Dragon Models Limited 1/35 Scale
Imperial Series Kit No. 9059; Jagdpanzer IV A-O
by Cookie Sewell
643 parts (556 in grey styrene, 82 etched brass, 4 clear styrene, 1
turned aluminum barrel); price estimated at US $28-34.
Advantages: relook at an older kit with new parts and new techniques;
brass schurzen shields
Disadvantages: wan color schemes may not appeal to all German fans; brass
Rating: Highly Recommended
Recommendation: to all late-war German fans
F I R S T L O O K
Prior to the Second World War every country building armor soon figured
out that light vehicles have to, by default, carry only light guns if
they will be carried high and have to rotate in all directions to provide
firepower, Heavier weapons would upset the center of gravity, throw off
the balance of the weapon, or worst of all, flip the vehicle over if fired.
As a result, few vehicles were "overgunned" by design. (Overgunning
causes the vehicle to literally leap backwards when fired, causing all
sorts of mayhem to the crew and innards of the vehicle; the last bad case
of it was the US M551 Sheridan, which would literally pull its first three
road wheel sets off the ground if fired with an HE projectile.)
The solution was to mount a big gun low in the vehicle and eliminate
the turret, placing the gun in either an open barbette mounting or a casemate.
The Germans chose both routes during the war, but as the war progressed
decided on the latter for their antitank guns as it provided better protection
for the crew.
The Sturmgeschuetz III and IV series were used frequently as antitank
weapons, primarily as the later models carried the very effective PaK
40 L/48 antitank gun and could deal with almost all Allied tanks. But
the StuG weapons were not heavily armored, and the solution was a dedicated
antitank gun with heavier (and ballistically shaped) armor protection
on the more flexible Panzer IV chassis.
The result was the Jadgpanzer IV series of antitank guns, and this version,
the Jagdpanzer IV O-serie, was the first pre-production series of the
vehicle. While the concept was successful and the vehicle was ordered
into production (and some 804 being completed) only a handful of the O-series
were produced before the design was changed. The main difference was that
the O-serie had a rounded casemate section formed by bending, which was
both more expensive and not as ballistically resistant. The result was
a change to a steeply angled three-part section with a simpler design.
DML has now produced a kit of the A-O model as part of their "Imperial"
series, which has been reserved for short-run kits of low-production vehicles
over the years. This kit is derived from their older Jagdpanzer IV/70
kits, but has two brand-new sprues and one modified sprue as well as "
mix and match" from the DML Panzer III and IV kits. The model uses
all of DML's latest "Slide Molding" technique on these sprues,
as well as borrow a trick from Academy and include casting numbers molded
onto the sprue runners for diehard detail fans. (These have to be removed
with a scalpel or single-edged razor blade, as a point of warning.) The
kit also includes two MG 42 machine guns with positionable loading gates
so that the breeches may be shown in the open position.
In general it follows the normal DML parts breakdown with 240 single-link
track shoes and four sprues of road wheels and bogie assemblies. The other
parts provide some options (e.g styrene or turned aluminum barrel) or
a lot better detailing (I seem to recall when German jacks consisted of
one skinny part in a kit; this one has a jack of six parts and looks like
it could lift a bogie set.)
While most modelers are learning to live with single-link track (by default)
the brass "Schurzen" armor shields on this kit will be either
a love'em or hate'em arrangement. Each shield requires the attachment
of four mounting straps (brass) and a set of bolt heads (brass) per side.
Out of 82 parts the directions show you using 80 (I suppose they provide
two extra bolt heads for the heavy-breathers among us...breathe wrong
and these suckers will fly off into oblivion before you can mount them.)
Painting schemes and markings are included for two vehicles: an operational
vehicle with the Panzer Lehr Division in the wan three-color scheme used
in late 1944 (light tan, light green and light brown) and one in overall
Panzerbraun at the training school with a title slug to that effect (Schulungsfahrzeug).
Overall this is an interesting vehicle due to the unique shape of its
casemate, and one to complete some collections.
Thanks to Freddie Leung for the review sample.
DML kits are available from retail and mail order shops. For details
see their web site at: www.dragonmodelsltd.com.