In The Box Preview & Comparison
"Ostwind" Flakpanzerkampfwagen IV (3.7cm Flak 43)
in 1/72 scale

Article by Stephen Brezinski - sbrez1(at)comcast(dot)net
Edited by Al Magnus

An In The Box Preview & Comparison of the "Ostwind" Flakpanzerkampfwagen IV (3.7cm Flak 43) in 1/72 scale

MACO kit no. 7209
Hasegawa kit no. 31147/MT47

A wee bit of history for the modeler

The Ostwind Flakpanzer IV armed with the 3.7cm Flak 43 cannon was a progression development of the Wirberlwind armored anti-aircraft vehicle which mounted the 2cm Flak 38 Vierling (quad gun mount). According to Jentz & Doyle, other than a prototype, only seven Ostwind (Eastwind) were completed in March 1945 and available for use in Bielfeld, (Germany, within the UK or US area of combat). A Wikipedia entry states about 30 were built on rebuilt Pz IV chassis. According to Nuts & Bolts Vol. 13 the prototype Ostwind was also sent into combat.

Panzer Tracts No. 12 states that the Ostwind chassis was to be from new production Pz IV Ausf. J with associated Ausf. J modifications. At this time I have found one in-action photo of an abandoned production Ostwind, and several photos of the soft steel prototype. The apparent production vehicle in combat does not appear to agree with the what I read from Panzer Tracts. The photo shows an abandoned Ostwind with the horizontal muffler in the rear, zimmerit coating, cast hubs, tubular welded idler wheel, and the mid-war sprocket wheel; these are not characteristic Pz IV Ausf. J features. This Ostwind also has two roadwheels mounted on the rear engine plate corners. It does have four steel return rollers and the triangular fillets at the turret race (as seen in the MACO artwork below). Nuts & Bolts Vol. 13 states that both the Ostwind and the Wirbelwind were built from refurbished Pz IV Ausf. G and Ausf. H models. For all the good intentions at least some Ostwind appears to have been built on refurbished Pz IV despite orders. Historical data is fuzzy.

A Look At The Box Art

MACO Kit 7209:

Let us look at the manufacturer's box art and see what we are supposed to have inside. Within the title is the term "Serienproduktion" indicating that this kit is supposed to represent the series production Ostwind, rather than the prototype.

Starting from the top we see the six-sided open-top turret with a single 3.7cm Flak barrel protruding through the vertical slit. To the right, our left, is a small opening for the gunsight when firing the gun near horizontal. At the base of the turret front are protective triangular fillets (not present on the prototype Ostwind nor on the Hasegawa Ostwind model). The chassis still carries the bow machinegun mount, spare tracks, and spare roadwheels.

Below the turret in this boxart is the hull of what appears to be a mid-production Pz IV Ausf. H hull. I have assessed it as a late Pz IV Ausf. H hull, based on the late roadwheels with forged hubs, steel return rollers, cast sprocket wheel but welded idler wheel, no Notek headlight, and no Zimmerit coating. Looking closely at the radio-operator's hatch you can make out that the hatch has been moved forward so is now even with the driver's hatch, a modification of the production Ostwind. This is a sure sign of a production Ostwind with a larger turret ring, and not the prototype Ostwind assembled on a overhauled Pz IV G hull.

MACO's Ostwind boxart is portrayed as a 3-tone, hard edge camouflage scheme. The lighter color in the artwork appears to me to be gray or a dirty white, but the kit instructions state it is panzer yellow.

Hasegawa Kit 31147/MT47:

Hasegawa's instructions state that this kit represents the prototype Ostwind produced in July 1944. The Ostwind prototype was built on a refurbished late Pz IV G or early Pv IV H chassis with no significant visible changes to the chassis. What Hasegawa failed to portray here is that the chassis of the Ostwind prototype had a textured zimmerit anti-magnetic coating. The small hatch on the side of the turret for the gunsight is also different in shape from that of the MACO production version Ostwind.

The roadwheel hubs are the mid period cast style and the sprocket wheel is the mid-production type. Notice on the port-side fender the Notek light rather than the Bosch headlight seen on the MACO model. Except for the storage box on the starboard fender this looks like our standard production Pz IV Ausf. G chassis.

Notice that the camouflage pattern of the turret is different from that of the chassis. The reference book Nuts & Bolts Vol. 13 states that the Ostwind and Wirbelwind were completed in a 3-color camouflage at the factory with only a Balkenkruz on each side and on the rear: there were no unit markings or vehicle numbers applied. (Though unit markings may have been applied during their short life in the field?)

The Kit Parts

The MACO kit 7209 is a mix of MACO parts and Revell parts from their Panzer IV Ausf. H, kit #3119. The kit contains 37 pale-yellow colored, injection molded styrene parts from MACO, and 96 dark yellow styrene plastic parts plus 46 link & length track parts from the Revell model kit. There are also a significant number of unused MACO and Revell parts. I will not review the Revell parts in detail as the Revell Pz IV Ausf. H kit is already well reviewed by others (see here on OTW and at Henk of Holland). No resin or etched brass parts, or crew figures are included.

The Hasegawa Ostwind kit 31147/MT47 comes with 69 light gray, injection molded, hard styrene plastic parts of which 21 are for the Ostwind turret and gun, plus two soft plastic band tracks. There are 30 unused plastic parts for use with the Hasegawa Pz IV kit. In fact, there are parts to build a complete Pz IV model in the box if you should chose to build a Pz IV instead of the Ostwind. No resin or etched brass parts, or crew figures are included. See Henk of Holland's website for more information on the kit and see the review on OTW here.

In the two photographs above, the left sprue is the Sprue-A, which is particular to MACO's Ostwind kit containing the 6-sided open-top turret (parts A4 & A5), some Flak 43 parts particular to the Ostwind kit, and the modified Pz IV upper hull (part A1). Why not use the Revell Pz IV hull you ask? Look at the placement of the radio operator hatch and you will see that it has been moved forward to make room for the Ostwind's larger turret ring so the engine hatches could be opened with the larger turret. The molding looks very good and the turret shell appears very thin.

The right sprue is Sprue-D for the 3.7cm Flak 43 which is common to the MACO kits 7202, 7206 7211 and others. Molding and detail are very good. Many parts appear very delicate so be careful when cutting them from the sprue. Some parts such as the gun base (part D1) and the shield (parts D33, D34 and D35) are not used with this Ostwind model. Like with the Hasegawa kit we will need to drill out the muzzle of the gun barrel.

In the two photographs above are Sprue-L (left) and Sprue-M (right) for Hasegawa's Ostwind and turret and Flak 43 gun respectively. The turret (parts L5 and L6 ) is the same basic shape as MACO's though the plastic is thicker. One of the first things I noticed when comparing the Hasegawa and MACO models was the significantly greater number of parts in the MACO kit. Hasegawa's molding quality is very good, though the detail is simplified compared to MACO. This Hasegawa kit includes their stock upper Pz IV hull that was used with the Ostwind prototype, not a hull with the revised radio operator hatch location.

Though not typically seen after the model is built, it is clear that the underside of the Revell Pz IV (at left) is significantly more accurate than the Hasegawa kit. Both lower hulls are made of four parts, in contrast to Trumpeter's and Dragon's Pz IV hulls, which are slide molded in one piece. At this stage the gray Hasegawa hull looks significantly longer than Revell's.

The wheels and tracks for these two kits (Revell/MACO tan sprue, Hasegawa grey sprue-K & black tracks) we have seen before in the Revell and Hasegawa Pz IV model kits. Revell's roadwheels look more correct and assemble well (I prefer to assemble and paint my wheels while still on the sprue). Hasegawa's roadwheels are the type with cast hubs as seen on the Pz IV F and G while Revell's roadwheels have the forged hubs as seen on the Pz IV H and J.

Hasegawa gives us a choice of two different styles of sprocket wheel: mid-production (for a Pz IV F or G) or late production (for a Pz IV H or J). Revell's sprocket wheels are the late war type. Both offer the same style of idler wheels.

MACO provides Revell Pz IV link & length tracks which I find a little thick but well done. I would prefer for MACO to provide some of their own Pz IV tracks I have heard good things about. The Hasegawa soft band tracks are dismal and are best covered in snow or mud for a display model. (CMK, MACO, OKB GRIGOROV companies and others make aftermarket Pz IV tracks in 1/72 scale.)

At the top of Hasegawa's sprue-K we can see 3.7cm ammunition clips (parts-13) for the Ostwind and a spare 2cm cannon barrel box (part 15) for Hasegawa's Wirbelwind model, and an antenna mount (part 14).

Assembly Instructions

Both MACO and Hasegawa offer parts diagrams within their instructions.

The 30-step MACO instructions appear complete and clear. For this review the pages of MACO's assembly instructions I have included here mostly cover assembly of the Ostwind turret since the Revell Pz IV parts are included in other kit reviews. The spent cartridge tray (part A10) shown in Step-16 has a wire basket in my photo references that we may wish to scratchbuild.

On the parts diagram at the left in the above picture, the unused Revell parts are not shown, but most all are still there on the actual sprues giving us a bunch of extra Revell Pz IV H parts to play with.

The MACO Flak 43 instructions look pretty clear. Note that with both kits it is advised to assemble all the turret interior parts before attaching the upper turret half. Some fine weld beads along the many welded edges may be a nice touch.

While the spare roadwheels here in Step-30 are mounted on the port side like as seen on the Pz IV, a reference photo of a production Ostwind shows the two roadwheels mounted on the corners of the rear plate which is an interesting variation, similar to the Stu.Pz.IV Brummbar Sd.Kfz.166 spare wheel storage.

Hasegawa's instructions have fewer steps reflecting the fewer parts and standard format for most 1/72 scale Hasegawa armor kits. Since this kit represents the Ostwind prototype the chassis is a standard Pz IV Ausf. G. For reviews of the Hasegawa Pz IV kits try here and here.

I did not include a scan of Hasegawa's parts diagram but my kit included all the parts for a full Pz IV Ausf F2/G (compete turret and gun) model.

As the Ostwind and the Wirbelwind both appear to have been built upon rebuilt Pz IV chassis, the hull could have a zimmerit coating but not the turret. The Part company offers an etched brass zimmerit set in 1/72 scale for the Hasegawa kit so as to build a more accurate Ostwind or Wirbelwind model. My previous experience is that the set assembles well and looks good on the model. These brass zimmerit pieces may also fit on the Revell Pz IV kit but I give no guarantee. I notice there are no visors for the hull sides suggesting this set is for a Pz IV Ausf. H rather than a Pz IV Ausf. G chassis.

MACO's color painting and marking guide above is typical of MACO small scale models and displays two Ostwinds with both the same 3-color hard-edge camouflage scheme, the only difference is that the bottom vehicle has no balkenkreuz markings.

The small decal sheet also includes markings for the MACO Modelwagen and Kugelblitz kits which will go unused for the spares box.

Hasegawa gives us a black & white drawing of their Ostwind which is typical of Hasegawa small scale armor kits. The 3-color camouflage scheme on the turret is a different pattern than on the chassis which likely reflects that it's a rebuilt Pz IV chassis modified to carry the Ostwind turret. The only marking appears to be small unit marking (decal number 2). There is no balkenkreuz or number markings to be used. This decal sheet is shared with the Hasegawa Wirbelwind kit and most of the markings go unused.

A nice feature of this decal sheet is that with a little extra decal film coating over the kit title at the bottom, it can be slid off and placed on a display base for the completed model.


I do know from personal and shared experience that the Revell Pz IV kit builds well and into a fine 1/72 scale model. I have not assembled the MACO model parts yet but in the box it looks like a great model with top notch casting and detail. Some good figures for these two models that will fit into the small turret would be most welcome, a good project for MACO or Milicast for example?

The Hasegawa Pz IV kits assemble well and were great improvements over the old ESCI Pz IV models when released in the 1990's, but at this time, by the present standards expected by display modelers, the detail is lacking for a display model. Hasegawa's greatest weakness is their old, poor band tracks. If they would upgrade their Pz IV kit tracks they could bring these kits closer on-par with the Revell Pz IV kits.

Both models will build into a realistic small scale Ostwind model. For a robust easy to assemble model of the Ostwind Flakpanzer for wargaming I do recommend the Hasegawa kit as the best choice. The MACO model should produce the most realistic display model.

I am surprised that at this time neither Dragon nor Trumpeter have offered the Ostwind and Wirbelwind in 1/72 scale.


[1] Panzer Tracts No. 12, Flak Selfstfahrlafetten and Flakpanzer, Thomas Jentz and Hillary Doyle, Darlington Productions (1998).
[2] Flakpanzer, Wydawnictwo Militaria No. 18, J. Ledwoch and H. Trojca (1995). ISBN 83-86209-26-7
[3] German Medium Flak In Combat, Werner Muller, Schiffer Military History (1991). ISBN 0-88740-351-4
[4] Achtung Panzer
[5] Nuts & Bolts Vol. 13 Flakpanzer IV Wirbelwind ∓ Ostwind, Detlev Terlisten et al. (This volume appears to have been replaced with an updated Nuts & Bolts Volume 25)

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Article Last Updated: 22 February 2014