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Flakpanzer III Ostwind turret vs. Flakpanzer IV Ostwind turret - same?


Wm Blecky
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Hi, I am wondering if anyone can confirm for me if the turret of a Flakpanzer III Ostwind is the same turret as used on a Flakpanzer IV Ostwind?  I picked up the Revell (formerly MACO) Flakpanzer III Ostwind kit and would like to use the turret with either a Revell or Dragon Panzer IV chassis to make it into a Flakpanzer IV Ostwind.

 

I cannot recall if MACO originally issued a Flakpanzer IV Ostwind or not.  Many thanks in advance.

 

Wm. B.

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The short answer is yes, the long one more of a no.

 

The Pz III Ostwind would most probably have shared the production Ostwind turret used by the Pz IV Ostwind.  The thing is that the Ostwind turret as modelled by everyone including MACO is a prototype turret, lacking the small triangular bulges fitted to the bottom of the front plates on either side of the gun aperture to protect the turret ring.  I'm surprised that MACO overlooked these in their kit because the box-top shows them. 

 

And, unless you're modelling an Ostwind prototype, you can't just plonk a turret from the Pz III Ostwind onto the Panzer IV chassis, because it was discovered that the Ostwind turret, larger and differently shaped than the Wirbelwind turret, fouled the Pz IV engine hatches, preventing them from being opened.  On production Ostwinds therefore the turret ring was moved forward ever so slightly and the radio operator's hatch likewise so that it aligned with the driver's hatch.  I find it hard to credit that such a minor change was contemplated at this stage in the war so it was evidently critical.  To their immense credit, MACO recognised this change and included a new Pz IV hull top reflecting it in with their kit of the Pz IV Ostwind.  To their everlasting shame Revell have not seen fit to include that part in with their Pz III Ostwind.: where it was is indicated on the frame map in the Revell instruction sheet by the black rectangle on frame E.

 

By far and away the best reference on the Ostwind (III & IV), as well as the Wirbelwind and Kugelblitz, is Nuts & Bolts 25: the 3 photos of 2 Pz IV Ostwinds of s.Pz.Abt. 507 abandoned in Nove Benatky are especially useful. 

 

As to whether the Pz III Ostwind ever actually existed in the metal, choose whichever version of the story you like best.  The bottom line for N&B 25 is that it cannot be confirmed that the 18 units approved on 5 March 1945 were actually built.  The establishment building them (Sturmgeschuetzschule Burg) reported production difficulties on 12 March 1945 and further work on them should have been cancelled by an order issued on 18 March 1945.

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Thanks Seahawk.  Great that Revell picked up MACO's line, a pity that they did not keep the kits identical to what MACO had produced.  Shy of locating the MACO original, it seems that to make a basically correct Ostwind IV would require some surgery all around, particularly to move that radio operator's hatch forward and the Flakpanzer III kit for the turret.

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Also, looking at several of the 1/35 offerings, seems that those manufacturer's also did not address the relocated radio operator's hatch.  I sure miss those original MACO kits. 

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I'd never heard of MACO until Revell started marketing them.  I'm sorry to have missed the Moebelwagen, though maybe Revell will get round to re-releasing that.  Nice that the PT-76 includes the photo etch.

 

In defence of other renditions of the Ostwind, there is a severe shortage of photos of the Pz IV Ostwind (and obviously a complete absence of ones of the Pz III Ostwind) so almost all kits have been based on the same few photos of the prototypes which didn't have the relocated radio operator's hatch or the additions to the turret front.  It seems that information on both has only come to light in recent years.  I still don't think I've seen photographic corroboration of the hatch change.

 

A problem with both Ostwinds and Wirbelwinds is that most (all?) seem to have been based on chassis with Zimmerit.  I shall probably put my Revell/MACO turrets on Zvezda chassis because Monroe Perdu do some Zimmerit overlays made out of laser-cut paper which work rather well but are tailored to the Zvezda kit (which they fit almost perfectly) so probably won't fit the Revell.

 

But, like you, I don't fancy moving the radio operator hatch, especially on the Zvezda kit where it is moulded closed.

Edited by Seahawk
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