Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Item 37 & Flak 38

The Kugelpanzer is a German prototype vehicle purportedly sent to Manchuria for use by the Japanese Kwantung Army.

Because of the lack of information surrounding the vehicle, any number of half-baked theories regarding its use have circulated on the Internet. The silliest theory I heard was that it was supposed to be some sort of kamikaze weapon (because if it's some weird weapon used by the Japanese, then it must have been for kamikaze attacks).

My vote goes to the theory that the Kugelpanzer was intended to be a mobile pillbox.

MGM makes an Armored Machine Gun Nest (100/30) which is very similar conceptually.

The kit has three parts and two crew (the cart and crew were originally attached to casting blocks, but I cut them off before taking the picture).

The resin is a bit on the brittle side, so you need to be careful when removing the casting blocks. The armor cart looks good, but there are a lot of casting bubbles that need to be filled in.

The Type 97 machine gun is provided in two pieces. I was confused by the barrel at first (or lack thereof), thinking that the gun was not fully cast.

The other part on the sprue looked like an armored plate, but then I realized it was supposed to represent a barrel with jacket guard (even though the header card illustration shows an uncovered barrel).

The uniforms of the crew are not represented very accurately, and they look to be 1/76 scale. The sculpts are crude and riddled with casting bubbles.

I'm unable to find any information on this armored cart, so I'll hold off on building it for now. However, I think that based on the header illustration and crew in the kit, the cart was used with a gunner inside, and another guy pushing it forward from the back.

Given the situation, I'm sure the guy tasked with pushing the cart was all in favor of giving the Kugelpanzer a try.

Anyway, there are two 1/72 Kugelpanzers that have been made—both in resin. One is by Attack, while the other is by Minairons.

The two kits are very similar, but I get the impression that the Attack kit is overscale.

I purchased the Minairons Kugelpanzer along with one of their Flakpanzer I Ausf. A from Noble Knight Games. The Kugelpanzer came in a header bag instead of a box.

The Kugelpanzer has three resin parts and a white metal MG34 barrel.

There is a small amount of clean up required around the pour gates, but the resin is good quality, making the job very easy. There was only one casting bubble, which I filled in with Kneadatite.

The machine gun is supposed to be attached to the small divot in front of the vehicle, but I carved out a rectangular hole so that the mount would not stick out from the hull so much.

The gun barrel is really soft, and with the tendency of the vehicle to tip forward, I think it's only a matter of time before the part breaks off.

I'd have to say that this was probably the fastest I've ever completed a model.

The Flakpanzer I kit contains a plastic sprue for the lower hull and a rear hull panel from their Panzer I Ausf. A kit. The upper hull and three fold down decks are made of resin, and look like they were cast from 3D printed masters. The 2cm Flak 38 has three resin parts and a white metal barrel. Three crew in white metal are also included.

The resin parts are all very thick and simplified, so this is definitely a wargaming piece. The resin is not as nice as the type used for the Kugelpanzer, and there were various casting flaws on all the pieces except the upper hull.

The crew are perfectly sized and well sculpted.

The thickness of the parts and the gunner's chair prevents the Flak 38 from pivoting a full 360°. To resolve this, I epoxied some ring magnets in the hull, and glued a metal rod to the Flak 38 to allow the gun to be pointed in different positions.

The upper hull does not fit onto the lower hull very well, and some of the plastic needs to be filed away.

I was considering using a replacement barrel for the Flak 38, but decided not to bother, given the nature of the model.

Then just to be contrary, I put some anti slip plate on the folding decks. I think that there probably shouldn't be any on the rear fold down deck, but it was already too late by the time I came across that information.

I think I messed up on the placement of the outer girder beams of the suspension, but I'll talk about that more in a future review of the actual Panzer I Ausf. A kit.


Umpapa said...

I admire research, comparisons and Your sincere opinion.

Good job overall.

EY said...

Thanks for the kind words Umpapa!