|REVIEWER:||Scott Van Aken|
The Jagdpanzer IV, Sd.Kfz. 162, was a German tank destroyer based on the Panzer IV chassis and built in three main variants. As one of the casemate-style turretless Jagdpanzer (tank destroyer, literally "hunting tank") designs, it was developed against the wishes of Heinz Guderian, the inspector general of the Panzertruppen, as a replacement for the Sturmgeschütz III (StuG III). Guderian objected against the needless, in his eyes, diversion of resources from Panzer IV tank production, as the Sturmgeschütz III was still more than adequate for its role.
Officially, only the L/48-armed vehicle was named Jagdpanzer IV. The L/70-armed vehicle was named Panzer IV/70. In this article, both versions are referred to in general as Jagdpanzer IV, except in the variants and surviving vehicles section.
This kit was new when I was stationed at NAF Atsugi back during the Bicentennial. At the time, it was not something I was interested in as I thought Tamiya kits were basically toys. Indeed, they were all, for the most part, motorized and this one has the remnants of those times with battery positions molded into the hull interior and openings on the outside for the switch.
However, it is one of many armor kits that put 1/35 scale on the map and helped to grow Tamiya's reputation for well designed kits that were fairly accurate. I'm not sure how it holds up shape-wise to similar kits from Dragon, but it looks right and isn't a mass of tiny parts. Actually, this body style doesn't really lead itself to lots of bits anyway.
There are two areas that are fairly parts intensive. One is the assembly of all the road wheels and return rollers. The road wheels use polycaps sandwiched in between the two wheel parts for later pressing onto the molded-in-place axle stubs. The other area is installing all the brackets for the schurzen.
Tamiya provides opening upper hatches and a figure to stick through one of them. There are also spare tracks and road wheels to place over the hull along with the usual pioneer tools. The tank also comes with both the L/70 and shorter L/48 gun. This is a nice option as early models of this vehicle did not have the long gun. Tracks are the usual vinyl type provided in kits of this era
Instructions are well done and provide generic color call outs as in 1976, Tamiya did not have a paint line. The small decal sheet (not shown), provides hull numbers and some unit markings as well. The painting and markings area shows typical placement and what markings are available.
Gung-ho armor builders will undoubtedly shy away from this one, but those of us who dabble in the subject will find kits like this to be perfect. Detailed enough but not overboard.
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