Cyber-Hobby 1/35 Flakpanzer IV 'Kugelblitz'

KIT: Hasegawa 1/72 B-24J Liberator
KIT #: 9109
PRICE: $34.00 SRP
DECALS: One option
REVIEWER: Scott Van Aken
NOTES: Value Packt

HISTORY

The need for a specialised self-propelled anti-aircraft gun, capable of keeping up with the armoured divisions, had become increasingly urgent for the German Armed Forces, as from 1943 on the German Air Force was less and less able to protect against enemy fighter bombers.

Therefore a multitude of improvised and specially designed self-propelled anti-aircraft guns were built, many on the Panzer IV chassis, starting with the Flakpanzer IV M÷belwagen and progressing through the Wirbelwind and Ostwind models. The Kugelblitz was the final development of the Flakpanzer IV.

The first proposal for the Kugelblitz envisioned mounting a modified anti-aircraft turret developed for U-boats on the Panzer IV chassis, which was armed with dual 30 mm MK 303 Brunn guns (a configuration known as Doppelflak, "dual flak"). This was however abandoned as unpractical, as development of this gun had not yet been completed, and in any case the entire production run of this gun turret was reserved for the German Navy.

Instead, the 30 mm twin gun Zwillingsflak ("twin flak") 103/38 was used, which had also been fitted to such planes as the Henschel Hs 129 and Dornier Do 335. The rate of fire of the twin 30 mm guns was 450 rounds a minute.

The Kugelblitz had the chassis and basic superstructure of the Panzer IV tank, on which a newly designed turret was mounted. This turret was fully enclosed, with overhead protection and 360░ traverse.

As production of the Panzer IV was about to be terminated further work was underway to change to the Jadgpanzer 38(d) chassis which was in turn based on the Panzer 38(t). No prototypes of this design were completed.

THE KIT

This is basically a reissue of an earlier Dragon kit but with a few additions. One, of course, is a set of figures. In this case, it is 6191, a panzer crew. All of these men are in various poses outside or atop the vehicle. Another new item is a newly tooled gun barrel with hollowed out ends. Finally, this is equipped with 40cm Magic Track individual link tank treads. As with current Magic Tracks, the right and left sides are different shades of grey, making it much easier to get things on the correct side.

Instructions are the newer, smaller full color ones that are in these Value Pack kits. As usual, they use Gunze and Model Master paint references. Those items that need to be modified, drilled or filled in are clearly noted in the instruction sheet.  Actually, the most time consuming part of building this one will be putting together the tracks and painting the road wheels. The back of the instructions have color and construction notes for the figure set. Markings are for one vehicle of the ever-popular 'Unknown unit 1945' as shown on the box art.

CONCLUSIONS

As there are aircraft modelers who build little more than single engine fighters, so are there armor modelers who like anti-aircraft guns and this would make an excellent addition to any collection.

REFERENCES

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

September 2009

Thanks to www.dragonmodelsusa.com for the preview kit. Get yours today at your local shop or on-line retailer.

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