Dragon Jagdpanzer IV A-0 in 1/35
by Frank De Sisto
Contains: 555 styrene parts (including 240 individual-link
tracks and four clear parts), one photo-etched brass fret, two paint schemes
and eight pages of instructions in 16 steps. Price: $37.95 USD.
The prototype Jagdpanzer IV A-0 has been available for a
number of years as a resin conversion for the Tamiya kit, from Scotland’s
Accurate Armour. Not being a very “hot” subject, it is puzzling
as to why DML would release this version. Be that as it may, if you like
these low, sleek Jagdpanzers, this kit may be for you.
It is based upon the re-tooled components from previous
DML Pz.Kpw. IV kits and includes a finely detailed lower hull pan as well
as a fine suspension system with individual link tracks. Beware however,
since the lower hull is designed for use on a number of variations of
the Pz.Kpw. IV chassis and as such there are several spots that will need
to be filled or sanded, depending on the version the kit is meant to represent.
There is a glitch here as well: the hub caps for the road wheels do not
match the type seen in photos of this Jagdpanzer, so they’ll need
replacing. This is odd, since DML probably has them in their “system”
of Pz.Kpw. IV kits. There are also un-used parts such as the entire front
plate, L70 gun tube, command antenna mount, gun tube cleaning rods and
“Flammentoeter” muffler system from previous Panzerjager kits.
These can be consigned to the spares box, where I am sure they will come
The upper hull and superstructure is all new, as are the
gun and mount, hatches and bow armor section. All superstructure hatches
can be opened and are devoid of knock-out pin marks. Clear periscope parts
are provided for that extra bit of finesse. The two conical swiveling
cover plates for the pair of MG42 ports are separate and can be left open.
If doing so, a pair of well-done MG42s are provided featuring separate
receiver covers. The main gun features the option of a one-piece plastic
tube or a turned aluminum tube. To either one is attached a slide-molded
muzzle brake with internal locking collar detail. The new mantlet features
very fine cast texture and there are two sizes of numerals attached to
the “B”-sprue that can be shaved off and used as foundry numbers.
The outer mantlet also features the four holes at the 12, 3, 6 and 9 o’clock
positions for the set screws; these are a tad soft due to molding constraints,
so the modeler should tidy them up with a drill bit. But, it is a detail
that does indeed show that the manufacturer cares.
Probably the feature that will most raise eyebrows is the
new fret of etched brass. It features the entire set of Schurzen plates
as well as mounting brackets. These should not prove to be daunting to
those with some experience with etched brass, while the novice may wish
to pass on using them. Regardless, it is nice to see that DML has gone
to extra lengths to provide for a complete mulit-media product. The Schurzen
arrangement as shown in the photos of the assembled model on the kit box’s
side matched the photos on page 9-17 in Panzertracts No. 9, where the
first three sections are to the same level, with the fourth larger section
mounted with the top edge slightly higher. So far, so good. However, the
last plate was the same size as the others, so its bottom edge should
also be higher. The problem is that the plate itself is too large, leaving
its bottom level with the others. Cut it down or replace it with styrene.
Still, DML spent time on this feature; it’s too bad they dropped
the ball at the last minute.
The instructions are well drawn and since this is a fairly
straightforward vehicle, there ought to be little in the way of problems.
The markings by Cartograf of Italy, feature the “Schulungsfahrzeug”
legend seen on photos of the vehicle as well as insignia for the 130.
Panzer-Lehr Division, where it is thought this type may have seen service.
There are also four Balkan crosses and a set of tac numbers. There are
other photos of this vehicle with the numbers “244” on the
superstructure sides, which is not covered in the instructions. Both vehicles
mentioned were painted in overall dunkelgelb, while I have no reference
for the Panzer-Lehr vehicle. Finally, all photos of this type show that
Zimmerit was applied, there was spare rack stowed on the glacis, and two
road wheels stowed on the rear part of the hull. Other photos show the
track on the hull rear in place of the road wheels, which were moved to
the top of the engine deck. If modeling “244” leave the Schurzen
off; if modeling “Schulungsfahrzeug”, use them, after modifying
the last section on either side.
DML has filled yet another small gap in their ever-expanding
line of kits based on the Pz.Kpw. IV. In the end, this kit may be viewed
as a fine example of what DML can do when they mix a bit of the old with
a bit of the new. However, had they been slightly more careful, this would
have been an excellent OOTB build.
Recommended with reservations.
DML kits are available from retail and mail order shops. For details
see their web site at: www.dragonmodelsltd.com.