by: Jacob Hederstierna-Johnse [ ]
Due to combat experience against the British and French armour during ďFall GelbĒ, the invasion of the Low Countries and France, the German armed forces needed more powerful guns for penetration of the allied armor. In early March 1941 Krupp began to design a 5 cm Kw.K. L/60 with interior dimensions that matched the Rheinmetall 5 cm Pak 38 L/60. A 5 cm Kw.K. L/60 was mounted in the turret of the Pz.Kpfw.IV Ausf.D Fgst.Nr.80668 (chassis number) for a demonstration for Hitler's birthday on 20 April 1941. Plans to produce 80 Pz.Kpfw.IV with 5 cm Kw.K. L/60 at the Nibelungenwerk from August 1941 were subsequently cancelled. Later the Pz.Kpfw. IVís were fitted with the 7, 5 cm. KwK L/43.
The kit comes in the familiar sized box from Dragon Models, with a nice box art from Auletto (?), who has done an excellent art work. On the sides on the bottom of the box, all the great special features are depicted. All the sprues and other parts come in clear plastic bags. Thereís over 480 parts in the box, but as usual, a lot of them are not to be used for this kit. The kit contains the following:
22 sprues molded in grey styrene
2 sprues molded in clear styrene
1 turret top part
A set of DS Tracks
1 fret of PE
1 very small decal sheet the decal sheet for Dragon Models Pz.Kpfw. IV ausf D (DAK) TP
1 instruction booklet
This kit is from Dragon Models ďSmart KitĒ range, which means less small parts and easier assembly. There are over 20 different sprues and a lot of parts not for use, so it might get a bit busy on the work bench. And youíll have quite a bit for the spare box, too.
The construction of the boogies is pretty much straight forward. Dragon Models give you two options for the drive sprocket; one is the usual two part sprocket wheel, the other one contains of no less than 7 parts. Both have very nice details. The road wheels, idler wheels and return rollers are all in Dragon Models usual great standard, with lots of crisp details.
Dragon Models provides the lower hull tub in one slide molded piece, which is loaded with details, especially the many rivets are looking good.
The rear armor plate has some nice details as well. The track tension mechanism looks really good, but has 8 parts to it, which might make the construction a bit fiddly for such a small part. When fitting the arm for the idler wheel, leave it loose, this might come in handy, when fitting the tracks later on.
Hidden away behind the final drive housing is a rather nice looking sprocket wheel, which wonít be visible when assembled. It might come in handy, if one chooses to build a vehicle, which is undergoing repairs.
This building stage starts with the construction of the frontal armor plate, containing the driverís visors and the radio operatorís machine gun. Both parts are excellent executed and holds superb details, especially the interior details are great.
Dragon Models even provide us with parts of the fan in the engine room, which adds a lot to the realism, but unfortunately there is no engine to go with this. All the different hatches are well detailed on both the inside and outside, and can all be build open or closed.
These are really great looking fenders. There are excellent details on both sides and the tools are of the highest quality of molding. It would have been nice, if Dragon Models provided us with some PE for the tool clasps, as this would really add to realism. The ventilation plates can be build either open or closed, and the small wing nuts for these are indeed very well cast and small, so be careful that they donít go ďPingĒ, and to be seen again.
Dragon Models provides a set of DS Tracks for this kit. Itís beautifully molded, with nice and crisp details, but as said so many times before, I donít like them. Iím a Magic Track guy, and I really wish, that Dragon Models would give us back these kinds of tracks. Or even better include both kinds, so the modeler could choose for themselves which ones to use. It really canít be that expensive, as they already have the molds and all.
Hereís something you donít see every day; an interior. Dragon Models has provided some of the basic interior details for the turret, and this is really nice. Looks to me to be the same interior details, which were in the early Pz.Kpfw. IV ausf E, and this is a great addition to the kit. Having such large turret hatches, this will make things look a little busy, when looked through. I wish this would become standard for all Dragon Modelsí kits, as it gives this kit an extra edge in quality.
The commanderís cupola is also very detailed, and is build up by 14 parts, where the vision block parts are molded in clear styrene. The vision blocks can be build open or closed.
Painting and markings
This being a prototype vehicle, with no production runs, only the German Balkan crosses are to be used. These are located on the very small decal sheet provided in the kit. This review kit also contained a decal sheet from Dragon Models earlier release of the Pz.Kpfw. IV ausf D (DAK) TP, which is very nice to have for the spare decal box, but they are of no use for this particular vehicle. One paint guide is given:
Pz.Kpfw: IV ausf D, St. Johann, Tirol, 1942, which is to be in the early war over all German Panzer grey.
This is truly a very nice kit, with lots of crisp details and excellent moldings. The subject is almost paper panzer, but not really, since at least one was produced. This gives a very limited artistic freedom, but being a one of a kind, it also gives you something a bit different than one of the standard Pz. IVís. I highly recommend this kit.