ARM: Review - DML 1/35 scale 3.7 cm Flak 43 Flakpanzer Ostwind

Kit Review: Dragon Models Limited 1/35 scale =9139-=9145 Series Kit No. 655=
0; 3.7 cm Flak 43 Flakpanzer IV =93Ostwind=94 - Smart Kit; 1,049 parts (728=
in grey styrene, 240 =93Magic Track=94 single links, 62 etched brass, 19 c=
lear styrene); pre-order price US$54.95 via Dragon USA Online
Advantages: new variant of this kit makes numerous small changes; uses new =
mold Flak 43 gun and mount; uses slide molded turret halves like the previo=
us Wirbelwind kit=20
Disadvantages: no zimmerit; comes with =93Magic Track=94 single links=20
Rating: Highly Recommended
Recommendation: for all German, Pzkw. IV and =93Duck Hunter=94 fans
As the war situation worsened for the Germans, more and more emphasis was =
placed on mobile air defense weapons to protect troops and weapons systems.=
But they also needed some armor protection for the crew, as often they fou=
nd themselves dealing with ground troops. The solutions were found in using=
the Panzer IV chassis as it could support a large turret and reasonable we=
aponry. Two different designs, the Wirbelwind with the 2 cm Flakvierling 38=
and the Ostwind with the 3.7 cm Flak 43, were designed and prototypes buil=
t in the summer of 1944. But neither one had a long production run =96 tota=
ls for the Wirbelwind were only 122 units from conversions and 43 for the O=
stwind (36 conversions and 7 new construction).=20
Sixteen months after releasing the early production Ostwind (Kit No. 6342)=
DML has finally answered the requests of German antiaircraft fans and rele=
ased their Ostwind kit. This is apparently based on the last seven producti=
on models, as it is on an Ausf. J chassis with late features and only offer=
s the twin exhaust stacks at the rear of the hull; it also comes without an=
y =93zimmerit=94 paste.=20
Note that none of these weapons - either the Ostwind or Wirbelwind =96 had=
zimmerit on their turrets anyway, as it would add weight and would have sl=
owed it down when traversing, a problem most armored turrets had when track=
ing enemy air targets.=20
The kit swaps out a large number of parts from the last Wirbelwind kit to =
match the final production hull of the Ostwind. Drivers are in only four pa=
rts, and many of the suspension parts are exchanged for Jagdpanzer IV-70 on=
es. =20
The upper hull again consists of a deck and framework with applique sides,=
front and rear engine intake components and fenders.
All ports and hatches are separate parts so they can be posed open. This k=
it provides more of an interior than most DML Panzer IV kits with what appe=
ars to be ammo lockers and braces inside the hull. The firewall for the eng=
ine compartment is also included. The bow also comes with the standard gene=
ric DML machine gun and ball mount. Note that all ports have clear styrene =
inserts as well.=20
Like its predecessor the turret is a DML gem; they split it vertically at =
the joint between the front four panels and the elongated rear two. The upp=
er sections are respectively thin - DML=92s =93Razor Edge=94 moldings =96 a=
nd the joint here is easier to hide than the old horizontal splits used by =
Monogram and Tamiya. The upper turret race fitting for the upper race is mo=
lded as part of the front section, a truly unique design.=20
The 3.7 cm Flak 43 is a totally new weapon and not one borrowed from the o=
lder kits (since they were Flak 37s it was a must-do anyway). The main gun =
comes in a single piece with slide molded barrel and flash hiders. But unli=
ke past DML antiaircraft gun offerings, if carefully assemble this one appe=
ars to offer free elevation. Some things are ill explained; parts Q49 and Q=
17 appear to be charging or barrel change handles but no directions are giv=
en as to which is which; they are just shown as =93either/or=94 items. A la=
rge catch bin is formed from styrene braces and etched brass basket sides. =
Four ten-round clips are provided.=20
This kit has more etched brass than many Smart Kits but does provide for t=
he engine air intake louvers, the inner guides of the idler wheels, some sm=
all brackets, and the flaps for the engine air intakes on the sides of the =
rear deck.
Tracks are the =93Magic Track=94 snap-together-then-cement type, and model=
ers are advised to recall that when facing the head card the left side trac=
k links are on the left (dark grey) and right (light grey) are on the right=
Technical assistance was provided by Notger Schlegtendal, Tom Cockle and G=
ary Edmundson.=20
Five finishing options are provided: s.Pz.Abt.507, Nove Bentaky, Czechoslo=
vakia, 1945 (three color banding); and four =93Unidentified Unit=94 ones wi=
th different tricolor schemes. A small sheet of Cartograf decals is provide=
d (three crosses) but none of the examples given uses them! Also it is not =
possible to determine which of the cited examples may have been conversions=
with zimmerit paste and earlier design chassis.=20
Overall, this is a much-wanted kit and =93completes the record=94 on late =
production German self-propelled AA guns. Other than the missing zimmerit l=
imiting it to one of the last seven built this kit should be very popular f=
or the great representation of its subject and the most correct depiction o=
f the turret mounting yet.=20
Thanks to Freddie Leung for the review sample.=20
Cookie Sewell
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