Dragon 1/35 Flakpanzer V Coelian

The Flakpanzer Coelian was a self-propelled anti-aircraft gun design by Rheinmetall during World War II for the German armed forces. It was intended to be armed with two 3.7 cm FlaK 43 gun in a fully enclosed, rotating turret on the hull of a Panther medium tank but was not built before the end of the war in Europe.

In the first years of the war, the Wehrmacht had less interest in developing self-propelled anti-aircraft guns, but as the Allies developed air superiority, the need for more mobile and better-armed self-propelled anti-aircraft guns increased. The Wehrmacht had adapted a variety of wheeled and half-track vehicles to serve as mobile forward air defence positions to protect armour and infantry units in the field as well as for temporary forward area positions such as mobile headquarters and logistic points. As Allied fighter bombers and other ground attack aircraft moved from machine gun armament and bombing to air-to-ground rockets, the air defence positions were even more vulnerable.

The answer was to adapt a tank chassis with a specialized turret that would protect the gun crews while they fired upon approaching Allied aircraft.

As a consequence, the German Army High Command issued a demand for an anti-aircraft tank based on the chassis of the Panther tank design. Rheinmetall developed “Coelian” in various versions, including one with four 20mm MG 151/20 guns, but kept having to revise designs based on changing government requirements (such as demands for more modern guns with longer barrels). Eventually, in May 1944 a turret with a single 5.5 cm gun was developed, together with another with twin 3.7 cm FlaK 43 guns.

However, it soon became clear that no chassis would be available for Flakpanzers for a variety of reasons, including the Allies’ landing in Normandy, the increasing Allied strategic bombing offensive, and raw material shortages. By mid-February 1945, only a wooden prototype of the desired 5.5 cm turret model on a Panther D hull had been created.

The Kit

This is a reboxing of the Dragon Flakpanzer V kit in Cyberhobby’s orange box, with a set of tank riding figures to added to the deal. There are 13 sprues of various sizes, the two hull halves and a bag of Dragon “Magic Tracks”,insructions and decal sheet.

The hull is very clean,the upper and lower hull fit with no problem.It is covered in typical Dragon style detail, including a fine patina to represent the rolled steel armour. Some rather chunky interlocked seams are also moulded with recessed weld seams nicely done. The various vents and grilles on the rear deck are provided as separate parts, with a corresponding recess below each one, although little would be seen of this after the louvers are in place.There are no photo etched covers for the engine vents.

The turret is a slab-sided unit, with moulded in weld seams and torch cut ends to the individual plates. The part count here is fairly low, with a 3-piece mantlet holding two injection moulded 37mm Flak 43 barrels. The barrels themselves are moulded in one piece. It would be wise to purchase aftermarket barrels with the correct flashcovers.

Roadwheels are supplied abundantly, as well as some extras that aren’t used in this particular build. In fact, the order of the day for this kit seems to be use half the parts and discard the rest, as it is an combination of a number of sprues from various kits. The roadwheels are depicted with rubber tyres, which is more appropriate for an early to mid-war vehicle (the prototype was a Panther D afterall), as rubber was a strategic material, and its use in roadwheels was reduced dramatically towards the end of the war by making roadwheels fully steel. The casting texture on the final drive assembly is nicely rendered as is the welding seams on the turret. It comes with a set of “Magic Tracks”,that fit together with ease.

Conclusion

A nice re-release of the Dragon kit, with additional sprues for figures and plenty of scope for the modeller to use their artistic license with the paintjob. My only real gripe is the Flak 43 barrels, which need a lot of careful drilling to make them suitable for use by the discerning modeller and the absence of the PE mesh engine vent covers. Construction is simple, and even without the addition of any aftermarket parts will build into an impressive and interesting “Paper Panzer”. Construction is simple, and even without the addition of any aftermarket parts will build into an impressive and unusual model.

 

Box Art

Black and White Photo One

Black and White Photo Two

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