Flakpanzer IV Ausf. G “Wirbelwind”
|Stock Number and Description||Dragon Models Limited 1/35 scale ‘39-‘45 Series Kit No. 6565; Flakpanzer IV Ausf. G “Wirbelwind” Early Production w/Zimmerit - Dragon Zimmerit|
|Media and Contents:||743 parts (677 in grey styrene, 34 etched brass, 15 clear styrene, 14 “Magic Track” single link tracks, 2 DS Plastic track runs, 1 twisted steel wire)|
|Price:||Pre-order price US$54.95 via Dragon USA Online
|Review Type:||First Look|
|Advantages:||New variant of this kit provides for early conversions on Ausf. G hull with zimmerit paste; uses DML’s nice Flakvierling mount and “slide molded” turret parts|
|Disadvantages:||Zimmerit is pre-molded|
|Recommendation:||Highly Recommended for all German, Pzkw. IV and “Duck Hunter” fans|
DML has now released the third in their series of Flakpanzer IV “Wirbelwind” vehicles, and this one is backdated to provide for the early production versions that were converted from Pzkw. IV Ausf. F and early Ausf. G chassis with “zimmerit” paste applied. As was previously noted, since 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”, I have no reliable information on how many may have been fitted with zimmerit paste. Also, as Ausf. F and G tanks had chassis with thinner armor, applique armor was added as the vehicles were converted. (No idea how many of each were converted.)
As before, it combines a potpourri of their various Pzkw. IV sprues with the 2cm Flakvierling mount from their recent Sd.Kfz. 7/1 to provide a number of different options for finishing an early production version of the Wirbelwind. A total of 69 parts were added or replaced from the previous kits; the "waffle" pattern matches the one at Camp Borden, Ontario (except where slob modelers have chipped it off for "reference!") Remember that the turret does NOT have any zimmerit paste 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.
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 now 40 cm DS Plastic single piece runs; but unlike the handy “the tracks should be xxx mm long” information given with their 1/72 scale kits, DML simply has them cemented together and attached to the chassis in Step 7. Fourteen “Magic Track” snap-together-then-cement type links are included for the front glacis along with eight molded styrene ones.
Technical assistance was provided by Notger Schlegtendal, Thomas Anderson, Dan Graves, Tom Cockle and Gary Edmundson.
Four finishing options are provided: Unidentified Unit, 1945 (tri-color, no markings); Unidentified Unit, Alsace-Lorraine, 1945 (whitewash over apparent tri-color scheme, black 031); s.Pz.Jg.Abt. 654, Belgium 1945 (whitewash over apparent tri-color scheme, black 03); Unidentified Unit, Hungary 1945 (tri-color, black crosses, black 044). A targeted sheet of Cartograf decals is provided for these options.
Overall, this vehicle nows adds the previously missing zimmerit seen on the Wirbelwind like that on display at Camp Borden. It is now the most correct depiction of the vehicle “out of the box” yet offered.
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, front applique armor
M 15 clear styrene
S 29 Brummbaer - zimmerit components
T 25 Pzkw. IV Ausf H/Flakpanzer IV - zimmerit components
V 14 Magic Track single links
Y 1 Lower hull pan - zimmerit
X 2 DS Plastic track runs
Z 1 Twisted metal wire
MA 34 Etched brass
Thanks to Freddie Leung for the review sample.