One of the biggest challenges for us will be mounting the Flakveirling inside the turret. The Dragon Flak has lots of details and the main cannon is easily removed from its base. We will have to remove the front shields, magazine holders and seats for the loaders before relocating it inside the turret.
Once we have assembled the turret we will focus on securing the Flak to the floor of the turret. Our band saw made short work of the Flak as we separated the main body from the base. We will be mounting the spare mag racks on opposite sides of the turret and the circular "pad" fits beautifully inside the turret opening and will be mounted below the upper hull/turret floor. This will anchor the Flak and allow for rotation (we hope). The loader's seats will be mounted on opposite sides of the Flak along with the spare mag racks.
One of the most interesting features of the Sd.Kfz. 181/4 is of course, the turret mounted quad. The four barrel canon, or Flakveirling was a fearsome weapon that proved to be very lethal when directed at ground targets in particular. We are fortunate in that Dragon models produced a one sixth scale Flak several years ago and Field of Armor has produced the nine sided turret in 20 gauge steel. We placed our order with FOA and will eagerly await the arrival of our turret.
We sprayed several coats of primer on the turret while making sure that everything looks good with the orientation of the Flak. Pictured above we have started adding our base coat of dark yellow which is picking up some imperfections in the metal which need to be filled with glazing putty before adding the next coat. We found a set of white metal hinges which are perfect for the armored door on the turret. Both barrel guides are installed and look great.
We have been relying heavily on our edition of Nuts and Bolts which has provided us with some excellent shots of one of the few remaining Wirbelwinds still in existence. We noticed that the FOA barrel guides for the turret are not accurate and the mounting tabs will be removed. We will use a combination of JB Weld and Aves to secure them to the turret while adding weld detail to all of the turret seams both inside and out. This is a very tedious process but hopefully the results will be worth it. Pictured on the right is the near finished turret with all of the seams "welded" together. The second barrel guide that was missing has been replaced by FOA and will be added shortly.
We decided to secure each panel by heating up the tab with a butane torch and using silver solder to complete the weld. The joint is strong and we will use a Dremel to clean up the weld prior to painting. Every seam must be filled with a combination of JB weld and Evercoat. On the right we have already added one of the barrel guides which aligned very well with the Flak. So far so good.
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The FOA turret arrived in good shape with all nine panels neatly folded flat (see above right). There appear to be mounting tabs on each panel which may help with securing each panel but could hinder the final appearance of the turret. MIG welding is an option but burn through is a common problem with thin gauge steel such as this.