DML 1/35 Pz.Kpfw.IV Ausf.G LAH Division, Kharkov 1943 - Smart Kit First Look
|Date of Review||October 2007||Manufacturer||DML|
|Subject||Pz.Kpfw.IV Ausf.G LAH Division, Kharkov 1943 - Smart Kit||Scale||1/35|
|Kit Number||6363||Primary Media||743 parts (486 parts in grey styrene, 216" Magic Track" links, 25 etched brass, 15 clear styrene, 1 twisted steel wire)|
|Pros||Inevitable follow-up to the F2 kit, adds correct parts for the newer model of the tank; "Smart Kit" makes assembly much simpler and easier||Cons||Probably not enough etched brass or mixed media parts to suit some modelers|
|Skill Level||Intermediate||MSRP (USD)||$40-45|
As was obvious to many modelers and "old hands" when DML released its outstanding Pzkw. IV Ausf.F2 kit a few months back, an Ausf.G was certain to follow as well as the Ausf.H. Now the Ausf.G is here, and DML appears to have done its homework on this kit.
The F2 was an interim fix to provide a more powerful (e.g. T-34 killing) 7.5 cm gun and used a new KwK L/43 gun in the Ausf.F chassis. The Ausf.G was a full-up production model which also incorporated other changes, such as eliminating the vision ports on the forward sides of the turret. A new double-baffle muzzle brake was introduced soon after production commenced and later the newer KwK L/48 gun was introduced into the production line. Very late models had new design drivers and the driver lost his episcope. Very late production Gs also added the "Schurtzen" plates and thus late Gs appeared very much like the succeeding Ausf.H.
Based on those indicators, the DML kit appears to represent an early production Ausf.G with the new muzzle brake on the KwK L/43 gun and the aforementioned missing vision flaps. All of the rest of the bits have come directly from the Ausf.F2 kit.
As with the Ausf.F2, this kit has a new hull pan which is complete less the stern plates, separate final drives, and much of the surface detail simulates screw or bolt holes; it also has an applique lower glacis plate. Drivers now consist of only four parts; the separate bolts are gone. Bogies are now nine piece affairs without separate tires.
The upper hull consists of a 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 not present, the hull does come with a rudimentary firewall for the engine compartment, and the various vents and louvers are also posable either open or closed. The bow also comes with a well-done machine gun and ball mount. Note that all ports have clear styrene inserts as well.
The turret is relatively conventional in its parts breakdown, but the KwK 40 is unique. The barrel is nearly complete in regard to length, being trapped between the recoil cylinders at the rear and slid through the armored recoil cover and barrel jacket before having the muzzle brake installed; this is only in styrene, but a metal part could be provided later in an upgrade set. But in this kit the F2 "ball" type muzzle brake is now missing. Other than the gun and a very well done commander's cupola of 18 parts (5 are optional) there is only a minimal interior for the turret, however.
Etched brass is kept to a minimum and only covers items such as the engine air intake louvers, some small brackets, and the flaps for the engine air intakes on the sides of the rear deck.
Tracks are the "Magic Track" snap-together-then-cement type, and modelers are advised to recall that when facing the head card the left side track links are on the left and right are on the right; glad DML simplified that as before I needed a 10x jeweler's loupe to tell which was which!
A total of five finishing options are provided: 6th SS Panzergrenadier Regiment, 1st SS Panzergrenadier Division "LAH", 1943 (red 205, whitewash over what appears to be grey); 1st SS Panzergrenadier Division "LAH", 1943 (red 215, whitewash over what appears to be grey); 3rd SS Panzergrenadier Regiment, 3rd SS Panzergrenadier Division "Totenkopf," Kharkov 1943 (white 332, grey); Panzergrenadier Regiment "Grossdeutschland," Panzergrenadier Division "Grossdeutschland," Russia 1943-1944 (white 702, whitewash); 1st Panzer Division, Greece 1943 (white 714, grey). Decals are again from Cartograf.
Credits include project supervision by Hirohisa Takada, technical drawings by Shin Okada and technical assistance from Tom Cockle, Gary Edmundson, and Notger Schlegtendal.
Overall this continues the "Smart Kit" redo of older DML kits, and as such most modelers will be pleased by the upgrades.
Thanks to Freddie Leung of Dragon Models USA for the review sample.
Sprue Breakdown: (all labeled as Pzkw. IV generic)
- A 37x2 Drivers, idlers and return rollers
- A 81x2 Road wheels and bogies
- B 43 Turret base and details, gun breech
- C 19 OVM and pioneer tools
- C 8 Jack and details
- E 35 Hull details and gun barrel
- F 15 Commander's cupola
- F 8 Spare track links
- G 52 Turret and hull ports, smoke grenade launchers
- H 57 Engine deck and details
- K 2 Fenders
- J 2 Hull top and turret top
- J 8 Machine guns
- L 108 "Magic Track" left side
- M 15 clear styrene
- R 108 "Magic Track" right side
- Y 1 Lower hull pan
- Z 1 Twisted metal wire
- MA 25 Etched brass