Dragon Sd.Kfz. 167 StuG IV Early
by Cookie Sewell
Dragon Models Limited 1/72 Scale Armor-Pro series; 218 parts (170 in
grey styrene, 46 etched brass; 2 in tan DS plastic); price US $10.95
Advantages: builds on previous "late" kit and adds etched brass
and styrene Schuertzen side shields; new sprue of dedicated "early"
Disadvantages: very small parts may be hard to use; tracks have built-in
"slop" to provide sag which is not explained in directions
Rating: Highly Recommended
Recommendation: for all German armor fans
Two months after DML released their very nicely done StuG IV "Late
model" they have followed it up with the deluxe version – dubbed
"Armor Pro" series by DML – StuG IV "Early model"
kit which adds etched brass and other new parts.
As I noted in May, the Germans produced 1,108 StuG IV vehicles between
December 1943 and March 1945 plus 31 conversions from Pzkw. IV tanks;
while the Nibelungenwerke produced the converted Pzkw. IV models , Krupp
produced only StuG IV vehicles after January 1944. The "Early"
vehicles used Ausf. H chassis until July 1944 and then changed over to
the "Late" or Ausf. J chassis. The model now provides parts
for one with the H hull and single muffler and exhaust.
DML has done a beautiful job with this kit, and it is another example
of the moldmaker's art. The model comes with separate OVM, hatches, engine
access hatch, and a rough-out 7.5 cm gun. The kit provides two different
gun barrels – a flat top muzzle brake (N13) or the original kit's
round one (C21) but both use DML's now traditional pre-bored muzzle brake
(done by sliding a pin through the sprue runner when molding.)
For ease of painting tiny wheels, DML has really exceeded themselves.
Each wheel set comes molded as one pair with the disk part molded separately;
the modeler can thus paint the tire section black and then camouflage
the centers, resulting in an easy and clean method of getting the wheels
painted. A Plus for that one!
Tracks are the new DS plastic gluable vinyl, one section type, so many
modelers will be happy not to wrestle with link-and-length units here.
But as I recently found out from Freddie Leung of DML, they are designed
with "slop" built into them so that they can be "sagged"
to show wear on the vehicle. Translation: they are too long when you get
them. The good news is since they are gluable to styrene plastic a few
bare spots and cement mean that you can rig the sag into them when you
install them on the model, so you must take care and plan for it.
The directions are not for beginners, as many steps appear to be assumed,
such as how to assemble the road wheel bogies.
The model now comes with TWO sets of Schuertzen shields – one styrene
and one brass. They account for most of the 90 new parts in the kit, so
it is now up to the modeler whether to use the styrene or brass shields
on his model, or simply leave them off.
Finishing options are provided for six vehicles: 34th Infantry Division,
1945; unknown on the Gothic Line, Italy 1944; unknown, Eastern Front,
Poland 1944; 1st Panzer Division, Hungary 1945; unknown unit, Lake Balaton,
Hungary 1945; 912th Sturmgescheutz Brigade, Kurland 1945; and unknown
unit, Germany, 1945.
Overall this kit is even better than the first one, and should please
all StuG fans.
Thanks to Freddie Leung of DML for the review sample.