TAMIYA 1/35 Sd.Kfz. 161/3 "Mobelwagen" 3.7cm Flak auf Fgst. Pz.Kpfw.IV(Sf.)
As WWII progressed, the Wehrmacht sought a means to protect its valuable ground forces from the onslaught of Allied Aircraft. The overwhelming Allied air superiority by 1943 made it increasingly necessary for Germany to direct a greater proportion of armoured fighting vehicle production to the output of anti-aircraft tanks.
Armored vehicles - such as tanks - were especially vulnerable, leading General Heinz Guderian to order the development of an effective defensive weapon for the Panzer divisions. Early 1943 saw the mass production of an ex-Czech Pz.Kpfw. 38(t) tank chassis equipped with a single 2cm flak 38. However, it was found to lack sufficient firepower against Allied aircraft. A proposal was then made to utilize the Panzer IV base with either four 2cm flak guns or a single 3.7cm flak gun. Thus, the Pz.Kpfw. IV chassis was used for some of the more important of the A.A. tank designs which entered service in 1943-44.
The commonest of the lighter flak weapons was the quadruple 2cm. and the single 3.7cm gun. The early design for both these mountings (called Mobelwagen - furniture van - in the case of the 3.7cm mounting) consisted of the guns with their normal shields, surrounded by a hinged four-sided square armoured structure. This folded flat, when required, to give unimpeded all-around traverse.
In February 1944, the mass production of the more powerful 3.7cm Flak 43 equipped vehicle was started at the rate of twenty tanks per month. This vehicle could accommodate a crew of six and had a fighting weight of twenty-five tons. The fierce 3.7cm Flak 43 had a maximum firing speed of 250 rounds/min., maximum range of 6,600m, angle of depression of 6 degrees, angle of elevation of 90 degrees, eight round clips, and ammunition capacity of 416 rounds. The upper part of the vehicle was protected by four huge 10mm thick armor plates. Because of it's box-like shape the crew nicknamed it "Mobelwagen" (furniture delivery truck). The Mobelwagen was mainly deployed in the anti-aircraft platoons of the Panzer divisions on the Western front. They provided a vicious counterattack tool against Allied aircraft fighters and bombers.
Later designs were generally similar to both the 2cm and 3.7cm guns. The 2cm one was called the "Wirbelwind" (Whirlwind) and the 3.7cm was named the "Ostwind" (East Wind). These both dispensed with the clumsy folding shields of Mobelwagen and instead used a multi-sided, pot-shaped, turret, open at the top. Although these were only lightly armoured (16mm) these turrets gave much better protection for the gun crews than the Mobelwagen types did.
In addition to the anti-tank weapon, the later Wirbelwind and Ostwind (unlike the Mobelwagen types) retained the front hull machine-gun of the standard Pz.Kpfw. IV.
WHAT'S IN THE BOX:
Tamiya has had the four-barreled Mobelwagen with the Flak 38 2cm available as a kit for several years now. It was kit no. 35101.
This new version has the single barrel 3.7cm Flak 43 mounted on it. The other difference is that the older Tamiya Mobelwagen included a gun crew of four men.. where the new kit only gives you one figure.
Four cello bags hold seven trees of parts, molded in light tan styrene. The bottom of the tanks hull is loose. The kit contains the continuous rubber-band type treads, some nylon screen to do the shell catching basket on the weapon, four poly caps, and the decals. Two of the poly caps are intended for use, sandwiched between the two halves of each drive sprocket. A third poly cap is to be used on the rotating base for the ack ack gun. The fourth poly cap is a spare.
Two, identical, trees letter "A" hold the road wheels, suspension arms, drive sprockets, and return rollers. (116 parts total on these two trees ) Also packaged in the same cello bag with these two trees are the four poly-caps mentioned earlier.
Tree letter "B' holds the front bow plate, the rear bow plate, fenders, exhaust covers, air intake grills, deck hatch etc. (23 parts here)
Tree letter "C" holds the parts that make up the Flak 43 3.7cm weapon. (54 parts on this tree) Tree "C" is attached at one end to tree "G".
Tree letter "D" contains all the tools, spare track link holders, cable ends, headlights, machine guns, and other small fittings. (54 parts here)
Tree letter "E" contains the fold-down fighting compartment sides, the rotating ack ack gun base, single crew figure etc. (74 parts here) Packaged in the same cello bag with this tree is the postage stamp sized decal sheet.
Tree letter "F" contains the vehicle's upper decking and two spare road wheel hangers. (Only three parts on this tree)
Tree letter "G" contains shield pieces for the Flak 43. (Nine parts here)
The tiny decal sheet only holds German national crosses. No division or tactical marks are included. I think my decal spares box is going to come in handy on this one.
As said earlier, the nylon mesh, and the hull bottom are loose and not cello bagged and complete this kit.
The instructions are a 14 page booklet. The first page gives the vehicles history in English, German, French, and Japanese.
Page 2 gives the color numbers used throughout the assembly at the top of the page. From the bottom of page 2 to the top of page 15 are given no less than 30 assembly steps. The first 20 of these assembly steps are for building the basic vehicle itself. The remaining 10 steps are for assembly of the Flak 43 and its mating to the vehicle. The fold-down side shields can be posed in any one of three different configurations: down, closed at 90 degrees vertical, or with the sides slightly tilted. The bottom of page 15 and top of page 16 give you the painting and decal placement drawing. The scheme calls for a base of earth yellow with dark green and red brown squiggle pattern. The unit mentioned is an unknown one, operating in France in 1944.
This kit looks like it will make up really nicely. However, I do not like the rubber-band treads and will probably replace them with some better aftermarket brand individual links. Several companies make good ones for the Pz.Kpfw. IV. I will also add a tactical mark and a division mark to my kit. I wonder if the gun crew from Tamiya's earlier 2cm Mobelwagen would work on this version? I'll have to check that out. It looks kind of naked with just the one guy given you in the kit.
Otherwise, highly recommended.