|REVIEWER:||Scott Van Aken|
With Allied aircraft increasingly dominating the skies over Europe as WWII progressed, there was a need for more effective self-propelled antiaircraft guns. One solution was the Flakpanzer IV/3.7cm Flak, a vehicle nicknamed Ostwind, or “East Wind” by the Germans. In August 1944 an order was placed for 100 Ostwind vehicles, with this vehicle featuring a more capable 3.7cm FlaK43 cannon mounted inside a hexagonal turret. The turret was open-topped to allow fumes to dissipate. The turret rotated 360º, and the quick-firing gun could be used with equal devastation against both air and ground targets. A crew of six operated the 25-tonne Ostwind, and a total of 43 such weapons were produced mostly on rebuilt Panzer IV tank chassis.
How to kit a new variant: Take your tried and true Panzer IVG kit, add your recent 37mm FlaK 43 cannon, stir in a new turret and there you have it.
Well, perhaps not exactly like that, but pretty close. This kit does include newly molded fenders, a very thin slide molded turret armor assembly and Dragon's very nice DS tracks. Perusing the very detailed instructions, I notice that the kit comes with options to have the gun sight window up or down, a number of additional tracks to place on the front of the tank, and several smaller bits that can be replaced by photo etch if one wishes.
There are two photo etch frets included. The large one is for the shell catch basket on the side of the 37mm gun. This is very nicely done and appears to be relatively easy to assemble. The other smaller fret includes various bits and pieces for the hull of the vehicle and many of these are optional bits for the kit parts.
Instructions are quite comprehensive and perhaps a bit on the busy side as there is a lot of information in there. One needs to pay attention in terms of filling areas and opening holes to get the proper sub-type. The instructions show markings for four vehicles, all from unknown units. Like the box art vehicle, they are all Panzer Tan with large areas of Green and Brown camouflage paint. Each one is just a bit different from the other, but I'm betting you could do what you wanted and be pretty accurate in terms of design. There is a small decal sheet that isn't shown as it only contains three insignia, none of which are shown on the painting guide.
So there you have it. Another really interesting kit from the folks at Dragon. Those who specialize in anti-aircraft vehicles will be glad to add this to their collections as with those with a penchant for Panzer IVs. The rest of us will like it as it is just a neat looking tank.
Thanks to www.dragonmodelsusa.com for the preview kit. You can find this one at your favorite hobby shop or on-line at www.testors.com
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