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3.7 cm Flak 43 Flakpanzer IV 'Ostwind'

DML 1/35 3.7 cm Flak 43 Flakpanzer IV 'Ostwind' Kit First Look

By Cookie Sewell

Date of Review July 2012 Manufacturer DML
Subject 3.7 cm Flak 43 Flakpanzer IV 'Ostwind' Scale 1/35
Kit Number 6550 Primary Media 1,049 parts (728 in grey styrene, 240 “Magic Track” single links, 62 etched brass, 19 clear styrene)
Pros New variant of this kit makes numerous small changes; uses new mold Flak 43 gun and mount; uses slide molded turret halves like the previous Wirbelwind kit Cons No zimmerit; comes with “Magic Track” single links
Skill Level Intermediate MSRP (USD) $54.95

First Look

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 found themselves dealing with ground troops. The solutions were found in using the Panzer IV chassis as it could support a large turret and reasonable weaponry. 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 built in the summer of 1944. But neither one had a long production run – totals for the Wirbelwind were only 122 units from conversions and 43 for the Ostwind (36 conversions and 7 new construction).

Sixteen months after releasing the early production Ostwind (Kit No. 6342) DML has finally answered the requests of German antiaircraft fans and released their Ostwind kit. This is apparently based on the last seven production models, as it is on an Ausf. J chassis with late features and only offers the twin exhaust stacks at the rear of the hull; it also comes without any “zimmerit” paste.

Note that none of these weapons - either the Ostwind or Wirbelwind – had zimmerit on their turrets anyway, as it would add weight and would have slowed it down when traversing, a problem most armored turrets had when tracking enemy air targets.

The kit swaps out a large number of parts from the last Wirbelwind kit to match the final production hull of the Ostwind. Drivers are in only four parts, and many of the suspension parts are exchanged for Jagdpanzer IV-70 ones.

The upper hull again consists of a deck and framework with applique sides, front and rear engine intake components and fenders.

All ports and hatches are separate parts so they can be posed open. This kit provides more of an interior than most DML Panzer IV kits with what appears to be ammo lockers and braces inside the hull. The firewall for the engine compartment is also included. The bow also comes with the standard generic DML machine gun and 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 upper sections are respectively thin - DML’s “Razor Edge” moldings – and 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 molded as part of the front section, a truly unique design.

The 3.7 cm Flak 43 is a totally new weapon and not one borrowed from the older kits (since they were Flak 37s it was a must-do anyway). The main gun comes in a single piece with slide molded barrel and flash hiders. But unlike past DML antiaircraft gun offerings, if carefully assemble this one appears to offer free 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 is formed from styrene braces and etched brass basket sides. Four ten-round clips are provided.

This kit has more etched brass than many Smart Kits but does provide for the engine air intake louvers, the inner guides of the idler wheels, some small brackets, and the flaps for the engine air intakes on the sides of the rear deck.

Tracks are the “Magic Track” snap-together-then-cement type, and modelers are advised to recall that when facing the head card the left side track links are on the left (dark grey) and right (light grey) are on the right.

Technical assistance was provided by Notger Schlegtendal, Tom Cockle and Gary Edmundson.

Five finishing options are provided: s.Pz.Abt.507, Nove Bentaky, Czechoslovakia, 1945 (three color banding); and four “Unidentified Unit” ones with different tricolor schemes. A small sheet of Cartograf decals is provided (three crosses) but none of the examples given uses them! Also it is not possible to determine which of the cited examples may have been conversions with zimmerit paste and earlier design chassis.

Overall, this is a much-wanted kit and “completes the record” on late production German self-propelled AA guns. Other than the missing zimmerit limiting it to one of the last seven built this kit should be very popular for the great representation of its subject and the most correct depiction of the turret mounting yet.

Thanks to DML for the review sample.

Sprue Layout:

  • A 37x2 Pzkw. IV Generic drivers, idlers and return rollers
  • A 81x2 Pzkw. IV Generic road wheels and bogies
  • B 37 Ostwind - turret base, seats, basic fittings
  • B 17 Brummbaer - glacis, suspension elements
  • C 36 Pzkw. IV Ausf. J - casemate components, hatches, details
  • D 38 Ostwind - hull interior, turret race
  • D 53 Jagdpanzer IV/70 - return rollers, suspension mounts, caps
  • E 25 Pzkw. IV Ausf. H - OVM, turret components
  • F 2 Pzkw. IV - fenders
  • G 56 Pzkw. IV - turret and hull ports, smoke grenade launchers
  • H 57 Pzkw. IV - engine deck and details
  • J 8 MG-34 machine gun
  • J 7 German Generic - jack
  • K 1 Pzkw. IV - hull roof
  • K 10 German Generic - antenna, blackout taillights armor
  • L 8 Pzkw. IV - spare road wheels
  • L 120 “Magic Track” left side
  • M 15 clear styrene
  • N 32 Pzkw. IV - fenders, casemate sides, hatch details
  • P 35 Pzkw. IV Ausf. H - rear engine grills, fittings
  • Q 6 Pzkw. IV - spare track links
  • Q 1 Ostwind - 3.7 cm Flak 43 gun
  • Q 57 Ostwind - Flak 43 mount, ammunition clips
  • R 120 “Magic Track” right side
  • R 4 Clear styrene
  • Y 1 Lower hull pan
  • Z 2 Ostwind - turret halves
  • MA 59 Etched brass
  • MB 3 Etched brass
  • TG 3 German Generic - close in defense weapon