3.7cm Flak 43 Flakpanzer IV “Ostwind”

Published on
Published on
Published on
Review Author(s)
Scale
1/35
MSRP
$66.50
Product / Stock #
6550
Company: Dragon Models - Website: Visit Site
Provided by: Dragon Models USA - Website: Visit Site
Box Art

The Flakpanzer IV “Ostwind” (German for East Wind) was a self-propelled 3.7cm anti-aircraft gun based on the Pz IV. It was developed in 1944 as a replacement for the Wirbelwind. The number of units produced was about 43.

This is a multimedia kit comprised of 700+ styrene parts, magic tracks, two photo etched fret, decals, and the set of instructions that need to be reviewed very carefully before gluing any parts together. Most Dragon models today are a collection of old sprues and new sprues added to create a new kit variant. In this case, Dragon has done so and you will have some sprues with the same letter. You can actually build the production version of the Ostwind.

Step 1. This step is the assembly of the idler wheel, drive sprockets, road wheels, and return wheels. There are no problems here, other than the removal of the mold line which is noticeable on the road wheels.

Step 2. This step builds the rear plate. This is mostly straightforward, except the rear tow hitch attachment point is incorrectly pointing to the far left side of the rear plate instead of in the center.

Step 3. This step is the chassis build. There are 4 mold stubs on the top of the chassis tub that need to be removed, but this is not shown in the instructions. If you don’t remove these stubs, the fenders will not fit. The rear plate is attached and the front plate is also attached. The two plates, S10 or S9, are not in the kit. I used B24 and B26.

Step 4. In this step the running gear mounts and stops are installed, along with the mounting apparatus for the idler wheel. This is straightforward and did not have any problems except part S7 and S8 are not in the kit and I used B28 and B29.

Step 5. This step builds the front deck and the extra track holder. Here, I used the plastic parts and glued them to the spare track but left them off the model to allow for painting and weathering. I also left off parts A52 adjustment lever, as they are very delicate and would break off during handling prior to painting. The rest of the step builds the wheel bogies and return rollers. I left off the drive sprocket and idler wheel until later when I mount all the wheels and tracks to ensure proper alignment with no floating wheels or tracks.

Step 6. This step builds the rear deck access doors with either PE or plastic. This step also installs the internal mount and flooring for the Flak gun. I could not figure out how the flooring (D13) properly fit into the hull. I nibbled away at the side that butted up against the hull until it allowed the part to sit flat on the floor. From there I installed the firewall (D16) and a T support (D24). This was followed by the fenders. Make sure they are relatively perpendicular to the hull sides. I left off the front and rear fender extensions to allow more room when I add the tracks.

Step 7. This step builds the hull machine gun, the armor plates, and the spare wheels to be on the rear plate. Here you start with the assembly of the machine gun. The gun is well done, but you can’t see any of it other than the barrel that projects outside of the hull. Once that is done, the upper hull is assembled and fitted to the chassis. A fuel cap is indicated in the instructions, but no part number is listed. I had a choice of part N14 or N15, so I used N14.

Step 8 & 9. These two steps attach all the odds and ends equipment to the fenders. The only part I did not attach at this time is the antenna E19 to keep from breaking it off during handling.

Step 10 & 11a. These steps start the build of the 3.7cm gun. Part Q53 is the main gun and barrel molded in one piece. The muzzle brake/flash suppressor has the holes impressed on it, but it requires that they be drilled out and all the burrs shaved out to clean it up. The extra effort will pay off with a nice representation of the barrel, thereby saving you the money of buying a replacement barrel. You will also build subassembly M for the right side gunner’s seat.

Step 11b. The instructions have two step 11s. The second step 11 creates three subassemblies. Subassembly N is a housing that contains the aiming control wheels. Subassembly O is the ammo tray and the choice of two left side mounting wheels. Subassembly P is part of the aiming sights. The instructions call out part R14, but it is really part R4.

Step 12. This step finishes the main gun assembly that was completed in step 10.

Step 13. This step builds the main housing frame. The gear Q51 is to be attached with part Q44, but that is wrong. It should be part Q52.

Step 14. This step pulls all the subassemblies (M, N, O, and P) along with the main gun assembly from Step 12 together into one unit. You will also assemble the empty shell catching cage frame now. The instructions show part Q54 being added to subassembly P, but the part number is not called out.

Step 15. This step mounts the gun assembly to the support ring (part B6). The instructions call for the attaching the screens (MB1, MB2, &MB32) to the shell catching cage now, but I left them off to facilitate painting and weathering. They were added after painting.

Step 16. This step builds the turret around the gun assembly from step 15. I built the turret less the gun assembly to allow for painting and weathering of the inside of the turret before mounting the gun assembly. The sight door in the turret can be shown open or closed.

Steps 17. This step attaches the turret ring and turret, along with the tracks. I painted the turret camouflage at this time. It is now complete and can be mounted at any time.

These are Magic Tracks that require no cleanup unless you want to remove the ejector pin marks on the inner face of each track. These appear to be the proud type that will clean up with a swipe of the sanding stick or a sharp blade. These are not workable tracks so you will need to glue them together.

The method I use to glue the tracks together is as follows:

  1. I use a track jig that is adjustable. I place it on the work surface and put a strip of yellow Tamiya tape down with the sticky side up. If you don’t have a jig, you can use a ruler. Just tape it down and use it as a guide to keep the tracks straight.
  2. Then I assemble the track using the jig and tape to hold all the parts in place.
  3. I prepared the tracks one side at a time by adding a dab of Tamiya thin glue at each joint and letting this set for about 3 to 5 minutes. This will allow the glue to set enough to hold the tracks together but still be flexible enough to put sag into the tracks.
  4. Here I used a new tool from Hobby Trax, Part number HT 007. This is a track form that allows you to drape the glued, but not yet set, track around it. I taped the tracks down to the form to ensure the sag will be formed into the track.
  5. Let them dry.
  6. Remove the tracks. Paint and weather them off the vehicle.
  7. Mount the tracks to the model, along with the drive sprocket and idler wheels.
  8. When you are happy with how the tracks look on the model, glue the drive sprocket and idler wheel into their permanent position. Make sure that the tracks are correctly aligned. One of the biggest mistake armor modelers make is to have tracks that are toed in or out, caused by the improper alignment of drive sprockets and/or idler wheels.

From here I painted the hull camouflage. I then mounted the tracks, along with the drive sprocket and idler wheel. After these were set, I added the fender extensions and all the other odds and ends that had been left off for fear of breakage. Then there was the inevitable paint touch up and general weathering to finish the model.

Accuracy

The drawings found in the references listed below show the kit to be basically accurate. Since I’m not a rivet counter, I don’t go beyond that. I model for fun.

Molding

I found the molding to be clean, with no sink marks and few ejector pin marks. The mold seams were easily removed and I saw no flash. Dragon makes extensive use of the pin nodes to keep ejector pin marks on the parts to a minimum. However, you will need to handle the removal and clean up of the parts with care.

Instructions

As with all Dragon’s instructions, read them carefully and plan what you want to do ahead of construction. Check the fit over and over and over again to make sure that all items fit together. Also, check the number of the part being called out – or lack thereof.

Painting and Decals

The color call outs are for Testors Model Master enamel and Gunze paints. I continue to see a weakness in the painting instructions from all kit makers. Instructions for the small parts like the pioneer tools and travel lights are never listed or shown. Here you have to guess or mimic what someone else has done. There are 5 different camouflage paint schemes depicted in the instructions. The decals are by Cartograf and are up to their usual high standards.

Conclusion

This is a well-engineered and molded model. If you make sure that the instructions are correct, the model goes together very well. It is a good mix of styrene and photo etch. I can recommend this kit to all WWII modeler, especially those looking for anti-aircraft mounts.

References for this variant are included in the following books:

  • Panzer IV and its Variants; Spielberger Series Vol.4, Schiffer, by W. Spielberger
  • Panzerkampfwagen IV and its Variants 1935 – 45, Book 2 Schiffer by W. Spielberger, H. Doyle and T. Jentz
  • Panzerkampfwagen IV, Grosstraktor to Panzerbefehlswagen IV; Panzer Tracts No.4, by T. Jentz & H. Doyle
  • FlaK Selbstfahrlafetten and Flakpanzer, Sd.Kfz.10/4 to 8.8cm FlaK auf VFW; Panzer Tracts No.12, by T. Jentz & H. Doyle
  • Flakpanzerkampfwagen; Panzer Tracts No.12-1, by T. Jentz & H. Doyle
  • Flakpanzer IV Wirblewind (Sd.Kfz.161/4) & Ostwind; Nuts & Bolts Vol.13, by D.Terlisten
  • Flakpanzer IV Wirblewind (Sd.Kfz.161/4), Ostwind & Kugelblitz; Nuts & Bolts Vol.25, by D. Terlisten, H. Duske, L. Lecocq & J. Rue
  • Of course, there are others available.

Thanks to Dragon and Dragon Models USA for the review sample, and IPMS/USA for the review space.

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