DRAGON MODELS LIMITED

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2 Νοε 2013 (πριν από 3 χρόνια και 7 μήνες)

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DRAGON MODELS LIMITED




6582, Sd.Kfz.167 StuG.IV Mid
-
Production Smart Kit. 1/35
th
-
scale
styrene/multimedia kit containing 682 medium grey injection
-
molded styrene
parts (including 12 clear), two bags of Magic Track, one piece of braided metal
wire, four
photo
-
etched frets, five water
-
slide decal markings schemes and 10
pages of instructions in 15 steps.


Introduction.


When the Allies bombed the Alkett factory late in 1943, they severely disrupted
Sturmgesch
ü
tz

III production. To fill in the procurement
gap, the Germans took
two paths. One of them resulted in the rapid design and fielding of the
Jagdpanzer 38. Another expedient assault gun was also fielded by the Germans,
based on components of both the StuG.III Ausf.G and the Pzkpfw.IV Ausf.H/J.
This was

known as the
Sturmgesch
ü
tz IV, which, like all German AFVs, evolved
during its production run.


This kit typically mixes and matches available parts to make a Sturmgesch
ü
tz IV
produced some time just prior to September 1944. It has earlier features such
as
the single cylindrical exhaust muffler, four return rollers and tow eyes bolted to
the bow plate. Some later features are provided, such as the revised roof plate
with Rundumfeuer 360
-
degree machine gun mount and shields and plated
-
over
port for the not
-
yet
-
available Nahverteidigunswaffe. The front plate over the
superstructure’s starboard side should be the unitary 80mm type, but the kit only
provides the 50mm plate with the bolted
-
on 30mm appliqué plate.


On a positive note, the shields for the Rundumf
euer have now been re
-
tooled to
the proper size and shape; all previous StuG. kits with this feature included, had
the parts sized for fitting on the Jagdpanzer 38.


Tracks.


The 40cm tracks included in this release feature an open guide horn and six tiny
angled ice grips on the faces of the links. They are properly rendered as left
-

and
right
-
handed items and come in two separate bags; one set is molded in lighter
-
colored styrene than the other, so don’t open up both bags at once or mix them
up. There is n
o 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.


Suspension System.


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 fr
om 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
manufacturer’s logo and tire size information on the rubber rim. A total of 20
c
omplete road
-
wheels are given, which leaves four extras for spare stowage. The
suspension bogies themselves are in multiple parts, including separate ends for
the leaf springs, and a separate hub, which in turn attaches to a separate mount.


The final dri
ve 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 h
alves. There are two styles of all
-
steel return rollers
provided. One type has a reinforcing rib in two places, the second has none.


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. There are three
choices for the latter, but only one is for use. The brace for the idler wheel
housings depicts a simplified type unique to this version of the StuG.IV. Don’t
glue the separate idler wheel 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. The
former are provided as inner and outer halves with the hub molded in place; t
he
latter are similar, but also have etched brass rings for their inner faces to properly
represent the type. These assemblies feature excellent weld bead details or cast
texture as appropriate, and, as mentioned above, can be adjusted on their axles
in or
der to depict proper track sag.


Hull.


The hull’s belly plate has the fairings between the bogie units molded in place,
again for simplified assembly. A multi
-
part slide
-
mold was used to render this
part, so details have not been compromised. Rivets, bolt
s, panels, hatches and
weld beads are all crisply
-
rendered, while there are separate fuel filler caps for
the side wall. The final items are the parts for the hull side
-
wall seen behind the
final drive housings. By making these separate, DML will be able t
o switch the
parts to provide for the final style of tow hooks, which were merely holes drilled
into extended hull side walls.


Modelers should note that there are three thick injection stubs on each rim of the
hull side walls. These must be removed or th
e fenders will not fit. This is not
mentioned in the instructions. What is mentioned, though, is the need to remove
part of one of the internal stiffening ribs, on both sides. This is so the fuel tank top
plate can be fitted later on. A separate internal b
ulkhead is fitted between the
fighting compartment and engine compartment. It has no detail and apparently
only serves a structural purpose.


On the bow, a separate plate is provided to which the front tow eyes are
attached, along with their separate pins
and bars to hold spare track links. The
brackets for mounting spare track links on the glacis plate are also given as
styrene or etched brass parts. On the stern, the hull rear plate is composed of
several parts and through the use of a slide
-
mold, has pro
perly rendered bolt
heads where the upper and lower sections were joined together. The original
cylindrical exhaust muffler, first introduced with the Ausf.F, is included. It is based
on a slide
-
molded core and is a seven
-
part assembly. There are the two t
railer
hitch variations, only one of which is for use, while the final items back there are
the separate tow hooks for each hull side wall.


Track
-
Guards and OVM.


The track
-
guards are superbly detailed on both sides and haven’t a single knock
-
out pin ma
rk on any surface. They include the L
-
shaped mounting brackets for
the optional Sch
ü
rzen plates already molded in place. A new front section is
provided to be grafted on to the original parts; the instructions clearly show what
needs to be removed. The fro
nt and rear mud flaps are separate items and can
be positioned up or down. They come from a slide mold so details visible on their
sides are in place; separate springs are seen at the rear. However, if folded up,
each mud
-
flap has several prominent ejector

pin marks that will have to be filled,
since those will be readily visible.


OVM items mounted on the starboard
-
side track
-
guard include a multi
-
part slide
-
molded jack, pry
-
bar, starter crank, track tension adjustment wrench and C
-
shaped tow hooks. The l
ast were previously stowed on the filler plate that ran
from the casemate to the hull. The port
-
side track
-
guard mounts a multi
-
part
Tarnscheinwerfer
-
Bosch head
-
lamp, wrenches (with optional etched brass
brackets), fire extinguisher, wire cutters, jack blo
ck (with etched brass retaining
chain), pry
-
bar and three choices of distance
-
keeping tail lamp. The flaps that
covered the engine air cooling intake louvers can be made from styrene or
etched brass parts and they include separate tiny fasteners.


Sch
ü
rze
n.


A complete set of Sch
ü
rzen plates and their hangers are included in the box.
These begin with styrene mounting brackets and slide
-
molded hanging rails,
which are crowned with etched aluminum plates; the latter also have styrene
parts attached for the m
ounting points. There is a second set of shorter plates
that can be mounted in conjunction with the normal set. To ease the process,
etched lines are seen on the inner faces of the plates where these are to be
fitted. In addition, each plate is sequentiall
y
-
numbered for accurate placement.
The use of this media combination provides a balance between durability, ease
of assembly and scale representation of this feature.


Superstructure.


The glacis plate has separate brake access hatch lids, which include t
he brake
air cooling intake cowls as separate parts; if left open some work will need to be
done to open the hole on the back of the lid that provided cooling air from the
cowls. The spare track links and brackets are also provided to fit over the
transmis
sion access hatch lid; these include etched brass or styrene mounting
points. A fender support bracket is provided as a styrene or etched brass
assembly. A plate, molded with the casemate, bridges the area from it to the
glacis plate. While the C
-
shaped to
w hooks have been moved, there is now a
multi
-
part gun tube travel lock for the StuK40 main gun.


A separate engine deck module is supplied, which features separate engine
access hatch lids, each with an etched brass or styrene part for the internal
baffle
s. The small box seen over the radiator filler cap is a separate part and
comes in two versions; use the one with vertical sides, as per the instructions.
The side vents on the engine compartment are provided as multi
-
part styrene
moldings in two versions;

the flaps for these vents are provided as styrene or
etched brass items. Various lift handles are separate parts. Gun cleaning staffs
and bore swab for the StuK40 are fitted on the port
-
side, while a shovel is fitted
on the starboard
-
side.


The rear engi
ne deck plate
features crisp details

with molded
-
on fan clutch
access cap and separate spare track links, and brackets, for stowage. The tow
cables are made up of braided metal wire and styrene end
-
loops with holes
already in place due to the use of slide
molds; these attach to the upper rear
plate using separate “L”
-
shaped hooks.


Casemate.


The casemate includes the extended lower section that allowed it to fit the
Pz.Kpfw.IV chassis, but give sufficient clearance to mount the gun above the fuel
tanks. It

comes from a slide
-
mold and features excellent weld and panel details,
mounting strips and bolt heads, all molded in place. Separate parts are provided
for the side lift rings, rear antennae mounts with flexible rubber bases, and cover
for the exhaust fan
. A rod antenna is included in the box, but marked as not for
use; use it! An armored hood for the driver is provided. It is from a slide mold,
has excellent weld and plate details and features a separate hatch lid. The latter
is completely rectangular as
befits this production variation. Separate periscope
covers with clear styrene ‘scope heads along with styrene and etched brass
detail parts completes the assembly. Opposite the driver’s hood, a two
-
part
armored plate, base 50mm, plus bolted
-
on 30mm plate
is given. Photos and
drawings indicate that this should be the later unitary 80mm plate, which is
nowhere to be seen in the box.


A beautifully
-
rendered spare wheel tray, made from a slide
-
mold is fitted with two
spare road
-
wheels. This mounts onto the por
t side of the casemate. On the
opposite side is mounted a rack for spare track links, which can be depicted filled
or empty.


The new roof plate is separate and now has raised hex
-
head bolt details around
its edges, as well as hinge, weld and panel details
, all molded on. Pilze mounts
for the 2
-
ton jib crane are molded in three locations, while the loader’s hatch lids
now open to either side instead of fore
-
to
-
aft. New for this kit is a multi
-
part
Rundumfeuer 360
-
degree machine gun mount and shields,
comple
te with an
excellent slide
-
molded, multi
-
part Gen2 MG34. The MG34 can be configured with
or without the butt
-
stock. There should be a periscope sight protruding from its
base, but it is not provided and neither is an ammunition drum. Reacting to
criticism,

the shields now appear to be properly sized, according to drawings in
the cited references. On optional plate is given to cover the mounting hole.
Another plate is given to cover the
Nahverteidigunswaffe port.


The commander’s cupola is a multi
-
part affa
ir with clear periscope heads and
clear scissors telescope. The latter is mounted on a separate post and also
includes separate eye
-
cups. The separate hatch lid for it is a multi
-
part affair that
includes separate locking latches, separate hinged front sec
tion for the binocular
periscope and separate rubber bump stop; internally a strip of etched brass
covers the circumference. Two different shot deflectors are provided to fit in front
of the cupola, although only one is for use. The cupo;a hatch lid should

have a c
-
shaped handle on the inside and the rubber bump
-
stop should be replaced with a
wooden type.


The gun mantle is the cast type and while nicely textured, there are no foundry
casting number details. The gun tube is a single part with a slight seam
that will
need to be cleaned up; for this I recommend the classic Flex
-
I
-
File. The slide
-
molded muzzle brake is a three
-
part affair and includes the internal lug and
external locking nut; it comes with three variations, two of which are called
-
out for
use.



Interior.


Internally, the 7.5cm StuK40 main gun is complimented by an almost totally
complete mount. This includes cradle, recoil cylinders, mount, traverse and
elevation hand
-
wheels, gunner’s seat, multi
-
part breech block, sight mounts and
clear Sfl.Z
.F.1a gun sight. This entire item mounts over the fuel tank top plate,
which is also provided as a multi
-
part assembly. As mentioned previously, a
bulkhead/engine firewall unit encloses the compartment at the rear. Above that is
the inner works of the exha
ust fan, which includes a separate fan blade unit.
There is also a commander’s seat. Separate inner sponson units are detailed
with various radio sets along with some of their ancillary accessories. To these
are fitted separate mounting racks. Enough equip
ment is given to create a
command vehicle, but if that is done, the modeler must source a second rod
antenna as only one is provided in the box.


Molding, Fit and Engineering.


Molding overall is excellent, while fit for such a relatively complex kit is r
ated as
outstanding. There are a few ejector pin marks that may need attention (not
counting the tracks, of course) and the turret interior has several pins that will
need to be cut off. Flash is non
-
existent, while mold part seams are subtle and
easily de
alt 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.


Accuracy.


As far as accuracy is concerned, the kit matches drawings in reference number 4
to well withi
n 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. I have already mentioned the issues noted regarding the
Rundumfeuer mount and the starboard
-
side

armor plate on the casemate. It is
also very probable that this variation should also wear Zimmerit anti
-
magnetic
mine paste.


Instructions.


The instructions are well
-
drawn but as always for DML, they are very busy;
proceed with caution!


Decals and Mar
kings Information.


Water
-
slide decals for five different vehicles are provided by Cartograf of Italy.
They are in perfect register, have crisp edges and excellent color saturation.
They depict the following:




10.SS
-
Panzer
-
Division “Frundsburg”, Tarnopol,
Ostfront 1944.



Black/white 23, unidentified unit, East Prussia 1944.



“Bruno”, 17.SS
-
Panzer
-
Grenadier
-
Division “G
ö
tz von Berlichingen”,
Normandy 1944.



17.SS
-
Panzer
-
Grenadier
-
Division “G
ö
tz von Berlichingen”, Normandy
1944.



Panzer
-
Lehr
-
Division, Normandy 194
4.


All are finished with a base color of Dunkelgelb, with four of them sporting
Rotbraun and/or Olivgr
ü
n for the disruptive camouflage pattern. Within the cited
references, I could not confirm the accuracy of any of the provided schemes.


Conclusion.


Al
though there are still a couple of screw
-
ups as mentioned above, this is still a
fine kit. It provides for yet another sub
-
variation of a hybrid AFV, typifying the
German response to their changing production capacities.


Frank V. De Sisto


References cons
ulted for this review included (but were not limited to) 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.

Sturmgeschuetz, s.PaK to Sturmmoerser; Panzer Tracts No.8, by T. Jentz
& H. Doyle.

4.

Sturmgesch
ü
tz & its Variants; Spielberger Series Vol. IV, Schiffer, by W.J.
Spielberger.

5.

Panzer IV & its Variants; Spielberger S
eries Vol. IV, Schiffer, by W.J.
Spielberger.

6.

German Sturmartillerie at War Vol.1; Concord 7029, by F. De Sisto & L.
Lecocq.


7.

German Sturmartillerie at War Vol.2; Concord 7030, by F. De Sisto & L.
Lecocq.


Note: Since May of 2005, I have been working on bo
oks 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
.


Visit
www.frankdesisto.com