Pz.Kpfw.IV Ausf.E

Dragon Kit No. 6301

1:35th Scale
Kit Summary
by Terry Ashley

When the first Panzer IV Ausf.E 3 in 1 (kit #6264) was released the pre-publicity trumpeted it as the be all and end all of Panzer IV kits. I have to be honest here and say I was uncharacteristically taken in a bit with the hype surrounding this kit and the daily trickle of updates we see on the Dragon site.

But after a bit of examination the errors just kept coming and with the release of this second Panzer IV Ausf.E kit we see over fourty changes made, some big, some small and if you were really cynical you could ask was the first kit just rushed out to trump the opposition?

There are of course many who simply couldn’t be bothered with all the changes required to correct the kit and are perfectly happy with the kit as is and let’s not take away from the fact it is a generational leap in quality from previous Panzer IV kits along with the recent excellent Tristar offerings which incidentally were the first to incorporate the working suspension and other innovative features.

We also see in the pre-publicity for the soon to be released Panzer IV Ausf.D from Dragon that this kit will be based on actual measurements taken from a surviving vehicle, well hello are we to believe no one bothered to check these same measurements with the Ausf.E kit #6264?

But don’t get me wrong here as like many I love these new generation Dragon kits as can be seen from the reviews on site which are overwhelmingly positive. That said lets have a look at the new Ausf.E “Vorpanzer” to see exactly what the changes are and as mentioned there are many with just about every sprue have some changes made.

It may be worthwhile to also mention the parts you don’t get from the initial kit #6264 such as only the one late hull tub with additional armour but as the “Vorpanzer” is up armoured this hull is really the logical inclusion. The bonus figure and cactus are no longer included and the etched spare road wheel box on the left fender is omitted but again this was a typical Afrika Korps modification so its omission is again logical. One big difference is the decal sheets where instead of the multiple sheets as with nearly every recent Dragon release you only get one very small sheet with basic markings for five vehicles.

All the metal parts and etched frets, though laid out differently on the frets are still included from the initial kit minus the fender box as mentioned so you still get a pretty good box full.

Metal parts
Etched parts

Instead of going thought the whole kit as usual I will simply list all the changed parts with images of the original and new parts to show the updates and also some assemblies (e.g. the drive sprockets) have additional parts as well as the new ‘Vorpanzer’ parts which I will also show. A full description of the initial kit parts can be found with the review of Kit #6264.

But first a quick word on the lower hull tub which has had major reworking. Starting with the notorious final drive housing which has been raised by about 1mm with a new separate front hull section. The overall length of the lower hull tub has been shortened by 2mm within the section back from the add-on hull armour. This results in the underside hull section being shorter and the idler wheel support fairings being 2mm shorter. The upper hull though is still the same length and the rear hull angle is the same so it will take a full build to determine where that 2mm has gone in the scheme of things.

To the list:

    Lower Hull:
    Click for larger view
  1. Final drives on lower hull raised to correct position
  2. Lower hull overall length reduced by 2mm
  3. Idler mounting fairings reduced in width
  4. Bolts on idler mount supports re-orientated
  5. Separate front hull panel
  6. Final drive housings redesigned with separate axle stub
  7. Separate front section of hull final drive redesigned
  8. Additional armoured panel for final drive housing
  9. Drive Sprockets redesigned with enlarge rim bolts in correct position
  10. Inner sprocket redesigned to fit new axle stub and face plate added
  11. Return rollers reduced in size (rubber section)

    Upper Hull:
    Click for larger view
  12. Bullet splash plate around turret reduced in size
  13. Rear left bullet splash section relocated to correct position
  14. Right superstructure side has rear intake removed
  15. Right superstructure side has redesigned details
  16. Left superstructure side has redesigned locating holes
  17. Right front crew hatch fitting re-orientated
  18. Driver’s plate has redesigned visor opening (smaller)
  19. Driver’s outer visor redesigned
  20. Glacis has inspection hatches relocated further forward to the correct position
  21. Front Headlights resized (larger)
  22. Siren resized (larger)
  23. Mountings for front plate armour redesigned
  24. Right additional armour panel redesigned
  25. Hull MG coaming redesigned (larger size)
  26. Rear underside hull plate reduced in size
  27. Rear hull join flange redesigned to correct size with bolt heads added both sides of flange
  28. Fender contours redesigned around front superstructure each side
  29. Front fender fillets redesigned
  30. Rear fender fillets redesigned
  31. Exhaust mountings altered
  32. Barrel cleaning rods increased in size (naked and moulded on tool clips)
  33. Shovel lengthened (naked and moulded on tool clips)

    Click for larger view
  34. Front plate angles corrected
  35. Front visor shape modified
  36. Coaxial MG raised
  37. Antenna deflector shape corrected
  38. Side hatch stops relocated
  39. Side hatches revised
  40. Side hatch hinges revised
  41. Screw pattern in roof revised to line up with front visors (front left moved 1mm inboard)
  42. Inner gun guard redesigned
  43. Lower turntable redesigned with locating holes fully opened up.

I may well have missed some here as many are minor adjustments and if anyone has some more I’d be pleased to update this list.

New “Vorpanzer” parts:
DragonThese consist of the additional standoff armour panels for the front Driver’s plate and turret front with new mantlet and ‘wing’ panels.
There is also a new reinforced rear turret basket with additional smaller details as well as the original ‘standard’ turret box still included for a choice here.
You can also build a standard late Ausf.E if you wish for more variety.

And so after all this we have to ask; is the initial Panzer IV Ausf E kit #6264 one of the most inaccurate Panzer IV kits ever released or is this new Panzer IV Ausf.E “Vorpanzer” kit just a refinement of an already fine kit? That question will be up to the individual and their view of what they want in a kit?

Clear parts

The single small decal sheet is well printed with good colour register and quite thin carrier film cropped close to the printed image. The sheet has three balkenkreuze and a couple of other markings allowing you to decorate one of the five basic schemes offered;


Whatever your thoughts on the initial Panzer IV Ausf E kit, this new “Vorpanzer” kit has many details corrected and will build into a superb model with the option of building a standard late Ausf.E if you wish.

I can only assume that all the revised parts will find their way into the initial Panzer IV E kit #6264 at some time but makes for yet another lucky dip at purchase where you don’t really know what’s in the box, old or new.

Highly recommended

The Sprues:

Click on thumbnails for larger view
Detail images
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Thanks to my credit card and the usual prompt service from Rainbow Ten for the review kit.

Page created March 8, 2006

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