Miniature Ordnance Review looks at the world of historical and fantasy miniatures wargaming and model building. From 15mm Flames of War, to Warhammer 40K, to 1/35th scale tanks, with some potential surprises on the horizon - you'll find them here!

Monday, May 26, 2014

Accurizing Your Ostwind - Part 1

The forthcoming Remagen books offer a lot of opportunities for the Flames of War player, especially the German player, to really cut loose and use a lot of fun an unusual vehicles from the closing months of World War II.  One of these vehicles is the Flakpanzer IV (3.7cm Flak 43), also known as the "Ostwind."  In many ways the Ostwind looks superficially similar to the earlier Wirbelwind, which mounted the 2cm Flakvierling, but looks can be deceiving.  The Ostwind had many important differences in both its turret and superstructure which are detailed in the Nuts and Bolts issue covering late war Flakpanzers.

The Battlefront Ostwind (GE170) has numerous issues, though to be honest so do most full scale 1/35th kits of the vehicle as well.  Battlefront is using their unmodified Panzer IV Ausf J hull for the vehicle, and the Ostwind actually has several unique differences.  First, the turret ring is set forward a bit, meaning that the front hatches are in line parallel to the front superstructure armor.  I haven't made this modification to my Ostwind yet, largely because I haven't yet managed to successfully cast a replacement hatch.  Once that is accomplished I'll make the modification, though I'll leave the turret ring where it is.  

Second, the right superstructure is incorrect.  Included on the Battlefront Panzer IV J hull is the felt bellows filter that was discontinued as early as February 1944 (and would therefore likely only occur on very early Ausf J to begin with!). Instead the Ostwind has two small boxes on the fender at this location (as seen in the picture below).  Tony Greenland's excellent model shows these boxes touching, but the most up-to-date drawings show a slight separation between them, so I elected to go with them slightly separated.  Some of the detailing is a bit exaggerated to scale, but I wanted to match the detailing level on the rest of the miniature.

Another key difference between the Battlefront miniature (and again, let's be fair, just about every 1/35th scale Ostwind kit out there!) and the production vehicle is the turret.  The provided turret is accurate for the prototype, but not the production vehicles.  The production vehicles had deflection plates added near the turret ring to prevent lucky shots crippling the traverse mechanism.  I have converted one turret and have simply made copies.  My resin casting isn't up to the level of Battlefront, so I have to do a fair amount of putty, prime, and putty again.  You'll see a couple of remaining pinholes in the photo that still need work.

At this point I'm working up three of these to go with my 1/512 Schwere Panzerjagerkompanie.  Yes, I'll probably the just about the ONLY person trying to play the CV as opposed to the RT Jagdtigers... but the modeling possibilities for the unit are simply too awesome to ignore!  

I'll continue to post updates to these beasts as I get them closer to final painting.  I'm going to go full 1945 Wehrmacht coloration from Ammo of MIG on these - so they'll be very visually distinct on the tabletop.

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