Pz.Kpfw. IV Kugelblitz

Kit #: 2006 Preview by Stephen Brezinski - sbrez1(at)comcast(dot)net
Edited by Rob Haelterman

This in-the-box review covers the rare anti aircraft tank that the Germans developed to provide protection from the Jabos that would also provide full protection for the crew, unlike the open top Möbelwagen, Ostwind and Wirbelwind.

The Kugelblitz (Ball Lighting) housed two 3-cm automatic cannon developed from a MK-103 aircraft gun in a ball mount housing the gunners and the commander. My references disagree on the number produced but something like five pre-production Kugelblitz were assembled and over 30 superstructures were delivered by Krupp. There is documentation that several participated in combat in the last weeks of the war. I have yet to find a photo of completed Kugelblitz in combat.

  • The instructions state that this model kit conversion set is to be used with the 1/72-scale Revell Pz IV kit; it does not specify but it should work with either the Revell Pz IV Ausf. H or Pz IV Ausf. J models. I believe it should also work with the Dragon and the Zvezda Pz. IV H kit. The veteran ESCI Pz IV will need a lot of upgrading to make it a good display model but it is possible.
  • CMK gives us seven cast resin parts not including 18 paired roadwheels on two separate pour plugs. Eduard supplies an etched brass fret with 15 etched metal parts. Like with other CMK products the quality of the casting is very good with no obvious defects.
  • At upper left is the low round turret, at upper center is the ball unit that houses the guns and crew of three. Below the turret are the twin 30-mm gun barrels (the resin pieces on either side help protect the parts from breaking). Below the ball is the choice of a nicely rendered exhaust muffler or two Flammentöter exhausts used on some Pz IV Ausf. J.
  • The resin substitute roadwheels puzzle me. The roadwheels are well done but so are the Revell Pz IV roadwheels, so why bother? The CMK wheels are a little smaller in diameter than the Revell roadwheels.
  • A close-up of the resin parts show some pour plugs to be cut and cleaned off the turret and ball parts. Difficult to see on the ball is a large rear hatch, a roof (commander’s?) hatch that gets a periscope, and gunner hatches on each side of the guns which have what appers to be small round view hatches.
  • The turret hatches all appear to be molded shut which I find a shame.
  • The above page from the kit instructions shows a list and diagram of parts and advised changes to the plastic Pz IV we choose to use: such as replacing the rear fenders with brass parts, cutting off the turret splash protector, and enlarging the turret ring.
    Important: CMK is in error on the turret ring! The Kugelblitz turret should be centered on the superstructure roof, not offset to the left as the regular Pz IV turret is and as shown here! The Kugelblitz turret should reach from the left side of the hull to the right and not over-hang the engine hatches.
  • With a wider turret moved forward the turret interferes with the driver and radio operator roof hatches so the hatches were moved to the corners and turned about 45 degrees which I have tried to illustrate below onto CMK’s instruction sheet. Before installing these hatches, we’ll have to fill in the normal Pz IV hatches. The advantage of using the Revell Pz IV hull is that the driver’s hatch is separate so it will be easier to alter the hatches’ positions.
  • The unused Pz IV turret can be used to upgrade an ESCI Pz IV model or perhaps a quick build war gaming kit; or perhaps use with a Panzer IV Panzerstellung (turret bunker)?
  • The assembly instructions are very good and above average for a resin kit. I sense this model was released before good information and references were available though. The instruction’s biggest error is in the turret placement and locations of the driver and radio operators’ hatches.

CMK’s side-view drawing on the first page of the instruction sheet portrays a vehicle with a 3-color hard edge camouflage and cross marking on the turret side.


Assembly Recommendations

  • I believe that the Kugelblitz were built on new chassis, not rebuilt tanks, so more likely to have the Flammentöter exhausts exhaust stacks, introduced in August 1944, in the rear (resin parts PUR 4) rather than the horizontal muffler.
  • Notice that the recoil brakes (flash suppressors) at the muzzle of the guns appear to be at 45 degrees from vertical. Drill out the muzzles with a fine drill.
  • Carefully mark the new, wider turret ring and cut. There are no tabs to hold the turret onto the superstructure so after trimming off the pour plug either glue the turret down to the hull or build in tabs.
  • When building the bin (part PP 2) for the spare roadwheels do not forget the rod that goes between the wheels and secures them in the bin. The two lifting rings in the brass fret (parts PP 7) are flat so I recommend using brass or copper wire for the lifting rings.
  • The instructions don’t show the location of the radio antenna which according to Jentz & Doyle goes in the normal location for the Pz IV Ausf. H and J, off the rear of the portside engine deck.
  • We may wish to upgrade the set with the proper cast idler wheels common the Pz IV J; this is what is portrayed in CMK’s drawing. Don’t forget to leave off the small muffler for the auxiliary engine. Doyle portrays spare track brackets on the glacis.
  • The commander’s hatch is portrayed as one large hatch with a periscope while Doyle’s scale drawing portrays it to be a split hatch with a periscope on one side. We should add hinge detail to the commander’s hatch.


PANZER TRACTS No. 12-1 Flakpanzerkampfwagen IV and other Flakpanzer projects 1942 to 1945, by Thomas Jentz and Hillary Doyle, Darlington (2010).

Below is information on the Maco Plastic Model Kits release of a full Flakpanzer IV Kugelblitz, kit 7208, based on the Revell Pz IV H model kit.. Unfortunately, I never got one of these models when it was released. Perhaps Revell AG will re-release it?

It looks like Maco offers a new plastic superstructure with correct driver and radio operator’s hatch locations, and an option of open turret hatches. I am not aware of any interior detail in the turret.

Maco supplies basic markings of a German cross from the decal sheet for their Ostwind kit, and camouflage from two locations in 1945. I don’t know how Maco knows this color scheme and markings are accurate, but I cannot prove them wrong.


This model can be purchased from Tracks & Troops

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Article Last Updated: 24 May 2020

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