Sd.Kfz. 167 StuG. IV Mid Production - Smart Kit
Dragon, 1/35 scale
Reviewed by Cookie Sewell
|Stock Number and Description||Dragon Models Limited 1/35 scale ‘39-‘45 Series Kit No. 6582; Sd.Kfz. 167 StuG. IV Mid Production - Smart Kit|
|Media and Contents:||964 parts (669 parts in grey styrene, 216 “Magic Track” links, 50 etched brass, 16 etched nickel, 12 clear styrene, 1 twisted steel wire)|
|Price:||pre-order price US$57.95 via Dragon USA Online|
|Review Type:||First Look|
|Advantages:||Uses “Smart Kit” Pzkw. IV and StuG III components|
|Disadvantages:||Return to Magic Track links may disappoint some|
|Recommendation:||Highly Recommended for all German and “Stug” fans|
As I noted when I reviewed the first three DML StuG IV kits, it would seem a step backwards to create a self-propelled 7.5 cm gun using the Pzkw. IV chassis; after all, this same gun was already available in an all-around traverse turret on the same chassis and would seemingly be a better idea. But the Germans had a great number of doctrinal uses for self-propelled guns, and as the Alkett factory had been basically put out of business by Allied bombing (hence the end of StuG III production due to a lack of chassis) tests were made in late 1943 to fit the StuG III casemate to the Pzkw. IV chassis. The result was a success, and between December 1943 and March 1945 more than 800 of these vehicles were built. The chassis mirrored the Pzkw. IV chassis so they began using Ausf. H chassis and ended up with late model Ausf. J chassis, which is the subject of this kit.
The mid model StuG IV had a number of changes made to it and added some new items to the design, but basically was quite similar to the early model. It did in some cases apparently add the remote control mount for the MG34 or MG42 machine gun.
This kit is virtually the previous Late Production kit minus the Panzer IV/70 sprue of late production return rollers and Ausf. J exhausts and the close-in defense weapon with new decals and finishing options. Some comments have been made on the Internet as to whether or not it has the proper features (e.g. Alkett versus MIAG components) but I do not have sufficient references to sort that out.
As with the previous kits this one comes with a partial interior and all of the predetermined optional position hatches and viewers to permit an interior to be fitted to the rest of the hull. As with other recent DML kits with “schuertzen” armor shields, it provides the hangers and fittings in styrene and the plates themselves in etched nickel. Note that this version has a double-thickness fitting on the upper sections of its center three panels (MD1 parts) as well as extra bolt heads on the M sprue for each set of shields.
Unfortunately also as before, DML does not have the best directions and in the case of this vehicle – where a large number of parts are replaced with those from either new sprues or other kits – you will have to pay very close attention to find the correct parts and make any modifications (such as drilling out holes, etched brass versus styrene options, etc.) A supplemental flyleaf is included for the suspension as an example.
The kit follows its forebearers. Drivers now consist of only four parts; the separate bolts are gone. Bogies are now nine piece affairs without separate tires. New details are provided for the tow hook at the rear of the hull as well.
The upper hull again consists of a rear deck and framework with applique sides, front and rear engine intake components and fenders. The muffler has a central tube section and six add-on parts to complete it along with a “slide molded” exhaust pipe.
All ports and hatches are separate parts so they can be posed open. While no interior components for the front lower rear hull or engine compartment are yet present, the hull still provides a rudimentary firewall for the engine compartment, and the various vents and louvers are also poseable either open or closed. Note that all ports have clear styrene inserts as well.
Using the StuG III parts the kit comes with a high level of interior parts, including the gun, commander’s cupola assembly, floor, and the radios and stowage racks for various bits on each side of the casemate. A loader’s machine gun is provided for the kit, but this kit adds the narrow shield and remote control assembly as well as a new casemate roof with the mounting for the weapon.
This kit reverts to the “Magic Track” single link tracks, which are either loved or hated based on the personal preferences of the modeler.
Technical assistance on this kit was provided by Notger Schlegtendal, Tom Cockle and Gary Edmundson.
Five finishing options are provided with this kit: Unidentified Unit, East Prussia 1944 (tricolor, schuerzen, crosses, black 23); 10th SS Panzer Division “Frundsberg”, Tarnopol, Eastern Front 1944 (sand with brown squiggles, schuerzen, division F on front fender); 17th SS Panzergrenadier Division “Goetz von Berlichingen”, Normandy 1944 (sand with brown squiggles, crosses, brackets only, “Bruno”); Panzer Lehr Division, Normandy 1944 (tricolor, brackets only, black crosses); 17th SS Panzergrenadier Division “Goetz von Berlichingen”, Normandy 1944 (sand, brackets only, black crosses, tactical symbol). A very small sheet of Cartograf decals accompanies the kit.
Overall this should “complete the record” on the StuG IV.
A 37x2 Pzkw. IV Generic drivers, idlers and return rollers
A 81x2 Pzkw. IV Generic road wheels and bogies
B 17 Brummbaer - front glacis details
C 21 Pzkw. IV Generic Tools and OVM
C 27 StuG III - outer casemate details
D 3 StuG IV casemate and engine deck
E 33 StuG III - floor and interior details
F 16 StuG III - Gun mantlet and details
G 54 StuG III - smoke grenade launchers and fender details
H 57 Pzkw. IV Engine deck and details
J 12 StuG III clear styrene
J 7 German Generic Jack
K 43 StuG IV fenders and details
K 10 German Generic Antenna and tail light set
L 8 Pzkw. IV spare road wheels
L 108 Magic Track links - left
M 32+22 Schuertzen hangers and brackets
M 16x2 Bolt heads (on sprue edges)
N 5 StuG III Generic cleaning rods and OVM
P 3 StuG IV Late - roof plate, hatches
P 4 StuG IV Late - driver’s parapet, hatches
P 7 StuG IV Late - remote control MG mount
Q 6 Spare track links
R 8 Three muzzle brake styles
R 108 Magic Track links - right
S 11 StuG IV Late - details
X 1 Lower hull pan
Z 1 Twisted metal wire
WC 6 German Generic Weapons - MG-34
MA 50 Etched brass
MB 5x2 Etched nickel shields
MD 6 Etched nickel shields
Thanks to Freddie Leung for the review sample.