ARM: Review - DML Pzkw. IV Ausf. E "Vorpanzer"

Kit Review: Dragon Models Limited 1/35 Scale '39-'45 Series No.
6301; Pz.Kpfw. IV Ausf. E "Vorpanzer"; 1,.099 parts (582 in grey
styrene, 288 "Magic Track" links, 187 etched brass, 23 clear
styrene, 10 preformed steel wire, 4 preformed brass 2 turned brass, 1
turned aluminum, 2 twisted steel wire); price estimated at US $41.50
Advantages: another variant on the rarely modeled early war Panzer;
details both inside and out on most parts, including the fenders, odd
"assault armor" included
Disadvantages: may be overlooked due to similarity with recent
"3-in-1" kit
Rating: Highly Recommended
Recommendation: for all early war German fans
There are times when some of the kits really tend to stump me, and
this is one of them. While it has some other history to relate, I must
say I have never heard of Pzkw. IV tanks fitted with "cheek" armor
for close assault (which is what the "Vorpanzer" or forward armor
would seem to mean.) On the other hand, this is another nice version of
the Ausf. E variant. (I get the feeling from the markings that they
were actually "OPFOR" vehicles designed to simulate Soviet tanks
but that's just a wild guess!)
The Pzkw. IV Ausf. E, which came out in September 1940 and was
produced through April 1941, was one of the first models to take combat
results into account. It was found early on that the Pzkw. IV was too
thin-skinned to stand up to anybody's antitank guns, and with this
tank it got an increase to 50mm on the bow plate and 20+30mm on the
upper glacis, as well as a new visor for the driver to give him more
protection. Hatches were countersunk against ricochet damage, and the
turret rear was redesigned to incorporate the redesigned commander's
cupola and eliminate potential shot traps or weak spots in the hull
rear. Later, more applique armor protection was added to the lower hull
sides and suspension units to protect against antitank guns and mines.
A total of 206 chassis were built - 200 as battle tanks, 4 as
prototype bridge launchers, and two more as experimental chassis. (I
again admit I have no idea of how many were fitted with the "cheek"
DML was stung by some harsh criticism of its Pzkw. IV Ausf. E
"Afrika Korps" kit (No. 6264) as some "experten" on the
internet faulted it for dimensional errors and other problems. As a
result, DML sent two of its Japanese researchers to Aberdeen Proving
Ground and the Ordnance Museum to reverify their measurements from the
Pzkw. IV Ausf. E in the museum's collection. This kit reflects any
changes they felt had to be made, and therefore it sports some new
parts - 166 of them. Note that most of them are either upgrades to
previous parts or as in the case of the assault armor new and specific
to this kit.
Again, as noted with the previous Ausf. E, I want to warn modelers
that this is a VERY complex kit, and comes with a large number of
options which are called out in the directions. As with all recent DML
kits, many of the parts are redundant and offer the modeler the choice
of either styrene parts or etched brass - DML is one of the few, if
not the only, company to offer this; others either assume you will buy
their sets aftermarket and replace kit parts, or give you no option but
to use them from the start. Since a good number of modelers still are a
bit leery of etched metal due to tales of vanishing parts or problems
in attaching them, it gives the "retention challenged" (e.g. the
guy who loses itty bitty parts!) modeler a fighting chance.
The kit also comes pre-section for detail fans who want an interior.
All hatches are separate parts and some interior detail is included,
including a very complete turret basket and 7.5 cm L/24 gun; this has a
choice between a "slide molded" styrene barrel or a turned aluminum
one. A very detailed 21 part commander's cupola is also included for
the turret. There are other details here that need to be seen and
appreciated (MIG fans will be happy!) such as the geared turret race.
The model just abounds with details. Each of the suspension bogies has
18 parts (19 with protective armor cover) with separate tires for
painting. Safety chains are provided for the towing shackle mounts as
they have separate pins too. Two sets of engine deck doors are provided
(early/late model and Africa) along with etched inserts for those who
wish them.
This detail takes a good jeweler's loupe to see - there are two
DIFFERENT sets of "Magic Track" links, one for the left side and
one for the right, as they replicate the different sides that the track
pins are inserted from for holding the track together! Alas, DML did
not identify which bag is which, so I hope you at least keep them on
the correct sides! (Think hard on the types of judges at shows who are
going to have to use an "IPMS Death Ray" - penlight - and 10x
jeweler's loupe to check on that - payback can be fun!) (DML does
tell you that the fastener side goes out and the smooth head goes in,
as there is a "knocker" to keep them in place if the fastener
fails. They don't identify which bag is which, though, so you have to
sort it out.)
Markings and finishing directions are included for five different
vehicles: two from Pz. Ers. Abt. 5, Germany, 1942; Pz. Ers. Abt. Nimes,
1942; Panzerregiment 31, Russia 1942; and one from Pz. Ers. Abt. 4,
Germany 1942; the first four are Panzer Grey and the last one is
Overall this is a nice kit if somewhat curious, but it should be
popular as you can do up a good straight Ausf. E from it.
Thanks to Freddie Leung for the review sample.
Cookie Sewell
Reply to
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AMPSOne> Kit Review: Dragon Models Limited 1/35 Scale '39-'45 AMPSOne> Series No. 6301; Pz.Kpfw. IV Ausf. E "Vorpanzer"
AMPSOne> (I get the feeling AMPSOne> from the markings that they were actually "OPFOR" AMPSOne> vehicles designed to simulate Soviet tanks but that's AMPSOne> just a wild guess!)
Cookie, do you mean "sacrifice"? In that case, the spelling is "Opfer". Or is OPFOR an abbreviation?
Reply to
Gernot Hassenpflug
OPFOR is an acronym for OPpossing other words the side that plays the bad guys in wargames.
Reply to
Ron Smith
R >> Cookie, do you mean "sacrifice"? In that case, the spelling is
Ron> OPFOR is an acronym for OPpossing other words Ron> the side that plays the bad guys in wargames.
Aha, thanks! Live and learn ...
Reply to
Gernot Hassenpflug
50 miles from here in the big sandbox.
Reply to
i wonder who they are now that the sov's rolled up?
Reply to
You're welcome.
Reply to
Ron Smith

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