ARM: Review - 1/35 scale Pzkw. IV Ausf. D "Vorpanzer"

Kit Review: 1/35 scale kit No. 33 (Dragon Models Limited 1/35 scale =9139-=9145 Series Kit No. 6512); Pz.Kpfw. IV Ausf. D =93Vorpanzer=94; 1,223 parts (719 in grey styrene, 288 =93Magic Track=94 individual links, 182 etched brass, 23 clear styrene, 10 preformed wire, 1 length of twisted steel wire); price US $46.99 via DragonUSA online

Advantages: another boutique kit of a limited production conversion

Disadvantages: based on earlier DML Pzkw. IV kits with an overenthusiastic emphasis on very tiny parts

Rating: Recommended

Recommendation: for all German and Pzkw. IV fans

In January 2006 DML released a kit of a Pzkw. IV Ausf. E with =93Vorpanzer=94 uparmored panels (No. 6301) which at the time received a mixed review from modelers. It was a followup to their previous Pzkw. IV Ausf. E =93Afrika Korps=94 kit (No. 6264, September 2005) which had a number of glitches and was not well received. Both of these kits were =93in your face=94 efforts with over a thousand parts each and while they demonstrated the model mold maker=92s skills were very busy and =93bitty=94 kits with an overwhelming number of parts for some assemblies. For example, the drivers each consisted of 19 parts with separate bolts only about 2.5mm long.

Now DML=92s boutique affiliate has released a =93Vorpanzer=94 version of the Ausf. D model of the tank. While it adds a number of new parts (about 60) most of the rest is taken from the old Pzkw. IV Ausf. E kit or the =933-in-1" Pzkw. IV Ausf. D from 2006 (No.

6265). It adds even more parts =96 now up over 1,200 =96 and mixes and matches from earlier kits.

As a result, this kit has gone away from the more recent =93Smart Kits=94 with better details and engineering and back to the older =93in your face=94 efforts.

If you didn=92t mind the earlier Pzkw. IV Ausf. D/E kits, it is a nice model and the new parts suitably modify the Ausf. D with its new applique armor on the lower glacis, upper hull and turret. The kit certainly comes with plenty of detail and also plenty of etched brass (borrowed intact from the =933-in-1" D model).

The same rules as used for previous vehicles apply. Tracks are =93handed=94 and as such the LEFT side of the header card are the LEFT track links and the RIGHT side of the card has the RIGHT links. Tires are separate but given the fact this kit is finished in Panzergrau which is a nearly flat black color you may wish to simply assemble them and paint the entire model with that color.

The =93dustbin=94 cupola has all parts separate =96 23 of them. All hatche= s are separate parts and may be posed open or closed, but the kit has no interior components other than inside the turret. The turret again comes with a basket and the L/24 gun has a =93slide molded=94 barrel.

Technical assistance was provided by Notger Schlegental, Thomas Anderson, Tom Cockle and Gary Edmundson.

Finishing is pretty much as noted above with only two options: 6th Pz.Inf.Ers.Regt =93Grossdeutschland=94, Cottbus 1942 with white outline or black and white Balkenkreuzen. A very small set of Cartograph decals is provided for that.

Overall this is another somewhat puzzling choice of a subject by, and the use of the older and fussier kit parts vice those from some of the nicer =93Smart Kits=94 is also something best known to cyber-hobby.

Thanks to Freddie Leung for the review sample.

Cookie Sewell

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