ARM: Review - DML 1/35 scale Flakpanzer IV Ausf. G with Zimmerit

Kit Review: Dragon Models Limited 1/35 scale ?39-?45 Series Kit No. 674 6; Flakpanzer IV Ausf. G w/Zimmerit - Smart Kit; 646 parts (586 in grey sty
rene, 21 etched brass, 19 clear styrene, 18 ?Magic Track? single links, 2 DS Plastic track runs); pre-order price US$59.95 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
Disadvantages: no zimmerit; comes with DS Plastic track runs
Rating: Highly Recommended
Recommendation: for all German, Pzkw. IV and ?Duck Hunter? 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 ? tota ls for the Wirbelwind were only 122 units from conversions and 43 for the O stwind (36 conversions and 7 new construction).
    Fourteen months after releasing their late-model Ostwind kit (No.6550) DML has finished the series out with the early conversion on the Panzer IV Aus f. G chassis with Zimmerit. The pattern on the hull suggests they based it on the preserved Wirbelwind at Camp Borden, Ontario, Canada.
    Note that neither of these weapons - either the Ostwind or Wirbelwind ? had zimmerit on their turrets as it would add weight and would have slowed it down when traversing, a problem most armored turrets had when tracking e nemy air targets.
    The kit swaps out a large number of parts from the late-model kit to match the early conversions on the G hull with Zimmerit. There are 53 parts with zimmerit applied in the kit, but some are for gun tanks and therefore supe rfluous.
    The kit uses the tried-and-true mid production Panzer IV running gear on f our sprues. The upper hull again consists of a deck and framework with appl ique 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 machine gun a nd ball mount. Note that all ports have clear styrene inserts as well.
    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?s ?Razor Edge? moldings ? 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.
    The 3.7 cm Flak 43 is their new-mold weapon. The main gun comes in a singl e piece with slide molded barrel and flash hiders. But unlike past DML anti aircraft gun offerings, if carefully assembled this one appears to offer fr ee elevation. Some things are ill explained; parts Q49 and Q17 appear to be charging or barrel change handles but no directions are given as to which is which; they are just shown as ?either/or? items. A large catch bin i s formed from styrene braces and etched brass basket sides. Four ten-round clips are provided.
    This kit has only a tiny sheet of etched brass and goes back to the earlie r Smart Kits that rely on better styrene moldings.
    Tracks are now the single DS Plastic runs which some modelers do not like (the others do not like ?Magic Track? snap-together-then-cement types s o you cannot win.) 18 ?Magic Track? single links are provided as spares for the front glacis rack.
    Technical assistance was provided by Notger Schlegtendal, Thomas Anderson, Dan Graves, Tom Cockle and Gary Edmundson.
    Four finishing options are provided: s.Pz.Abt.507, 1945 (three color bandi ng) and three ?Unidentified Unit? ones with different tricolor schemes. A small sheet of Cartograf decals is provided (three crosses) but again no ne of the examples given uses them!
    Overall, this is a ?complete the record? kit for late production Germa n self-propelled AA guns.
    Thanks to Freddie Leung for the review sample.
Cookie Sewell
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