Dragon 1/35 Flakpanzer IV ausf G 'Wirbelwind' (early)

KIT #: 6342
PRICE: 59.00 SRP
DECALS: Three options
REVIEWER: Scott Van Aken
NOTES: Smart Kit

HISTORY

The Flakpanzer IV "Wirbelwind" (Whirlwind in German) was a self-propelled anti-aircraft gun based on the Panzer IV tank. It was developed in 1944 as a successor to the earlier self-propelled anti-aircraft gun M÷belwagen.

In the first years of the war, the Wehrmacht had less interest in developing self-propelled anti-aircraft guns, but as the Allies developed air superiority, the need for more mobile and better-armed self-propelled anti-aircraft guns increased.

The Panzer IV's turret was removed and replaced with an open-top, nine-sided turret which housed a quadruple 2 cm Flakvierling 38 L/112.5. A closed-top design would have been preferable, but this was not possible due to the heavy smoke generated by the four anti-aircraft guns. Production of the tank was carried out by Ostbau Werke in Sagan, Silesia.

As the 2 cm shells used proved less effective against aircraft than the 3.7 cm shells the Wirbelwind was eventually replaced by the Ostwind' which was equipped with a single 3.7 cm FlaK 43.

The combination of armor and rapid fire from the four guns of the Wirbelwind also made it effective against ground targets.

It is believed that either 87 or 105 Wirbelwinds were produced during the war, but due to discrepancies between the recorded production numbers at Ostbau Werke and Wehrmacht service records, the exact number will probably never be known.

THE KIT

Many modelers really like flak wagons of various sorts and the Wirbelwind has to be one of the coolest ever done. Thanks to Dragon's attention to detail, we now have an accurate early version of this interesting vehicle. The armor plating on the turret is nice and thin and there is a ton of detail in the quad 20mm gun mount. Not only that, but the kit has a ton of smaller options in terms of frontal armor, track design and a bunch of other bits and pieces. The PR listing of features is pretty long and listed below. As you can see from the sprues layout, there are a lot of Panzer IV pieces that are not used with this one so can be consigned to the spares box.

- Four frontal-armor options available for new assembly
- Gun-sight cover can be assembled open/closed
- Cannon can be freely posed at different angles
- 2-directional slide-molded turret for Wirbelwind w/realistic weld seams
- Scale-thickness fighting-compartment armor has extra-thin top edge
- Side fenders w/pattern detail on both top and bottom surfaces
- Injection-molded fenders made to thinnest possible dimensions
- Separate front and rear fenders can be posed in a folded-back position
- Injection-molded reflector and convoy light w/optional photo-etched parts
- 2cm Flakvierling 38 w/accurate detail
- Gun cradle offers great detail definition
- Gun sight and hand wheels w/well-defined detail
- Spent-shell cage made from photo-etched parts
- Slide-molded one-piece gun barrel w/hollow muzzle
- Gunner's seat can be modeled at different angles
- Hull sides w/authentic detail
- Front spare-track bracket for Ausf.G w/optional round or flat handle
- Ammo magazines inside turret w/great detail
- Accurately designed transmission and steering-brake access hatches can be modeled open/closed
- Accurately modeled hull-top armor plating
- Turret ring accurately produced
- Gun mounting platform realistically produced
- Air intake covers have options of injection or photo-etched parts
- One-piece lower hull made from slide molds
- Hull bottom has full and correct details
- Notek headlight w/exquisite detail
- Complete MG w/workable ball mount
- Final-drive housing w/details on both sides
- Separate armored cover for final-drive housing
- Sprocket wheels w/breathtaking detail and multiple delicate parts
- Road wheels and suspension exhibit extreme details
- Idler wheels w/correctly detailed parts
- Realistic molded lines on rubber tires
- Muffler made from separate parts
- Injection-molded on-vehicle tools w/clasps
- Idler adjuster mountings have accurate details
- Extendable jack w/separate parts
- Extremely well-detailed towing-eye brackets w/separate parts
- Towing-cable heads have hollow ends
- Metal towing cable
- 40cm Magic Tracks are detailed on both sides

Markings for this one are relatively generic. There are schemes for three late war vehicles.

CONCLUSIONS

Another great mobile flak tank for the German modeler and those who happen to like these sorts of vehicles. One thing for sure, the German Army sure had a goodly number of these sorts of vehicles when compared to what was fielded by the Allies.

REFERENCES

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wirbelwind

April 2011

Thanks towww.dragonmodelsusa.com for the preview kit. This fine kit can be found at your local retailer.

If you would like your product reviewed fairly and quickly, please contactme or see other details in the Note toContributors.

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