by: James Bella [ ]
DML’s newer Pz.IV Ausf. H and J’s include metal hull schürzen plates for better scale thickness and the ability to depict damage easier. In these kits, the front-most small plates (both straight and notched styles) are styrene, as well as the brackets and hangers. So, while we have nicely scaled main additional armor plates, all the related components, although well detailed, are over scaled.
This is one of the sets that Griffon Models offers for the DML Pz.IV’s, and includes the mounting hardware for the hull schürzen along with the front-most plates, again in both configurations.
Contained in a clear plastic bag stapled to a card backer is a single Photo-etch fret (approx. 6.75”x2.5”) along with 3 pages of instructions. This allows eight different size/style brackets to be constructed with the instructions pointing out the different configurations used. The instructions offer ‘standard’ arrangements for Early, Mid (with the filzbalg-vorschaltluftfilter) and Late, along with a ‘mixed’ configuration for late styles. (This mixed arrangement is the one that DML recommends in their instructions in kits #6300 and 6560, although the standard late style are also included but shown ‘not for use’ in DML's instructions. )
As is common with Griffon PE, most of the bolt heads are attached to the parts and need to be bent into position. This is great, as you will not need to try and attach these miniscule parts, but usually only one bend is allowed before they break off….make sure you’re bending them in the right direction.
The lower brackets on the fenders are molded on in the Dragon kits, so these will need to be removed in order to install the Griffon supplied ones. Use the styrene ones to obtain the proper angle on these, or at least a close proximity. I recommend, from recent experience, to leave the PE ones off until later in the build….we won’t talk about how many times I knocked these off by accident!
The upper brackets will need to be bent into a variety of shapes, and the instructions provide 1:1 scale drawings of these to assist in getting them right, nice touch by Griffon. Using the styrene ones as a 3-D pattern helps also.
The hanging rail with the triangular ‘hooks’ is a one piece affair and needs to have a right angle bend along its length. I’d recommend at least a 5” folding tool for these to get a good, clean, undistorted bend.
The 'hangers' for the back of the schürzen plates are also included. Two styles are included with the Griffon set: one ‘regular’ and one style that may have been a field modification when Ostketten tracks were fitted that kicks the bottom of the plates out further. Another nice addition by Griffon.
This set will enhance an already nice kit, and allow for damage to be inflicted in an easier and more realistic manner. Not a super easy set to construct, but not overly difficult either. I’d definitely recommend a folding tool capable of handling at least a 5 inch bend, and although adhesives may be fine, soldering will provide more strength due to some of the small contact areas. This set is not for the wire mesh (Thoma) style.
Of course, if you purchase this set, you’ll probably want to get the set for the turret as well.
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