Miniature Ordnance Review looks at the world of miniatures wargaming with an emphasis on 15mm World War II and Flames of War.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

559. Schwere Panzerjäger Abteilung Wirbelwinds

The last month or so has been fairly busy with little time for actually working on my own miniature projects, but for the past week or so I've been able to start getting caught up a bit.  The Jagdpanthers detailed last month are ready for priming.  Also ready for priming are the Wirbelwind anti-aircraft tanks that will (hopefully) keep marauding fighter-bombers away from the big kitties.  The Battlefront Wirbelwind (GE165) is a very nice miniature on its own, but given that many Wirbelwind were converted from older Panzer IV hulls, there is a lot of room for variety.  Duske, Greenland, and Terlisten's Nuts and Bolts covering the Flakpanzer IV also contains a wealth of information and inspiration as well, not just for the Wirbelwind, but for the Ostwind as well.

Given I'm planning a unit of three  vehicles, I wanted to provide it with some variety.  As I mentioned before, the actual miniature itself is fairly nice, so I started with one just out of the box.  The model goes together nicely with the standard amount of clean-up on the tracks and the Flakvierling.



The Nuts and Bolts work also shows some that have deleted the vision ports on the front sides of the hull, but retain the single muffler/exhaust layout.  Figuring this would be simple enough to do, I just removed the ports, sanded the areas flat, and added a weld line for the front plate.

 
 
Finally is the one where I need my head examined.  I wanted to have at least one Wirbelwind with zimmerit.  Rather than use the hull from the Wirbelwind (which had some casting issues) I confiscated a hull from a Panzer IV H to use as the basis.  Unfortunately the Panzer IV H miniature doesn't have zimmerit on the hull sides.  To correct this, I removed the details from the right side and left side of the hull (except for the spare wheel bracket, which appears on several Wirbelwind).  I used miliput to not only fill the slots for the schurtzen (which do not appear on the Wirbelwind) but for the zimmerit as well. I textured the miliput with a modified Trumpeter 1/72nd scale zimmerit tool, and the results were fairly striking.



I also added zimmerit to the front and rear fenders using miliput as well.  On the entire model, I had to replace many of the molded in details with scratch-built styrene copies.  This includes the vision ports, jack block, and a few other minor details.  I took the bins from the defective Wirbelwind miniature and added them directly to the Ausf H hull.  The end result is a fairly convincing early production variant



The miniatures are now ready for priming.  You'll note I've left the heads off of the crew - the guns themselves are also not permanently affixed yet either.  I want to paint both of those separately before I glue them in place.  I'm also working on several "updated" Sturmgeschutz III Ausf G for this army (I'll need a total of six), so watch this space for the insanity on that particular project.