Dragon marches on with it's all encompassing coverage of every conceivable AFV that was fielded, or even dreamed of during WWII. This new kit is of the interesting late war Jagdpanzer IV L/70(A).
I personally usually combine my first look reviews of kit contents along with the full build reviews. However, there's just so much stuffed into this kit's box that I'll do a separate first look review, followed by the full build review in a few weeks.
A Brief History of the Vehicle
The ever more defensive nature of the combat that the German Army found itself in during the latter stages of WWII made it necessary to seek out better armed, more cost/materiel effective weapons such as the later war Jagdpanzers. The vehicle depicted by this kit is a product of this late war time period, being introduced in 1944 and evolving into it's final form over the final months of the war.
The Jagdpanzer IV series took several forms, this one being a design by the Alkett firm. AlKett was ( and is ) Berlin based, with the WWII era full name of Altmarkische Kettenwerk GmbH.
This vehicle was designed to make use of the standard Panzer IV chassis ( rather than the modified chassis used in the Vomag designed Jagdpanzer IV's ), with a casemate mounted long ( 70 calibers ) 7.5cm Pak gun.
Wire mesh side skirts, no zimmerit, no main gun muzzle brakes, 3 upper track return rollers, lengthened side hull plates and improved rear hull towing fittings were late production changes to the earlier design.
Only 278 of these somewhat rare vehicles were accepted into German service by the war's end, serving both in the West and the East. Accounts of action on the Eastern Front indicate that this was an effective vehicle when used as designed ( tank hunter ). A single example survives, a shot up vehicle located in the French Saumur Museum.
What's in the Box?
Dragon has a justly earned reputation for more than giving the modeler his money's worth, with boxes absolutely crammed full of goodies. This kit is no exception to that, being chock full of bagged sprues, zip-loc bags of parts, and other items. Being one of their "Smart Kit" line of kits, this kit has been designed for quicker assembly, and having less in the way of extra photoetched parts, etc. This kit has plenty of extra goodies though, with a nice looking sheet of photoetch, wire mesh side skirt armor, and magic tracks.
Sprue "A" ( x2 )
Also Sprue "A" ( x2 )
Also Sprue "E"
Above - the one piece L/70 7.5cm gun barrel is on the "G" sprue. It's slide molded, with rifling cut into it at the muzzle end. Only smallest hint of a mold seam to be dealt with. Very nice.
Sprues "J", "K", "L" and "Q"
Lower Hull Part "X"
Upper Hull - Parts "N"
Sprues "P" and "M" - clear parts
Bag of steel "tires"
Sprue "F" - note the nice cast texture!
Part "MA" - the photoetch
The wire mesh track skirts ( pre-cut, very nice! ) and decals for a single marking option
Magic tracks - 108 links for each side, color keyed.
Detail view of the track links, ready for use
Above - the standard format Dragon instructions. 17 steps on one multifold sheet. A couple of the steps have fairly busy drawings, but overall look easy to follow and are well drawn.
While being a Smart Kit, this kit still has a whopping 680 parts. As usual though, a good number of parts will wind up your spares box ( look at the blue shaded areas on the above instructions photo ) and well over 200 parts are track links.
The building of a kit is what really tells the tale, but I have to confess to already being really very impressed with what I see in the box.
The parts quality is absolutely stunning. The level of molded on detail and texture is extremely high, with even the smallest details being very sharply and crisply rendered. The weld beads and torch cut areas are done in a very realistic manner, as is texturing on parts such as the gun's mantlet.
No parts damage of any sort was seen while photographing the sprues, and no mis-formed or short-shot parts were noticed. The parts are free of flash, without noticeable mold seams, and look to present no issues with visible ejector pin marks.
I can hardly wait to start the build of this kit!
Highly Recommended ( pending the impending Full Build of this kit )
Thanks to DragonUSA for the review sample
Reviewed by Chuck Aleshire, AMPS Chicagoland