The Panzer IV was the mainstay tank of Germany during WWII, with nearly 9,000 produced. It was successively improved throughout its lifetime in the areas of armament and armor, resulting in a number of variants. Interestingly, the final version of this tank was the Ausf.J, which could be considered somewhat as a retrograde design compared to the preceding Ausf.H. This is because the design needed to be simplified to speed up production in order to replace heavy combat losses. Main changes included the removal of the electric turret traverse system, with the turret having to be turned manually. The space was taken up with an auxiliary 200-liter fuel tank that increased the road range to 320km. Pistol and vision ports were removed, while the side skirts were replaced by wire mesh screens. A total of about 435 Panzer IV Ausf.Js were produced in 1945.
Dragon has released a number of 1/35 scale kits of the Panzer IV family, and now comes the most anticipated version of all a Panzer IV Ausf.J Last Production. Almost all of the components for this tank come from brand new moldings, including upper hull, chassis and side skirts. The side skirts themselves are items worthy of comment. Up till now, this type of side skirt made use of nylon mesh that unfortunately didnt look wholly authentic. However, this model uses metal mesh that precisely mimics the original. Details on this kit are of the finest standard, and as a Smart Kit it is finely engineered. To make it even more desirable, Ron Volstad has created the stunning box art for this kit. Thanks to the subject and the high standard of this kit, this new Panzer IV Ausf.J variant is a must-have for modelers.
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