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In-Box Review
135
Flakpanzer IV G w/ Zimmerit
Flakpanzer IV Ausf G w/ Zimmerit
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by: Adam Phillips [ ADAMPOLO13 ]


Originally published on:
Armorama

Introduction

One of the driving factors behind Germany’s power at the beginning of World War II was its innovation and development of heavy equipment. While they still had the resources they were constantly redesigning and upgrading their equipment. As a result of German engineering the Flakpanzer IV "Ostwind" was developed as an upgraded version of less powerful Wirbelwind. The vehicle was given the longer range and harder hitting 3.7 cm FlaK 43 whereas the Wirbelwind had the smaller 2 cm Flakvierling 38.

Out of the 100 vehicles ordered in August of 1944 only 44 were ever completed. 37 of these were converted from existing Panzer IV's and 7 completely new vehicles where build between December 1944 and March 1945.

Dragon Models has followed up on their earlier release of the Ostwind, this time providing us a variant with Zimmerit.

In The Box

You will see from the pictures attached that this box is stuffed full of styrene goodness. But don’t get your hopes up, more than half of what’s in there will end up in your spares box. You will notice that the sprue guide provided in the instruction manual gives a very good indication of what won’t be used via Dragon Models standard “Parts not for use.” blue shading.

The contents included
  • 16 Standard grey sprue
  • 2 Clear parts sprue
  • 18 Individual links of track
  • Pz IV Hull
  • Top Deck
  • 2 Sheets of Photo Etch
  • DS Styrene tracks
  • 2 Piece turret

The Review

Armorama has provided us with plenty of reviews on earlier Dragon Models Pz IV’s as well as the prior Ostwind offered so I won’t bore you with the details of the build steps. Instead I’d like to point out some of what I think the kit’s strong points and, more importantly, what its weak points are.

First and foremost, Dragon Models molding process is second to none. You will notice that there is no flash or soft detail on any of the sprue. I always laugh a little when I read Dragon Models marketing material, “Complete with authentic-looking injection-molded Zimmerit detail, crafted with a modelers touch.” Well, in this case the proof is in the pudding, I think they got the look of it just right.

This brings me to my second point; while they got the look and scale of the Zimmerit right they did seem to make a mistake in where the Zimmerit molding stops. Upon inspection of my reference material I noticed that the Zimmerit coating goes all the way up on to the top deck and hatches. Dragon Models seemed to really drop the ball on this, again they simply provided the standard Panzer IV Late top deck.

My next point is unfortunately another criticism of the kit and it’s an important one, the tracks! I have no idea why but for some reason Dragon Models decided to include DS tracks in this one. Now, DS are great if you like quick and easy but they do not have anywhere near the level of detail one would expect from this type of kit. The modeler is provided 18 individual links for the spares but other than the pin marks they are so far superior they make look out of place compared to the DS. The other thing I cannot stand on both the DS and the individual link, the guide horns should be hollow. You’d hope Dragon Models would have provided better. To top that off the DS is covered in flash! It will take a lot of careful trimming and sanding to try and get them to look ok. Just to keep things simple, I’d definitely recommend looking into a set of aftermarket tracks!

I could go on to complain about the instructions but if you’ve build a Dragon Models kit before you know that they are the absolute worst. To top that off, I really do have a hard time with the sheer amount of wasted sprue that goes into this box.

Conclusion

It’s hard not to get excited when I hear that there’s a new variant being released. In this case I really hoped Dragon Models would have learned from the mistakes they made on their first Ostwind release and tried to fix them for this. Unfortunately I think they only made matters worse by adding the DS tracks! At the end of the day the parts are still crisply molded and the detail is sharp so I do think this could be an okay representation strait out of the box. With that being said there are just way to many little inaccuracies that cannot go unnoticed.

SUMMARY
Highs: Crisp Molding.
Lows: Lack of Zimmerit on Top Deck - Poorly molded DS Tracks, Poor Instructions, excessive parts for the spares box.
Verdict: If you're looking for the Ostwind with Zimmerit this is the only way to go but be prepared for a bit of work if you want to display and accurate model.
Percentage Rating
70%
  Scale: 1:35
  Mfg. ID: 6746
  Related Link: 
  PUBLISHED: Nov 11, 2013
  NATIONALITY: Germany
NETWORK-WIDE AVERAGE RATINGS
  THIS REVIEWER: 87.00%
  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 Adam Phillips (adampolo13)
FROM: RHODE ISLAND, UNITED STATES

Copyright ©2017 text by Adam Phillips [ ADAMPOLO13 ]. 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.


Reader Reviews
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Comments

Adam P.; Yeap! Those are among the few pics (OK, there are a very few more circulating around ) of an Ostwind. Thanks for posting these! Obviously, there was at least one Ostwind with zimm up top around the driver's and radio-op's hatches - of this, no dispute! As to whether either of these pics of a top-zimm'd Ostwind represents a "G", I cannot say - I'm no IV expert. There are lots of pics of IV-H showing zimm'd hulls - perhaps 2/3 of H were factory zimm'd (whereas, as said before, no G were) - although few show the top side. Of those, even fewer suggest that there was typically any top-side zimm. The data is sparse, but I fall on the side that says few did have that - top zimm was a relative rarity. Which would likely mean that a top-zimm'd Ostwind would be pretty rare. I would be much more confident that most zimm'd Ostwind were later IV-H hulls and most did not have top zimm - but this is certainly up for debate! From above, I would suggest that this kit probably reflects the more likely "no top zimm" format, albeit I am less than fully convinced that the zimm on any Ostwind would have been in nice, entire and complete condition, top-zimm'd or otherwise. In fact, my take on this kit is that Dragon picked the rare duck of the flock! Rare both because zimm'd G were rare in their own right, and because zimm'd G - based Ostwinds were a rare thing. With only about 44 ever actually being completed, and these being scattered over used G and H hulls and a few new J hulls, each was pretty much a unique individual. Just as an aside, it would perhaps be more likely correct and somewhat more "typical" for a builder to use a zimm'd H hull (swap this turret onto a zimm'd version hull) to get what was probably the most common version of zimm'd Ostwind. That-all said, the zimm on this kit looks very neat and scaled, and, with some care, can be made to look "used", and it will result in a cool-looking build. And if one is convinced that the zimm'd G had zimm on top... go for a little DIY zimm! Bob
NOV 12, 2013 - 12:35 AM
Hi bob, thanks again for your comments. Something you said resonated with me, "Dragon picked the rare duck of the flock." Whether I'm right with the Zimm on the top or your right, I don't think it matters all that much. I realy do believe Dragon just took the easy route here and through a few "zimmed" sprue and hull in the box and called it a day. I really would have liked to see them take a little bit more time and offer something a little more complete. Maybe like you said, an H hull or something more common. That and the tracks....don't get me started
NOV 12, 2013 - 07:50 AM
Little off topic, but the surviving Wirbelwind at Base Borden, Ontario, has traces of zimmerit on the hull. Can upload pics if needed.
NOV 12, 2013 - 09:08 AM
Hi guys .. pretty interesting comments here ... I do believe that that Over-zimmerited example was probably the prototype vehicle and they wanted to make it look real spiffy for the pictures.. I can't see them wasting time and effort re-zimmeriting Ostwinds.. If they had it ..fine if not ..wht bother.. I think with a bit of gouging and scraping you can make this into a scruffy looking Ostwind. As for the tracks ..(DS or not doesn't matter) They are correct to have the solid tooth on later vehicles.. Thanks for the review .. I still haven't decided on which kit to buy .. This just might help me make up my mind.. Rick
NOV 12, 2013 - 11:30 AM
Simon; "Off-topic"? Only little, if any, I think! And yes, that Camp Borden Wirbel apparently had zimm, albeit years of souvenir-collectors have left it naked, if I understand things right! Wirbelwind and Ostwind were closely-related projects - both originating from Ostbau-Sagan using mostly recovered / refurbished used Pz. IV hulls, and both were built only from mid-1944.... And both were quite rare. The Wirbel came out from May or June 1944 and ending "production" (conversion) around DEC 1944. A smallish number - somewhere between 87 and up to perhaps 105 or so (sources and claims differ within this range!) were made. Most were converted Ausf. H, a few used G, a few used J - some sources say as many as perhaps 7 - 12 last made were built on new J hulls. My point here would be that the Ostwind zimm discussion applies equally well to the Wirbel and to Dragon's Wirbel kits. As "all" used IV hulls converted to Wirbel would have needed to have been recovered and taken back to Nibelungen for repair and then seconded over to Sagan for conversion, and all of this before DEC 1944, seems that very most likely most, if not all, of the H hulls would have been zimm'd - most likely "OEM factory" when produced 1943 - 1944, and even some of the earlier H hulls possibly "refurb-plant zimm'd". Any "used J" hull in a Wirbel would seem likely to have been zimm'd as well - again due to the implied time-line (that J would have been some pre- SEPT 1944 earlier-production hull to have made it to the front, been damaged, recovered to Nibelungen, and seconded to Sagan - all before DEC 1944). The new J hulls (used in last several Wirbels in late 1944) would not have been zimm'd, as they rolled off the line after zimm stopped in SEP 1944. The Wirbel G question is exactly the same as the Ostwind G question, to me. And the discussion of whether many PZ IV hulls - G, H, or early J - had any zimm on top is likewise the same. I am SURE some did - there are pics showing this. There are also many pics which show no zimm on IV hull tops - so it's the individual tank being used which would have determined this. I would expect that the first several Wirbels assembled at Sagan between late May 1944 and end of AUG 1944 would likely have been zimm'd if the used hull was not already so done - that would have been regulation. Wirbels (and the new model Ostwind) coming out after AUG 1944 would not have been zimm'd if the hull was not already zimm'd when it got to Sagan after AUG 44. (Again, regs.) I have no info or knowledge on what exact zimm pattern(s) were used at Sagan, and it seems possible to me that Sagan may have applied zimm on hull-tops - just speculation, by me! Of course, this would make top-zimm'd hulls quite rare if they were done by Sagan... @Adam P. PS: I am in no way suggesting that you are wrong for saying that this new Ostwind G w/ zimm kit might want zimm added on top. I AM saying that there is no compelling reason or evidence to suggest that ALL zimm'd Ostwind (or Wirbels, for that matter) actually had zimm on top, and that kits depicting zimm would thus be wrong. THAT conclusion seems quite unfounded, IMHO. And no, neither of us need go anywhere further about those foul DS tracks! We clearly share like mind on that! Cheers! Bob
NOV 12, 2013 - 11:48 AM
Hi Bob, I didn't take your comments negatively at all. I'm actually very happy you shared your knowledge and understanding with me and the group. I had based my review soley on my research of the vehicle and I'm glad you can bring more history to it. Because all of my reference photos show hollow guide horns, what is your take on the accuracy of the kit tracks? Obviously the detail of DS stinks!
NOV 12, 2013 - 01:09 PM
Adam P.; Tracks... Hmmmm. My take on this is pretty much that any Wirbel or Ostwind was a late-war beastie. Whether the original hull came out equipped OEM with newer style solid-tooth or older style hollow tooth tracks would have had little bearing on which style the converted Ostwind (or Wirbel) had - swapping tracks was easy and done. But this is just my take and opinion on this - by me, the photo rules, so if you have photos showing Ostwind wearing early style open-tooth tracks, why, that's good reason to say that at least one or a few did have such! If on the other hand you see another photo showing solid horns, that would be A-OK too. Unless you are striving to build a specific documented vehicle (in which case, you would have photos thereof and know exactly what type your victim had on), you should not feel constrained to go one style versus the other - so far as I know (and that's really not much at all! ), there could have been some with hollow, some with solid, and either would be "accurate" as a generic representative build. What MIGHT be interesting in a "generic representative build" would be to have one track hollow, and the other solids - while I sort of doubt that link styles were mixed within a run, I am pretty sure that the same tank could wear either style and that conceivably there could have been tanks where runs were of differ styles. But this is just my speculative opinion! Cheers! Bob
NOV 12, 2013 - 07:17 PM
yep they can be mixed.... Rick
NOV 13, 2013 - 02:23 AM
Rick; YES! Just what the doctor ordered, and didn't even get to file an Rx scrip yet! That pic quite opens up the door for Pz. IV later Ausf modelers to create some added pop with mix-n-match track runs! Big Thank You for posting this! Bob
NOV 13, 2013 - 04:45 PM
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