Sd.Kfz. 167 StuG. IV Last 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. 6647 Sd.Kfz. 167 StuG. IV Last Production - Smart Kit|
|Media and Contents:||709 parts (635 in grey styrene, 50 etched brass, 12 clear styrene, 10 etched nickel, 2 DS Plastic track runs)|
|Price:||pre-order price US$59.95 via Dragon USA Online|
|Review Type:||First Look|
|Advantages:||Uses “Smart Kit” Pzkw. IV and StuG III components|
|Disadvantages:||Return to DS Plastic tracks 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 effectively 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 last model StuG IV mirrored the final Panzer IV versions with three new design return rollers, simplified parts all around, and the same new exhausts and remote control mount for the MG34 or MG42 machine gun.
As with the three 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 simplified shields – only five per side.
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.)
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 the last revision (!) and goes back to the DS Plastic single piece runs. Modelers seem to either love them or hate them, but they are less tedious than the single link “Magic Track” tracks.
Technical assistance on this kit was provided by Notger Schlegtendal, Thomas Anderson, Tom Cockle and Gary Edmundson.
Two finishing options are provided with this kit: Unidentified Unit, Eastern Front 1944 (tricolor, black crosses); Unidentified Unit, Eastern Front 1944 (tricolor upper hull, no shields, black crosses). A tiny sheet of Cartograf decals accompanies the kit.
Overall this the fourth and probably final “complete the record” kit on the StuG IV.
A 37x2 Pzkw. IV Generic drivers, idlers and return rollers
A 81x2 Pzkw. IV Generic road wheels and bogies
A 12 Stug III Ausf. G – details
B 17 Brummbaer - front glacis details
C 21 Pzkw. IV Generic Tools and OVM
C 27 StuG III - outer casemate details
D 53 Jagdpanzer IV/70 - return rollers, exhausts, suspension mounts
D 3 StuG IV casemate and engine deck
E 33 StuG III - floor and interior details
F 16 StuG III - Gun mantlet and details
H 57 Pzkw. IV Engine deck and details
J 12 StuG III clear styrene
J 7 German Generic Jack
K 47 StuG IV fenders and details
K 10 German Generic Antenna and tail light set
L 8 Pzkw. IV spare road wheels
N 32 Pzkw. IV - fenders, hull sides, bow, details
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
R 8 Three muzzle brake styles
S 11 StuG IV Late - details
T 29 StuG IV Last - details, schuertzen brackets
X 1 Lower hull pan
Y 2 DS Plastic track runs
MA 50 Etched brass
MB 5x2 Etched nickel shields
Thanks to Freddie Leung for the review sample.