Pz.Kpfw. IV L/70 (A) - Smart Kit
Dragon, 1/35 scale
Reviewed by Cookie Sewell
|Stock Number and Description||Dragon Models Limited 1/35 scale ‘39-‘45 Series Kit No. 6689; Pz.Kpfw. IV L/70 (A) - Smart Kit|
|Media and Contents:||1,359 parts (960 in grey styrene, 216 Magic Link track links, 167 etched brass, 10 clear styrene, 6 steel mesh screens)|
|Price:||Pre-order price US$59.95 via Dragon USA Online
|Review Type:||First Look|
|Advantages:||Nice, new kit of this popular tank destroyer; fine details abound|
|Disadvantages:||A large number of very, very tiny parts; assembly of the mesh shields will call for either soldering or very delicate ACC work|
|Recommendation:||Highly Recommended for Panzer IV and late war German fans|
As the war on the Eastern Front progressed, by 1944 it was obvious to the Germans that the Soviets were now starting to pull ahead in combat vehicle capabilities and the new T-34-85 and IS-2 tanks could easily pick off Pzkw. III and Pzkw. IV tanks before they could get into a good shooting position. As a result, and with the loss of many other chassis, conversions were made to the venerable Panzer IV chassis to upgun them to the powerful L/70 7.5 cm KwK 42 gun. But since the Pzkw. III chassis could not mount it and the Pzkw. IV could not use it in a turret, a switch was made to turretless assault gun mountings.
Two versions were produced: the (A) model from Alkett, which simply mounted a casemate on top of a standard Pzkw. IV Ausf. H/J chassis, and the (V) model from Vomag with a completely new upper hull and bow that was ballistically better designed. The Germans produced 278 (A) models and 930 (V) models between August 1944 and March 1945. The vehicles were either used like gun tanks or as tank destroyers, based on the task at hand. While the (V) models found their way into the Western Front, most of the (A) models went to the East.
While the Panzer IV/70 (V) model has been done several times, the (A) model has not been as common. After a long wait, DML has now released its new (A) kit and from net chatter it is eagerly anticipated.
Using many parts from previous Panzer IV series kits, the model adds more than 345 styrene parts (some from the earlier A-O kit) and a new set of both etched brass and six steel mesh screens. The latter are nicely done and suitably fine to match the scale of the model, but require a large number of brass parts to be bent and formed to be attached to the screens. While all of the framework is styrene, all of the mounts are brass attached to styrene through the screens.
The model offers a number of options, most importantly the eight complete solid steel bogie wheels for the front two suspension bogies on each side. Four spare wheels are included from either regular or steel wheels (modeler’s option). Each steel wheel consists of an inner and outer half with the rim trapped between them.
The hull assembles as with most other Panzer IV kits but the base fittings for the screens are mounted on the fenders provided. While the earlier model exhaust comes in the kit, it clearly mandates the use of the Ausf. J twin stacks.
The tracks are called out by color (dark = left, light = right) and 99 links per side are called for, leaving 9 extras for each side. A run of six (from the Q sprue are to be fitted to the glacis plate, but after taking pains to show how it is done DML doesn’t show them again – only the folding travel lock is shown. Apparently there is enough room to clear the tracks, but DML’s draftsman appears to have ignored them from Step 7 onward.
While the main gun is complete, there is no interior to speak of inside the casemate once it is assembled.
Technical assistance was provided by Notger Schlegtendal, Tom Cockle and Gary Edmundson.
Seven finishing options are offered, two with the screens and five without (thankfully for those modelers who do not wish to combat the screens!): Unidentified Unit, Eastern Front 1945 (tricolor stripes with black crosses, screens); Unidentified Unit, Eastern Front 1945 (tricolor patches, black crosses, screens); Unidentified Unit, Hungary 1945 (tricolor blotch scheme, sand lower hull, no screens); Unidentified Unit, Eastern Front 1945 (sand overall, black 454, no screens); Unidentified Unit, Bohemia, 1945 (sand with green and brown blotches, black 611, no screens); Unidentified Unit, Germany 1945 (“ambush” scheme, blue 111, no screens); and Unidentified Unit, Western Front, 1944 (“circus” paint scheme, black crosses, no screens). A small sheet of Cartograf decals is provided for the markings.
Overall, this is an impressive if challenging kit. For the ultra-detailers, about 60 extra bolt heads and 20 casting numbers are included on the sprues for extra detail added.
A 86x2 Road wheels, idlers, details
A 51x2 Drivers, return rollers, details
B 17 Brummbaer - lower bow section, suspension elements
C 96 Panzer IV/70 - casemate details, radio set, skirts
D 53x2 Panzer IV/70 return rollers, suspension parts, Ausf. J exhaust
E 20x2 Panzer IV/70 steel road wheels
E 20 Panzer IV/70 - steel road wheel tires
E 25 Pzkw. IV Ausf. H - OVM, details
F 1 Panzer IV/70 - mantlet
G 53 Pzkw. IV - turret details, smoke grenade launchers, MG ball mount
G 31+20 Panzer IV/70 - gun, gun mount, extra casting digits
H 62 Pzkw. IV - engine deck details, OVM, muffler
J 7 German generic - jack
K 10 German generic - antenna, blackout tail lights, details
L 8 Spare road wheels
L 108 Magic Track links - left
M 8 Clear styrene
N 32 Pzkw. IV - fenders, hull details
N 2 Panzer IV/70 - casemate, engine deck
P 33 Pzkw. IVAusf. H - engine air vent details, thumbscrews
P 3 Clear styrene
Q 6 Spare track links
Q 49 Panzer IV/70 - casemate roof, rear, details
R 108 Magic Track links - right
T 76+60 Schurzen mounts plus extra rivet heads
X 1 Lower hull pan
MA 167 Etched brass
MB 6 Steel mesh screen
TG 3 Close-in defense weapon
WC 8 German generic - MG34 machine gun
Thanks to Freddie Leung for the review sample.