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Built Review
135
Telemeter KDO Mod.40
Telemeter KDO Mod. 40 with Trailer
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by: Dave Shick [ ILLINI ]


_ORGINPUB:
Armorama

Introduction

The Kommando-Gerät 40 is an anti-aircraft fire director used principally for major caliber weapons such as the 8.8 cm FlaK 36 and 10.5 cm FlaK 40. However, by installing the proper ballistic cams, it may be used with any type of gun. The director is basically an analog computer that uses visual observation to solve the firing parameters.

The director is operated by five men. Two are required to track in azimuth (horizontal angle to the target) and elevation; a third sets in slant range (straight line distance) by means of a 4-meter base stereo range finder mounted on the director; the fourth man sets in horizontal angle of approach; and the fifth man operates various switches. By continuously monitoring these parameters, in sync, a whole variety of values can be calculated, such as speed, direction, etc. This machine did this using analog devices, no Pentium chips here!

The director computes continuously by using a target speed and angle of approach method, and can handle diving and curving target courses. The time from initial pickup to first round is estimated to be 20 or 30 seconds. When shifting to a new target in the vicinity of the target previously tracked and flying an approximately parallel course, as little as 10 seconds may be required

The slant range (linear distance to the target) was accurate up to 18,000 meters (11.2 miles). This is about the maximum range of the Flak 40. A trailer equipped with devices for lifting the director is used for transport. However, one reference indicated the delicacy of the optics might have made transport impractical. Therefore, its use might have been limited to fixed batteries around cities and such, where the Luftwaffe deployed its AA guns in batteries of 4-6 pieces. Allied air crews hated FlaK, so apparently the device was effective.

What’s Inside

The kit comes packaged in a typically-sized box from Bronco. However, the box is mostly empty, so the sprues can rattle around. I found no damage, however I think a smaller box— or some padding— would be appropriate.

This is basically two kits in one: the director itself and the transport trailer.

The director consists of three unique sprues, and a photo etch sheet.

• B has the body of the director, range finder tube and parts of the base
• C (x2) has various small bits
• Db (there’s a Da) has parts for the crucifix base
• PE sheet has grill work for the base and other details

The transport cart consists of two unique sprues

• A has the main structure and suspension
• Da (x2) has the wheels and associated bits
• The PE sheet above has many parts (all small) for the cart

The instruction booklet is printed on twelve glossy A4-size pages. This includes an introduction, guide, sprue inventory, construction steps, and painting guide. There is a separate two-sided painting guide for two additional options.

The review

This is a really nice little kit.

As I said earlier, it is really two kits.

The director itself is a quick and easy build, with one exception: I managed to break two of the “grab handles” (part C3) attenpting to attach them. They are very thin and brittle. I ended up getting out my Grab-Handler and making my own. I think if you added these before assembling, the two halves of the tube you wouldn’t break them– then. However, given my clumsy fingers I’m sure I would have broken them eventually.

One picture I found (taken from Wikimedia here) shows an intact director (very rare) in a museum. This and other photos found in the references indicate the model is a very accurate representation. I only question the overall height. Period pictures show the operator standing well over the console, and men weren’t so tall then. I posed a figure next to the console, and he doesn’t clear it like the pictures. The other issue would be the binoculars at the far left in the picture: an operator would need a step stool to use them– by scale these would e over six feet off the ground.

Bronco has gotten a lot of miles out of the crucifix base and the trailer, with the latter used in at least two other kits that I can find, and the base once. The trailer isn’t large, but it’s a much more complex kit than the director. I didn’t attempt to find resources to verify its accuracy.

Conclusion

The director would look very cool in a diorama with one of the large FlaK guns. It’s an unusual subject, but an essential part of any anti-aircraft unit. The guns themselves have any number of kits; it was time for a “support” piece.

References:
Googling (who’d have thought there’d be such a verb) Telemeter KDO produces very little but references to the kit itself. I tried KommandoGerät 40 and found several useful sites, which I won’t list; you can do your own Google.

I did find one site that had a few pictures of the director in use here. There are many related pictures, and you have to scroll down a ways to get to the ones you want.
SUMMARY
Highs: Nice little kit of an unusual subject. Will look very cool in a diorama with FlaK artillery.
Lows: The transport trailer doesn't seem very useful, and mostly serves to justify the price.
Verdict: A must-have for a diorama including any of the larger FlaK artillery pieces.
Percentage Rating
95%
  Scale: 1:35
  Mfg. ID: CB35103
  Suggested Retail: $31
  Related Link: 
  PUBLISHED: May 23, 2012
  NATIONALITY: Germany
NETWORK-WIDE AVERAGE RATINGS
  THIS REVIEWER: 83.48%
  MAKER/PUBLISHER: 87.97%

About Dave Shick (Illini)
FROM: COLORADO, UNITED STATES

Copyright ©2020 text by Dave Shick [ ILLINI ]. Images also by copyright holder unless otherwise noted. Opinions expressed are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of Model Shipwrights. All rights reserved.



Comments

Thank you! I posted some photos for you in the gallery, hope that helps
MAY 12, 2020 - 01:26 AM
Thanks Roeland, They're absolutely helpful!
MAY 12, 2020 - 01:36 AM
One note for Roeland; the tri-form 3-legged base in the museum photos I posted appears to match the Bronco base perfectly. However you are correct the wire mesh used by Bronco is incorrect. I would also reiterate that in the Bronce kit the mesh deck seems to be intended to rotate WITH the Telemeter. THIS IS INCORRECT in that the the mesh decking is actually fixed to the tri-form base and only the Telemeter and the small step platform for the main spotter is intended to rotate.
MAY 12, 2020 - 03:27 AM
Mike, Glad to hear from you! Roelands point is that- unlike in Bronco's base- Kdo.Ger.40's rear legs do not protrude bellow lowered mesh screens. This is also visible on the picture you posted on March 07, 2020 in this thread. I was sent a walkaround of a Kdo.Ger.40 by Carlos Martin(varanusk) and there are also some pictures, proving Roelands point: Pictures courtesy of Carlos Martin(varanusk) Roeland also kindly posted a picture of both bases(DES-Bronco) side by side and this picture shows quite clearly where the inaccuracy in Bronco's rendition came from: The rear legs in Bronco's kit are mounted: 1.on a position that's too forward, whereas they should be mounted behind the trailer mounts 2.on a sort of outrigger arms, whereas they should have no outrigger arms (leg bodies were welded to the base frame). I've chosen to build the Kdo.Ger.40 in Bronco 2020 Campaign (that I happen to lead) and I will incorporate Roelands findings in my build. Cheers, Angel
MAY 12, 2020 - 05:00 AM
I guess my point was more that both types of bases are correct and the Bronco offering is not in itself incorrect. But perhaps I am mistaken. Sorry Angel but I have been sort of "below the surface" as far as modeling has gone. It seems like now would be a time for even more modeling but I have unfortunately been almost totally unmotivated. I was able to get started on the new FWD World War I truck and have been enjoying that but I have only gotten as far as the chassis, engine and transfer case.
MAY 12, 2020 - 01:52 PM
Hello Angel, I checked many different walkarounds all over the web with regard to the outriggers of the Bronco kit. The main reason for me was that I found the legs of the bronco kit where to wide to fit well on the vomag. That suggested for me that something was wrong. Most German platforms have a standardized form (like the smaller flak guns also placed on tripods. The Germans designed with interchangability in mind. If you look at photos of different platforms that have been mounted on vehicles, the vehicle would also have some sort of shoe to fit a tripod on. The vomag had this, and several other verhicles like the horch where a flak was mounted on. Logic thus would suggest that all these tripod platforms would have the same distance between the legs, which is not the case for the bronco platform when compared to other platforms. With that logic in mind I spoke to several of my modeling friends that are knowledgeable on the subject and they confirmed my idea. Then I started a check against wartime period photos of the KDO 40 which led to confirming of my idea that the base was wrong. The other thing is that the KDO 40 is a successor of the KDO 36 (which you probably know). The KDO 36 was also mounted on the Vomag. It would be strange for the Germans not be able to easily replace the KDO 36 for the KDO 40. From looking at period photos it would suggest to me that the legs or mounts for the KDO 36 are placed all at the same distance as the mounts for the KDO 40. The KDO 36 also had 3 mmounts. Just to provide you with the whole thought process that went on behind the base. I would not easily just post that the legs of the Bronco kit are wrong:) Hope that helps someone else building this kit. Thank you for the nice words regarding my build. I just have to add the numberplates then I think it is pretty much done. Best regards, Roel
MAY 13, 2020 - 07:26 PM
Roel, Thanks for getting vocal about your findings. You'll help me- and others- build a replica that's true in more than one meaning. As I mentioned in a earlier post- I'm the Campaign Leader of Bronco 2020 Campaign and I'll build the Kdo.Ger.40 within the Campaign. I'll incorporate your findings in my build and will credit you. Keep up the good work and please post your Vomag too!
MAY 14, 2020 - 04:57 AM
Can you elaborate on that campaign? I have no knowledge about it, but it sounds interesting!
MAY 14, 2020 - 10:40 PM
Sure Rouli! I'll PM you the links to both the Rules & Regulations/Enlistment page and to Campaigns thread!
MAY 14, 2020 - 11:43 PM
   

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