continues to produce some of the finest aftermarket photo etch sets available today. Being the new kid on the block, itís inevitable that there will be some growing pains. I have yet to see a company who hasnít. Unfortunately, this set is one of them, along with their confusing instruction sheets. It pains me to say that. So far Iíve loved the sets Iíve had my hands on from them.
This set is the fender replacement for the Dragon Jagdpanzer IV L/70, reviewed here on Armorama
. Itís not a large set, but for the photo etch junkie , itís a crucial one. Hereís what you get ..
ē 2 photo etch frets
ē 1 length steel wire
ē 2 springs for rear fenders
ē 1 sheet of instructions printed front & back
The detail quality is excellent, with proper bolt and rivets where they should be. The front and rear fenders are designed to be workable. Both are hinged which requires a length of the steel wire and hinges provided as photo etch parts. There are even two tiny springs for the rear fenders, which are common for the Panzer IV series.
The instructions come as a single sheet, printed on front and back. There are no numbered steps to follow, you simply have to figure that one out. It begins with the front fender hinge assembly. There are four holes on both the fender and track guard for locating the two hinges properly. The next step is the front fenders. Here it simply shows them fully assembled, with no indication of how to fold them, or even mounting the hinges to them. Neither does it show which are the left and the right sides. The next step shows the assembly of the track guards. No indication of left or right, and only shows the right side assembly. The rivets are supposed to be pressed out with a ball point pen. This is only shown on the rear fenders, but should also be done on the track guards as well.
One major flaw on the instructions concerns the need to remove the molded on bracing from the kit part, which runs along the length of the hull, (shown in photo highlighted in red). This was something I had not considered when assembling the model, and I only noticed it once the upper hull assemblies had been attached to the lower hull. Using a chisel from Mission Models, an Xacto blade and scalpel, I removed all the raised bracing from the hull. It wouldíve been much easier to do before assembly, and should have been mentioned in the instructions.
Once your able to figure out the instructions, assembly is quite easy if you already have some photo etch experience. The parts are quite easy to bend. For the small parts I was able to use a straight edged pair of tweezers, but for the main track guard it required the use of a folding tool. Once all the parts are assembled, the big let downs becomes evident. For starters, the original Dragon track guard parts have a portion of the fighting compartment interior molded on. When replaced by the Orange Hobby guards, that interior portion will be left out, allowing the track guards to be seen from the inside. This isnít a big deal if you plan on closing the hatches or having a crew in them. But for the interior details, this area will need some work to make it proper on the inside.
Now for the major let down. Ready for this? The Orange Hobby track guards are a bit too wide for the kit! The Dragon kit parts measure 13.5mm wide, while the Orange Hobby parts measure 14mm wide. That doesnít seem like much of a difference. But thatís one of the noticeable features on the Jagdpanzer. The track guards are flush with the fighting compartment side armor. When using the Orange Hobby parts, they will protrude the extra .5mm (see photo). You might think you could remove the extra .5mm from the lower hull to compensate, but that becomes an issue at the front part of the hull. Youíd have to cut into the front glacis plate. I also considered just using the Orange Hobby front and rear fenders along with the Dragon track guard assembly. That wouldnít work either. The fenders are also 14mm wide, and on top of that, the hinge assemblies on the Orange Hobby fenders are too far off. The outer hinge would be right on the edge of the Dragon track guard. That can be fixed, but the width of the fenders could not.
There you have it. While the set is detailed and the engineering is very nice, the dimensions will be a concern. I will note this; according to Doyles drawings in Panzer Tracts the dimensions of the track guards in 1/35th scale are 14mm. So Orange Hobby did get the dimensions correct scale wise, but since Dragon was off by .5mm, and this set was intended to replace those, then they should have been 13.5mm as well in order to fit properly.
With that said, I still donít see how I could recommend this set, not simply because of .5mm, but because that extra Ďlipí will be noticed on the completed model.