Panzer IV/70 (A) Sd.Kfz.162/1
Tristar 1:35 Scale Kit No. 35048
Review by Terry Ashley

Tristar continues their line of Panzer IV kits with this new kit of the Panzer IV/70 (A) which is arguably one of the more exotic of production Panzers but was basically an interim design with only 278 built before the introduction of the more streamlined Panzer IV/70 (V) with both using the 7.5cm KwK42 L/70 gun.

The Kit:
This consists of 830 parts in light beige plastic with a further 288 individual track links in the same plastic, 5 in clear plastic, 87 etched parts on two frets, 128 parts in black vinyl plus a large sheet of woven metal mesh for the side Schürzen mesh panels. Also included is a printed template for cutting the Schürzen to the correct size plus the usual decal sheet and 10 page fold out instruction sheet.

Etched parts
Clear parts

As you might expect much of the kit lower hull/running gear is from the recent Sturmpanzer IV kit (35038) with new parts or the superstructure and gun with alternate road wheel parts for the standard and steel dish road wheels used on the front bogies as well as the bonus inclusion of the figures and equipment from the previously released German Panzer Grenadiers Set Vol.2 (kit #35005).

Many of the sub-assemblies such as the superstructure and rear engine deck are in multiple parts which while allowing good detail definition and the option of open access panels/hatches will obviously require additional assembly time over kits with less parts breakdown.

The standard of moulding is very good overall with crisp details although some moulding seams are quite pronounced and there is some very fine flash on a more than a few parts plus some mating surfaces will need to be smoothed out for a better fit as some of the older parts need a little more cleanup.

Dimensionally the kit measures up very well with available data and the 1:35 plans in available references such as Panzer Tracts and the recent Model Art AFV Profile 1 Jagdpanzer L/70 “Lang” in all areas including hull, superstructure, running gear and barrel length.

Lower Hull:
The lower hull tub with this kit is a “standard” tub with interior consisting of just the rear engine compartment bulkhead along with underside panel and bolt details with all other parts separate.

These include the long suspension channels either side of the underside but these will need the mating surfaces cleaned as there is a little flash present on mine. The return roller and suspension bump stop mountings are also separate and the left side fuel filler covers are in two parts allowing these to be shown open if you wish.

The front hull includes the additional armour panels added to the vehicles to which is added the front tow shackle mountings made up of 4 parts each.

The rear plate is also separate with additional separate parts for the idler mountings, central fillet, tow shackles and separate port covers and side mounted lifting hooks. The kit includes the later Panzer IV style vertical exhaust pipes with flame dampeners but the earlier large horizontal muffler and rear plate parts are still included in the kit although not mentioned in the instructions obviously should you wish to build a different configuration?

The running gear has a number of alternate parts from the previous Panzer IV kits leaving some for the spares box and you have to be careful to use correct parts for this kit as indicated in the instructions.

The drive sprockets are in the usual two halves with nice bolt head detail around the rims on both sides of both sprockets and good spoke detail and the final drive housings also have excellent details with separate parts for the armoured covers with everything fitting together without any problems.

The road wheels feature excellent rib detail on the wheels with the small weld beads around the outer rim and have the separate vinyl rubber tyres with the full sidewall embossing of “Continental” and tyre data for excellent representations. The only issue here is you have to use a very sharp blade to cut the vinyl tyres from the runners and there will be the resulting cut scar which is quite difficult to eliminate with this medium.

There are alternate hub caps provided and you should use those as indicated in the instructions with different hub caps used on the standard and steel wheels so take care.

The idler wheels are the cast rib style for the IV/70(A) that feature excellent detail included cast effect on the central hubs and the return rollers are also the cast type without rubber wheels located in four positions, this configuration in conjunction with the flame exhausts does exists in period photos along with versions with tube idlers and return rollers in just the three positions.

The kit includes the “normal” type suspension bogies only but period photos don’t show any discernable compression of the front bogies despite the additional weight towards the front of these vehicles.

Assembly of the bogie units is very quick and straightforward with the spring unit being glued into the main axle mount and the appropriate end cap added. The main axle mount and spring is then slipped into the mounting and over the larger locating pin with the smaller inner axle mounting slipped over the smaller locating pin. The outer smaller axle mount is then glued with a small dab of glue to the inner axle mount and the round bogie cap is attached and it's all done allowing the suspension to articulate after assembly if you want to animate this for a diorama setting.

The assembled bogies fit neatly to the hull sides along with the bump stops and as mentioned you should leave off the idler axle until fitting the tracks to ensure proper track tension.

The glacis has separate brake and transmission inspection hatches with the correct open intakes on the brake covers and while you can show these open there is not interior unless you add you own from any of the available resin sets, there is also etched brackets for the spare track rack.

The large travel lock is provided plus the two small mounting brackets attached to the front of the glacis, the travel lock is shown fitting into holes in the Saükopf sides but it should actually locate at the Saükopf/barrel junction.

The fenders are full length with separate mud guard front and back sections with additional side sections at the front with small plastic “springs” added at the guard join. The upper tread plate pattern is quite subtle but okay while there is no detail on the undersides of the fenders with indentations in the lower hull tub to properly seat the fenders when attached. Added to the fenders is the Bosch head light in 4 parts for a nicely detailed item.

The individual link track included in the kit is the lightweight 40cm track with solid guide horns and there are also separate ice cleats to use as required. The links are handed and numbered differently (part 1 and 2) on the sprues so take care not to mix the links. Detail on the links is nicely done with well-defined cast link detail with just a very small amount of flash on the links in my kit and what little there is can easily be removed with a sharp #11 blade.

Each link has two sprue attachment burs that need removing and are not workable being designed to just glue together to form the track runs.

Engine Deck:
This is quite an elaborate multi-part assembly with the upper deck having cut-outs for the engine access doors and additional separate parts for the deck sides, intake louvers and rear plate as well as the doors with separate louvers.

The two doors have louvers included with additional inner louver panels to give the overlap of the louvers as they should be as well as the coolant access cover being in two separate parts along with separate locks and grab handle on the right door and you can easily show the doors open if you wished to add a resin interior.

Added to the rear deck are the multi-part jack and other pioneer tools that are normally carried on the fenders with all having moulded on tool clips other than the jack which has the two clips as separate parts.

The large superstructure is another multi-part assembly made up of 6 main parts for the front and driver’s plate, sides, rear and top plates with additional parts for the hatches, driver’s visor and rear wall details. The front plate has the driver’s visor with two outer and one inner part while the rear wall has the ventilator dome.

All the panels have the large interlocking notches with subtle weld texturing although this could do with roughing up to improve the appearance with test fitting not showing any problems.

The roof has separate Commander’s and Loader’s hatch but for some reason Tristar have the Loader’s hatch opening sideways when it should actually open to the rear the same as the Commander’s hatch. If showing the hatch open you will have to reposition the two inner hinges (parts F-53, F-54) accordingly.

Other items include the periscopes in clear plastic, the sight periscope, grenade launcher with outer cover and separate bolted guides for the sliding sight aperture opening as well as an etched part for the cover itself.

The large outer gun mantlet has a fairly sizable mould seam around the middle to be removed and you may want to add some surface texturing as the mantlet has a smooth finish, the outer Saükopf is also smooth with just a weld seam along the centre line and this to do with added texturing.

The kit includes the full multi-part gun breech and mounting that included the breech with sliding breech block, control wheels side guards and detailed main sight with the gun assembly fitting into the forward mounting to allow the small degree of travers of the actual gun.

The long barrel is moulded on one piece with hollowed out muzzle that includes rifling although this is bit chunky plus the fine mould seam to be removed with the barrel fitting though the Saükopf , mantlet and into the gun mounting.

The separate side Schürzen mesh skirts are provided as commercial aluminium weave mesh in a single large sheet with printed templates to cut the skirts for each side, as the mesh is quite thick this may take a bit of effort to get the edges straight. There are thin etched strips to add along the cut edges although these are not called out in the instructions plus the mesh weave isn’t really that of the actual mesh skirts as well as being over-scale but as I haven’t fully assembled the skirts the jury is out on the final appearance once on the kit?

These are attached to the hull sides by way of a long top plastic rod with thinly moulded mounting brackets plus etched panels for the front of the Schürzen and small plastic and etched brackets to clip the skirts to the side mountings.

Included with the kit are the four Panzer Grenadier figures from the previously released set German Panzer Grenadiers Vol.2 (kit #35005) with the detail on the uniforms and faces/hands very well done for plastic figures and will assemble easily with it basically your choice of painting as three wear the reversible winter parkas.

The selection of weapons and personal gear is also excellent with nicely detailed weapons that include 3 x Kar98 rifles with separate breech bolt, 3 x MP40, 2 x MP44, 2 x G-43 rifles and a single MG 43 with tripod stand and a couple of ammo tins. The figures can be used in any diorama situation with the vehicle or anywhere you like really.

The small decal sheet just has balkenkreuz and vehicle numbers for three vehicles, two German and one captured in Russian markings. Tristar
The large foldout instruction sheet has detailed exploded view drawings of the assembly sequences and due to the number of parts some are quite busy and you will have study these carefully before proceeding.

But if care is taken there shouldn’t be any problems and it also appears that Tristar have fixed the numerous instruction bloopers from the Sturmpanzer IV kit.

Overall this is very nicely done kit of the Panzer IV/70 (A) with good detail on the parts and is dimensionally accurate but the number of parts means this is not an overnight build.

The multi-part superstructure and engine decks will require additional assembly obviously but resulting detail is worth the extra effort. There are few detail issues such as the travel lock and Loader’s hatch that aren’t difficult to fix and the inclusion of the different track is also a nice bonus.

The side side Schürzen mesh skirts are somewhat out of scale but overall the kit should build into an attractive model without too manu problems.

Rating 8/10

The Sprues:

Click on thumbnails for larger view
Sprue detail images
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Sd.Kfz. 6 - 5 ton Zugkraftwagen,
Büssing - NAG and variants

Nuts & Bolts Volume 39
Model Art AVF Profile 1
Jagdpanzer L/70 "Lang"

Thanks to Tristar Models for the review kit.

Page created July 20, 2011

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