Dragon 1/35 SdKfz 167 StuG IV (early) w/Zimmerit
|REVIEWER:||Scott Van Aken|
|NOTES:||Dragon Zimmerit kit|
The Sturmgeschütz IV (also known as Sd.Kfz.167) was an assault gun in the mold of the StuG.III. As its name suggests, it was based on the hull of the ubiquitous Panzer IV tank. Alkett, a manufacturer of the StuG.III, was bombed in November 1943, so in an effort to increase the production of assault guns, Krupp installed slightly modified StuG.III superstructures on the chassis of the Panzer IV. After production was approved on 6 December 1943, Krupp proceeded to build 1,108 StuG.IV vehicles between December 1943 and May 1945. While this number was far less than the StuG.III, Krupp did ensure continuity of assault gun production. Crewed by four men, it proved to be an effective tank hunter platform. The StuG.IV weighed 23 tonnes and was armed with a 7.5cm StuK40 L/48 gun. The main armament was supplemented by an MG34 mounted on the superstructure roof.
The StuG is one of my favorite armor types. It is also a type of vehicle that did not go much past WWII as it was a bit of a dead end when it comes to armored vehicles. Much better to have a turret with enhanced crew protection. However, the StuG was a perfect ambush vehicle and most tank encounters were just that.
Adding to Dragon's growing list of vehicles with Zimmerit, this one is a combination of extant sprues as well as a number of new one. One most welcome addition is the inclusion of DS tracks in place of the Magic Tracks. This alone reduces the parts count from well over 700 to under 500. This will thrill those who have held off doing one of these because of the separate track links. This one is pretty much based on the earlier kit released about a year ago, but with the expected upgrades. Here are the features:
- Newly tooled gun mantlet rendered w/realistic cast texture surface detail
- Brand new one-piece 40cm DS tracks for StuG.IV Early production
- Zimmerit parrern on the front replicate the real vehicle
- Zimmerit is injection molded w/superior detail
- Great detail on hull rear w/photo-etched parts in options
- Cannon can be elevated up/down
- One-piece gun barrel
- Slide-molded muzzle brake
- Side-skirt armor produced in metal for scale thickness
- Armor brackets realistically detailed
- Roof armor w/accurate weld seams
- Screw heads finely reproduced
- Multi-directional slide-molded superstructure
- Slide-molded engine deck w/bolt detail
- Driver's hatch w/interior detail can be assembled open/closed
- Spare-track rack on frontal armor of lower hull
- 2-directional slide-molded lower hull w/zimmerit on both sides
- Commander's hatch w/interior details can be assembled open/closed
- Engine hatches can be assembled open/closed
- Photo-etched parts for engine-deck exhaust grill
- Detailed idler wheels w/cast texture
- Photo-etched parts for idlers to accurately represent undercut detail
- Road wheels, sprockets, idlers and return rollers authentically reproduced
The kit provides markings options for seven different vehicles from 1944/45. Several of these include the side skirts that Dragon provides in photo etched metal.
Starting from the top left we have an unidentified unit on the Eastern Front -1944; another unknown unit in Italy-1944; more unidentified units, this time in Prussia - 1945. Bottom row is from StuG Brigade 394-France 1944; StuG Brigade 277 - East Prussia 1945; 17 Panzer Grenadier Division - Normandy 1944; finally Panzer Lehr Division - Normandy 1944.
Dragon's instructions are very well drawn with all sorts of notes on optional parts placement, as well as any modifications needed. It is pretty full of detail so one needs to pay attention when building.
These kits with Zimmerit seem to be disappearing from the local store shelves rather quickly so they must be pretty popular and I can see why. They look to make into a superlative reproduction.
Thanks to www.dragonmodelsusa.com for the preview kit. Get yours at your local shop or on-line retailer.
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