|KIT:||Dragon 1/35 Jagdpanzer IV|
|NOTES:||Lots of aftermarket added|
In 1943 the German army was confronted to a huge problem. It’s tanks and anti tank weapons were unable to destroy the heavy Russian KV tanks or the famous T34 at a reasonably safe distance. The solution found in 1942 was to use a 75mm gun with the highest possible velocity namely the 75mm L/48 gun. Although successful for a time on the up gunned Pz IV “G” series it soon became obvious that this wouldn’t be the ultimate solution.
The longer 75 mm L/70 had to be used !
To retrofit this gun on the Pz IV hull was a rather easy task that needed only minor modifications, but in order to equip the Panzer Jäger units every one had to admit the Sturmgeschütz III hull was too light and unable to carry this longer and more powerful gun.
In the meantime, the people at Vomag were working on their own Panzerjäger prototype.
Based on the Panzer IV hull with some modifications (the fuel tanks location for example) and equipped with the 75 mm L/48 it became the Jagdpanzer IV L/48.
On January 26th ,1944 , Hitler gave the order to abandon any kind of research with the L/48 gun and concentrate on the L/70 instead.
As up-gunning the Jagdpanzer IV was quite an easy task Vomag turned its whole production into this new Jagdpanzer IV L/70.
This tank was a favorite among Panzerjäger crews because it was fast, powerful, well armored and with an above average ballistic profile.
Only the German industry of 1944 and 1945 proved unable to produce enough of them to really put the allied tank corps into troubles.
DML has already produced four kits of the Jagdpanzer IV.
The recent “O serien” is indeed one of the first pre production batch tanks and only a few of them were built. Some say two or three. They also produced what is known as the Jagdpanzer IV “A” which is another topic ( actually it should be called Panzer IV L/70 instead of the nickname Jagdpanzer IV A “ Zwischenlösing” ) and at last two kits reproducing the Jagdpanzer IV L/48 (DML 9021) and L/70 (DML 9043).
They both are basically the same kit apart from a few differences. One of them being the longer gun.
This kit as it comes out of the box is fairly accurate. It also allows you to build a Befehlspanzer. You can build it from the box and get a decent model… but I had something else in mind !
After building the L/48 and using photo etched parts almost for the first time (at least the first time with decent results !) it was THE time for me to go into seriously using the aftermarket kits which are now available and see if it was worth the pain and cost or not.
So here is what I used.
- DML 9043 ($30)
- Tristar Panzer IV roadwheels ($15)
- Lion Roar 35046 photo etched detail set for Jagdpanzer IV L/48 or L/70 ($20)
- Friul ATL-28 track links ($30)
- Tamiya Panzer IV “J” roadwheels (?)
Needless to say that going into hardcore photo etched modeling is a time consuming activity but who can resist to these superb fenders or tool clamps ?
One advice : Lion Roar gives you the choice between two kinds of fenders depending on which version (L/48 or L/70) you’re working on. Please don’t pretend you’re smarter than they are and carefully follow the instructions ! I didn’t so I ended up having to unglue the wrong fenders and put the right ones instead !
Once I started using these photo etched parts I simply couldn’t resist . I had to do what’s impossible with the usual plastic kits : destroy them !
It may sound silly but I really like the way the tank looks like a battered veteran …
When I came to gluing on the road wheels I figured the DML wheels, although not “wrong” didn’t look as good as the Tristar panzer IV road wheels, nor did the bogies … except that these Tristar wheels are too narrow for a mid to late production Panzer IV. It was too late for me to go back to the DML wheels as the Tristar bogies were already glued on. It so happened I had in my scrap box a full set of Tamiya Panzer IV “J” road wheels which seem to be of the correct size. I still kept the Tristar steel wheels on the first bogy.
Last but not least, the tracks. I don’t know about you but I adopted the Friul tracks the very first day I used them. OK, building them takes time and can even be painful (watch your fingers ! ) but the result is worth the pain. You don’t have to worry about the sagging, which is a burden with DML individual tracks, as it comes out naturally !
|COLORS & MARKINGS|
DML gives you the choice between two tanks. Both of them are supposed to be Befehlspanzer (commanding tank) but I had this long time idea of building one special Jagdpanzer IV I once saw in a book about the battle of the Bulge.
What you see on this pic is a destroyed Jagdpanzer IV number “ 20 ” or “ ? 20 ”, you can’t tell because there’s a big hole in the upper hull right where the first number should have been. This tank belonged to the 3rd panzergrenadiere Division and fought against the US tanks around Bastogne in the very last days of December 1944, trying to prevent the US 11th armored division from liberating Bastogne, or in this case a small village named Chenogne.
So here we are on Dec 29 1944, at dawn, there is only little snow on the ground but the ground is frozen …
As I said earlier, one can build this kit straight from the box and get a very decent kit. A good paint job will be needed to enhance the details of the kit. Nevertheless I am now addicted to photo etched kits. As far as giving the illusion of the real thing you can’t beat them. Of course this increases the price of the finished model but on the other hand what price has to do with pleasure ? Don’t be surprised to hear that DML is including more PE parts in the kits … there IS a reason !
Note that DML has got a new version of this kit, with extra details like an aluminum gun barrel under the reference DML 9061.
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