ARM: DML 1/35 scale Flakpanzer IV Wirbelwind - Early Production

Kit Review: Dragon Models Limited 1/35 scale ‘39-‘45 Series Kit No. 6342; Flakpanzer IV Ausf. G “Wirbelwind” Early Production - Smart Kit;
954 parts (615 in grey styrene, 288 “Magic Link” single link tracks, 35 etched brass, 15 clear styrene, 1 twisted steel wire); pre-order price US$49.95 via Dragon USA Online
Advantages: new variant of this kit makes numerous small changes; uses the nice Flakvierling mount and “slide molded” turret parts
Disadvantages: no zimmerit on hull; still comes with “Magic Track” links
Rating: Highly Recommended
Recommendation: for all German, Pzkw. IV and “Duck Hunter” fans
    As was noted in July 2009 when the first of these kits (No. 6250) leased, the Germans were as keen as the US and British in mobile troop air defense and came up with a large number of vehicles to provide this necessary support to ground forces units. But of all of their efforts, probably the most striking one of the lot was the mating of a 2cm Flakvierling quad mount and an octagonal turret with rebuilt Pzkw. IV chassis as a very potent tactical weapons system. The vehicle, formally designated as the Flakpanzer IV/2cm Vierling, was better known as the “Wirbelwind” (whirlwind). Alas, only 122 of these vehicles were converted between July and November 1944 before they were replaced by the Flakpanzer IV/3.7 cm Flak or “Ostwind”.
    As some of the vehicles were converted from Ausf. F and G chassis with thinner armor, applique armor was added as the vehicles were converted. (I do not know how many of each were converted.)
    Combing a potpourri of their various Pzkw. IV sprues with the 2cm Flakvierling mount from their recent Sd.Kfz. 7/1, this provides a number of different options for finishing an early production version of the Wirbelwind.
    As before the kit does not have any zimmerit. Note that if you do add zimmerit the turret does NOT have any attached as it would add weight and would have slowed it down when traversing, a problem most armored turrets had when tracking enemy air targets.
    Drivers now consist of only four parts; the separate bolts are gone. Bogies are now nine piece affairs without separate tires. New details are provided for the tow hook at the rear of the hull as well.
    The upper hull again consists of a deck and framework with applique sides, front and rear engine intake components and fenders. The standard muffler has a central tube section and six add-on parts to complete it along with a “slide molded” exhaust pipe.
    All ports and hatches are separate parts so they can be posed open. Other than the interior of the turret the hull only provides a rudimentary firewall for the engine compartment and the cross-braces and new turret race parts. The bow also comes with a well-done machine gun and ball mount. Note that all ports have clear styrene inserts as well.
    The turret is a DML gem in that they split it vertically at the joint between the front five panels and the elongated rear three panels. The upper sections are respectively thin - DML’s “Razor Edge” moldings – and the joint here is easier to hide than the old horizontal splits used by Monogram and Tamiya. The turret race fitting for the upper race is molded as part of the front section, a truly unique design. The 2 cm Flakvierling 38 has new guns with slide molded barrels and flash hiders. As with previous DML antiaircraft gun offerings, there are different sight articulation bars provided for setting the guns at either 0 or 60 degrees elevation, but the guns will not move if the bars are used. A number of magazines and ammo racks for the installation.
    As with all “Smart Kits” etched brass is kept to a minimum and only covers items such as the engine air intake louvers, the inner guides of the idler wheels, some small brackets, and the flaps for the engine air intakes on the sides of the rear deck. There is also what appears to be a “catch bin” for ammo casings at the bottom of the turret.
    Tracks are the “Magic Track” snap-together-then-cement type, and modelers are advised to recall that when facing the head card the left side track links are on the left and right are on the right.
    Technical assistance was provided by Notger Schlegtendal, Thomas Anderson, Dan Graves, Tom Cockle and Gary Edmundson.
    Three finishing options are provided: s.Pz.Abt.509, outside Darmstadt, Germany 1945 (tricolor top and sand hull, black 036); Kampfgruppe Peiper, Ardennes 1944 (tricolor top and sand hull, black crosses); Unidentified Unit, France 1944 (tricolor top and black crosses). A small sheet of Cartograf decals provides the markings. However, as is unfortunately all too common with DML, while they give you a large number of options they do not tell you which vehicle gets which applique or other optional parts.
    Overall, other than the missing zimmerit this kit should be very popular for the great representation of its subject and the most correct depiction of the turret mounting yet.
    Thanks to Freddie Leung for the review sample.
Cookie Sewell
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snipped-for-privacy@aol.com wrote:

geez, you really don't like that magic track, do you cookie? i concede that it is a finicky, fiddly pain in the ass, but i really find it hard to beat for natural sag and drape. is there a middle ground between the rubber band and the 8 bits per link types? all the "traditional" methods of crazy glue and wiring it down seem ineffectual and rarely look good to me. any tips and tricks you might pass along? tanks, s
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On Mar 27, 12:37 am, snipped-for-privacy@some.domain ( snipped-for-privacy@some.domain) wrote:

ldings > >=96

The answer is "link and length" in which you get straight runs for the flat parts and single or multiple links for the wrap or sag sections. For my money the best tracks going here are the ones Trumpeter has in its KV series of kits.
I don't like single link tracks unless there is no other way to do it, but most of the complaints I get about them are from modelers who just don't have the time they used to and find spending 4 to 12 hours (based on the kit, with DML three-piece "single link" tracks being at the high end of the scale) putting tracks together is not much fun.
Cookie Sewell
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snipped-for-privacy@aol.com wrote the following:

snipped-for-privacy@aol.com wrote:

With the one piece soft tracks, sometimes the track is just a little short and there is no way to get them to sag down to the bogies along the top. My last Hanomag 251/1's track was so short that I had a hard time just getting it on the vehicle. I then had a great idea. I glued the track ends together and slipped them over an empty coke can which stretched them a little. I then took a heat gun and heated the track to soften it. I should have stopped after putting the tracks on the can. The heat gun distorted the track and they softened so much that they became useless by melting them. My 251/1 will now rest in a ditch along a diorama road with pieces of the track laying about, unless someone has a spare pair. :-)
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Bill
In Hamptonburgh, NY
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wish i caould help you....
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snipped-for-privacy@some.domain wrote the following:

Thanks. I could buy a set of the separate links for it, but I have a rule not to spend more for an accessory than the model cost.
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Bill
In Hamptonburgh, NY
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hard rule to follow these days.
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snipped-for-privacy@aol.com wrote the following:

Regarding magic tracks, Have you seen this You Tube video of gluing them for a Sd.Kfz. 251 Auf.C? It looks pretty simple the way he does it. Too bad it is in Japanese so we can't hear what he is saying, but the video is pretty self-explanatory.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2MVxFgs7eYc&feature=related

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Bill
In Hamptonburgh, NY
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