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REVIEW
Flakpanzer IV G w/ Zimmerit
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Posted: Monday, November 11, 2013 - 05:53 AM UTC
Adam Phillips shares with us a quick review of Dragon''s new 1/35 Scale Flakpanzer IV Ausf G w/ Zimmerit.

Link to Item

If you have comments or questions please post them here.

Thanks!
panzerbob01
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Posted: Monday, November 11, 2013 - 02:38 PM UTC
Short but pretty informative - a useful first peek into the prospective box. Thank You, Adam P.!

A few comments may be in order.

About Ostwinds and zimmerit. Bear in mind that the Ostwind entered production (if converting an available usually used and abused ex-frontline PZ IV tank into a flak tank is really "production") only in very late 1944. After factory zimm application (and also zimm application at the refurbishment plant Nibelungenwerke) had officially ceased. Therefor, ALL zimm'd Ostwinds were very most likely zimm'd only because the base tank was a used G or H produced sometime prior to SEP 1944, when zimm stopped.

In addition, NO IV-G was ever "factory zimm'd" - G production ended a few months before zimm started in SEP 1943. So... The kit's hull, intended to be a zimm'd G, would likely have to represent a G which had been issued, served at the front, been damaged, got sent back to Nibelungenwerke for rebuild and zimm'd thereat - all before later 1944. I would suggest that this was a rare event...

While I have no real data, I would not be surprised if it were true that only 1 or 2 Ostwinds were built on zimm'd IV-G hulls. I would also say that one would want to have a good picture to say whether these G hulls were zimm'd on the upper surface - recalling again that these would have been hulls which had been zimm'd at the refurbishment plant.

The patterns used and areas covered by zimm differed between Nibelungenwerke St. Valentin, and the original IV assembly plant.

IV-H, which were factory - zimm'd sometime between SEP 1943 (early-mid production) and end of IV-H production ca May or June? 1944, would have arrived at SAGAN Ostbau for conversion to Ostwind would have had "used zimm", and it would be the OEM factory pattern and areas. Earlier IV-H (built pre-SEP 1943) and any G with zimm would have been very most likely the Nibelungenwerke pattern and application areas, and also "used zimm". And then there were those earlier IV-J, which also were Few, if any, mid-production (later 1944) IV-J would ever have been recovered and zimm'd during refurbishment in late 1944.

So... Basically, NO Ostwind could have likely been assembled on a nice, clean, new zimm'd IV hull. And one would really want to be careful when looking at possible reference photos to be sure and ID which hull model was used...

I am not sure about which track set would have been on one of these, so am not sure what tracks "should" be on this kit! While this purports to be a G hull, there is no requirement that it would have earlier-style versus later style 40cm track links.

And, for what it may be worth; I am one of those "NO DS TRACKS!" guys! The fact that this kit has those may just be enough to have me leave it alone, unless I happen to come across a cheap set of MagicTracks or something!

Cheers!

Bob
adampolo13
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Posted: Monday, November 11, 2013 - 02:45 PM UTC
Hi Panzerbob01, thank you for the reply. In terms of reference material here are a few pics that come up pretty quick...
adampolo13
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Posted: Monday, November 11, 2013 - 02:45 PM UTC
http://www.precision-panzer.moonfruit.com/communities/9/004/006/621/409/images/4582952205.jpg
adampolo13
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Posted: Monday, November 11, 2013 - 02:46 PM UTC
www.wehrmacht-history.com/images/heer/anti-aircraft-vehicles/ostwind-1.jpg
adampolo13
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Posted: Monday, November 11, 2013 - 02:47 PM UTC
More zimm on the top plate... http://militarymodels.co.nz/wp-content/uploads/Flakpanzer-IV-Ostwind-12.jpg
adampolo13
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Posted: Monday, November 11, 2013 - 02:49 PM UTC
One more for good measure. http://militarymodels.co.nz/wp-content/uploads/Flakpanzer-IV-Ostwind-6.jpg P.S. sorry for the multiple replies, I realized after all the posts that I was hitting enter...
panzerbob01
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Posted: Monday, November 11, 2013 - 05:35 PM UTC
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
adampolo13
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Posted: Tuesday, November 12, 2013 - 12:50 AM UTC
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
ComaBlack
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Posted: Tuesday, November 12, 2013 - 02:08 AM UTC
Little off topic, but the surviving Wirbelwind at Base Borden, Ontario, has traces of zimmerit on the hull. Can upload pics if needed.
thebear
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Posted: Tuesday, November 12, 2013 - 04:30 AM UTC
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
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Posted: Tuesday, November 12, 2013 - 04:48 AM UTC
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
adampolo13
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Posted: Tuesday, November 12, 2013 - 06:09 AM UTC
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!
panzerbob01
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Posted: Tuesday, November 12, 2013 - 12:17 PM UTC
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
thebear
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Posted: Tuesday, November 12, 2013 - 07:23 PM UTC
yep they can be mixed....



Rick
panzerbob01
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Posted: Wednesday, November 13, 2013 - 09:45 AM UTC
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