Dragon 1/35 Pz.Sfl.IVb (Sd.Kfz.165/1 ausf A)

KIT: Dragon 1/35 Pz.Sfl.IVb (Sd.Kfz.165/1 ausf A)
KIT #: 6475
PRICE: Around $45.00 MSRP
DECALS: Two options
REVIEWER: Scott Van Aken
NOTES: Smart Kit

HISTORY

Early in WWII, German units relied on towed howitzers like the 10.5cm le.FH.18. Various proposals were made for a self-propelled version, with Krupp offering one based on a modified Panzer IV chassis. Named the Pz.Sfl.IVb or Sd.Kfz.165/1, its open-topped turret contained a 10.5cm le.FH.18 howitzer that was capable of only a 70 traverse by hand. A test series of eight vehicles was produced in November 1942 and they were combat tested in Russia. However, production was eventually cancelled because the administration decided they wanted carriages with all-round traverse. In the event, the le.FH.18 was successfully mounted on a Panzer II chassis in the well-known Wespe variant.

THE KIT

Dragon's kit is everything we have come to expect from this premiere armor kit manufacturer. This is part of their 'Smart Kit' series so has all you need to produced an accurate rendition of this somewhat rare vehicle. The molding is first rate and inspection of the various sprues shows no problems in terms of flaws.

Like most other manufacturers, Dragon uses sprues from a variety of other similar kits to provide you with the myriad variants and this kit is no different. There are over 800 parts to the kit, many of these are part of the individual track link set that makes things so much more realistic. Thankfully, photo-etch is kept to an absolute minimum on this kit. As this is an open top vehicle, you get complete fighting compartment detailing.  Allow me to use Dragon's blurb for this to let you know what to expect when opening what is a jammed full box.

Turret:
- Newly tooled Pz.Sfl.Ivb turret with accurate sharp
- Authentic weld seams on turret
- Newly tooled mantlet w/realistic bolt details
- Turret supports realistically reproduced
- Top edges of turret mirror those on real vehicle
- Incorporates toothed turret ring inside turret
- Turret side hooks especially designed with undercut detail
- New slide-molded spare-track rack with fine detail

Gun:
- Newly tooled gun barrel
- Gun with full breech assembly
- Gun breech and recoil guard fully reproduced
- Gun details finely represented by photo-etched parts
- Slide-molded muzzle brake

Upper Hull & Engine Deck:
- Completely new upper hull with fully detailed engine deck
- New spare road wheel rack made from photo-etched parts
- Driver's hatch can be assembled open/closed
- Driver's vision port can be assembled open/closed
- New tooled fenders with detailed tread pattern, hinge and bolt detail
- Slide-molded fender supports newly tooled

Lower Hull:
- New 2-direction slide-molded lower hull is superbly detailed
- Bolts and rivets delicately represented on hull bottom
- Muffler is multipart assembly
- New design for hull rear
- Detailed towing-eye brackets with separate parts
- Accurate transmission and steering-brake access hatches can be assembled open/closed

Suspension, Wheels & Tracks:
- Newly tooled 520mm road wheels exhibit crisp detail for Pz.Sfl.IVb
- Realistic parting lines on rubber tires
- New idler wheels with detailed parts
- Convenient Magic Tracks
- Realistically reproduced suspension is new .

Instructions are very nicely done with clear drawings and the usual Gunze and Model Master paint references. Markings are provided for two Panzer Grey vehicles  from the 16.Pz.Div in Russia during 1943. The differ only in the name on the side.

CONCLUSIONS

Another fine kit of an unusual subject, the sort of thing the most armor modelers love to see.

July 2008

My thanks to www.dragonmodelsusa.com for the preview kit. Get yours today at your local shop or have them order one for you.

If you would like your product reviewed fairly and fairly quickly, please contact the editor or see other details in the Note to Contributors.

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