German 3.7cm Flak 43 Flakpanzer IV "Ostwind"
Trumpeter 1:35 Kit #01520
Review by Terry Ashley

The Kit:

Trumpeter have released at the same time as the Bergepanzer IV (kit #00389) this kit of the 3.7cm Flak 43 Flakpanzer IV "Ostwind" which shares the lower hull tub, some of the running gear and the full interior with the Bergepanzer IVv kit. As well there is slightly modified Flak 43 from the recent 3.7cm Flak 43 auf Selbstfahrlafette (Sd.Kfz.7/2) (kit #01527) along with new upper hull and turret for the Ostwind.

The kit basically represents the initial prototype Ostwind in having the Ausf.G hull but the turret supplied is the larger production turret and not the smaller turret used on the prototype. Documentation indicates the production Ostwinds were based on later production Ausf.J hulls with the larger turret which resulted in the right crew hatch being moved forward level with the left hatch and not offset as on all other Panzer IV vehicles.

There are also other quite serious dimensional issues with the new upper hull as indicated by the 1:35 plans of the prototype in the Ground Power Special German Anti-Aircraft
Combat Vehicles and of the production Ostwind in both the Nuts & Bolts Vol.13 Flakpanzer IV Wirbelwind & Ostwind and Panzer Tracts No.16 Bergepanzerwagen books.

The parts carried over from the Bergepanzer IV kit match the plans above (other than the muffler) and we will deal with these issues more closely in the relevant sections below.

The kit has a total of 852 parts (628 for the vehicle and 224 individual track links) on 22 sprues moulded in the usual grey plastic plus 50 etched parts on 1 large fret, plus the decal sheet and 20 page instruction booklet.

Etched parts

As there are only 25 parts indicated as not being used this isn’t a kit you will put together overnight with the standard of moulding overall well done. There is some fine flash and pin marks about the place as well as the usual moulding seams which required a bit of cleanup on some parts. Also some of the mating surfaces needed to be smoothed out and a few locating holes opened out further for a better fit but nothing too extensive.

As with the Bergepanzer IV kit, this kit also has the complete interior included; with the forward driver’s compartment with seat/controls, full transmission/gearbox/radios assembly, the central fighting compartment floors and bulkheads. At the back is a full Maybach HL120 TRM Engine and large radiator as well as the two prominent fans inside the engine compartment door should you wish to display this open.

Also included are the 75mm ammo bins on the floor and side sponsons and one would assume these would have been replaced with 37mm ammo bins/racks for the Ostwind?

Lower Hull:

This is a conventional tub with separate rear plate and includes nicely rendered underside panel and bolt detail although there is still a strange rectangular indentation carried over from the previous hulls in the centre panel. The sides have the final drive gears moulded on along with the bogie mounting brackets, return roller posts and rear idler support fins with all other detail separate parts.

One minor “annoyance” with the hull is there are a number of square holes along the side and on the rear plate which are in fact open locating holes for some of the interior parts. It may be an idea to fit the interior before adding the running gear so there is working room to eliminate these holes, the interior locating pins will fill most of the holes leaving just a little filler required.

On the rear plate there are separate central towing plate and four part idler mountings that have excellent detail included. The small L shaped lever on the mountings is supplied as a plastic or etched part depending on your preference.

The large muffler is in five parts with the two mounting supports and all these fit with no problems as does the rear plate to the hull. There are a couple of issues with the muffler; firstly you may want to drill out the exhaust pipe a bit more as the pipe edges are on the thick side. The overall length of the muffler is 1.5mm shorter than indicated on the Panzer Tracts plans but 4mm short compared to the plans in the Nuts & Bolts book as shown in the accompanying images.

One thing to watch is the instructions (step 3) indicate to open up two locating holes for the auxiliary motor muffler but this was not fitted as there was no turret motor in the Ostwind (or Wirbelwind) with the turret traversing by linkages from the gunner’s traverse hand wheel so leave off the auxiliary muffle (part C13).

The lower rear hull panel (part B8) has two locating tabs included but due to the angle of this to the lower plate they hinder the proper alignment of the panel and it’s best to simply cut off the tabs completely and the panel then fits perfectly.

There are two style of bogie bump stops provided and it’s best to use the early type (parts A14/A31) while the final drive housings have nice detail with separate front armour panels added.

The final drive housings have a series of very small pins around the inside that are supposed to fit into corresponding small holes around the hull FD gears, but these only hindered to proper placement and again its better to cut off all the small pins and fit the FD flush to the hull housing.

Running Gear::

The bogie units are simply affairs with the two axles and main spring in one moulding with separate hull mounting bracket and alternate front securing plate. These fit together without any problems but the moulding seams will need to be carefully removed while the fit to the hull is also good overall.

The road wheels are two individual wheels in the conventional manner and have excellent rim details with very fine weld beads around the outer rim and fine embossing on the rubber tyre sections. There are alternate hub caps and you should use the earlier style (parts A30) for this model.

The drive sprockets are in two halves with well done spoke and rim details including bolt heads around the rims on both sides of each sprocket, there is some very minor flash inside the sprocket spokes but this is easily dealt with.

At the back the tube idlers are also very well done with just the mould seams to be removed from the spokes and rim, both drive sprocket and idler are glued to their respective axle stubs. The axle stub for the drive sprocket needed to be shorten slightly to better align with the road wheel centreline but other than that all fitted perfectly.

Included with the kit are the early style rubber rimmed return rollers and later all steel return rollers but the rubber rimmed return rollers are applicable to this kit and you keep the steel return rollers for other uses.


The kit has 224 individual track links for the later 40cm style cleat track and includes open guide horns; these are not designed to be workable but simply to be glued together.

Unfortunately the images of the prototype Ostwind show clearly the tracks used are a different style of track without the cleats but apart from replacing the tracks altogether there’s not a lot you can do with this.

There is a bit of cleanup required on each link with three sprue attachment burs and the odd bit of fine flash to remove, this flash was only on about 10% of the links assembled for this review.

Detail on the tracks is nicely done but they are not handed unfortunately. Handed track refers to the track pin bolt being longer on the outer side of the track runs while the bolts on the inner hull side are shorter and slightly larger in diameter. This means the tracks can’t be swooped from side to side as a rule and the kit track links have the track bolt applicable to the right hand track run only with those on the left side are reversed.

This is only a small discrepancy in scale and some may not even notice but the purist may wish to address this oversight.

Assembling the track is very straightforward, you simple glue each link together to form the track run and before the glue has dried completely fit the track around the drive sprocket and idler as well as adding the top run track sag which is evident on all Panzer IVs. This sag will also allow for any slight miss-alignment when joining the ends of the track runs together which can be an issue with some individual link track.

Assembled individual link track added to drive sprocket.


As mentioned the kit includes extensive interior detail for the lower hull but no turret interior other than the Flak 43. The level of detail is good overall but the forward transmission is better detailed than the Maybach engine which is fairly basic.

There is a full length floor plate to which you add all the interior parts and this ensures everything is aligned correctly with the floor plate fitting snugly into the hull tub after adding the interior parts.

The front transmission/gearbox has nice bolt and other details including the driver’s instrument panel with moulded on dial needles as well as multipart clutch/brake assemblies with separate drive shafts. Assembly was straightforward without any problems if you follow the instructions carefully.

The Driver’s station has a two part seat, separate steering levers with the gear lever on the transmission, there is also the accelerator and brake pedals included and again there were no issues while assembling these parts.

The central fighting compartment has the raised central floor with the batteries and added tread plate section, as well as the rear engine compartment bulkhead with nice detail included. Also included is the three full 75mm ammo bins on the right side or an alternate wall panel with additional pioneer tools. I don’t have any info on the interiors of Ostwinds but my uneducated guess tells me they would most likely have 37mm ammo bins as mentioned above?

There is additional detail added to the sidewalls after the interior/floor plate has been added but take note you can’t remove the interior after these side details have been added so fully detailing and painting the interior would be the go before proceeding.

As mentioned above the locating pins on the sidewall parts mostly fill the holes in the hull sides leaving just a small filling job to completely eliminate these, it would have been nice if the locating holes didn’t go all the way through the hull wall but I guess moulding constraints came into play with this?

Locating holes to be filled after fitting the interior parts

The Maybach HL 120 engine is a multipart assembly that requires a little care during assembly to ensure some of the smaller parts go in the right place There is also some join seams to be eliminated on the smaller sub-assemblies before fitting to the main engine which adds a little to the assembly time.

All the basics of the engine are provided if a little basic in places and adding additional detail if displaying the engine would improve the overall appearance. The large rear pulleys don’t have any belts and these could easily be added using tape or similar.

The assembled engine fits neatly into the bay floor but there are quite a few large pin marks on the engine bulkhead to fill if you are going the have the engine bay cover open on the final model?

The large radiator on the left side has subtle grill mesh detail without any blemishes and this is attached to the hull side (with more of those locating holes to fill) but you must fit the engine before attaching the radiator as you can’t afterwards, but this should be quite obvious.

Additional plumbing can also be added to the radiator and the engine bay to finish off what is a very good overall representation of the engine/radiator assemblies.

The final detail if showing the engine hatches open are the two large fans on the inside of the right engine door. These are made up of the two fan units with connecting fan shafts, the detail on the fan blades is again fairly basic as they are on the thick side and not angled but give a fairly good impression for most instances.


The front glacis plate has separate central and brake access hatches with the later Ausf.G style hinges allowing these to be shown open to display the interior if you wish. Additional track links are supplied to add to the glacis and hull front plate with either plastic or etched brackets for the front plate brackets. Strangely there are no brackets supplied for the glacis track and these would have to be added.

Each fender is in full length plastic with nice tread plate included on the upper sides only and fine bolt heads on the front and rear extensions. The small retaining springs at front and back are only in plastic and not the real springs as supplied with the Fahrgestell and Brückenleger kits and are not as well defined as a result.

The fenders fit easily to the hull sides and added to these are the pioneer tools with have separate etched tool clips or moulded on clips depending on your preference. There is the front Bosch head light (left side only) made up of two parts and includes the cable ducting or an alternate Notek light plus the rear tail light and on the right fender are the large storage boxes as carried on the Ostwind.

The fender supports are also provided in plastic only and once the fenders are attached to the hull there is the upper bulkhead spar and support added.

Also included are the large 75mm ammo bins carried on the hull sponsons over the fenders but again these would probably be replaced with 37mm ammo bins? But again this is just an uneducated guess on my part as I have no definite reference on this.

Upper Hull:

The upper hull shell is new for this kit but as mentioned has some substantial dimensional issues which will require major surgery to rectify if you are game.

The kit has a choice of two driver’s frontal armour panels, the initial 50mm plate and the later single piece 80mm plate and it seems Trumpeter assumed even with the additional thickness armour the front of the superstructure would still be in the same position in relation to the glacis plate. This has resulted in the length of the upper superstructure being 1.5mm too short (See images), added to this the turret ring is located centrally and not offset to the left as it was on the Panzer IV Ausf.G used for the prototype.

As a consequence of the turret ring position the rear engine bay access hatches have been made 1.5mm too short to fit everything on the deck, in short and without being too unkind the upper superstructure is a mess.

There is conflicting information regarding the turret ring size used on the Ostwind with some sources included the Panzer Tracts book stating the larger 1900mm Tiger turret ring was used on production Ostwinds, but the Nuts & Bolts book indicates this idea was abandoned and the standard sized Panzer IV turret ring was used.

Both the Panzer Tracts and Nuts & Bolts books indicate the production turret ring was located centrally but moved forward to clear the engine deck access hatches resulting in the relocation forward of the right side crew hatch level with the left hatch.

Despite all this, I’ll press on and describe what details are included with the hull in case none of that is of much concern?

The hull has the alternate front plates as mentioned and a separate rear plate with cut-outs for all the top crew and engine hatches as well as separate engine side intake louvers in two parts.

Detail on the upper hull is nicely done in both engraved and raised detail and includes separate side vision port visors as per the Ausf.G but note these were not fitted to production Ostwinds.

Added inside the front plate is the driver’s visor, note standard 50mm plate would be applicable to the Ausf.G prototype but there is no internal MG34 parts included just the ball mounting and external armoured sleeve barrel. This is noticeably too thin and I have replaced this with the excellent two piece metal barrel/jacket from Lionmarc (set #LM10029) for a better appearance.

The full hull MG34 mounting and MG34 are still included in the kit if you wanted to use this but some minor modifications would be needed to fit this to the new driver’s plates in this kit.

Added to the hull are the spare track rack on the right side with etched brackets and the wooden jack block and heater intake on the left side. There are alternate crew hatches supplied, ones with and ones without the signal ports but the hinge bolts are raised and most photos show these are flush screws. If showing the hatches open there is no inside detail other than four pin marks that need to be removed.

The engine deck hatches can be fitted open or closed as required to show off the interior but again there are some large inner pin marks to be filled if you do. As mentioned above these are too short and louver and other detail is squashed to fit the smaller doors.


As mentioned this is the larger production turret and is split into upper and lower halves joined at the central bend line. The six angled sides are moulded uniformly thin for a good appearance with the only internal detail being the lower gun mounting beams and the forward opening shields.

Detail on the turret sides sees subtle weld seam on the vertical joins but the central join is devoid of this when glued and you may want to add the weld beads around the turret join for a better appearance.

Due to the centrally located turret ring the mounting beams are also located centrally instead of being offset as they would have been had the turret ring been correctly offset for the prototype.

Assembly of the turret is very straightforward without any gaps and you simply fit the assembled Flak 43 to the turret mounting, as the turret opening is quite large the gun can be installed or removed after the turret halves have been glued together which makes painting a little easier.

Also included in the kit is the turret shell completely in etched metal that you carefully bend to shape to form the turret if you wish to use this in place of the plastic turret shell.

To fit the etched turret you have to cut away the plastic sides from the turret base and then re-attach the assembled etched turret to the base, not for the feint hearted. But given all the dimensional issues and the fact the turret is the larger production and not the smaller prototype applicable the hull, to me this just seems like a world of hurt and sticking with the plastic turret could well save your sanity.

The turret simply sits inside the turret ring on the hull and is not attached so you would have to be careful handling the finished kit so the turret doesn’t decide to take a trip of its own.

3.7cm Flak 43:

The gun is that used with the German 3.7cm Flak 43 auf Selbstfahrlafette (Sd.Kfz.7/2) (kit #01527) with a few modification for the Ostwind turret and is nicely done overall with most of the major features of the gun mounting included although there is scope for additional detail to improve the final appearance.

The gun parts appear to have a little more fine flash in some areas than those in the Sd.Kfz.7/2 kit but nothing to get real excited about.

Dimensionally the gun measures up well against the available plans in the Panzer Tracks and Nuts & Bolts books listed below with the barrel being the correct length. The flash suppressor though is very basic with none of the neck or cone holes fully opened out and the better option is to replace this with any of the available 3.7cm Flak 43 metal barrels. For this exercise I have used the RB Models metal Flak 43 barrel (set #35B54) as this has the correct sized flash suppressor with very thin cone and fully opened up neck and cone holes and improves the appearance considerably.

The gun receiver is in 7 main parts and has excellent detail definition with separate top cover and rear detail which all fit together neatly without any problems and added to this are the gun shield mountings with the front cross member attachment with the front curved shield in plastic.

The main gun mounting is in two halves with two separate parts for the rear section which has excellent embossed details included. There were no problems with the fit and added to the mounting is the two part circular rotating gun mount which are fitted from either side of the main mounting allowing this to rotate and again there were no problems but be careful with the glue.

Added to the mounting is the forward gun shield in either plastic or etched metal depending on your choice along with the left side ammo feed tray. The side mounted ammo box is made up of 6 parts that fit together perfectly without any gaps but mounting this on the cradle will need care as the mounting points are quite small.

On the right side there is the traverse and elevation hand wheel mounting which has two very small star fasteners included and care is needed when cleaning up the mould seams to avoid damaging these. The two hand wheels have excellent details included and match the real items well. As mentioned above the turret is traversed as the hand wheel in rotated by the gunner with this being linked by gears to the turret traverse gears. But none of this detail is provided as it probably would be conjecture in any case as there is no pictures of the turret interior available that I am aware of.

Included is a nice representation of the Flakvisier 40 gun sight but it lacks the eye guard or the additional telescopic sight used for sighting ground targets. Also included are two alternate sight support arms, one to fit the Flakvisier 40 gun sight to and other with sight attachments included only if you wish to build the kit without the fitted. This is a nice option as the fight was only fitted while the gun was action and stowed away while travelling or at rest.

There is a small connecting rod between the gun mounting and the sight arm and both the arm and rod can be elevated or depressed along with the barrel to keep everything aligned correctly. Just note the sight arm and connecting rod are not actually glued and just sit in place which means they can fall out easily and it may be an idea to glue these when you have decided on the elevation required for the model.

The gunner’s seat is in 4 parts and quite nicely detailed, note there is only one seat in the Ostwind due to limited space as opposed to the two seats on the standard Flak 43 mounting.

The side spent shell exit chute is supplied in two quite thin plastic parts with embossed recesses and care is needed when gluing these together as well as fitting due to the thin plastic, the end result though is nicely done. There is no spent shell cage provided and most references indicate this would have been fitted to the Ostwind gun mounting.

The lower gun platform doesn’t have any of the large gun shield mountings and is a simple square plate to which is added the gun mounting. Also including is the gun travel lock that can be positioned in travel or firing mode depending on your choice?

There are five 8 round ammo clips provided and these can either be stowed on the ammo rack or two fitted to the ammo feed slide if the gun is displayed in action, the detail on the clips is nicely done with all having the AA 37mm round.


These are the standard exploded view drawings for the assembly sequences and are well laid out and easy to follow, there are some quite busy sequences due to the number of parts but by carefully studying these before gluing should eliminate any problems.

I didn’t find any miss-numbered parts in the sections I assembled but as with any instructions you should study the sequences thoroughly before any cutting/gluing as well as test fitting to avoid any issues.


The small decal sheet has two balkenkreuz and a selection of vehicle numbers in black with white outline. The colour painting guide shows the prototype vehicle in hard edged cam and most photos of this vehicle show extensive Zimmerit added to the hull sides, glacis and front fenders as well as on top of the superstructure around the crew hatches.

There is a photo of a prototype Ausf.G based Ostwind in the Trojca Flak at War book that does not have Zimmerit applied and some references indicate this was the initial appearance of the prototype with the Zimmerit added later in the program.

Unfortunately with all the issues outlined above from the ability to build the prototype only to the superstructure dimensional issues to the use of the larger production turret on a centrally located turret ring not applicable to the prototype there is really not a lot you can recommend about this kit.

There is the full interior and a nice representation of the Flak 43 should you want these for other projects as well as the quite well done suspension and running gear but that’s about where it ends.

Of course if none of these detail and dimensional issues is of any concern the kit will build into an impressive looking Ostwind from the box as the fit of most of the major parts is good overall.

But for anyone wanting an accurate kit of the Ostwind, I simply can’t recommend this kit for that purpose.

The Sprues:
Click on thumbnails for larger view
Detail Images
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Flakpanzer IV
Wirbelwind & Ostwind

Detlev Terlisten
Nuts & Bolts Vol.13
Flak Selbstfahrlafetten and Flakpanzer
Panzer Tracts No.12
Panzer Tracks
German Anti-Aircraft
Combat Vehicles
Revised Edition
Ground Power Special Feb '08
Flak at War
Trojca Publications
Waldemar Trojca, Karlheinz Münch
ISBN: 83-60041-15-6
Thanks to my credit card and the excellent service from Hobbyeasy for the review kit.

Page created July 18, 2009