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Italeri 1/35 scale Demag D7 with Flak 38

Kit: No. 371
Scale: 1/35
Manufacturer: Italeri, distributed by Testor, 620 Buckbee Street, Rockford, IL 61104, 815-962-6654,
Price: $23.50
Comments: Injection-molded, 259 parts (1 vinyl screen)
Pros: Good detail, excellent "link and length" track
Cons: Gun is simplified, no support trailer is included

The Demag D7 halftrack was developed during the mid-1930s and went into production in 1938. It was used primarily as a troop carrier, and as a tractor for light artillery. The vehicle saw use on all German fronts throughout the war, and several thousand of the vehicles were built before production ceased in 1944. A popular modification was mounting a 2cm gun to a platform on the back of the vehicle to be used against air or ground targets. The side panels of the gun platform could be dropped to horizontal so the gun could fully traverse and the crew had room to stand. Extra ammunition clips were stored in bins attached to the side panels. Additional supplies were usually carried in a trailer towed by the vehicle. Early vehicles used the Flak 30 gun (Sd Kfz 10/4) but later versions carried the Flak 38 (Sd Kfz 10/5).

When Italeri first announced the release of a Demag D7 kit, speculation was that it might be the old and rare Esci kit. I was pleasantly surprised to find a brand new kit when I finally received a sample. Italeri's first version of the Demag D7 mounts the Flak 38 gun. A second kit, a standard D7 towing a Nebelwerfer rocket launcher, has also been released. (The Demag also is available in a troop-carrier version from Revell Germany.) The kit features fine detail, and the track links are injection molded in the popular link-and-length format. Optional cab armor and vinyl screen is provided for the platform side panels. Decals consist of only license plates, but they feature individual numbers, so you can make just about any Wehrmacht or Luftwaffe plate. The instructions show only one generic late-war three-color camouflage scheme. No figures are provided, and sadly the supply trailer often seen being towed is also absent.

I started building the driver's compartment, then jumped ahead and built the gun platform and the gun, making these subassemblies easier to paint. The gun is somewhat simplified, but it's a fair representation of the Flak 38. It lacks the shell-catcher net, and the gunsight does not change position when the gun is elevated. The gun shields are a bit thick but the edges are tapered to present a closer to scale edge.

I added the screen to the platform sides at this time. The vinyl mesh is difficult to cut and the pieces need to be cut exactly to fit the side panels - there is no room for error.

I sprayed these subassemblies and all of the wheels with a coat of Polly Scale Middlestone. When the paint was dry, I added the hood, windshield, radiator, and cab armor to the front of the vehicle. When adding the hood, do all of the pieces in one sitting, as you may have to adjust a piece or two before the glue sets. Even so, I had a large gap where the hood meets the firewall. Fortunately this is covered by the cab armor. If you are not building a version with this extra armor, you'll need to fill this gap.

With the radiator shell in place, the suspension arms (part Nos. 32A and 33A) wouldn't fit. I had to clip off the ends that go behind the radiator to get them in place. The added pieces were sprayed with Middlestone, and then I detail-painted the interior of the cab. Large blotches of Polly Scale Panzer Olive and Panzer Red-brown were airbrushed on for camouflage.

The tracks are well molded with no ejector-pin marks. The track segments are easy to assemble and fit well. Individual links go around the drive sprocket and idler wheel, while various lengths of tracks cover the longer spans. I originally planned to leave off the fender gun-storage boxes, but every picture I had of the vehicle showed them in place. I tack-glued the covers (77D) in place with white glue, so I could remove them later and add the guns.

The finished model captures the look of the real halftrack. Most modelers will be happy building it straight out of the box, but there are plenty of opportunities for detailers to add refinements. I spent about 18 hours building my model. It matches almost to the scale inch the dimensions in Chamberlain, Doyle, and Jentz's Encyclopedia of German Tanks of World War Two. The old Squadron/Signal German Halftracks in Action book also has several good photos of the vehicle.


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