Joined: 17 Sep 2006
|Posted: Tue May 01, 2012 6:20 pm Post subject: DML #6397 Jagdpanzer IV L/70(V) Smart Kit
As part of the ongoing German effort to provide effective anti-tank platforms as the war progressed, the creation of a Jagdpanzer on the chassis of the Pzkpfw IV was pursued. Various designs were submitted and the winning design called for 100mm front armor combined with the 7.5cm L/70 gun originally designed for the Panther. Two firms, Alkett and Vomag, had their designs accepted with each design designated as the Jagdpanzer IV (A) or Jagdpanzer IV (V) to distinguish between them. The Vomag design ultimately proved superior and Alkett production was limited to just 278 vehicles. The Vomag design, designated Sdkfz 162/1, began production in August 1944 with 940 total vehicles by war’s end. DML (Dragon) kit #6397 Jagdpaner IV L/70(V) seeks to represent a vehicle produced towards the end of 1944 and beyond.
The kit is packaged in the standard slip top cardboard box with the sprues packaged in clear bags with multiple sprues per bag, so care is needed when removing them to avoid damaging some of the more delicate parts. The standard “Dragon card” is also included which has the separate bags of Magic Tracks, PE fret, decals, clear sprues, and a small bag containing the steel wheel rims and gun mantlet secured to it. The kit consists of over 800 parts with a large number of these marked as “Not for Use” arranged in the following:
• 15 sprues of light gray styrene
• 2 sprues of clear styrene
• 1 light gray styrene hull tub
• 1 PE brass fret of 10 parts
• 2 bags each of handed Magic Tracks links
• 1 decal sheet
• Instruction booklet
• Bonus instruction insert
The kit does not make any claims on its surface as to when in the production run it is seeking to represent which might lead you to believe you could construct any Jagdpanzer IV L/70 (V) with what’s provided however that’s not quite the case. The Jagdpanzer IV feature set didn’t change very much in its relatively short production history, however the features that did change followed similar changes in the Pzkpfw IV J production and provide some guidance as to where this kit falls. The kit vehicle provides for only three return rollers instead of four, a feature that appeared in Jagdpanzer IV Production beginning in Sept 1944 and in Pz IV Js starting in Nov-Dec 1944 and that serves as our key distinguishing feature as a small number of Jagdpanzer IV L/70s were produced in August with four return rollers. The small round “pilzen” sockets for mounting a 2-ton crane should also be present on the superstructure roof since they were introduced in November but are not included in the kit features, a minor oversight that can be corrected with a little scratch-building if you desire. The kit includes several options choices, some of which are correct for earlier Jagdpanzer IVs and some only for later vehicles and those will be called out in the following sections where appropriate.
Suspension and Tracks:
The kit suspension uses the now-common non-working simplified suspension of all the Pz IV Smart Kit family of kits and the base plates omit the two middle bolt holes in keeping with features seen on late production Pz IV J chassis. The road wheels provided have excellent rim and hub detail with lettering molded in and the correct later-style simplified hubs introduced on the Pz IV J. The Jagdpanzer IV was extremely nose heavy and the first two road wheels were replaced with steel rimmed wheels to deal with this and the kit provides separate multi-part assemblies for those wheels including parts for a spare to mount on the rear deck, a nice touch. Options are provided for three different types of steel return rollers with the option provided by parts D18/19 representing the type that was introduced at the time of the conversion to three rollers while the other two types were around since the Pz IV Ausf H. This does not mean the other two options are incorrect and vehicles could have used them as well depending, so check your references before deciding. The cast sprockets are combined with the earlier-style welded tubular idler seen in most Jagdpanzer IV reference photos although later production vehicles would have used a cast idler which is included in the kit but marked as not for use (and also missing the inner PE rim details usually provided). The idler mount can be positioned to aid with determining track sag within reason, providing some flexibility with either the kit-supplied Magic tracks or AM sets.
The tracks provided are of the static Magic Track individual link variety and are handed and molded in different shades of grey to distinguish one side from the other and feature solid crimped guide horns and the light-weight pattern on their faces. This track type was introduced at the end of 1944 and was the last design used on the Pz IV family of vehicles. Each link has small ejector pin marks on either side of the guide horn that will need to be dealt with and individual links may also have small amounts of flash requiring clean-up depending. 97 links are called for per side and but that may be a little short since typical Pz IV chassis vehicles need 99-100 per side. More than enough links are provided regardless and there should be enough links left over to also mount a run of spare links to the hull rear in the rack provided should you choose to do so even though the instructions don’t mention adding this particular detail.
Hull and Fenders:
The hull consists of a large single piece tub with excellent molded detail on the exterior including hull bottom detail for various access hatches and ports. The rear hull plate is a separate assembly that calls for 4 holes to be opened up to mount the option of the longer cylindrical exhaust however this type of exhaust was dropped in August 1944 in favor of the vertical stacks and is not appropriate for the three return roller configuration. The rear hull also has the option of installing two different types of tow bracket, one for vehicles pre-Dec 1944 and one for vehicles produced after that with a heavier tow bar.
The fenders provided are specific to the Jagdpanzer IV and are smooth with excellent bolt detail on the top and bottom surfaces. The glacis-mounted gun travel lock can be assembled, if careful, to remain movable although the instructions don’t point this out. The rear engine deck houses all of the tools and gear and PE or styrene options are provided for the sliding cooling vent covers depending on your preference. Some of the tools are provided with hollow molded-on clamp handles that are a little on the thick side in terms of in-scale appearance but otherwise are nicely detailed. PE optional parts are provided for the axe mount and the option to mount the C-hook holders with the hooks in place or empty is also provided. The front Bosch headlights have their slots molded open and the rear tubular convoy light is provided as a clear part for added detail.
Casemate and Main Gun:
The upper hull casemate is provided as a hollow box part with separate roof plate and has excellent cut mark and weld bead detail on the armor plates where appropriate. The roof plate includes separate hatch parts that can be posed open or closed with different parts options called for in each case depending on your selection. The commander’s hatch includes clear parts for the normal box periscope as well as a clear part and separate hatch for the “rabbit ears” scope with different parts called for if you show this separate hatch open or closed. Side box periscopes are also provided in clear styrene as is the gunner’s sighting scope. The sliding cover for the gunner’s scope can be assembled out of a single fixed piece or multiple pieces to allow it to slide or be positioned with the gun should you choose to pose it traversed to one side or the other. The option is also provided to fit the close-in defense weapon or a blanked-off cover however these were a standard feature appearing around October 1944, so choose accordingly in keeping with the other features present. Separate parts for the interior part of the weapon are also provided for added detail. Clear styrene periscopes are also provided for the driver’s view ports.
The Pak42 L/70 7.5cm gun is provided with a slide-molded single piece barrel with rifling molded into the muzzle. The gun mount includes a highly detailed ball mount and external mantlet with excellent cast detail molded on the part. Separate casting numbers can be added using the numbers provided on the G sprue to personalize the vehicle further. The gun mount is designed to remain movable and the gun breech is highly detailed with recoil guards and detailed elevation and traverse mechanisms on the interior detail. The conical shield for the MG port can also be posed open and has excellent interior detail provided for this possibility however a gun itself is not provided. The only other interior elements provided for in the kit are the radio transmitter and receiver in their racks.
The kit provides for the option of mounting schurzen or leaving only the small spacer mounts on the hull side and other brackets on the fenders in place. The schurzen plates themselves are provided only as a single-piece in styrene so it’s an all-or-nothing choice. Check your references and choose accordingly.
Instructions and Finishing Guide:
The kit instructions follow the standard DML mode of fold-out black and white exploded diagrams and sub-diagrams and consists of 19 steps for full assembly. The decal markings are printed by Cartograf and are clear and in-register. The Painting and Markings guide provides for the following 8 possibilities:
• 15 PzGrenDiv, Western Front 1945, three tone scheme
• PzJgAbt PzDiv “Feldherrnhalle”, Budapest 1945 whitewash over camo pattern
• 13 PzDiv, Hungary 1945, three tone scheme
• 13 PzDiv, Hungary 1945, whitewash over dark yellow
• 9 PzDiv, “Hohenstaufen”, Hungary 1945, three tone scheme
• PzJgAbt 1, 1 PzDiv “LAH”, Poteau Belgium, 1944 disk/ambush pattern
• StuArtBrig 210, Germany 1945 whitewash over dark yellow
• 7 PzDiv, Eastern Front 1945 three tone scheme
Of interest, all of the markings schemes except for the last two show the round cylindrical exhaust in place on the rear hull. This is suspect for the reasons outlined above as to when the change came about with the vertical style of exhaust stacks so check your references carefully in this regard for accuracy’s sake.
Overall the kit is highly detailed and provides many options in terms of representing a Jagdpanzer IV L/70(V) but it doesn’t quite cover the full range of possibilities with what is in the box. Without adding anything to the kit, it is possible to create an accurate vehicle produced between Sept-November 1944 but not beyond that without some additions or modifications. Those modifications are minor in the grand scheme of things and don’t necessarily detract from the overall quality of the kit and it is recommended for the late war German armor fan looking to add an L/70(V) to their collection.
A Build Log is also available for this kit.