Following the release of the suspension set as a teaser, Tristar are about to released the full Panzer IV Ausf D kit which represents an early production vehicle with later D’s have 30mm appliqué armour added to the driver’s plate and redesigned smoke candle racks on the rear panel.
The kit consists of 949 parts in light beige plastic with about 78 of these being left over suspension parts consigned to the spares box. There is also a small etched fret and length of copper cable for the steel tow cable plus the decal and instruction sheets.
The standard of moulding is excellent with very few if any pin marks on exposed places after assembly with excellent surface details of bolt and screw heads, weld seams and engraved panel lines plus some extremely small parts such as bolt heads for the armoured final drive covers and wing nuts on the tool clips.
I covered the suspension bogies and wheels in detail with the review of set #35014 with the only thing to note is that just the parts applicable to the Ausf.D are included as well as some wheel hub caps from the later types. A quick note here as the first kits were shipped with incorrect hub caps but the correct Ausf.D types have been provided to all distributors and by the time the kit goes on general sale the correct parts will be in the kit.
The driver sprockets are in two parts with the outer and inner discs having very well defined details on both sides and feature excellent surface details but take care when cutting from the sprues not to take too much off the teeth attached to the sprues.
The idler wheels are made up of five parts each with the inner and outer disc and separate inner and outer rims which when fitted together give very good detail definition to the skeletal idlers of the Ausf.D. A small plastic collar is trapped between the two idler halves that later is glued to the idler axle and you will need to use glue sparingly if your want the wheels to rotate after assembly.
The lower hull tub is made up of the floor section with separate side panels with two inner bulkhead cross members (parts E1) to help keep everything square plus a separate rear hull plate. The surface details on these parts are again excellent with very good panel and bolt head details on the underside and equally good details on the side and rear panels with the fuel filler caps well defined.
The suspension dampers are added the side panels as well as 16 small bolt heads to the insides on the bogie mounting plates under the hull, that’s attention to detail if you ever saw it.
The final drive housings are again superbly detailed with separate front and rear armoured covers with more very small bolt heads to be added to the covers. These bolt heads have to firstly be cut with a sharp blade from the sprues parts (E4) and positioned around the covers, there are small indentations to indicate the locations to ensure you space the bolts correctly. This will take a fair bit of work to cut off and glue all these bolt heads and it has been done this way to ensure good definition on the final assembly given the constraints of injection moulding which would have seen the bolts malformed if they were moulded in place on the covers.
The upper hull is basically a shell with the top plate and forward fenders with the side and front superstructure panels as separate parts to allow for good detail definition. The surface details on the hull top includes recessed screw heads around the hull and around the crew hatch openings, this area is especially well done plus raided bullet turret guards.
The engine deck doors are both separate with more excellent flush screw head and latch details as well as a separate grab handle and the rear section of fenders are also separate parts. The fit of the engine deck doors will need some minor trimming to get a precise fit but nothing excessive.
The crew hatches have nice weld seams and latch details with the inner handle as a separate part while the front stepped plate again has excellent weld seams and machine gun mounting details with a separate MG barrel which has the muzzle hollowed out using slide moulds and with movable ball mount. The driver’s visor has the two armoured visor flaps and upper cover as separate parts and can be attached in any position from full open to closed.
The forward sections of fenders are attached to the hull moulding and include subtle tread plate pattern on the top surfaces but are bare underneath which probably would be hard to see on the finished kit in any case. The forward folding fender sections are separate with nice hinge details and separate inside securing spring (in plastic of course).
The glacis is also a separate plate with the separate brake access hatches with again subtle weld seams and separate central access panel, this should sit flush with the glacis and some minor trimming may be needed to fit this correctly. On the front plate are four part tow shackles with separate retaining pin for excellent detail definition.
Along the side panels are separate visor flaps and very small two part lifting hooks as well as the air cleaner outlet on the right rear moulded hollow for excellent definition. The two part rear engine air inlet/outlet grills have separate etched flap covers that can be fitted open or closed as you wish.
On the rear hull panel is a five part engine muffler with separate support brackets as well as another three parts for the auxiliary turret traverse engine muffler plus separate rear mud flaps and tail lights. Fitted above the muffler is the early style smoke candle rack made up of nine parts with just the fine chains on each candle to be added from elsewhere. A separate join flange is provided for between the upper and lower rear hull panels again with nice bolt head details as a result while the two separate idler mounting brackets are especially well detailed with separate detail parts.
There are many smaller detail parts around the hull such as the headlights with separate plastic lenses and all the pioneer tools with finely moulded tool clips which are supplemented with etched parts for the clip latches and as mentioned some incredibly small plastic wing nuts on others, these will test your eyesight but to help with attaching these they can be glued in place while still attached to the small sprue and then cut off with a sharp model knife once dry. The copper wire supplied is for the tow cable on the rear hull with the end shackles hollowed out using slide moulds allowing the cable to be inserted for a better appearance.
The jack has seven parts with another eight for the mounting brackets and clips for an excellent jack in plastic. On the left side is a two part fold up step which is designed to be fitted in the up position but it wouldn’t be hard to lower this if desired and also a two part track tool. The jack block is in two parts with additional etched parts for the mounting brackets and securing strap that add nice details to the part.
The 38cm tracks are individual link designed not to be workable but simply to be glued together and have very good details including open guide teeth. There is left and right handed track so take care these are not mixed up during assembly.
The turret shell has a separate roof panel, crew hatches and drum cupola and has excellent surface details such as rivet heads around the hatch openings and visors as well as the rain guard above the hatch openings and flush screwed bracket around the base of the cupola. The separate roof section has superbly rendered flush screws and the fit to the turret is excellent while the weld seams around the rear plate joins are again very well done.
The hatches have details on both sides and no pin marks to contend with plus added visors inside and visor flaps on the outside with separate latches on the inside.
The two part drum cupola has separate armoured flaps which can be fitted in the open or closed position and separate split hatches again without any pin marks and separate inner latches and head padding.
On the separate front plate are separate visor flaps and three part gun mantlet with excellent weld seam and flush screw head details plus a choice of barrels with and without the aerial deflector retaining clip as well as alternate gun collars and a single barrel muzzle section. The muzzle and two barrels are completely hollowed out using slid moulds for excellent definition and to finish off is a two part co-axial machine gun and armoured cover again with hollowed out slide mould muzzle. One small issue here was that even with the barrel sections moulded in one piece there was still a sizable moulding seam to be removed which sort of negated the advantage of the one piece mounding.
Details on the rear panel are very small lifting hooks and separate pistol port covers with the small lifting hooks also added to the front corners of the turret and will need care in fitting.
On the inside of the turret is a full basket with three support arms and lower floor that attach to the lower turret ring plus the commander’s and gunner’s seats and a seven part gun breech with rear guard and spent shell basket with all this detail easily seen if the side crew hatches are left open.
A separate optional hull top turret ring is provided which hides the notches that secure the turret and is a nice addition if you want to show the turret off during maintenance or as a result of battle damage as seen in a number of shots of destroyed Pz.IV Ds in Africa.
These are conventional exploded view drawings that are quite easy to follow even with the large number of parts but as usual careful study of the sequences before hand will lessen any problems.
The small decal sheet is well printed with good colour register and thin carrier film cropped close to the printed image with markings for three vehicles all in overall Panzer Grey.
The markings are for;
This is a superb rendition of the Panzer IV Ausf D with well researched details and as Thomas Jentz was a technical advisor you would expect so. The details included on the parts are very fine and well executed although some are so fine they may cause the odd headache such as the bolt heads on the final drive covers and the incredible small wing nuts but the final effect is excellent and worth the effort.
The breakdown of the parts and some of the suspension parts included would indicate other versions to come other than the Ausf.C already announced.
Check issue 23 (out early July) of AFV Modeller for Dave Parker’s full build review which will really show the kit in its full glory.
For another opinion of this excellent kit, see Saul Garcia's review on Track Link.
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Panzer Tracts No.4
Typical Panzer Tracts book with excellent technical descriptions and detailed coverage of the Panzer IV.
Achtung Panzer No.3
Excellent detail coverage of the Panzer IV with the usual detail photos and drawings of all versions of the Panzer IV.
Medium Tank 1936-45
Osprey New Vanguard 28
Panzer IV & Its Variants
PzKpfw IV Ausf.A to J
The usual in action fare with photos and drawings of the Pz.IV versions
PzKpfw IV in action #2012
The usual in action fare with photos and drawings of the Pz.IV versions
Thanks to CK Pat from the Tristar Shop for the review kit.
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Page created 28 June 2005
Updated 2 July 2005