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  1. Shar2

    Panzer IV/70 (A). 1:35

    Panzer IV/70 (A) HobbyBoss 1:35 History After the Battle of Stalingrad, in September 1942 the Wehrmacht arms bureau, the Waffenamt, called for a new standard for assault weapons: 100 mm of armour to the front, 40–50 mm on the sides, wider tracks, ground clearance of 50 cm, top speed of 26 km/h and the lowest possible firing positions. The new Panzerjäger ("tank hunter") design would be armed with the same 7.5 cm gun as fitted to the Panther: the Pak 42 L/70. Initially a new chassis was planned, but that of the Panzer IV had to be used. Previous efforts to mount bigger guns on smaller chassis resulted in the Marder series as well as StuG IIIs. The Marder series were tall and had open crew compartments. The new design had a low silhouette and completely enclosed, casemate fighting compartment. The Jagdpanzer IV used Panzer IV chassis 7 (known as BW7), but the almost-vertical front hull plate was replaced by sloped armour plates. Internally, the layout was changed to accommodate the new superstructure, moving the fuel tanks and ammunition racks. Since the Jagdpanzer lacked a turret, the engine which originally powered the Panzer IV's turret could be eliminated. The new superstructure had 80 mm thick sloped armour, which gives a much greater armour protection than a vertical armour of 100 mm. To make the manufacturing process as simple as possible, the superstructure was made out of large, interlocking plates that were welded together. Armament consisted of a 7.5 cm main gun, originally intended to be the Pak 42 L/70, but due to shortages older guns were initially used, the 7.5 cm Pak 39 L/43 for pre-production, and the 7.5 cm Pak 39 L/48 for initial production variant. These were shorter and less powerful than the Pak 42. Installing the much heavier Pak 42 meant that the Jagdpanzer IV was nose heavy, especially with the heavy frontal armour. This made them less mobile and more difficult to operate in rough terrain, leading their crews to nickname them Guderian-Ente ("Guderian's duck"). To prevent the rubber rims of the road wheels being dislocated by the weight of the vehicle, some later versions had steel road wheels installed on the front. The final prototype of the Jagdpanzer IV was presented in December 1943 and production started in January 1944, with the Pak 39 L/48 armed variant staying in production until November. Production of the Pak 42 L/70 armed variants started in August and continued until March/April 1945. On 19-22 August 1943, after the Battle of Kursk, Hitler received reports that StuG IIIs performed better than Panzer IV within certain restraints of how they were deployed. It was thus intended to stop production of the Panzer IV itself at the end of 1944 to concentrate solely on production of the Jagdpanzer IV, but the Panzer IV was in production all the way until the end of the conflict along with Jagdpanzer IV. Panzer IV/70 (V) (Sd.Kfz.162/1) was one of two variants armed with the same Pak 42 L/70 gun. The (V) stands for the designer, Vomag. The most produced version, with 930–940 built in August 1944 - April 1945. Panzer IV/70 (A) (Sd.Kfz.162/1) the other Pak 42 L/70 armed Jagdpanzer IV the subject of this kit. In order to send Pak 42 L/70 armed vehicles to the front as soon as possible, in July 1944 Hitler ordered an interim solution to speed up Nibelungenwerke's transition from Panzer IV production to Panzer IV/70 production. "A" stands for Alkett, a manufacturer of the StuG III that was ordered to redesign the Jagdpanzer IV superstructure to be mounted onto a standard Panzer IV chassis. The Vomag design used a modified chassis permitting a very low silhouette, mounting the superstructure onto the original Panzer IV chassis required additional vertical steel plates mounted onto the chassis to counter height differences. The resulting vehicle was about 40 cm taller and lacked the sharp edged nose of the Vomag variant. Only 278 were built by Nibelungenwerke from August 1944 to March 1945. Minor modifications and improvements were made throughout the production runs of all variants, as well as several field improvements, the most common being the addition of armour side skirts. Originally the Jagdpanzer IV's gun had a muzzle brake installed, but because the gun was so close to the ground, each time it was fired, huge dust clouds would rise up and betray the vehicle's position, leading many crews to remove the muzzle brake in the field. Later variants dispensed with the muzzle brake. Early vehicles had zimmerit applied to the hull to protect against magnetic mines, but this was discontinued after about September 1944. Later vehicles had three return rollers rather than the original four, and adopted the twin vertical exhausts typical of the late Panzer IV series. Some late vehicles also had all-steel road wheels on the first couple of bogies on each side. The Model This is the third ex-Tristar kit to be reviewed on BM and it follows the same pattern as those of the Panzer IV Tauch, reviewed HERE and the Panzer 38(T), HERE in that the box art is the same as the Tristar packaging with the colour artists impression surrounded by a yellow boarder. As with the other kits, all the parts are beautifully moulded, with the sprues and separate lower hull and turret in a sandy yellow styrene. There are fifteen sprues in the yellow styrene, one of clear styrene, one in an odd rubbery material which is apparently similar to Dragons DS, in that it can be glued using standard adhesives. There are also three sprues of dark grey styrene for the track links, three sheets of etched brass, and a smallish decal sheets. There is no sign of flash anywhere, but there are quite a few moulding pips that will need to be cleaned up. Looking at the parts count and layout, it doesn’t appear to be a complicated build, with perhaps the exception of the individual track links which I know some modellers still don’t like. Construction begins with the assembly of the road wheels, of two distinct types. Each of rear sets are made up in pairs and consist of inner and outer wheels, each with the rubber tyres and glued together with a poly style cap. The front sets are similarly built, but with styrene tyres representing the steel used on the front pairs of wheels. The leaf spring suspension for each set of wheels is made up from three parts, whilst the mounting unit on which the axles are attached are each made from four parts. The front two suspension sets on each side are then fitted with the “steel” rimmed wheels and the two rear sets, per side, are fitted with the rubber rimmed wheels. The sprockets are made up from inner and outer hubs and fitted to the gearbox cover via a shaft piece that is slid through the rear of the cover. The idlers are also made from inner and outer hubs and fitted with a separate axle part. The lower hull is then fitted with the rear bulkhead, which in turn is detailed with the two, three piece exhausts, two, three piece idler wheel mounts, a horizontal plate, two piece telephone stowage box, and the four piece towing hitch. At the front end of the lower hull the two sections of lower glacis plates are fitted, along with two angled side plates. On the underside, two lengths of what look like suspension parts are glued into position, whilst on the sides the five, three piece bump stops and four, three piece return rollers are attached. The engine bulkhead is fitted inside the lower hull, whilst at the front the two, four piece towing eyes are attached. All the wheel assemblies are now fitted to their respective positions and the six piece front upper glacis plate, plus the two five piece track guards are glued into position. The engine decking is built up from separate plates, to form a box structure, into which the intake guides are fitted and the whole section covered over with the two hatches and their grilles. The deck is further detailed with the fitting of some pioneer tools, grab handles, hinges and a two piece box. The rear mudguards are then attached, along with the rear light clusters and reflectors, with more pioneer tools and fire extinguisher being fitted to the engine decking, which has been glued to the rear of the hull. The rear of the gun and the breech block are really well detailed with nineteen parts for the rear section of the gun and another ten parts of the breech block which is glued to the rear gun section. The protective guard is then fitted, (another three parts), followed by the four part gun sight. The fighting compartment roof is fitted to its supporting frame, and then detailed on the outside with two curved rails, lifting hooks, grab handles, sight protectors and an air vent, followed by the two multi part hatches. On the inside the hatch hinges are fitted, as well as the periscopes and five piece angled sight. The hatches fitted earlier can be posed open just by rearranging the fitting of the hinges. The rear fighting compartment plate is also fitted with detail on the inside with the spent shell port, a pair of spanners and quite a few unidentifiable PE parts, whilst on the inside of the frontal armour plate there is a three piece ball assembly for a machine gun, which is covered up on the outside by are large armoured box, as well as the drives armoured viewing port. The front, rear, sides and roof of the fighting compartment are then glued together and fitted with the gun assembly from the inside, with the single piece barrel, with its armoured mounting and saukopf fitted from the outside. The completed compartment is then glued to the hull. The track assemblies are now constructed from the individual links, with the instructions showing that you will need ninety eight links per side and fitted. A length of about ten links is also assembled and glued to the upper glacis plate. At this point there are many small parts attached to the hull and fenders, including the lights, two pairs of spare wheels, two gun cradle hinges, various PE brackets and eyelets, along with the six Schürzen plate hangers per side. These are made up from two PE parts, bent to shape, and a single styrene part. The Schürzen plates are single pieces of what look like nickel plated brass and really look the part. The plates are attached to the mounting brackets by PE hangers, bent to shape and a styrene rod. The final part to be fitted is the gun cradle, which can be posed stowed or in use. Decals The small decal sheet contains markings for three vehicles, they are well printed, in register and nicely opaque. They are quite glossy and there is a fair amount of carrier film between the main numbers, but it feels quite thin so shouldn’t cause to much of a problem when applied over a gloss coat. The three vehicles are:- Panzer IV/70 of the Fuhrer Begleit Brigade, during the Ardennes Offensive, 1944 in overall dark yellow with dark green and red brown splotches. Panzer IV/70 of the 23rd Panzer Division used in Hejmakser, Hungary, 1945, also dark yellow overall but with a different style of dark green and red brown splotches. Panzer IV/70 operated by the Red Army in Vienna, Austria, 1945. Camouflage is either dark yellow overall or dark green overall. Conclusion This is a great looking kit, well detailed and not too difficult to build, although there are some very small parts, particularly PE. The Schürzen plates and their hangers are very realistic and will look great on the completed model. I’m glad that these Tristar kits haven’t been lost as they are very nice and this particular kit is should bring enjoyment to all modelling skill levels, with perhaps the exception of a total novice to PE. Very highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of