Corporal Overby's Motor Pool

Panzer IV with 8.8cm Flak

Kit # MP068

Preview by Rob Haelterman

1. History

In 1945, US troops liberating Pilsen (Plzeň - Czechoslovakia) discovered two converted Panzer IVs sporting an 8.8cm Flak 37 [1].
One of the chassis used was an upgraded Ausf.C (if the WNr is to be believed) and had a gun support at the rear of the vehicle, while the other had not. Other differences were that the Ausf.C based vehicle had steel return rollers and late forged hubcaps, while the other had rubber tired return rollers and cast hubcaps. (We are looking at one very well upgraded Ausf.C here !)
Remarkably, both vehicles only had the superstructure over the engine in place, i.e. the parts over the driver's compartment and fighting compartment were removed.
Pictures of the vehicle can be found here.


2. Packaging

I bought two models straight from the manufacturer. Both came in a plastic bag. The bags were packaged together in a sturdy, top opening cardboard box. Only one part (a track unit) was broken, but in a way that I believe easy to repair.


3. Parts layout

4. Instructions

Instructions are not included, which is a weak point of Cpl Overby's Motorpool's kits. Pictures can be found on the Facebook page of the manufacturer however, which might not be to the liking of people without a Facebook account themselves.


5. Accuracy

I am not sure if more than the two vehicles mentioned in [1] were converted to carry an 8.8cm Flak, but there have been reproductions of this vehicle, both in artwork and in plastic showing them with either the regular roof over the driver's compartment (like this kit in 1/35), a flattened roof (like one shown on the Facebook page of Cpl Overby's Motorpool) or with no roof at all (like this kit in 1/35).
In my opinion, only the option of the complete roof, or no roof at all makes any sense, and as the pictures that I have found clearly show no roof, I guess that this representation in 1/35 makes most sense in this area, even though firm evidence is lacking. The kit therefore has taken some artistic licence in supposing that the vehicles found in Pilsen either had the roofs removed after ending their careers, or that more vehicles existed. Even then I feel that the driver's compartment would have been open at the rear to make communication easier with the gun crew (and because no original plate was found there in a regular Panzer IV).

The rear of the driver's compartment is closed.

The kit comes with an alternative gun mount. Without instructions it's not very clear what to do with it, but it seems it is provided for modelers who are convinced that the gun mount that is molded onto the hull is not correct. The plan is to remove the cast-on mount and replace it with the alternative mount as shown on the Facebook page of Cpl Overby's Motorpool.

Alternative gun mount to the left.

Alternative gun mount installed. Picture taken from the Cpl Overby Facebook page, with permission.


What the configuration of the supporting plate of the gun is concerned, I believe a continuous plate (like with the kit we are reviewing here) makes sense for the crew to be able to service the gun, but the pictures of the real vehicle make me believe it was installed a bit lower, even though it can be argued that this would make life less easy for the crew.

The kit offers the choice in gun barrels between the Flak 18 and Flak 37, while references only show the Flak 37. Stephen Brezinski has written a very good article on the difference between both, but suffice to say that the smoothly tapered barrel is the Flak 18, while the fatter one is the Flak 37.

Flak 37 on top right, Flak 18 on bottom left.

The kit provides cast hubcaps, rubber return rollers and no gun support, which would be in line with the "non Ausf. C" vehicle found at Pilsen (except for the inclusion of the roof over the driver's compartment).


6. Detail and casting quality

The tracks come as single units with the inner halves of the roadwheels, idler and drive sprocket; their outer halves need to be added, enhancing detail. A thin resin film needs to be removed from the inside of these pieces. Compared to some other kits I have from this manufacturer, the suspension has better detail: the hull sides are separate and include some detail of the bogies. The tracks are nicely rendered, but had deficiencies due to the molds starting to wear out. Care will have to be taken when removing the film on the inside as this is bound to damage some detail as well. One of my track units was broken, but this shouldn't cause too much concern.
It seems that the way the kit is engineered (with the separate side panels for the lower hull) would allow the modeler to substitute these parts with kit parts coming from a mainstream injection plastic kit. Measurements show that the ESCI kit would most likely be a very good donor.

One of the track units. Idler broken off and slight deficiencies on the tracks.

In general, casting quality is very good with crisp detail, although the occasional air bubble can be found. The most annoying one was found in the recuperator housing of the Flak 18, which (fortunately) we don't actually need to complete the kit, according to my references. The gun barrels are remarkably straight, by the way, and are hollowed out at the end.

The Flak 18 has a casting deficiency in the recuperator.


The hull is a massive piece without any warping. It's a bit rough around the edges (fenders), which a short sanding session will easily solve. The right rear fender had a corner that was broken in my specimen.


7. Marking options

No marking options or decals are provided.

8. References

[1] Panzerwrecks X, L. Archer, W. Auerbach, 2010


Review kit purchased by author, with permission of his wife.

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Article Last Updated: 24 November 2013

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