Kit, DML 6689, Pz.Kpfw.IV L/70 (A)September 9 2012 at 5:15 PM
|Frank V. De Sisto (Login zappa93)|
MODERATORS ONLY - Time on Target
from IP address 18.104.22.168
DRAGON MODELS LIMITED
6689, Pz.Kpfw.IV L/70 (A) Smart Kit. 1/35th-scale injection-molded styrene/multimedia kit. Contains: 969 styrene parts (including 11 clear), two bags of Magic Tracks, one photo-etched brass fret, six metal wire-mesh parts, seven water-slide decal/marking schemes and eight pages of instructions in 17 steps, plus addendum.
A parallel development of the Jagdpanzer IV, mounting a 7.5cm L/70 main gun was produced based on an Alkett design. This basically used a virtually stock Pz.Kpfw.IV Ausf.J hull, running gear and automotive components so an L/70-armed tank destroyer could be fielded as soon as possible. The main external difference compared to the Vomag version, was the high casemate, which allowed the L/70 main gun to reach full elevation while avoiding the fuel tanks that were fixed in the same position as on the Ausf.J turreted tank. The Vomag-designed vehicle moved the fuel tanks and as a result was much lower in silhouette. Produced at Krupps Nibelungenwerk, a total of 277 Pz.Kpfw.IV L/70 (A)s was accepted for service by March, 1945.
Using parts from their previous Pz.Kpfw.IV kits, as well as 51 new styrene parts, DML has just released the Pz.Kpfw.IV L/70 (A). A multi-media kit, this release includes a large etched brass fret and six pieces of pre-cut metal wire mesh to replicate the Drahgeflecht-Schürzen (wire-mesh skirts) seen on this vehicle. Other unique features of this vehicle are also included, such as the prominent external gun travel lock and the roof-mounted Kugellager (ball mount) with gebogene Lauf (curved barrel) for an MP44, also known as the Vorsats-P.
The 40cm tracks included in this release feature a solid guide horn with squared-off top and a slight depression on either side of it. Tiny angled ice grips are on the outer faces of the links. The track links are properly rendered as left- and right-handed items and come in two separate bags; one set is molded in lighter-colored grey styrene than the other, so dont open up both bags at once or mix them up. There is no clean-up involved, if the modeler can overlook the tiny and very subtle ejector pin marks on the inner faces of each link. They fit together easily, but will not stay that way unless cement is applied.
The road-wheels have separate hub-caps of the type initially introduced during production of the Pz.Kpfw.IV Ausf.H. The wheels themselves are the widened type first introduced on the Ausf.F, which along with the 40cm tracks were able to handle the increased ground pressure resulting from the weight of the thickened armor compared to previous models of the standard gun tank. Each wheel/tire assembly is conventionally-molded in one piece per side and includes manufacturers logo and tire size information on the rubber rim. A total of 20 complete road-wheels are given, which leaves many extras for spare stowage. Seven-part steel-rimmed road-wheels are provided for the first two bogies on each side, as well as for the spare wheel rack on the rear face of the casemate. These were fitted to address the nose-heavy configuration of the vehicle, which caused failures in the standard road-wheels.
The suspension bogies do not articulate, and are therefore far less complicated to assemble compared to the previous Pz.Kpfw.IV Ausf.B, C, D and E kits from this manufacturer. The bogies themselves include separate ends for the leaf springs. Mounting brackets, featuring eight instead of ten bolts and a separate hub completes each unit.
The final drive housings are single-piece moldings; these are the reinforced type first introduced on the Pz.Kpfw.IV Ausf.H. The drive sprockets themselves, also introduced with the new final drive housings, are presented in a conventional manner with inner and outer halves. There are three styles of all-steel return rollers provided as options.
Separate, two-part bump stops are fitted to five stations on either of the hull sides, as are multi-part idler wheel axle adjustment housings. Do not glue the axle in place until after the tracks have been fitted; this will prevent the dreaded one-too-few or one-too-many links phobia. There are two idler wheel types provided: welded-tube design and cast design. However, only the cast style should be used and it features etched brass rings for a properly undercut rim. If the modeler decides to use them, the welded-tube idler wheels will need to have the circular segment on the inner face of part A-35 trimmed flush so that all will fit properly. This recently-noted issue crops up on every DML kit that uses this part. The welded tube idler features excellent weld bead details, and can be adjusted on its axle in order to depict proper track sag.
Basically a Pz.Kpfw.IV Ausf.J hull, all bolts, rivets, panel lines, access plates and weld-beads are crisply molded in place. The fairings between the bogie units are molded in place, again for simplified assembly. The side walls include the mounting axles for the return rollers as well as the bogie mounting plates molded in place. Fuel tank filler caps are provided as separate parts and can be depicted opened or closed as the modeler sees fit. Separate plates are fitted behind the final drive covers in order to depict the hull type with cast towing eyes bolted to the lower bow plate. Note that the later hull type parts, with towing eyes cut in to extended hull sides are also included, as is the appropriate bow plate. Using photos, the modeler can go this route, but he must scratch-build the rear tow eyes.
Modelers should note that there are three thick injection stubs on each rim of the hull side walls. These must be removed or the track-guards will not fit. This is not mentioned in the instructions, although the drawing in that particular step shows the items in question as having already been removed.
On the stern, the hull rear plate is composed of several parts. It has been designed so that the bolt heads on both sides of the upper flange, where the engine deck could be detached, are properly rendered. The twin flame-dampening exhaust pipes are also provided. Each of the main tubular parts is completely detailed using a slide mold, so they have the proper weld details outside and baffles on the inside. The bases for them combine styrene and etched brass parts. Note that the instructions completely ignore the fitting of part N-18, which is the center segment of the hull rear plate; fix it to part B-1 in step 3. There are several tow bar attachment point variations for the rear plate, but only one is for use. On this variant, the slide-molded jack block is mounted on the port side of the hulls rear plate, as are some other detail parts.
Track-Guards and OVM.
The track-guards are superbly detailed on both sides and havent a single knock-out pin mark on any surface. They are accompanied by separate front and rear mud-flaps. The mud-flaps come from a slide mold so details visible on their sides are in place; separate springs and a choice of etched brass or styrene reflectors are also provided for the rear pair.
Forward, on the port-side track-guard, a multi-part Tarnscheinwerfer-Bosch head-lamp is fitted. Three tail-lamp variations are given, using styrene, clear parts or etched brass as the type warrants. These are fitted on the same side as is a short pry-bar. On the starboard side track-guard, a large idler wheel adjusting wrench is stored. Both sides feature separate engine air intake flaps, either in styrene or etched brass. Either style can be modeled opened or closed and they are complimented by tiny styrene half wing-nuts.
The separate glacis plate features interlocking plate edges, with weld detail where appropriate. The brake access hatch lids include the air cooling intake cowls as separate parts; if left open, DML has provided a proper opening for the inner face. The later closed type, with separate grab-handles, is also given as an option. The three-part gun tube travel lock can be constructed in either the travel or combat positions, but it is not movable. Styrene or etched brass parts are given to hold styrene spare track links seen over the transmission access hatch lid.
The slide-molded Heckpanzer (engine deck), peculiar to this variant is also supplied. This includes rivet and bolt patterns molded in place and various openings for tools and OVM items. It features separate engine deck access hatch lids, each with an etched brass or styrene part for the internal baffles; the one to starboard features a pair of separate grab-handles. The small box seen over the radiator filler cap is a separate part; it is the later type with vertical sides. OVM items mounted on the top of the engine deck include a multi-part slide-molded jack with mounts, pry-bar, starter crank, fire extinguisher, wire cutters, spare road-wheels, and their holders.
The separate rear plate features molded-on fan clutch access port and separate etched brass spare track mounting brackets. Two L-shaped rods are given to mount tow cables. Although end-loops are given, DML has not provided the actual cables. Note also that part A-52 is mounted next to an etched brass spare track hanging bracket, NOT on it as the instructions show. The side vents on the engine compartment are provided as two-part styrene moldings. A rod antenna and mount are fitted on the corner of the port side of the Heckpanzer, while a shovel is mounted on the starboard side.
Hull Schürzen and Hangers.
The Pz.Kpfw.IV L/70 (A) featured newly-designed Drahgeflecht-Schürzen sections, made from metal wire mesh, with some sheet metal edging. DML provides pre-cut wire mesh to which etched brass parts are attached to create an edge to each segment. These parts are to be bent into a U-shaped channel using a two-part styrene jig, which DML provides. More etched brass parts are given to create the brackets on the inner face of the Schürzen sections. The angle-iron hanging rails were replaced with a bent pipe and new attachment points were introduced. The pipes are provided in two variations and are made using a slide-mold. New mounting brackets are also given to attach the pipes to the superstructure; these are notably thin in cross-section. The track-guards also received brackets, as mentioned above; these are further detailed with bracket extensions. The latter are designed to be fixed in their folded up position. In reality, they could be extended to change the hanging angle of the Schürzen, so that wider Ostketten (East Tracks) could be fitted.
The main casemate is slide-molded; it features a separate roof plate and a separate rear plate. The casemate has detailed weld beads and interlocking plates, as well as the small tie-down loops provided to keep a canvas cover in place. Large conical bolts are also seen on the front, where appropriate. Separate etched brass parts are provided to replicate some other items fitted to the side walls. There are separate lift hooks fitted to each upper corner and gun cleaning staffs and bore swab for the 7.5cm PjK42 L/70 main gun are fitted to the starboard side.
The separate rear plate uses a butt-joint for assembly, so the modeler should be careful to ensure that all is properly aligned. More etched brass fittings are mounted as is a pair of spare rod antennae. Two wrenches are also fitted here as is a two-part vent fan, with cover.
Up front, a typical drivers hinged visor is given as a three-part assembly; the cover can be glued in place opened or closed. A sliding triangular-shaped cover for the MG42 aperture is given as a separate part, while the MG42, a Gen2 item, is now provided to fit into the port. Finally, a separate part to cover the joint between the casemates front plate and the glacis plate is fitted.
The inner gun mantle is slide-molded and well-represents the original item. It is complete with various textures, recessed screw details and a separate trunnion cap. The outer pot mantle also comes from a slide-mold and has proper set-screw details at the 12, 3, 6 and 9 oclock positions.
The roof plate is properly detailed with recessed screw head details and molded-on mounting posts for a range-finder. Notably, the sliding plate for the gunners sight features the segmented, screwed-on type of shot deflector. The roof plate features hatch lids that are separate. They include two sets of hinges each; one set is used if the lids are open, the other if they are closed. The commanders hatch lid features a separate rotating periscope base and armored guard. It is then fitted with a clear styrene scope head. Forward of that sits a lid for the scissors binoculars opening. It can be shown opened or closed and features the scissors binoculars as well as its internal mount. The loaders hatch lid can mount the Vorsats-P, which consisted of an MP44 rigged to fire into a curved barrel, in a rotating ball mount. The mount is in two parts, with the separate curved barrel coming pre-bored due to the use of a slide mold. A separate MP44 is fitted inside. No sighting periscope is given, but this can be easily made-up from styrene rod.
Separate parts are provided for the four lift hooks, while two armored guards cover two clear styrene periscope heads. Ignore the installation of part Q-17, in step 11. This part was only seen on the Vomag version. A complete, slide-molded close-in defense weapon can be mounted (in opened or closed configuration), or the provided blanking plate instead. The sliding plate that moved to cover the gunners sight aperture as the gun was traversed is provided as an etched brass item; there is no styrene alternative.
Internally, the 7.5cm PjK42 L/70 main gun is complimented by partial mount and a breech block that can be depicted opened or closed. The mount includes balance cylinder, traverse and elevation hand-wheels, sight mounts and clear Sfl.Z.F.1a gun sight. The unit articulates properly to provide elevation and traverse, while the sight will move along with the sliding cover on the roof plate. The gun tube is a single slide-molded part with an opened bore. After a few swipes with a Flex-I-File to remove the fine mold seam, and a coat of paint, its appearance will rival any turned metal replacement.
Molding, Fit and Engineering.
Molding overall is excellent, as is the fit of the parts. There are no visible ejector pin marks, not counting the tracks. Flash is non-existent, while mold part seams are subtle and easily dealt with. Weld bead and recessed screw head detail is especially noteworthy, as is the use of slide-molds for enhanced detail or ease of construction.
As far as accuracy is concerned, the kit matches drawings in Panzer Tracts No.9-2 to well within acceptable limits. It should be mentioned here that certain details seen on the kit are not shown in the cited drawings, but are seen in contemporary photos, and that items seen on the cited drawings are not present on the kit. The main omissions are a length of braided wire for the tow cable and the sighting periscope for the Vorsats-P.
The instructions are well-drawn but as always for DML, they are very busy; proceed with caution! I have noted a few glitches above.
Decals and Markings Information.
Water-slide decals for seven different vehicles are provided by Cartograf of Italy. They are in perfect register, have crisp edges and excellent color saturation. The marking schemes depict the following vehicles:
Black 154, unidentified unit, Ostfront 1945.
Blue/white 111, unidentified unit, Germany 1945.
Black/white 454, unidentified unit, Ostfront 1945.
Black/white 611, unidentified unit, Ostfront 1945.
Two vehicles from unidentified units, Ostfront 1945.
Unidentified unit, Western Front, 1945.
All vehicles are to be finished in a base of Dunkelgelb, with all except one, using the two supplementary colors, Rotbraun and Olivgrün to create a camouflage pattern. Using the cited references, I could not confirm any of these markings photographically.
This is another well-done offering, covering yet another gap in the Pz.Kpfw.IV series. There are the usual glitches in the instructions and there is an omission or two. I will assume that DML will offer another variation, probably using the final hull with three return rollers per side, extended side walls with tow-eyes, and perhaps the modified gun travel lock. In the interim, I am going to enjoy this one.
Frank V. De Sisto
References consulted for this report included the following books:
1. Encyclopedia of German Tanks of WW2, Revised Edition; Arms and Armour Press, by P. Chamberlain, H. Doyle & T. Jentz.
2. Panzerkampfwagen IV: Grosstraktor to Panzerbefehlswagen IV; Panzer Tracts No.4, by T. Jentz & H. Doyle.
3. Jagdpanzer: Jagdpanzer 38 to Jagdtiger; Panzer Tracts No.9, by T. Jentz & H. Doyle.
4. Jagdpanzer: Jagdpanzer IV, Panzer IV/70(V) & Panzer IV/70 (A); Panzer Tracts No.9-2, by T. Jentz & H.Doyle.
5. Sturmgeschütz & its Variants; Spielberger Series Vol. II, Schiffer, by W.J. Spielberger.
6. Panzer IV & its Variants; Spielberger Series Vol. IV, Schiffer, by W.J. Spielberger.
7. Panzerkampfwagen IV and its Variants 1935-1945, Book 2; Schiffer, by W.J. Spielberger, T. Jentz & H. Doyle.
8. Panzers at Saumur No.1; Dai Nihon Kaiga, by H. Ichimura.
9. Jagdpanzer IV L/70 Lang; Model Art AFV Profile 1, by M. Tarada & E. Kai.
Note: Since May of 2005, I have been working on books for Concord Publications, a sister company to DML. The reader may wish to take this into consideration. For my part, I will attempt to maintain an objective viewpoint when writing these reports.
DML kits are available from retail and mail order shops. For details see their web site at: www.dragon-models.com
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- addendum to review - Frank V. De Sisto on Oct 10, 2012, 6:23 PM