Dragon 1/72 Flakpanzer V 'Coelian'
|REVIEWER:||Scott Van Aken|
Flakpanzer Coelian was a self-propelled anti-aircraft gun design by Rheinmetall during World War II for the German armed forces. It was intended to be armed with two 3.7 cm FlaK 43 gun in a fully enclosed, rotating turret on the hull of a Panther medium tank but was not built before the end of the war in Europe.
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 Wehrmacht had adapted a variety of wheeled and half-track vehicles to serve as mobile forward air defence positions to protect armour and infantry units in the field as well as for temporary forward area positions such as mobile headquarters and logistic points. As Allied fighter bombers and other ground attack aircraft moved from machine gun armament and bombing to air-to-ground rockets, the air defence positions were even more vulnerable. The answer was to adapt a tank chassis with a specialized turret that would protect the gun crews while they fired upon approaching Allied aircraft.
As a consequence, the German Army High Command issued a demand for an anti-aircraft tank based on the chassis of the Panther tank design. Rheinmetall developed "Coelian" in various versions, including one with four 20mm MG 151/20 guns, but kept having to revise designs based on changing government requirements (such as demands for more modern guns with longer barrels). Eventually, in May 1944 a turret with a single 5.5 cm gun was developed, together with another with twin 3.7 cm FlaK 43 guns.
However, it soon became clear that no chassis would be available for Flakpanzers for a variety of reasons, including the Allies' landing in Normandy, the increasing Allied strategic bombing offensive, and raw material shortages. By mid-February 1945, only a wooden prototype of the desired 5.5 cm turret model on a Panther D hull had been created.
- Intricate Flakpanzer V newly designed
- New twin 3.7cm FlaK 43 cannons can be adjusted to different positions
- One-piece plastic gun barrels are well detailed
- Slide-molded upper full w/full detail
- Armored side skirts reproduced
- Intricate road wheels
- Detailed design for rear plate and stowage boxes
- Engine deck w/delicate details
- One-piece DS tracks
That is what Dragon's PR folks say about it. What you basically get in their Panther tank with a new sprue to take care of the bits that make it a flakpanzer. That is the turret, the gun barrels and the mantlet for the barrels. It means you will have quite a few spare bits to use on other builds and if you are wondering if you can do a normal Panther, you cannot as it is lacking the turret.
I like that Dragon continues with its very nice DS tracks. These can be stretched or have a bit cut out if they are not precisely the right size. While they glue like normal styrene, I would caution the builder not to apply too much cement as it can melt the track. Ask me how I know. I was surprised that they did not do any of their 'bunch of road wheels on a single casting' as they have with others so be prepared for some rubber rim painting.
Instructions are well done and in color with the usual Gunze references. Since the vehicle never entered service or even had a prototype built, you can paint it any way you want. The instructions show the 'ambush' scheme on the box cover with another option having an all brown turret with the rest of the vehicle in tan. There is a small decal sheet that just provided insignia.
This is another interesting 'what if' kit from Dragon on a weapon that would have had little effect in the progress of the war, but shows that the industry was willing to try anything at that point. If nothing else, it will make a conversation piece amongst your armor collection.
Thanks to www.dragonmodelsusa.com for the review kit. You can find this kit at your favorite hobby shop or on-line retailer
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