ARM: Review - Pzw. IV Ausf. E Tauchpanzer with auxiliary fuel trailer

Kit Review: Dragon Models Limited 1/35 scale ‘39-‘45 Series Kit No. 6402; Pz.Kpfw. IV Ausf. E Tauchpanzer w/Betriebsstoffanhaenger - Smart
Kit; 1,217 parts (721 in grey styrene, 288 “Magic Track” links, 178 etched brass, 25 clear styrene, 2 DS plastic, 1 twisted steel wire, 1 section of black vinyl tubing, 1 brass tube); estimated retail price US $50
Advantages: combines some of the latest slide molding technology with two previous kits to produce a new variant; some parts new/modified from previous releases
Disadvantages: vast number of parts may be disconcerting to some modelers
Rating: Highly Recommended
Recommendation: for all German and Pzkw. IV fans in particular
    In a previous review I commented that with a relatively few German tanks modified for deep wading as “Tauchpanzer” or diving tanks – only a few more than 200 Pzkw. III and IV models – they have been popular, and in this case DML has also added one of the accessories many modelers have sought for Pzkw. IV tanks for years, namely the 400 liter auxiliary fuel tank. Basically little more than a modified skeleton trailer with two 200 liter (55 gallon) drums attached to it, this highlighted what was unfortunately a common problem for German tankers in Russia, namely short range and insufficient resupply.
    What DML did was combine sprues from its own excellent Pzkw. IV Ausf. F “Smart Kit” (No. 6315) with some from the “5-in-1" combination effort with its affiliate to produce a new kit, this time an Ausf. E fitted with the “tauchpanzer” equipment. Some of the good features of both kits have been used, but also some of the less appealing ones such as the separate tires for the road wheels from the earlier Pzkw. IV (e.g. pre-“Smart Kit”) ones.
    The star of the show here is the auxiliary fuel trailer, and DML has done a great job of it. The 200 liter drums are one piece barrels via slide molding, and the crimped lids are separate parts with the purpose data stamped into them. These should be the first ones by any non-resin manufacturer to require minimal cleanup, and for that alone DML deserves kudos. cqivl tanks were so converted, they have really engendered a lot of interest from the model manufacturers, and this is now the second kit to come to the market of a 1/35 scale Pzkw. IV Ausf. D with the “Tauchpanzer” fittings. It comes with a short section of black vinyl tubing so it may be shown either being towed or connected to the fuel system of the tank.
    The rest of the kit is basically a mix-and-match version of the previous kits with some cleanup work done on the individual sprues. The seals for the commander’s cupola and main gun are provided as DS plastic (in a pink color, no less!) so they will be easy to attach to the turret. The majority of the parts provided are from the cyber- D and E model kits, but these were redone after some initial disappointment was noted from German fans. But oddly enough the kit is focused primarily on the “tauchpanzer” variant so some items such as the bow machine gun have been left out. In other words, if you want to pick up this kit to make a straight Ausf. E with the fuel trailer you will need a spares box to complete the model.
    Also, as there are a number of options for various parts and as always the DML directions are not the most expansive on either flagging the options or showing where the bits go (at least they are not their awful photo directions). With such a large amount of brass, as can be expected there are a lot of parts which require them for installation; this does seem to negate the kit’s being dubbed a “Smart Kit”, which usually indicates a very well engineered plastic kit with minimal brass.
    Technical assistance was provided by Notger Schlegtendal and Thomas Anderson, as well as Tom Cockle and Gary Edmundson.
    The kit comes with two finishing options: Pz.Rgt. 25, 7th Panzer Division, Russia 1941 (grey, white outline 613); or Pz.Rgt. 6, 3rd Panzer Division, Russia 1941 (grey with a white G on the front right fender). The trailer is grey, period.
    Overall this is a nice effort, but DML should also think about releasing the fuel trailer as a separate kit.
    Thanks to Freddie Leung for the review sample.
Cookie Sewell
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