by: Todd Michalak [ ]
Resulting from of the outcries from Germany’s Waffenamt for development of a new tank destroyer during the Second World War, plans for the Sturmgeschutz neuer Art mit 7.5cm PaK L/48 auf Fahrgestell PzKpfw IV (Sd.Kfz.162), known to most as the Jagdpanzer IV, were set in motion and the design process was underway in early 1943. After prototypes and an initial production run, the first Jagdpanzer IV’s rolled off the line starting in January of 1944. Due issues in gaining an acceptable marrying of the 75mm L/70 gun into these tanks, the 75mm Pak 39 L/48 was utilized. Production of this new Jagdpanzer IV would continue until November of that year resulting in a total production of 769 of these tank killers.
Jagdpanzer IV L/48 July 1944 Production w/Zimmerit
Dragon Model Limited (DML) recently released their latest kit of their family of Jagdpanzer IV’s. The Jagdpanzer IV L/48 July 1944 Production (6369) is presented in DML’s traditional packaging of the slip-top box and as you would guess, jammed-packed with parts. Going by what is written on the box, this kit represents a July 1944 production of the Jagdpanzer IV L/48 (Sd.Kfz.162). There are a total of 497 parts included in this kit, and judging from the parts legend where it shows the unused parts in blue, 386 will be used. As you can see in the pictures, I have shaded the parts not used in this kit.
• 1 - Lower hull section
• 17 - Grey-colored styrene sprues
• 2 - Clear styrene sprues
• 2 - Lengths of DS tracks
• 1 – Sheet of photo etch parts
• 1 – Decal sheet
• 1 – Set of Instructions
After dumping the entire contents of the box out to have a good look at things, the first thing noticed is the typical and rather large pile of familiar parts included in previous Jagdpanzer IV kits. As some of you might have guessed by now, this is basically a re-boxing of some parts from previously released kits. The Jagdpanzer IV L/48 is set on the Pz. IV platform, DML provides the standard offering of their classic Pz.Kpfw. IV lower end that we have seen in many other kits presented by them which includes the hull, suspension, road wheels, sprockets and idlers. There a couple of options of idlers and return rollers within the box, so care in choosing the correct version is advised. More familiar parts are the rear deck and deck parts which are supplied with all of the Pz. IV kits and variants.
The bulk of this kit is basically made up from the parts from the previously released Jagdpanzer IV/70(V) AUG. 1944 Production w/zimmerit, No.6589. More or less, DML repacked the Jagdpanzer IV L/70 and added the L/48 gun creating a new kit. The slide-molded L/48 barrel has been rendered with a decent attempt with the muzzle break’s threads showing; however, the molding process actually gave a strange difference in the thread pattern from one side to the other. In the photo of the threads for the muzzel (Note barrel is one-piece slide mold) you can see one side has a high and low thread pattern. This is subtle, but seen nevertheless. One side seems to have deeper grooves than the other. Special care will be needed to correct the threading issue either through detail sanding, threading a nut of the appropriate size to cut all of the threads the same or simply purchasing a inexpensive barrel replacement.
As previously offered in the earlier L/70 kit, the side-skirt armor is molded in styrene and each skirt is one piece and although plastic, they have a decent thin appearance. This means without any special modifications, you have the choice of the Schützen either being installed…or not...that is unless you cut the skirts into individual parts and install separately. The brackets are similar to ones seen in the recent release and do add decent level of detailing.
Since the Jagdpanzer IV L/48 had zimmerit installed on the various parts, DML included the sprue containing the casemate, fenders and mantlet from the previously released Jagdpanzer IV L/70 kit, 6589. The ball mounting plate is included for the new Jagdpanzer IV L/48 and is on the sprue marked “E”. On this same sprue, there is located the glacis plate. After looking through the instructions and giving close examination of the glacis, it appears that part that the instructions call for, “E1”, is the incorrect part. The part, “E1”, appears to be the thinner 60mm armor plate installed prior to May of 1944; however, the kit does provide the correct glacis in the 80mm version with part “L1”.
The casmate to the kit, while the same as provided in 6589, is nicely detailed and the option of styrene or photo etch for the gunner’s sight slide is given. The hatches can be displayed in the open position. In the end though, the casemate ends up to be an empty box inside. There are the usual detailed breech to the gun and a set of radio equipment provided for mounting to the firewall but that is about it. The clear parts included with the set provides the usual periscopes and sighting scopes. There is a clear part for the convoy light provided with this kit as well.
This kit comes with two lengths of DS tracks. The lack of the inclusion of Magic Track links to the kit will most certainly be a sore spot with some, if not most, who might be interested in the kit. Despite the endless debate over tracks, my personal feelings are that the DS track do have the potential to look nice when the time to finish and make an attempt to install them with the correct sag but the individual links do respond better for positioning as well as being more appealing to a wider group of modelers.
There is a tiny sheet of photo etch provided with this kit. Similar to the sheet provided with the 6589 kit, the engine grills have been removed and the cover plate for the periscope added. There is a very small sheet of decals provided with the kit. These are cleanly printed and from Cartograf. With the provided painting guide in the instructions the following depictions can be created:
• Pz.Jgd.Abt “Heersgruppe Mitte”, Warsaw 1944
• Pz.Gren.Div “Hermann Goering”, East Prussia 1945
• Unknown Pz.Jg.Abt., 1945
Finally, included in this kit is the all-pervading instructions from DML. These are presented in the black and white, exploded view format with blue notations to show the installation of any photo etch parts. The parts legend at the beginning of these instruction highlights the parts not required in the building of this kit. There are 19 steps to the construction process and care should be taken for the possible omission and/or reversal of part numbers that have been known to pop up.
All in all, the Jagdpanzer IV L/48 July 1944 Production w/Zimmerit from Dragon Model Limited is a nicely detailed kit throughout. While this is more or less a re-boxing of the previously released Jagdpanzer IV L/70(v) kit, 6589 kit with the inclusion of the 75mm Pak 39 L/48 allowing for the construction of the earlier version of the Jagdpanzer; however, if you like, the L/70 barrel setup is included with the kit and a decent version of either tank can be made. The lack of supplying the traditional Magic Tracks in this kit will be enough to set a few people off; however, the DS tracks provided do work out well under the right care, especially with the installation of the Schützen since most of the upper run will be hidden from view. This will not please some I am sure, but I suspect they would be purchasing some form of aftermarket track links anyway. I am on the fence a little about the L/48 barrel and whether or not I like it. I do think that DML could have put a little more time and effort into its molding and at least made the thread pattern the same on both sides. Although cleaning of the barrel would not be too hard, and to be honest, it would be simply easier replacing the barrel with an aftermarket turned piece since the low cost of a barrel outweighs trying to clean it up the end.
In addition, here are some mixed feelings, I am sure, about the look of the zimmerit designed by DML but the overall look is acceptable and should render the desired effect. I do know that the re-boxing of a kit can be a bitter pill to swallow for many folks who seem to be shocked every time when Dragon tosses some parts into a box adding a different sprue and creating a new kit. But since there is very little difference between the July L/48 and August L/70 version of the Jagdpanzer IV besides the gun, it only makes sense from a manufacturer’s standpoint. The already decent kit existed minus the L/48 barrel, I suppose there was no real reason to create a whole new kit to update the gap-filling version of the tank.
For those of you who enjoyed the Jagdpanzer IV/70(V) AUG. 1944 Production w/zimmerit 6589 kit…you will enjoy the Jagdpanzer IV L/48 July 1944 Production (6369)! For those of you expecting a newly designed kit with Magic Tracks…then maybe not so much. In the end, the basic fact remains that this is a solid kit and should build up nicely into a decent representation of the Jagdpanzer IV L/48 as seen in July of 1944. With that, I would recommend this kit to any model builder who is a fan of Jagdpanzer IV family of tanks.