Flakpanzer IV Ausf. G “Wirbelwind” Early Production - Smart Kit
Reviewed by Cookie Sewell
|Stock Number and Description||Dragon Models Limited 1/35 scale ‘39-‘45 Series Kit No. 6342; Flakpanzer IV Ausf. G “Wirbelwind” Early Production - Smart Kit|
|Media and Contents:||954 parts (615 in grey styrene, 288 “Magic Link” single link tracks, 35 etched brass, 15 clear styrene, 1 twisted steel wire)|
|Price:||pre-order price US$49.95 via Dragon USA Online|
|Review Type:||First Look|
|Advantages:||New variant of this kit makes numerous small changes; uses the nice Flakvierling mount and “slide molded” turret parts|
|Disadvantages:||No zimmerit on hull; still comes with “Magic Track” links|
|Recommendation:|| Highly Recommended for all German, Pzkw. IV and “Duck Hunter” fans
As was noted in July 2009 when the first of these kits (No. 6250) leased, the Germans were as keen as the US and British in mobile troop air defense and came up with a large number of vehicles to provide this necessary support to ground forces units. But of all of their efforts, probably the most striking one of the lot was the mating of a 2cm Flakvierling quad mount and an octagonal turret with rebuilt Pzkw. IV chassis as a very potent tactical weapons system. The vehicle, formally designated as the Flakpanzer IV/2cm Vierling, was better known as the “Wirbelwind” (whirlwind). Alas, only 122 of these vehicles were converted between July and November 1944 before they were replaced by the Flakpanzer IV/3.7 cm Flak or “Ostwind”.
As some of the vehicles were converted from Ausf. F and G chassis with thinner armor, applique armor was added as the vehicles were converted. (I do not know how many of each were converted.)
Combing a potpourri of their various Pzkw. IV sprues with the 2cm Flakvierling mount from their recent Sd.Kfz. 7/1, this provides a number of different options for finishing an early production version of the Wirbelwind.
As before the kit does not have any zimmerit. Note that if you do add zimmerit the turret does NOT have any attached as it would add weight and would have slowed it down when traversing, a problem most armored turrets had when tracking enemy air targets.
Drivers now consist of only four parts; the separate bolts are gone. Bogies are now nine piece affairs without separate tires. New details are provided for the tow hook at the rear of the hull as well.
The upper hull again consists of a deck and framework with applique sides, front and rear engine intake components and fenders. The standard muffler has a central tube section and six add-on parts to complete it along with a “slide molded” exhaust pipe.
All ports and hatches are separate parts so they can be posed open. Other than the interior of the turret the hull only provides a rudimentary firewall for the engine compartment and the cross-braces and new turret race parts. The bow also comes with a well-done machine gun and ball mount. Note that all ports have clear styrene inserts as well.
The turret is a DML gem in that they split it vertically at the joint between the front five panels and the elongated rear three panels. The upper sections are respectively thin - DML’s “Razor Edge” moldings – and the joint here is easier to hide than the old horizontal splits used by Monogram and Tamiya. The turret race fitting for the upper race is molded as part of the front section, a truly unique design. The 2 cm Flakvierling 38 has new guns with slide molded barrels and flash hiders. As with previous DML antiaircraft gun offerings, there are different sight articulation bars provided for setting the guns at either 0 or 60 degrees elevation, but the guns will not move if the bars are used. A number of magazines and ammo racks for the installation.
As with all “Smart Kits” etched brass is kept to a minimum and only covers items such as the engine air intake louvers, the inner guides of the idler wheels, some small brackets, and the flaps for the engine air intakes on the sides of the rear deck. There is also what appears to be a “catch bin” for ammo casings at the bottom of the turret.
Tracks are the “Magic Track” snap-together-then-cement type, and modelers are advised to recall that when facing the head card the left side track links are on the left and right are on the right.
Technical assistance was provided by Notger Schlegtendal, Thomas Anderson, Dan Graves, Tom Cockle and Gary Edmundson.
Three finishing options are provided: s.Pz.Abt.509, outside Darmstadt, Germany 1945 (tricolor top and sand hull, black 036); Kampfgruppe Peiper, Ardennes 1944 (tricolor top and sand hull, black crosses); Unidentified Unit, France 1944 (tricolor top and black crosses). A small sheet of Cartograf decals provides the markings. However, as is unfortunately all too common with DML, while they give you a large number of options they do not tell you which vehicle gets which applique or other optional parts.
Overall, other than the missing zimmerit this kit should be very popular for the great representation of its subject and the most correct depiction of the turret mounting yet.
A 52 Sd.Kfz. 7/1 Flakvierling carriage and details
A 37x2 Pzkw. IV Generic drivers, idlers and return rollers
A 81x2 Pzkw. IV Generic road wheels and bogies
B 9 Pzkw. IV - hatches and small details
C 4 Wirbelwind turret
C 31 Pzkw. IV OVM, tools, jack
D 38 Wirbelwind turret race and details
E 36 Pzkw. IV upper glacis, applique, sides
E 26 Pzkw. IV turret details, tools, OVM
F 8 Pzkw. III/IV spare track links
G 26x2 Sd.Kfz. 7/1 Flakvierling - 2 x 2 cm Flak 38 and ammo clips
G 56 Turret and hull ports, smoke grenade launchers
H 57 Engine deck and details
J 1 Pzkw. IV hull top
J 8 MG-34 machine gun
K 8 Pzkw. IV fenders, from applique armor
L 144 “Magic Track” left side
M 15 clear styrene
R 144 “Magic Track” right side
Y 1 Lower hull pan
Z 1 Twisted metal wire
MA 35 Etched brass
Thanks to Freddie Leung for the review sample.