3 cm Flakpanzer IV Kugelblitz - 1/35 - case report

Tankers!!
      Let´s build the 3 cm Flakpanzer IV Kugelblitz German AA tank.


      But first of all, let's know a little more about this handsome vehicle...

History:
     The 3 cm Flakpanzer IV Kugelblitz ("ball lightning") was a German self-propelled anti-aircraft gun developed during World War II. By the end of the war, only a pilot production of five units had been completed.
Kugelblitz mockup

      Unlike earlier self-propelled anti-aircraft guns, it had a fully enclosed, rotating turret.
    The need for a specialised self-propelled anti-aircraft gun, capable of keeping up with the armoured divisions, had become increasingly urgent for the German Armed Forces, as from 1943 on the German Air Force was less and less able to protect against enemy fighter bombers.
Kugelblitz in evening action.
font: Devianart

     Therefore a multitude of improvised and specially designed self-propelled anti-aircraft guns were built, many on the Panzer IV chassis, starting with the Flakpanzer IV Möbelwagen...
Flakpanzer IV "Mobelwagen" with Flakvierling 38 - 20mm quad AA Gun
(prototype)

/
Flakpanzer IV Möbelwagen with Flak 43 37mm
...and progressing through the Wirbelwind and Ostwind models. The Kugelblitz was the final development of the Flakpanzer IV.
Wirbelwind Flakvierling 38 - 20mm quad AA Gun
Flakpanzer IV Ostwin with Flak 43 37mm
   The first proposal for the Kugelblitz envisioned mounting a modified anti-aircraft turret developed for U-boats on the Panzer IV chassis, which was armed with dual 30 mm MK 303 Brunn guns (a configuration known as Doppelflak, "dual flak"). This was however abandoned as impractical, as development of this gun had not yet been completed, and in any case the entire production run of this gun turret was reserved for the German Navy.
     Instead, the 30 mm Zwillingsflak ("twin flak") 103/38 twin gun, a twinned-mount version of the MK 103 cannon, was used, which had also been fitted to such planes as the Henschel Hs 129 and Dornier Do 335. The rate of fire of the twin 30 mm guns was 450 rounds a minute per gun.
The 30 mm Zwillingsflak ("twin flak") 103/38 twin gun
in the Kugelblitz turret

     The Kugelblitz had the chassis and basic superstructure of the Panzer IV tank, on which a newly designed turret was mounted. This turret was fully enclosed, with overhead protection and 360° traverse. 
      Kugelblitz was operated by the crew of 5, protected by the armor thickness varying from 10mm to 80mm. The turret housed 3 men crew consisting of two gun operator (each sitting alongside the gun) and commander (sitting in the middle). 
Kugelblitz crew. The right gun
operator is not shown.
      The 3500kg turret had one entry/exit hatch (commander was last to enter and first to exit) and two smaller hatches for observation. It had manual traverse by hand of 14 degrees per second. Armored protection of the turret was only 20mm. The size and weight of the turret demanded that hulls were fitted with larger 1900mm rings from Tiger I.
      With its low silhouette, high mobility (with maximum speed of 38km/h), great rate of fire (400 to 650 rounds per minute) and gun range (up to 5700 meters), Flakpanzer IV Kugelblitz would prove deadly to any enemy plane. Both guns were coupled together, but could be fired independently. The ammunition, known as Minengeschoss was belt-fed and more powerful than standard 30mm round, only three to four rounds were needed to shotdown any enemy plane. Its main drawback was its small ammunition storage allowing it to continue firing for only 90 seconds, while afterwards more ammunition was to be supplied by other vehicles.
      As production of the Panzer IV was about to be terminated further work was underway to change to the Jadgpanzer 38(t) chassis which was in turn based on the Panzer 38(t). No prototypes based on Hetzer hulls were completed.
      The Kugelblitz was not yet out of development when the war ended. Several evaluation vehicles had been built, but it is unclear how many. It is also unclear what happened to the few Kugelblitzes which were built; some sources say that they ended up being used in the Battle of Berlin.
Kugelblitz complete turret
Tank Museum

Founded in the factory backyard

     One Kugelblitz was also involved in the fights near the town of Spichra, where it was destroyed and remained buried in the Spatenberg hill until its excavation in 1999.

Specs:

















3 cm Flakpanzer IV Kugelblitz

TypeSelf-propelled anti-aircraft gun
Place of origin                           Nazi Germany
Production history
Produced1945
No. built5
Specifications
Weight23 tonnes
Length5.92 m 
Width2.95 m 
Height2.4 m
Crew5 (commander, two gunners, radio operator, driver)

Armor80 mm  maximum
Main
armament
Zwillingsflak 30mm MK 103 twin anti-aircraft gun
Secondary
armament
7.92 mm MG34
Engine12-cylinder Maybach HL 120 TRM gasoline
300 PS (296 hp, 221 kW)
Power/weight13 PS/tonne
Fuel capacity470 l 
Operational
range
200 km
Speed38 km/h 

 
The kit:

     The kit is fine detailed, in the Dragon´s way.


Dragon box art


      Starting by the wheels;
Wheels. The most boring part of any build ...
     The ball turret looks is very futuristic!!!
Turret looks like Star Wars 
     And the hull is complete:
      As I say, nothing of after-market. I used the original (plastic) guns. 
The guns are in plastic
Copper wire  replace the uplift hangers of the turret

After primmer, the base color: Dark-Yellow:
Base color applied
German cammo 


The aerial was made with acupunture needle
After the cammo, decals with Future:



I had painted the accessories before. It is time to install them in the tank ... Starting the weathering:


Notice the chain in the front

The logs are branches of pomegranate

Well, this girl is finished !!!
Kugelblitz AA german tank


Kugelblitz - left view

Kugelblitz - left rear view 

Kugelblitz - right rear view  
Kugelblitz - right view  


Achtung !!! Jabo!!!

And with Kojak, for  size comparison:



     I really liked the futuristic look of this tank ...

See you, in the next project...regards...

AMD 35 - Panhard 178 - French armoured car - case report

     I decided to build this old kit, which I found at the bottom of my closet ... It is an old ALBY joint-venture with Dragon-Shangai. I'll build this beauty OOTB, trying to get good results with this relic, not counting with after-markets.
AMD 35 Panhard 178 - A very old ALBy - Dragon kit - I´ll build the French version  
History:
     The Panhard 178 (officially designated as Automitrailleuse de Découverte Panhard modèle 1935, 178 being the internal project number at Panhard) or "Pan-Pan" was an advanced French reconnaissance 4x4 armoured car that was designed for the French Cavalry before World War II. It had a crew of four and was equipped with an effective 25 mm main armament and a 7.5 mm coaxial machine gun.
Panhard in parade...
     A number of these vehicles were in 1940 taken over by the Germans after the Fall of France and employed as the Panzerspähwagen P204 (f); for some months after the armistice of June production continued for the benefit of Germany. After the war a derived version, the Panhard 178B, was again taken into production by France.
     In order to function as an effective long-range reconnaissance vehicle, the Panhard 178 had been kept as light as possible. The vehicle was thus rather small, only 4.79 m  in length, 2.01 m  wide and 2.31 m  in height (1.65 m for the hull per se). Also the tapering engine compartment, where a Panhard ISK 4FII bis V4, 6332 CC, 105 hp motor had been installed, was built very low, giving the vehicle its distinctive silhouette, with a protruding fighting compartment. The use of a large turret with 26 mm frontal armour and 13 mm side armour, combined with 7 (bottom), 9 (top and glacis), 13 (back, sides and front superstructure) and 20 mm (nose) bolted and riveted armour plate for the hull, had compromised weight considerations however, so the vehicle still weighed 8.2 metric tonnes. However the mobility was rather good for a French AFV of the period: a maximum speed of 72.6 km/h  and a practical range of about 300 km, made possible by two fuel tanks of 120 and 20 litres, the main one located at the extreme back of the hull.
     Rough terrain capacity was somewhat limited however: though all four road wheels were actuated, the leaf spring suspension confined the off-road speed to 42 km/h and the possession of just four wheels allowed for a wading and a trench crossing capacity of only sixty centimetres; it could overcome a thirty cm vertical obstacle, assisted by two small bottom wheels in the front hull.
     The driver was in the front, using an eight-speed gear box and a normal steering wheel. Steering could be switched into reverse immediately to allow the assistant-driver, seated to the left of the engine (or, from his point of view: the right), to drive the vehicle backwards in case of an emergency, using all four off-road gears, with a maximum speed of 42 km/h. This "dual drive" capacity is common for reconnaissance vehicles. The second driver had a separate entrance door at the left side of the hull. He doubled as a radio operator in the platoon commander or squadron commander vehicles, operating the short range ER29 or medium range ER26 set respectively. To make long range communications possible, one out of twelve armoured cars was a special radio vehicle.
     The APX3 turret, having a large double hatch on the back, was rather large and could accommodate two men, like with the AMC 35; this was at the time exceptional for French AFVs. In the electrically traversed APX3, the commander on the right and gunner on the left benefited from a rudimentary turret basket, and sufficient vision devices including one periscope (which were of the Gundlach type on late examples) per man and PPL.RX.168 episcopes.
Gundlach Vickers periscope
     Armament was first intended to be a newly developed 20 mm gun; when this failed to materialise it was considered to use a 37 mm Modèle 16 gun, standard for armoured cars, but this was rejected because of its poor anti-armour capacity. Instead the 25 mm SA 35 was chosen, a shortened L/47.2 derivation of the standard French antitank gun, the 25 mm Hotchkiss modèle 34. It was fitted with the L711 sight.
Standard French AT gun 25 mm Hotchkiss modèle 34 
     To compensate for the shorter barrel, the rounds use heavier charges, giving even a slightly superior muzzle velocity of 950 m/s. The gun had a maximum penetration of about fifty millimetres when using a tungsten round; the light 380 gram projectile was easily deflected by sloped armour though, even a 45° angle giving about 100% extra protection over the armour thickness measured along the horizontal plane. German tanks had many vertical plates however, and were vulnerable up to about 800 metres; on the other hand the light round, even when penetrating, often failed to set fire to an enemy vehicle; it sometimes took fifteen shots to achieve this; 150 rounds of ammunition were stored.
      The secondary armament was an optionally coaxial Reibel 7.5 mm machine gun, with 3,750 rounds, 1,500 of which were armour-piercing. A reserve machine gun was carried to the right of the driver that could be mounted on top of the turret for anti-aircraft defence. Its magazines were carried on the inner walls of the fighting compartment, including the large main entrance door on the right.
Reibel 7,5mm MG
     Experience showed that the type had several shortcomings: a weak clutch, slow turret rotation, a cramped interior, unreliable radio sets, poor cross-country drive and very noisy brakes. On the other hand it was reliable, easy to drive on roads and the engine as such was rather silent; all desirable qualities for a reconnaissance vehicle.
AMD 35 in action
     During the production run several modifications would be made, such as the fitting of lifting hooks. The first thirty vehicles had two more primitive periscopes on the turret roof, a Chrétien diascope on its front and simple vision slits with armoured shutters on its sides; their drivers too had to use vision slits instead of an episcope. They also lacked a silencer and had semi-circular cut-outs at the wheel plate edges. From about the 111th vehicle (or fourth production batch) onward, several changes were introduced, including the fitting of an armoured ventilator covering on top of the turret, a factory plate with the name "Panhard" on the nose and a new softer factory camouflage pattern with the brown and bronze green spots no longer separated by black lines. From the 270th vehicle onwards stowage boxes were constructed on the back fenders, obscuring the pointed form of the engine compartment. The last turrets produced also had a backward pointing episcope for the commander, instead of a vision slit. (Wikipedia)

Specs:

























Panhard 178
TypeArmoured car
Place of origin France
Service history
In serviceApril 1937 - 1964
Used byFrance
Nazi Germany
WarsWorld War II
First Indochina War
Vietnam War
Production history
DesignerPanhard
Designed1933-1937
ManufacturerPanhard
ProducedFebruary 1937 - ~October 1940
Number built729 "A" versions, 414 B version
VariantsPanhard 178B
Specifications
Weight8.2 metric tonnes
Length4.79 m with gun
Width2.01 m
Height2.31 m
Crew4

Armor20 mm
Main
armament
25 mm SA 35 cannon
Secondary
armament
7.5 mm Reibel machine gun
EnginePanhard SK
105 hp
Suspensionleaf spring
Ground clearance0.35 m
Operational
range
300 km
Speed72 km/h

The kit:
     Let´s rock !!! The kit:
The kit - box open
     The kit is very "spartan". In the interior, the Al By mark and in the plastic trees, the age: 1994.
Old times...Good times???
      I closed the hull. The pieces are simple and honest... This is a swift project !!
Out of the box...

As I said, I chose to build the French version, so I will not use the radio frame of the German version.
Almost done...

Right side

Rear view

     The wheels seem too narrow. There are excellent resin versions on the market, but as I decided to build OOTB, I'll do something scratch, like home-made: I increased the thickness of the wheels using  plasticard discs with 0.7 mm thick.
Plasticards with 0,7mm thick
     And the "fat" wheels:
The wheels, ready for paint...
     I don´t photographed the layer Primmer (it was the same color of the plastic), but these are the colors of my French girl:
Colors
       I intend to do my kit with this marks:
Black waves in the cammo

Gloss varnish to prevent silvering

rear view


And the decals, with Microsol:


Now, it´s weathering....
In this week-end, the model work was productive....

My  French Girl is ready!!!

Uops...wrong picture...
       This is the girl, dirty with pigments and oils...
Panhard 178
Panhard 178  - Left side
Panhard 178 - left rear
Panhard 178 - right rear
Panhard 178 - Right side


Panhard 178 - bird view

Panhard 178 with Kojak, for size comparation.
    Thanks for following, Mesdames et Messieurs ... Au revoir !!!