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3cm Zwilling Flakpanzer IV 'Kugelblitz'

DML 1/35 3cm Zwilling Flakpanzer IV 'Kugelblitz' Kit First Look

By Cookie Sewell

Date of Review June 2009 Manufacturer DML
Subject 3cm Zwilling Flakpanzer IV 'Kugelblitz' Scale 1/35
Kit Number 9109 Primary Media 538 parts (305 in grey styrene, 216 “Magic Track” links, 10 etched brass, 7 etched nickel)
Pros Nice upgrade of re-released older kit; figures very good; nice touches Cons All vices of original kit (e.g. fit and accuracy) still present
Skill Level Basic MSRP (USD) $29.95

First Look

Kit re-releases are one of those topics which are guaranteed to start a healthy discussion at model club meetings or just among modelers. For every one glad to see a reasonably good older kit back in circulation, there is at least one “Boo Bird” to complain that they didn’t fix any of the original kit’s problems and only jacked up the price. In the case of at least two major model manufacturers, the “Boo Birds” are more than correct in their analysis.

DML has tried different strategies over the last 18 years. First, their prices were competitive when they started at about $15 per kit in the US. Prices did rise over the years, but their first major shift in re-released kits – dubbed “Shanghai Dragon” for their molding point, either kept the original price or even lowered it. Now a new series of kits are being re-released by DML affiliate as the “Orange Box” series at prices of about the original kit release prices but with some nice additions.

This kit of the quirky but popular “Kugelblitz” (Ball Lighting) twin 30mm antiaircraft vehicle (original DML Kit No. 6040) uses that same philosophy. The original kit has now been re-released but the original kit tracks are now replaced by “Magic Link” 40 cm Pzkw. III/IV track, the gun barrels with their complex muzzle brakes are now “slide molded” with hollow bores, and the “Achtung, Jabo!” figure set (DML No. 6191) is included complete along with a generic German whip antenna set.

The vehicle appears to be built on a late-model Pzkw. IV Ausf. H or standard Ausf. J chassis (the kit comes as a J with the twin exhausts) and a set of Ausf. H idlers are included. As noted, the original tracks have been replaced by current production “Magic Link”. However, they are packed free (in bags) in this kit and not attached to the main header card (the kit has none). As a result, the directs note that the light grey tracks are the L (left) side and dark gray the R (right) side!

The new gun barrels have a hollow bore, but will need some delicate drill work on the side ports of the MK 103 muzzle brakes to open them up.

Most of the rest of the kit is pretty straightforward. Details in some areas have been bypassed by current levels of molding and production, so it is up to the modeler if he thinks the kit is worth building out of the box. A real diehard may wish to use this kit as an “upgrade” set and modify a late model DML Pzkw. IV Ausf. H kit to a Kugelblitz by replacing or modifying the key parts. Even so, this kit complete is cheaper than many resin conversions, and comes with a decent set of tracks and the great figure set.

The original Ron Volstad artwork is provided for finishing the figures, but there is only one generic option provided for the vehicle: a tricolor finish with small black crosses.

Overall, this is not a bad idea: re-release an older kit with some new parts and a bonus item such as complimentary figures thrown in and retaining nearly the same older price. Others should be so observant.

Thanks to DML for the review sample.

Sprue Layout:

  • A 26 Kugelblitz turret and upper hull section
  • B 33 Pzkw. IV - upper hull and fenders (late models)
  • C 52 Jagdpanzer IV - tools, detail parts (plus 80 numbers for casting details)
  • D 7x2 New mold barrels and details for Kugelblitz
  • E 19x4 Pkzw. IV suspension and road wheels
  • F 7x2 Pzkw. IV idlers and drivers
  • G 4x2 Pzkw. IV late model idlers
  • H 8x4 Pzkw. IV hubs and brackets
  • I 21 Jagdpanzer IV - gun, glacis, exhaust details
  • J 25x2 Kugelblitz - guns, small details
  • L 2 German generic whip antenna
  • L 108 Magic Track - left side links
  • M 1 Pzkw. IV lower hull
  • P 4x4 Pzkw. IV return rollers
  • R 108 Magic Track - right side links
  • 6191 38 “Achtung, Jabo!” Figure set - four figures and details
  • MA 10 Etched brass (original kit 6040)
  • MA 7 Etched nickel (original kit 6191)