ARM: Review - DML 1/35 scale Flakpanzer IV Wirbelwind w/Zimmerit

Kit Review: Dragon Models Limited 1/35 scale ?39-?45 Series Kit No. 656
5; Flakpanzer IV Ausf. G ?Wirbelwind? Early Production w/Zimmert - Drag
on Zimmerit; 743 parts (677 in grey styrene, 34 etched brass, 15 clear styr
ene, 14 ?Magic Track? single link tracks, 2 DS Plastic track runs, 1 tw
isted steel wire); pre-order price US$54.95 via Dragon USA Online
Advantages: new variant of this kit provides for early conversions on Ausf.
G hull with zimmerit paste; uses DML?s nice Flakvierling mount and ?sl
ide molded? turret parts
Disadvantages: zimmerit is pre-molded
Rating: Highly Recommended
Recommendation: for all German, Pzkw. IV and ?Duck Hunter? fans
DML has now released the third in their series of Flakpanzer IV ?Wirbelw
ind? vehicles, and this one is backdated to provide for the early product
ion versions that were converted from Pzkw. IV Ausf. F and early Ausf. G ch
assis with ?zimmerit? paste applied. As was previously noted, since onl
y 122 of these vehicles were converted between July and November 1944 befor
e they were replaced by the Flakpanzer IV/3.7 cm Flak or ?Ostwind?, I h
ave no reliable information on how many may have been fitted with zimmerit
paste. Also, as Ausf. F and G tanks had chassis with thinner armor, appliqu
e armor was added as the vehicles were converted. (No idea how many of each
were converted.)
As before, it combines a potpourri of their various Pzkw. IV sprues with t
he 2cm Flakvierling mount from their recent Sd.Kfz. 7/1 to provide a number
of different options for finishing an early production version of the Wirb
elwind. A total of 69 parts were added or replaced from the previous kits.
Remember that the turret does NOT have any zimmerit paste attached as it wo
uld add weight and would have slowed it down when traversing, a problem mos
t armored turrets had when tracking enemy air targets.
Drivers now consist of only four parts; the separate bolts are gone. Bogie
s are now nine piece affairs without separate tires. New details are provid
ed 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 firewa
ll for the engine compartment and the cross-braces and new turret race part
s. The bow also comes with a well-done machine gun and ball mount. Note tha
t all ports have clear styrene inserts as well.
The turret is a DML gem in that they split it vertically at the joint betw
een the front five panels and the elongated rear three panels. The upper se
ctions are respectively thin - DML?s ?Razor Edge? moldings ? and th
e joint here is easier to hide than the old horizontal splits used by Monog
ram and Tamiya. The turret race fitting for the upper race is molded as par
t 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 pro
vided for setting the guns at either 0 or 60 degrees elevation, but the gun
s will not move if the bars are used. A number of magazines and ammo racks
for the installation.
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 brack
ets, 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 th
e bottom of the turret.
Tracks are now 40 cm DS Plastic single piece runs; but unlike the handy
?the tracks should be xxx mm long? information given with their 1/72 sc
ale kits, DML simply has them cemented together and attached to the chassis
in Step 7. Fourteen ?Magic Track? snap-together-then-cement type links
are included for the front glacis along with eight molded styrene ones.
Technical assistance was provided by Notger Schlegtendal, Thomas Anderson,
Dan Graves, Tom Cockle and Gary Edmundson.
Four finishing options are provided: Unidentified Unit, 1945 (tri-color, n
o markings); Unidentified Unit, Alsace-Lorraine, 1945 (whitewash over appar
ent tri-color scheme, black 031); s.Pz.Jg.Abt. 654, Belgium 1945 (whitewash
over apparent tri-color scheme, black 03); Unidentified Unit, Hungary 1945
(tri-color, black crosses, black 044). A targeted sheet of Cartograf decal
s is provided for these options.
Overall, this vehicle nows adds the previously missing zimmerit seen on th
e Wirbelwind like that on display at Camp Borden, Ontario. It is now the mo
st correct depiction of the vehicle ?out of the box? yet offered.
Thanks to Freddie Leung for the review sample.
Cookie Sewell
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