Some thirty years ago Bandai released their 1/48 Möbelwagen as part of their huge quarterscale military collection. Bandai's 1/48 Flakpanzer IV Möbelwagen was a sensation when released in the mid-1970s. It featured an engine and driver compartment inside, and four guns and gunners topside. It was a fairly well-detailed and accurate model of this weapon system.
As Germany lost air superiority, its armies were harried by Allied air power. To fend off these aluminum raptors, the Wehrmacht cobbled together FlaK guns and vehicles. The Sd.Kfz.161/3 Flakpanzer IV "Möbelwagen" (Furniture Van) was an early self-propelled anti-aircraft system mounted on a rebuilt Panzer IV tank. The first of the type, bristling with the 2 cm FlaK 38-Vierling (Flakvierling), was built in late 1943. The quadruple 20mm cannons were feared by Allied pilots, who called them "Hell's Quad." Yet, only a single copy with this weapon system was produced. Instead, a single 37mm FlaK 43 was used on the approximately 300 Möbelwagens produced. These were soon superseded by the superior Wirbelwind and the Ostwind Flakpanzer IV.
The kit consists of a separate lower hull and superstructure, and four sprues of more than one hundred sixty-three parts molded in “Panzer Gray” plastic for the vehicle, a twenty-eight-piece sprue of four figures and accessories, a decal sheet and two vinyl ‘rubber band’ tracks. All of the sprues were sealed in their own bags.
The vehicle appears to be three scale inches too long. There appear to be some shape and accuracy mistakes, e.g., the hull and superstructure appear to be an early Panzerkampfwagen IV B, C, or D version. The 2 cm FlaK barrels are too large. Being 1/48 scale, the thick armor sides of the gun compartment (they were 20 mm, or a scale .016 inch, 0.41 mm) and other parts are obviously out of scale. Your reviewer provides many photographs for Panzerologist, and defers to their judgment of authenticity.
While a 12-cylinder Maybach HL 120 TRM engine is provided and the engine access hatch is positionable, no attempt at engine compartment plumbing, cooling, fuel tanks, etc. was provided.
The driver’s compartment suffers the same paucity of detail around the transmission casing. No hatches are molded open, so it cannot be seen anyway.
The figures are the Bandai Panzer crew set. Their detail is well done–not to todays standards, but competitive. Each wears a two-piece double-breasted tunic / trousers uniform. All are adorned with earphones and cords, and various medals and clasps. The poses are stiff. The scaling is inconsistent–some arms are 1/35 scale! Cut them up and rework them, or just replace them with new figure sets.
The molding is as good as Tamiya’s of the era: sharp and crisp, with some minor flash. The few ejection and mold marks are visible near the edges of the four hinged armored plates. The raised fender pattern appears wrong, but rivets and hinges are crisp, though uniformly round. Unfortunately, several tools are molded on. The few separate tools are poor quality. At least the hull has a closed underside. There is no armor surface texture.
Fit is untested, but previous experience with building Bandai's PzKpfw III, SdKfz 234, and T-34 indicates the fit will be good.
The decals have thick film and the registration is off. Several unit options are provided, even for the Afrika Korps 21st Panzer Division!
The instruction sheet is clearly written and laid out, a typical accordion fold. The only color and paint referenced (on the side of the box) appears to be Humbrol. Minimal color guidance is given in the instructions.
This kit of a one-off prototype has its flaws. Its design, molding and detail are obviously from the 1970s, but it is an easy to build kit. Still, it is the only 1/48 Möbelwagen available. Perhaps soon another company will release a modern quarterscale kit of it. Until then, Tamiya’s excellent 1/48 2 cm Flakvierling, various accessories to hide whatever you do not want to scratchbuild, and new figures should allow one to create a pleasing model of this one-and-only Flakpanzer.
Highs: The only 1/48 Möbelwagen available. A driver compartment and an engine, good molding.Lows: Accuracy issues. Verdict: Patience and/or aftermarket items can allow one to create a pleasing model of this one-and-only Flakpanzer.
About Frederick Boucher (JPTRR) FROM: TENNESSEE, UNITED STATES
I'm a professional pilot with a degree in art.
My first model was an AMT semi dump truck. Then Monogram's Lunar Lander right after the lunar landing. Next, Revell's 1/32 Bf-109G...cried havoc and released the dogs of modeling!
My interests--if built before 1900, or after 1955, then I proba...