Home > Reviews > 1/48 > Schatton-Modellbau 3cm Flakpanzer "Kugelblitz" Conversion for Tamiya (4812)

3cm Flakpanzer "Kugelblitz" Conversion for Tamiya

Reviewed by Brett Green

 

Summary

Catalogue Number and Description: Schatton-Modellbau Item No. 4812 - 3cm Flakpanzer "Kugelblitz" Conversion
Contents and Media: Three parts in grey resin; two parts in machined brass; one steel rod; instructions.
Scale: 1/48
Price: 30,00 available online from Schatton-Modellbau website
Review Type: FirstLook and FirstBuild
Advantages: High quality casting; gorgeous brass 3cm MK 103 barrels; relatively simple conversion; will transform the look of your 1/48 scale Tamiya Panzer IV; solidly packed.
Disadvantages: Instructions could be more helpful; patience and care required when removing casting waste from bottom of turret shield
Recommendation: Recommended

 

FirstLook and FirstBuild

Schatton-Modellbau has turned its attention to Tamiya's new Panzer IV Ausf. J with their 1/48 scale 3cm Flakpanzer IV "Kugelblitz" conversion.

This conversion comprises just three parts in grey resin - a solid, spherical gun turret, a turret shield and the turret race - plus two 3cm MK 103 gun barrels and a length of rod.

 

 

The large central turret is impressively cast with almost no imperfections. There was a single pin hole on one side that was quickly dispatched with a spot of super glue and a sanding stick.

The turret shield is no less impressive, but for different reasons. It is cast very thinly. This does lead to the only complication of construction, and that is removing the casting waste from the bottom of this piece. More on this later.

The machined brass MK 103 barrels are as gorgeous as you would expect from this company. The seven baffles on each side of the muzzle brake and, of course, the muzzle itself, are all precisely drilled out.


Construction

I had just recently bought Tamiya's 1/48 scale Panzer IV. When Schatton's Kugelblitz conversion arrived on the doorstep I just could not resist seeing how it looked assembled.

If you have not built one of Tamiya's 1/48 scale armour kits, you should do yourself a favour. They offer a stark contrast to the 1,000-plus part űber-kits that are rapidly being released at the moment. You can literally build one of Tamiya's 1/48 scale armour kits in less than a day. Detail is pretty decent too.

Preparation started with removing all the relevant Tamiya kit parts from their sprues, cleaning them up and returning them to ziplock bags - one for running gear, one for tracks, another for hull fittings. I started actually building the kit around 11.30am a few days later. By 2:30pm I had assembled the wheels and suspension, secured them to the cast metal lower hull, added the tracks (love those 1/48 scale Tamiya link-and-length tracks!) and had the upper hull in place.

 

Click the thumbnails below to view larger images:


Now it was time to tackle the conversion.

The ball turret comes almost ready to use. I drilled out either side of the turret with a pin vise chucked in my Dremel motor tool, using the holes in the side as guides. Almost miraculously, the two drilled holes actually met in the middle. I pushed the metal rod into the turret. The length was perfect - no trimming required.

Removing the large casting waste sections on the bottom of the turret shield was not particularly time consuming or even especially difficult, but it was nerve-wracking. The cut line is not very obvious. I used a razor saw to carefully free the shield, then sanded down the base with 400 grit Tamiya abrasive paper. I did manage to break this delicate part at its narrowest point - under the vertical traverse cutout. I repaired this after the shield was glued to the turret race.

The turret race was less stressful. I cut off the thin resin membrane and drilled out the turret mounting holes. Before final assembly I also reduced the height of the two mounting posts to improve fit.

 

Click the thumbnails below to view larger images:

The ball turret is mounted centrally by the supplied metal rod

The turret shield is secured to the turret race with a thin bead of super glue

The larger diameter hole is marked out using the conversion part as a template


When I saw this conversion, I did not really expect that the finished product would traverse or elevate. However, the parts are so well designed that they are fully workable. The ball turret was first installed between its resin mounts on the turret race. The shield was then secured to the turret race with a thin bead of superglue. The thin shield flexed quite a bit during test fitting, so I kept the parts together with Tamiya tape until the turret assembly had set.

Next, small holes were drilled into the front of the turret to mount the brass guns. Super glue was used to secure these.

The turret opening in the top of the Tamiya hull has to be enlarged. I used the turret race as a template, tracing around the circle with a marker, then opening up the hole with a motor tool and a hobby knife. Not the most elegant solution, I know, but speed was my motivation!

 

 

With the conversion completed I returned to the Tamiya kit, adding hull details. I decided to use the skirt mounts, as I figured a Kugelblitz was as vulnerable to infantry attack as any other tank. My inclusion of the 7.5cm gun cleaning tubes is probably harder to justify though!

As time was of the essence, I have not yet treated the model to any filler. At some stage before painting I will apply a little putty as required, and tidy up the join between the turret race and the shield.


Conclusion

Schatton-Modellbau's 1/48 scale 3cm Flakpanzer "Kugelblitz" conversion is a simple yet impressive product that will completely transform the look of your Tamiya Panzer IV.

 

 

It offers some interesting possibilities as a standalone model or as part of a Luftwaffe '46 diorama in the airfield defence role. Camouflage will be an enjoyable dilemma too. Ambush scheme? Overall Dark Green? Primer Red? Ah, so many options.

Recommended.

Thanks to Schatton-Modellbau for the review sample


Click the thumbnails below to view larger images:


Schatton-Modellbau products are available from their website

Schatton-Modellbau's Kugelblitz conversion will also be available from Mission Models Website

Text and Images by Brett Green
Page Created 2 May, 2006
Page Last Updated 28 May, 2006