ARM: Review - DML 1/35 scale Pz.Kpfw. IV L/70 (A)

Kit Review: Dragon Models Limited 1/35 scale =9139-=9145 Series Kit No. 668=
9; Pz.Kpfw. IV L/70 (A) - Smart Kit; 1,359 parts (960 in grey styrene, 216 =
Magic Link track links, 167 etched brass, 10 clear styrene, 6 steel mesh sc=
reens); pre-order price US$59.95 via Dragon USA Online
Advantages: nice, new kit of this popular tank destroyer; fine details abou=
Disadvantages: a large number of very, very tiny parts; assembly of the mes=
h shields will call for either soldering or very delicate ACC work
Rating: Highly Recommended
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 ma=
de 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 ass=
ault gun mountings.=20
Two versions were produced: the (A) model from Alkett, which simply mounte=
d a casemate on top of a standard Pzkw. IV Ausf. H/J chassis, and the (V) m=
odel from Vomag with a completely new upper hull and bow that was ballistic=
ally better designed. The Germans produced 278 (A) models and 930 (V) model=
s between August 1944 and March 1945. The vehicles were either used like gu=
n tanks or as tank destroyers, based on the task at hand. While the (V) mod=
els 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) mode=
l 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.=20
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 bot=
h etched brass and six steel mesh screens. The latter are nicely done and s=
uitably 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 styre=
ne through the screens.=20
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=
=92s option). Each steel wheel consists of an inner and outer half with the=
rim trapped between them.=20
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 mod=
el exhaust comes in the kit, it clearly mandates the use of the Ausf. J twi=
n stacks.=20
The tracks are called out by color (dark =3D left, light =3D right) and 99=
links per side are called for, leaving 9 extras for each side. A run of si=
x (from the Q sprue are to be fitted to the glacis plate, but after taking =
pains to show how it is done DML doesn=92t show them again =96 only the fol=
ding travel lock is shown. Apparently there is enough room to clear the tra=
cks, but DML=92s draftsman appears to have ignored them from Step 7 onward.=
While the main gun is complete, there is no interior to speak of inside th=
e casemate once it is assembled.=20
Technical assistance was provided by Notger Schlegtendal, Tom Cockle and G=
ary Edmundson.=20
Seven finishing options are offered, two with the screens and five without=
(thankfully for those modelers who do not wish to combat the screens!): Un=
identified Unit, Eastern Front 1945 (tricolor stripes with black crosses, s=
creens); Unidentified Unit, Eastern Front 1945 (tricolor patches, black cro=
sses, screens); Unidentified Unit, Hungary 1945 (tricolor blotch scheme, sa=
nd lower hull, no screens); Unidentified Unit, Eastern Front 1945 (sand ove=
rall, black 454, no screens); Unidentified Unit, Bohemia, 1945 (sand with g=
reen and brown blotches, black 611, no screens); Unidentified Unit, Germany=
1945 (=93ambush=94 scheme, blue 111, no screens); and Unidentified Unit, W=
estern Front, 1944 (=93circus=94 paint scheme, black crosses, no screens). =
A small sheet of Cartograf decals is provided for the markings.=20
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 spru=
es for extra detail added.=20
Thanks to Freddie Leung for the review sample.=20
Cookie Sewell
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