well this really was a learning experience for me. You really have to adjust your way of thinking when working with superglue and a resin kit.  As mentioned earlier, reference photos or clearer instructions would have taking hours off this build, so be prepared to do your homework before you start on this one.  Also be sure to familiarize yourself with the parts and the relationship they have with each other. It is important to understand the manner in which the placement of each piece affects the positioning of the next.  Understand what you are building and what it should look like.
I must say, I had to really force myself through the build on this. It took a lot of time and there was a lot of frustration, but a funny thing happened when the paint went down…. All of those frustrations and challenges start to drift away and you can’t help but love the scale and the form of the weapon.

This kit is really for the experienced modeller looking for a challenge.  It is quite impressive when finished and will command attention of any display table. The kit is far from faultless, but the hobby isn’t exactly spoilt for choice in this scale, so if you are looking for something different and are up for a challenge then this could be the kit for you. Hope you enjoyed the journey.

Clayton Ockerby

Thanks to Verlinden for sending this gun to be built up – you can get it directly from Verlinden Online
You can see more of Clayton’s work on his website