by: Todd Michalak [ ]
From August 1944 to March 1945 , Germany constructed 278 Pz.Kpfw.IV L/70(A) (Sd.Kfz.162/1) also known as the Jagdpanzer IV/70(A), were made. A low profile tank killer based on the Pz.Kpfw.IV chassis platform, was originally designed to replace the Pz.Kpfw.IV and StuG Brigades. With slow production rates and opposition Inspector-General of the Panzertruppen, the Jagdpanzer IV/70(A) was never created in the mass numbers that were hoped and resulted in having little outcome on the results of the war. Most of the L/70(A) served primarily on the eastern front as an anti-tank support for regular panzers.
From the first opening of the box, you notice this is what we have come to know from all of Dragon’s Pz.IV smart kits; power packed box of parts. Upon looking at the parts legend, you notice straight away the over abundance of extra parts included in the kit. Close to half of the parts included in the kit are marked in blue on the legend and classified as not used. The kit boasts “over 680 parts" in the kit. I counted 714 not including the photo etch sheet marked “MA” that are to be used.
Upon inspection of the parts trees in the box, all parts are crisply molded and free from flash. There are 25 sprues, the lower hull section, one packed photo etch sheet, six metal mesh schürzen side skirts and two bags of Magic Track links.
If you are accustomed to constructing any of Dragon’s Panzer IV Smart Kits, then the entire lower end will be very familiar to you with exception of the added front road wheels and return rollers molded to depict the steel road wheels of the Pz. IV L/70 (A).
The superstructure section of the kit includes all the characteristics of the Pz. L/70(A) and all hatches from the engine deck to the commander’s hatch can be modeled in the open or closed positions. There is a lack of interior parts to this kit, however, the detail on the 75mm L/70 breech fills the empty void as seen through the commander’s hatch.
After receiving this kit, I needed to research the Pz.IV L/70(A) to compare likenesses to the original. Along the way a couple of small, quirky items arose. One being the mantlet fit issue that was brought up on a number of forums. This part originally did not fit into the front armor plating resulting in a small section of the front plate needing to be removed. One of the first things I did was test fit this part to the front of the superstructure. It fit like a glove. DML apparently has corrected this problem…no need to worry about this with kit no.6689.
The second item I came across was an issue with the rear plate. This is the part listed as N18 and installation of this part is actually missing from step 4 and is shown installed in step 5 of the instructions. The kit is missing part C8, which has the reinforcing triangles on each side for the rear tow hooks. DML provided the sprue from the late Ausf.J kit with the vertical exhaust which has part N18 on it but is missing the reinforcing triangles as it is for use with the hulls with the sides extended for towing. As part of this review I have attached a snippet of the instructions from DML’s Panzer IV Ausf.J Mid Production kit no.6556 to help explain what the problem is. In this picture you can see the triangular pieces attached to the part labeled C8.
To correct the problem you have essentially 3 options:
1 – Use part B1 from the kit and scratch build the small triangular tow hook supports from Styrene strip stock and then add the rivets to represent the bolts that hold this piece on.
2 – If you have built previous and saved the spare parts left over from one or more of these DML kits; Panzer IV Ausf.J Mid Production kit no.6556, Pz.Kpfw.IV Panzer IV Ausf. J Initial/Early Production kit no. 6549, Pz.Kpfw. IV Ausf. J Last Production kit no. 6575 or the 3.7 cm Flak 43 Flakpanzer IV “Ostwind” kit no. 6550. You will only need to use the spare part C8 to correct the problem.
3 – Contact Dragon Care: http://www.dragoncare.com/chsmain.asp Explain to them the missing part and they should be able to help you replace it.
Looking further into the kit; Dragon’s newly tooled Vorsatz P mount w/MP44, a machine gun which is attached to a curved barrel that protrudes through the top plate of the superstructure for close combat support is molded very nice and looks fairly spot on to the original. The two, one-piece fenders have molded details on the top and bottom still allowing for separate tools and equipment to be added afterwards.
Painting and Markings:
This kit includes the instructions and decals to represent one of seven different painting and marking schemes:
1 of 3 different unidentified units – Eastern Front 1945
1 unidentified unit – Hungary 1945
1 unidentified unit – Bohemia 1945
1 unidentified unit – Germany 1945
1 unidentified unit – Western Front 1944
Even with the rear plate shortcomings in need of correct the missing rear tow hook support angles, this is a tremendous kit and assembly should be straight forward and fun. There is an amazing amount a detail packed onto DML’s Pz.Kpfw.IV frame and should build up to an excellent representation of this fearful tank killer and should be a joy to anyone who has a fondness to the Pz.Kpfw. IV or SPG’s in general.