Kit Review: Dragon Models Limited 1/35 Scale '39-'45 Series Kit No.6291; Pz.Kpfw. IV Ausf. C; 1,160 parts (646 in grey styrene, 288 "Magic Track" links, 180 etched brass, 35 clear styrene, 6 preformed steel wire, 2 turned brass, 1 turned aluminum, 2 twisted steel wire); price estimated at US $41.50
Advantages: with this variant DML has now done all but the Ausf. A variant of the famous Mark IV series of tanks; another rarely modeled early war Panzer; details both inside and out on most parts, including the fenders; new parts for specific model
Disadvantages: confusing number of early Mark IV variants may glut the market
Rating: Highly Recommended
Recommendation: for all early war German fans
F I R S T L O O K
With this kit, DML will have now offered all of the versions of the Panzerkampfwagen IV series of tanks with the exception of the progenitor, the Ausf. A.
The Pzkw. IV Ausf. C (also called the 3 serie Begleitwagen [BW] Sd.Kfz. 161) was in production from September 1938 to August 1939 and saw 134 of an originally planned 300 built. It again improved over the Ausf. B with new motor mounts, an improved turret race, a new gun mantelet, and an armored sleeve for the coaxial machine gun. After the first 40 were built the carburetor was changed to improve engine performance. Starting in 1940, some of the tanks also received applique armor on their hull and superstructure sides.
As it was the first version to see production of more than 100 vehicles, it saw a change in the TO&E structure of four to six Pzkw. IV in light tank companies and 14 vehicles in medium tank companies. The Ausf. C remained in service through 1943, but in steadily decreasing numbers due to attrition.
This kit uses most of the new parts creatred for the Ausf. D kit and the cyber-hobby.com Ausf. B "boutique" kit. In regard to the latter, it uses nearly all of the new sprues and only changes a few of the parts out, namely the mantelet and associated parts (Sprue Y).
As with the Ausf. B kit, 59 parts are completely new, mostly dealing with the specific features found on the Pzkw. IV Ausf. B and C that differ from the previous D model kits. This concentrates on the turret and the front section of the upper hull. 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.
The rest of the model is identical to the B 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 cupola now consists of an amazing 30 parts with options to display the visors either open or closed, as well as the hatches open or closed. All small details such as pistol ports and access hatches are separate and may be assembled open or closed. As is now pretty common on DML kits, you have a choice of a "slide molded" styrene barrel or a turned aluminum one. Both appear to come with rifling.
The running gear is no less detailed. For example, the drivers assemble nearly in the same manner as the original: core sections, toothed rings with 12 separate bolts each, and caps and spindles - each one requires 31 parts and a LOT of patience. Bogie assemblies still consist of 18 parts each. The same "Magic Track" with 144 links per side of snap-together tracks are provided, but as I noted with that kit they are "handed" with the pin heads on the inside and the "keepers" on the outside. They are bagged separately but you will have to use a magnifier to tell which side is which. A jig for setting "droop" is also included. One-piece "slide molded" idlers are again included, as well as the normal two-piece kind.
Only a single hull is provided, which is correct; the B did not have any options as built. The drivers appear to me at first glance to be about the right height - e.g. the sprocket faces (not the tops of the teeth) look to be level with the tops of the return rollers.
As with nearly all DML kits, you have the option of using styrene parts for all assemblies or replacing many of them with etched brass. The main ones where most modelers will probably opt for the latter are the louvers and slats on the rear engine deck, which replicate the earlier pattern of the B with a choice of either styrene or etched brass for the "blades" in the side louvers.
A total of six different vehicles are offered in the finishing instructions. Your choices are: 6th Company, Pz.Rgt. 31, 5th Panzer Division, France 1940 (gray); 4th Company, Pz.Rgt. 1, 1st Panzer Division, France 1940 (gray); 6th Company, Pz.Rgt. 11, 6th Panzer Division, France 1940 (gray); 8th Company, Pz.Rgt. 10, 8th Panzer Division, Eastern Front 1941 (gray); Pz.Rgt. 22, 21st Panzer Divison, Normandy 1944 (green stripes over Panzerbraun); and Pz.Rgt. 22, 21st Panzer Division, Normandy 1944 (Panzerbraun). This is a "targeted" decal sheet so the numbers all come preformatted, and no "number jungle" is provided with the kit.
Overall this is another lovely kit, but it may prove confusing with the profusion of kits offered (B, C, D, and two Es).
Thanks to Freddie Leung for the review sample.