by: Jacob Hederstierna-Johnse [ ]
The Jagdpanzer IV was developed in late 1943, and the first production vehicle rolled off the production line in January 1944. Due to production problems with the originally planned 75 mm. L/70 gun, the first batch was armed with the 75 mm. PaK 39 L/48 guns. The production of the vehicles with the L/48 gun ended in November 1944, while the L/70 version ran from August 1944 until the end of the war. Some crews removed the muzzle breaks, because the pressure wave from the shot created too much dust around the vehicle’s position, which both gave away its position to the enemy, and blocked the sighting towards the enemy. Between 769 and 784 L/48’s was produced.
The kit comes in the old familiar Dragon/Cyber Hobby sized box, with the Orange box style artwork. This is a “Super value set”, which means it also features a figure set from Dragon, in this case the “Kampfgruppe Von Luck” (Normandy 1944. The sprues come in clear sealed plastic bags, and the whole kit contains over 300 parts and includes the following:
10 sprues molded in grey styrene
1 separate hull tub
1 fret of photo etched parts
2 lengths of DS Tracks
1 small decal sheet
1 instruction booklet in both color and black and white.
This Cyber Hobby kit is actually a re-production of an old Dragon kit, which dates far back in their catalog. It is up-dated only by added DS Tracks, instead of the indi tracks, which were in the original kit. Being an elderly lady, the details in this kit are not up to date. Before starting, you may have to get out your reading glasses, because the instruction booklet is very small, making the drawings and numbers hard to see and read. It’ about half the size of the normal instruction booklets produced by Dragon! It doesn’t make things better, that some of the pages are printed out of focus, which makes the numbers even harder to make out.
The build starts off with assembling the drive sprockets, road wheels and idler wheels. The track tension mechanism is made up of 5 parts, but leaves the idler wheel arm un-glued. This will help you to get the right tension of the tracks, when these are fitted, especially if you choose to use AM single link tracks. The undersides of the hull tub has some nice bolt and rivet detail, but remember to remove the markings for the fitting of the return roller arms, since these might be visible when assembled. The front and rear lover hull parts are pretty straight forward. Again, remember to remove the shown parts of the hull tub. It will be more difficult to do, when the lower hull is fully assembled.
Last of the lower hull assembly is fitting the tracks, but I’d advice to wait with this, since it will be easier to paint both hull and tracks separate. Next is the assembly of the roof of the gun casemate. The hatches can be open or closed, which is nice, and the scissor binoculars can be raised or lowered. The paint guide shows the inside of the hatches to be painted in white, but these were painted in the exterior vehicle color, since white would be very easy to spot by the enemy.
Then the roof part and the frontal armor is fitted to the upper hull, together with the driver’s periscope, towing eyes, Bosch head light and tools.
The next six steps are the assembly of the engine deck. There are a lot of different tools fitted on the rear deck, and though they aren’t bad, I would probably use some newer designed ones, which have crisper details. Now for the gun; the kit actually gives you two options for the gun; one with the muzzle brake and one without. The instructions tell you to cut off the end of the gun barrel, but this should only be done, if you choose the version with the muzzle brake. If you want to depict your model without, don’t cut the threaded piece off the barrel, because the muzzle brake was screwed on the barrel, so the threads have to be visible. The gun mantlet is molded with some nice cast texture, and Cyber Hobby has even provided us with finely molded numbers on the C sprue, which enable you to make casting numbers on the gun mantlet. This great option, however, is not mentioned in the instruction, which is kind of strange, since it’s a great detail. The final assembly is the fitting of the skirt hangers and the exhaust, which come in five parts.
Cyber Hobby provides an older set of Dragon figures, the “Kampfgruppe Von Luck” (Normandy 1944). This contains four German Wehrmacht soldiers in fighting/action poses. They are nicely molded, and their poses look very natural and realistic. As with many of Dragons figure sets, they can be made into a nice little diorama as they are. Three of the soldiers wear a camouflage smock over the uniform two in the new Wehrmacht camouflage pattern and one in the traditional splinter pattern. Two of these wear camouflage helmet covers in Wehrmacht splinter pattern. The fourth soldier is wearing his Zeltbahn, shelter quarter, as a poncho, which was a wildly used practice in the German army. The soldiers are using an array of different weapons; an MP 40, Kar. 98, Kar. 98 with riffle grenade launcher, G 43 and hand grenades. All of them are wearing full battle gear with ammo pouches, bread bags, entrenchment tools, water canteens, etc. A well executed set.
Painting and markings
Cyber Hobby gives you four options for painting and marking:
Unidentified unit, Eastern front 1944
Pz.Abt.228, 116. Pz.Div.,Normandy 1944
Unidentified unit, Normandy 1944
Pz.Div. “LAH”, Normandy 1944
As said before, this is not a new kit, and Dragon/Cyber Hobby has come a long way since. The details are not as crisp as in their new kits. But it’s a nice vehicle, which has a lot of potential. There’s a whole bunch of AM for this Panzer out there, and if you’re beginner, this could be a good starter project.
I must say, though, that I think the title “Value pack” might be a bit overrated. I don’t think an extra set of old figures and a switch to DS Tracks makes this “value”. In my humble opinion there should have been at least some newly tooled tools for the vehicle included, Magic Tracks, Jerry cans and some 2nd GEN. weapons. That would be more of a “value pack” to me.