Flakpanzer IV Möbelwagen - 3.7cm Flak auf Fahrgestell Panzerkampfwagen IV (sf) - Sd.Kfz. 161/3 - case report

Achtung!! Taifun!!!
      Let's look at some vehicles that were built to deal with the growing air threat on the battlefields. We can see these girls as the forerunners of today's modern self-propelled antiaircraft systems. Let's talk about the Flakpanzer IV Möbelwagen - 3.7 cm Flak auf Fahrgestell Panzerkampfwagen IV (sf) - Sd.Kfz. 161/3...  I built these girls a long time ago... Sorry by the pics...

History:
      The 3.7cm Flak auf Fahrgestell Panzerkampfwagen IV (sf) (Sd.Kfz. 161/3), nicknamed Möbelwagen ("Moving Van") because of its boxy shape, was a self-propelled anti-aircraft gun built from the chassis of the Panzer IV tank. It was used by the Wehrmacht in the European Theatre of World War II.
3.7cm Flak auf Fahrgestell Pz.Kpfw IV (sf) (Sd.Kfz. 161/3) Möbelwagen - late
Note the armored plates with flat profile - late version
      In 1943, due to the waning ability of the Luftwaffe to combat enemy ground-attack aircraft, ground-based anti-aircraft weaponry was becoming increasingly important to the Wehrmacht. After many experiments with the installation of anti-aircraft guns of various calibers on the existing chassi tanks, the High German Command decided to use the Pz.Kpfw.IV. In early 1943, Krupp developed a simple and technological version of the AA tank with four 20mm automatic anti-aircraft guns. The machine received the designation of 2cm Flakvierling auf Fahrgestell Panzerkampfwagen IV .

  
      The prototype displayed to Hitler on December 7, 1943, used the 2,0cm Flakvierling 38, which was deemed too weak for the latest aircraft, which were constantly being improved to fly higher and faster. Only a single prototype with this gun was produced before the design was rejected. 
 2cm Flakvierling auf Fahrgestell Panzerkampfwagen IV prototype
with the shields lowered
      A second design with an upgraded single 3.7cm Flak 43 L/89 was approved as a temporary stopgap until better Flakpanzers could be created. 240 Möbelwagens were built, and the first production models were put into service on the Western Front in April 1944.
3.7cm Flak auf Fahrgestell Panzerkampfwagen IV - early
Note the armored plates with bevelled edge - early version
      The Möbelwagen was built on Panzer IV chassis that had been damaged on the Eastern Front and returned to the factory for repair. These were fitted with an open-top superstructure that provided the gun mount. Around this, four hinged 20mm armored plates were placed. These plates had two operating positions: they could be lowered for full 360 degree traverse, allowing flat or low-level firing...
Flakpanzer IV Möbelwagen - 3.7 cm - early
Arnor plates full lowered position
Flakpanzer IV Möbelwagen - 3.7 cm - late
Arnor plates full lowered position
... or they could be half-closed, being pinned together to hang slightly open. In this position, they had notches that allowed the gun full rotation, but only for firing at airborne targets.
Flakpanzer IV Möbelwagen - 3.7cm
Arnor plates in half-closed position
    Still, both of these positions left the crew extremely exposed and vulnerable. The fully closed position was only used for transport or transit, when the plates would give the crew some protection from small arms fire and shrapnel.
Two Flakpanzer IV Möbelwagen - 3.7cm
Arnor plates in closed position -  transit condition
Notice the 
different types of exhausts...
Brand new Möbelwagens (early), on factory yards, awaiting transportation
Arnor plates in closed position -  transport condition

Brand new Möbelwagens (early), on factory yards, awaiting transportation
Arnor plates in closed position -  transport condition
      Though the Möbelwagen was intended to be a stopgap, it served the anti-aircraft platoons of the Panzer Divisions on the Western Front. Only 240 were produced, and it was eventually succeeded by the first true Flakpanzers: Wirbelwind and Ostwind, both of which provided the crew with improved armored protection and full rotation when firing at either ground or air targets.
Flakpanzer IV "Wirbelwind" - 4 x 2,0cm Flakvierling 38

Flakpanzer IV "Ostwind" - 1 x 3.7cm Flak 43 L/89
      The assembly of the first 20 self-propelled guns began in March and already on April 7, 1944 they were shipped to the troops. In most cases, the Möbelwagen came into service with the air defense platoons (Flugabwehrzug) of tank divisions deployed on the Western Front. After the completion of the training period and a brief lull, on July 15 the "Möbelwagen" entered in battle operations, just in time to help repel allied air attacks in Normandy.
Flakpanzer IV Möbelwagen - 3.7cm
France, Normandy - 1944.
      In total, 240 (according to other data 250) self-propelled units Möbelwagen were built. 
Flakpanzer IV Möbelwagen - 3.7cm - late
Musée Saumur - under restoration
Specs:

Flakpanzer IV "Möbelwagen"
TypeSelf-propelled anti-aircraft gun
Place of origin                      Nazi Germany
Production history
ManufacturerDeutsche Eisenwerke
ProducedMarch 1944 — March 1945
No. built240
Specifications
Weight24 tonnes
Length5.92 m 
Width2.95 m
Height2.73 m
Crew6

Armor10 - 80 mm
Main
armament
1 × 3.7 cm Flak 43 L/89
416 rounds
Secondary
armament
1 × 7.92mm MG 34
600 rounds
Engine12-cylinder Maybach HL 120 TRM - 300 hp
Power/weight  12.5 PS/tonne
SuspensionLeaf spring
Operational range
200 km
Speed38 km/h

The kits:
     I had in my catacombs two completely different kits of these vehicles: The Tamiya Kit Nr. 35237 (1999) Möbelwagen Sd.Kfz.161/3 - 3,7cm Flak auf Fgst Pz.Kpfw.IV (Sf)...
Tamiya box art

... and the CMK  kit Nr. 35008 (1997) Flakpanzer IV "Mobelwagen" 3,7cm Flak.
CMK box art
       The two kits were completely different from each other: The Tamiya kit was a simple, clean kit, characteristically Tamiya. Already the CMK was a blend of an old Flakpanzer IV Wirbelwind Tamiya  (#MM185) (1976) hull / suspension with a superstructure and a 37mm cannon injected into a different (gray) plastic. The CMK kit also featured an excellent photo-etched sheet, but even with this accessory, the Tamiya kit was significantly better injected and finished. The two kits represent the late-type Möbelwagens, that is, with flat edge shields.
      I regret today that I did not downgrade one of them to early version, but the idea was to build two different models because most of them were built with severe damaged tank. In general, they did not present a standardization in their details. When I built these girls, I cared about making a vehicle different from the other, only. And that's what you'll see in the next steps.
The sturdy CMK kit box...

The CMK kit was multimedia: casted metal parts, but with poor castings..

The amazing PE sheet

The "new" gray plastic parts...  Hmmm ...poor injection

Starting by the wheels. Two "Tamiya" buildings steps...


      See the pic below: The Tamiya kit is in background and CMK in foreground. The Tamiya's show a different and late Pz IV exhaust while the CMK one the early type, with field modification... Notice the idler wheel from my spare parts box in the CMK kit...
The Tamiya in background and CMK in foreground
scratch in the CMK kit...
       The CMK shovels are horrible... Time to surgery
some metal work...

Tools in CMK kit: a discret upgrade...
       Comparing the plastic part of the tamiya with the metal ones I had to do for the CMK kit... As the metal ones got much better, it replaces the plastic ones of the kit Tamiya, also ...
The casted white metal parts was awful: changing by cooper wire...
       The Tamiya hull (late Pz IV hull) I built in half-closed position... Ready for action.
Tamiya kit with new metal hooks.
(37mm gun barrel - replacement- in portuguese)
Metal hooks: much better!!

sins in Tamiya injection...

The Tamiya's 37mm gun is very well injected!!

Tamiya 37mm gun: right side.
       The CMK kit was very crude. Much more work in this girl...
1- cooper wire details; 2- closing gaps with plasticard; 3- PE parts

The CMK gun was much less detailed and poor than Tamiya's.
This was one of the reasons I chose the transport closed-position for this version.

1- metal in scratch; 2- spare part from Tamiya kit



subtitles for portuguese: scratch: wire+bijoux ; 37mm Tamiya barrel

Indeed, the CMK kit was a nightmare!!!


The two late girls: The work in the Tamiya kit was more easier!!

front view

rear view: notice the exhausts...

scratch, PE CMK; spring of the fender; Tamiya idler wheel in the CMK kit.
      The CMK kit did not have the collector frame of fired capsules of the 37mm gun, such as the Tamiya kit. I used the Tamiya parts as a template for making parts for the CMK kit

Starting the puzzle...

Tamiya as template for the metal work...

almost there...

Done!!!

chicken wire made of  nylon veil, glued with CA glue.

The Tamiya shield gun in position. 

the collector rack in position


The Tamiya girl in closed view

The Tamiya collector rack...

Ready for primer!!

Yellows!!  Notice the KV-1C Beutepanzer in the left...
I love buildings in parallel!!

Cammo time!!  Stripes and Banners !!!

Decals...



Again, Otto in position...

KV-1C Beutepanzer and Möbelwagens in my (old) workbench...
Enamel times!!!
       And the girls was ready: 3.7cm Flak auf Fahrgestell Panzerkampfwagen IV (sf) - Sd.Kfz. 161/3 Möbelwagens - unknow unit - France, Normandy - 1944.
3.7cm Flak auf Fahrgestell Panzerkampfwagen IV (sf) - Sd.Kfz. 161/3 Möbelwagens
unknow unit - France, Normandy - 1944

3.7cm Flak auf Fahrgestell Panzerkampfwagen IV (sf) - Sd.Kfz. 161/3 Möbelwagen
transport/transit position








3.7cm Flak auf Fahrgestell Panzerkampfwagen IV (sf) - Sd.Kfz. 161/3 Möbelwagen
half-closed fire position








3.7cm Flak auf Fahrgestell Panzerkampfwagen IV (sf) - Sd.Kfz. 161/3 Möbelwagen
with Otto, the German engineer...

Has anyone seen a Typhoon around ???

3.7cm Flak auf Fahrgestell Panzerkampfwagen IV (sf) - Sd.Kfz. 161/3 Möbelwagens
unknow unit - France, Normandy - 1944.
    Well, Gentlemen ... This double building was quite old, with old-school techniques and alternative materials. It's like a time travel to me ... 
      But it was a really great time, too. And that is what is important in our hobby: pleasure and fun !!!
See you, soon!!