Kit Review: Dragon Models Limited 1/35 Scale Kit No. 6747; Pz.Kpfw. IV Ausf= . A - Smart Kit;1,142 parts (781 in grey styrene, 216 =93Magic Track=94 single links, 126 e= tched brass, 18 clear styrene, 1 twisted steel wire); pre-order price US$54= .95 via Dragon USA Online
Advantages: finally the first model of the Panzer IV family available in a = kit!
Disadvantages: drivers with individual bolts particularly tedious
Rating: Highly Recommended
Recommendation: for all German early war armor fans=20
Everybody has to start somewhere, and the first of over 10,000 Panzer IV t= anks began with this vehicle in April 1936. Known as the =93Battalionsfuerh= erwagon Serie 1" (battalion commander=92s vehicle) it was designated as Sd.= Kfz. 161 but entered service as the Pzkw. IV Ausf. A. Only 35 of this model= were produced in 1937 and 1938 before the improved Ausf. B appeared.=20
While the tank underwent many changes over its production life, unlike the= Panzer III this tank basically underwent no massive design changes during = its nine year production life and an Ausf. A and Ausf. J could easily be se= en to be closely related. However, due to the thin armor and short gun on t= his vehicle, it was withdrawn from active service prior to the campaigns of= 1941.=20
At long last DML has gone back and now released a kit of the first Panzer = IV, virtually completing its product of the entire family of vehicles. Base= d on the Ausf. B and D kits from about six years ago, this one adds or chan= ges out more than 165 parts from the earlier kits to represent the Ausf. A = model. These concentrate on the turret and the front section of the upper h= ull. A new upper hull with the one-piece hatches and straight upper glacis = plate is provided, along with the internal mantelet gun mount and fittings = for the turret.=20
The rest of the model is similar to the D kit. As before, the model has a = wealth of detail. A pretty substantial basic turret interior and basket are= included, and all hatches are separate pieces with interior detailing. The= simplified =93dustbin=94 cupola is provided with a one-piece clear insert = for it. All small details such as pistol ports and access hatches are separ= ate and may be assembled open or closed.
The running gear is the older DML high detail version. This returns to dri= vers that assemble nearly in the same manner as the original: core sections= , toothed rings with 12 separate bolts each, and caps and spindles =96 each= one requires 31 parts and a LOT of patience. Bogie assemblies consist of 1=8 parts each. The same =93Magic Track=94 with 108 links per side of snap-to= gether tracks are provided, but as I noted with that kit they are =93handed= =94 with the pin heads on the inside and the =93keepers=94 on the outside. = They are bagged separately but you will have to use a magnifier to tell whi= ch side is which. One-piece =93slide molded=94 idlers are again included, = as well as the normal two-piece kind.=20
The very early hull is provided, which is correct. The drivers appear to m= e at first glance to be about the right height =96 e.g. the sprocket faces = (not the tops of the teeth) look to be level with the tops of the return ro= llers.=20
As there is only one version of this kit, the typically busy DML direction= s are not as confusing as some previous variants.
Tom Cockle and Gary Edmundson are listed as the technical consultants for = this kit.=20
A total of five different vehicles are covered in the painting and marking= s section for the Pzkw. IV Ausf. A. These include: Unidentified Unit, 1939 = (panzer grey with brown, red 714); Unidentified Unit, 1939 (panzer grey wit= h brown, white I01); HQS, 2nd Battalion, Pz.Rgt. 36, 4th Panzer Division, P= oland 1939 (panzer grey with brown, white II-01); 4.Pz.Rgt. 1, 1st Panzer D= ivision, Poland 1939 (panzer grey with brown, white 423); and 4./Pz.Rgt. 1,= 1st Panzer Division, Poland 1939 (panzer grey with brown, white 412). Extr= a numbers are included for other vehicles.=20
Overall this is a lovely if very complex kit, and =93completes the record= =94.
Thanks to Freddie Leung for the review sample. =20