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Built Review
172
Flakpanzer V
Flakpanzer V
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by: Jan Etal [ TREAD_GEEK ]


Originally published on:
Armorama

Introduction

With Allied air superiority growing as the war entered it later years the German leadership recognized the need for more modern, mobile antiaircraft vehicles to protect their ground forces from marauding Allied aircraft. Work on one such variant (of the three different versions originally planned) was begun by Rheinmetall in January 1944 that envisioned mating the Panther ‘G’ hull with a new fully enclosed, rotating and armoured turret mounting a pair of 3.7 cm Flak 43 antiaircraft guns.

This first vehicle was originally known as the Flakpanzer 431, but was also unofficially referred to as Flakpanzer V Coelian. The project progressed to the point where a wooden mock-up of the turret was made and mounted on a Panther ‘D’ chassis. The projected final production version turret was intended to be mounted on the more modern Panther ‘G’ chassis, however the increasing demand for gun tanks eventually led to the entire program never reaching the production stage. This kit represents what would have been the projected final version on a Panther ‘G’ chassis.

The subject of this review is the Dragon Models 1/72 Armor Pro Flakpanzer V Coelian, kit #7236.

Contents

Contents of the box revealed five bagged styrene sprues in the standard Dragon light grey colour. Two larger sprues were contained in one bag and are the same as those that are found in Dragon’s Panther ‘G’ (#7205, #7206) kits. Two smaller bags contain the upper and lower hull pieces and a further medium sized bag contains the parts specific to the Flakpanzer V. A final bag contains two lengths of Dragon Styrene (DS) tracks. There is also present a small sheet of Cartograph water-slide decals with generic German crosses in two sizes.

A four sided instruction card is provided displaying a parts diagram, two pages with four assembly steps in the form of exploded view CAD images with arrows for parts placement and one page showing painting and markings. The painting and marking pictures are for two tanks, one in a three colour camouflage and the second with a sand coloured body and red primer turret. The colour references provided are for the GSI Creos Corp Aqueous Hobby Color, the same company’s Mr. Color and Model Master enamels.

Sprue contents and breakdown are as follows.
  • A - 62 -Suspension components, running gear and side skirts.
  • B1 - 8 -Flakpanzer V specific pieces.
  • C - 52 -Panther hull details
  • D1 - 1 -Upper Hull.
  • D2 - 1 -Lower hull.
  • E - 2 -DS tracks


The total kit parts content is 126 of which 40 will find a home in your spares container.

Review

The first thing that stood out while inspecting the sprues is that all the crew hatches on the hull and turret are moulded on in a closed position. Despite this, the older ‘C’ sprue had a couple of pleasant surprises. The most notable being a part that represents the inner engine compartment with it’s fans, radiators and engine block. The main engine compartment hatch is a separate part and ideally could be positioned in the open position to display the interior.

All the external upper hull stowage is provided as separate parts. Granted, some of the tools are represented in clusters but should still be easier to paint than the moulded on variety. Another nice touch often missed with recent kits is that styrene spare tracks are provided for mounting on the rear upper hull. They are even of the correct size and contour to match the DS tracks.

While delicately moulded towing shackles are provided as individual parts, all lifting eyes on the hull and turret are semicircular moulded on projections of plastic. No PE alternates for these or other details are provided as in some past Dragon offerings (included with previous Panther G's).

Sprue connection points (gates) are all over the place as far as size and location are concerned. Several parts on the older Panther sprues (A, C) not only have larger connection points but with some parts there are several vent gates on a part that will need to be cleaned up as well. A few of these are downright huge and will require even more careful cleanup. Ejector pin marks are mostly on surfaces that will not be visible after construction.

Flash is not absent on the kit parts and especially on the older two sprues. Most should take minimal effort to be removed. Unfortunately, even the ‘B’ sprue that contains the new turret parts had flash evident that will need to be removed.

As with any model build, it will serve the builder well to study the instructions and determine the best construction order prior to having glue meet plastic. While the instruction steps for this kit suggest or imply a general building sequence, the timing of attaching the individual parts will be left up to the individual. As an example, fragile and any delicate part placement should probably be left until nearing final finishing.

Of the four construction steps the first two are the busiest. Step 1 has the entire hull and all it’s associated pieces entirely built. However, in this reviewers opinion, it is probably more logical to leave joining of the upper and lower hull until after the rather intricate suspension, complete with tracks in place, is completed.

The suspension is the focus of Step 2 and is fairly complex when compared to that of the recent Panther D (#7494). The construction process will require some planning as the construction sequence is not all that clear in the pictographs. There are also some deficiencies as far as parts labeling is concerned.

On the review sample the inner halves of the rear idlers (parts A19) are not identified on the sprue. The road wheels shown to be A18 in the instructions are identified on the sprue as A1. It will be the responsibility of a builder to compare the parts specified in the instructions with the sprue diagram to ensure they are selecting the right parts.

Step 3 has the entire turret assembled but only involves eight parts. Final assembly of the model takes place in Step 4. During this step the tracks are added, the hull rear plate with it’s accompanying detail pieces are attached, the turret is placed on the hull and the side skirts are added.

Build Observations

As there are numerous build logs of the earlier Dragon Panther ‘G’ kits on the Internet, this review will mostly concentrate on the new turret. However, after reading a number of these reviews I’ll just say that the hull is not without a few problems, primarily gaps needing to be filled due to parts not fitting the best. There is also an issue with the front machine gun’s ball mount (C20). The recess for the ball mount in the front upper hull plate is quite a bit larger than mount itself so it will require quite a bit of careful filling.

Dry fitting the interleaved suspension parts showed that the various wheels had an adequate fit with only the innermost road wheels being a bit loose. The idler halves however were a bit of a nuisance as they each had a fair amount of flash around the ejector pin areas and vent gates. In two cases the flash was so thick that it formed semicircular projecting plugs of plastic (perhaps due to the age of the mould?).

The turret itself has a fair overall fit to the pieces. The mantlet top and bottom halves (B4, B5) will require sanding along where the parts join and the front part (B7) will also require sanding and a bit of filler. The gun barrels are nicely detailed and have a hollow barrel end but will require the careful removal of the moulding seams along its length. This reviewer found that the fit of the barrels into part B7 was very loose and required the deepening of the holes in B7. The fit was still loose and care will need to be taken to make sure that the barrels are properly aligned and oriented.

Unlike a few recent kits, this kit has the turret lugs that prevent the turret falling off or needing to be glued. The fit of the turret to hull is snug but not excessive so as to allow for rotation. While the mantlet fits into the turret in a manner to allow the guns to be elevated, the fit is quite loose and causes the guns and mantlet to not want to stay in an elevated pose.

Conclusion

With this kit we see Dragon combining something old and something new to create an interesting “paper panzer.” As the hull and the lower suspension are from the venerable previous Panther G kit(s), those that have built one should expect no surprises other than the need for increased
cleanup due to the age of the mould. The turret, while having a simplified construction, seems quite appropriate based on images one will find on the Internet.

While not exactly what one might call a “quick build,” this kit is simple enough for even a beginning modeller. For the more skilled builder there is quite a bit of opportunity to enhance it. Since this was not a production vehicle and only one “mockup” was produced, there is great potential for a builder to use artistic license for any embellishing of the basic form and colour scheme.
SUMMARY
Highs: Very interesting and unique vehicle. Nicely moulded on details and separate stowage pieces. Internal detailing of engine compartment.
Lows: All crew hatches moulded on, no PE and less than intuitive instructions.
Verdict: Despite some faults, should build up to be a very interesting model to add to any collection.
Percentage Rating
75%
  Scale: 1:72
  Mfg. ID: 7236
  Suggested Retail: $19.95
  Related Link: 
  PUBLISHED: Aug 20, 2013
  NATIONALITY: Germany
NETWORK-WIDE AVERAGE RATINGS
  THIS REVIEWER: 84.51%
  MAKER/PUBLISHER: 86.19%

Our Thanks to Dragon USA!
This item was provided by them for the purpose of having it reviewed on this KitMaker Network site. If you would like your kit, book, or product reviewed, please contact us.

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About Jan Etal (tread_geek)
FROM: ONTARIO, CANADA

I've been building models since about age 10 with the occasional hiatus due to real life events. First armour model was a 1/76 Airfix Tiger I and was followed by a 1/72 Revell F4U Corsair. I've built primarily 1/76 and 1/72 armour and aircraft but occasionally have tinkered in other larger scales....

Copyright ©2017 text by Jan Etal [ TREAD_GEEK ]. Images also by copyright holder unless otherwise noted. Opinions expressed are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of TankRat's. All rights reserved.


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Comments

Thanks Dave for getting this... ...one up. It was definitely a bit different! Cheers, Jan
AUG 20, 2013 - 11:20 AM
Jan, Great review and it's nice to finally see something about this kit other than the box top or Dragon propaganda CAD images. I can't help but think that this tank reminds me of the Sgt. York AA tank that the Americans were working on years ago. While it's a Paper Panzer it's still different and is quite an eye catcher. You mention and have the picts of those plugs on the idler but are there any other areas like that? Are these really because the mould is old or were they on the original Panther model also? I presume you won't be continuing this in a Blog anytime soon! Regards, AJ
AUG 20, 2013 - 02:51 PM
@weathering_one - AJ, Thanks and I'm glad that you like the review and took the time to comment. I also thought that the Flakpanzer reminded me of the SGT. York (in a vague way). It definitely is an interesting vehicle and would have been ahead of it's time had it gone into production. There are actually a number of parts that have these projecting plugs. The 'A' sprue has all the running gear has numerous sprockets, wheels and idlers for various Panther versions on it. Almost ALL the idlers have these plugs to one degree or another. The one major part that has these is the engine compartment rear deck (C1). They are so thick and project so far from the underside of the part that it won't fit when you try to install it over the engine compartment detail part (C33). On the first point, I can't be 100% positive whether these issues appeared on the older kits and my research didn't find any reference in reviews of them to suggest that it was common. A friend that has been in the hobby for years and also was involved in the mould making process was the one who suggested that the flash and the plugs were caused by wear on the mould. On the second point, you'll just have to wait and see! Thanks for commenting. Cheers, Jan
AUG 21, 2013 - 10:44 AM
Jan, a well written and informative review. I really like the "Armor Pro" series from Dragon, but have noticed with the 3-4 new kits issued that you get less and less for your money while the price keeps going up. It used to be that you got all kinds of extra goodies with an Armor Pro kit, and they were a little special , but that does not seem to be the case any more. Jeff T.
AUG 21, 2013 - 06:14 PM
@imatanker - Jeff, I too feel your (and all Braille builders) pain. There has been quite a stir in this community about Dragon's "change of direction" as far as what constitutes an Armor Pro kit. I fear that modellers are taking second place to collectors of prebuilt models and what we get is sort of the scraps. It's sad that with this kit we see the best part of it being from an old previous release while the turret is IMHO excessively simplified. I'm not saying that the moulding isn't good but how much better it could have been if Dragon had maintained their previous standards for Armor Pro kits. Thanks for commenting and for registering your disappointment about their recent releases. Cheers, Jan
AUG 22, 2013 - 10:43 AM
Jan, It is a sad thing. I have been buying up the older kits as I can because I honestly can't see things turning around. I'm hoping it does, but I'm not very confidant. Lets hope Dragon see's the light and turns it around. Jeff T.
AUG 22, 2013 - 03:19 PM
Jeff, Since you are collecting some of the older kits, would you happen to have one of the earlier Panther or Jagdpanther ones? If so, could you have a look at the sprues and let us know if the rear engine deck and some of the idler halves have the projecting moulding plugs as shown in the photo above? Not that it's a big deal (except for the idlers) but forewarned is forearmed. Thanks, Jan
AUG 23, 2013 - 11:22 AM
Jan, I will have to check my stash, but I don't think I have a Panther. I am going to have to change that But I did build this kit # 7345.... And I do remember that it did have the big tails on the underside of the engine deck cover. This is a good example of what an Armor Pro kit should be, and once was. It had DS tracks and some nice PE including the hoist chain And the lifting hooks Well detailed engine deck,(I added the screens) And the finished kit As I stated above, In my opinion this s what an AP kit should be. If I get a chance I will check my stash and let you know. Jeff T.
AUG 24, 2013 - 04:02 AM
Jeff, Talk about nostalgia and a case of "you don't know what you got 'til it's gone!" I had a look over kit #7291 (SdKfz 186 Jagdtiger - Porsche Version) and it has a similar engine compartment and back cover. The PE is similar to your kit (sans lifting gear) and the overall moulding is what I'd call superb when compared to the Flakpanzer. Virtually no flash evident and the engine deck is perfect with a few ejector pin marks on the underside. BTW, thanks for posting the images and the Jagdtiger looks great! Okay and thanks. Hopefully someone reading this thread that either has a Dragon Panther G in their stash or has built one might shed some light on the earlier AP version. I'll see if one of the Braille builders in the local IPMS club might be able to provide some help. Cheers, Jan
AUG 24, 2013 - 11:28 AM
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