ARM: Review - DM

Kit Review: Dragon Models Limited 1/35 scale =9139-=9145 Series Kit No.
6540; Sd.Kfz. 161/4 2cm Flakpanzer IV =93Wirbelwind=94 - Smart Kit; 942
partss (594 in grey styrene, 288 =93Magic Track=94 links, 59 etched brass,
15 clear styrene, 1 twisted steel wire); retail price US$49.95
Advantages: first new kit of this popular subject in over 25 years;
uses the nice new Flakvierling mount and =93slide molded=94 turret parts
Disadvantages: no zimmerit on hull; still comes with =93Magic Track=94
links
Rating: Highly Recommended
Recommendation: for all German, Pzkw. IV and =93Duck Hunter=94 fans
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 =93Wirbelwind=94 (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 =93Ostwind=94.
Monogram first offered a kit of this vehicle in the early 1970s in
1/32 scale, and Tamiya followed with a 1/35 scale kit in the late
1970s. But now DML has released a state-of-the-air variant on their
nice Pzkw. IV Ausf. H chassis and it is a very nice package indeed.
Combing that kit with the 2cm Flakvierling mount from their recent
Sd.Kfz. 7/1 and 42 new parts, the kit does a very good job of
capturing the vehicle=92s look and appeal. Having examined the surviving
one at Camp Borden, Ontario, this kit does the vehicle justice and
provides a pretty good replica of the one there with its highly
modified turret race and turret mounting arrangement. (The actual
vehicle added a sub-race for the turret inside the hull which was its
actual pivot point, with the former race acting as a supporting mount
to assist in turret traverse. This lowered the height of the vehicle
about 50 cm to reduce top-heaviness and hamper its ability to track
targets.)
But the kit does not have any zimmerit, and other than the bare areas
on the hull of the Borden one (picked clean by modelers for examples
as near as I can figure!) this kit has no zimmerit on it, period. 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.
Most of the kit is identical to the recent Pzkw. IV Ausf. H (No.
6300). It uses that kit=92s
hull pan which is complete less the stern plates, separate final
drives, and much of the surface detail simulates screw or bolt holes;
it also has an applique lower glacis plate from the
=93Brummbaer=94 kit. 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 =93slide molded=94 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 unique in that DML split it vertically at the joint
between the front five panels and the elongated rear three panels. The
upper sections are respectively thin - DML=92s =93Razor Edge=94 moldings =
=96
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 =93Smart Kits=94 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 =93catch bin=94 for ammo casings at the bottom of the turret.
Tracks are the =93Magic Track=94 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. So far no
DS plastic tracks have been provided in any Pzkw. IV kit, but this one
provides some extras as well as T-34 track for applique armor
protection.
Five finishing options are provided along with a targeted set of
Cartograf decals: Unidentified Unit, 1944 (tricolor with crosses);
Unidentified Unit, Hettenschlag, Alsace-Lorraine 1945, (green and sand
under whitewash, black 032); 1st SS Panzer Regiment, 1st SS Panzer
Division =93LAH=94, Stoumount, Belgium 1944 (tricolor with crosses and
divisional markings) ; Unidentified Unit, 1945 (tricolor with
whitewash patches); Unidentified Unit, Eastern Front 1945 (tricolor
with whitewash panels, black 044).
Technical assistance was provided by Notger Schlegtendal, Thomas
Anderson, Dan Graves, Tom Cockle and Gary Edmundson.
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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AMPSOne
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