Long awaited DML Panzerkampfwagen IV Ausf.E kit is finally here. And boy it doesn’t disappoint! I must admit that I only know enough about Panzer IV to recognize it among other tanks But don’t even try to ask me what the difference is between Ausf.E and any other ausfuhrung... This means that I cannot comment on accuracy of the new Dragon kit. But I can say something about mold quality, engineering, design and details. And these are absolutely excellent!
the kit contents
In a big box with very nice illustration of DAK Pz. IV on the lid we get 19 sprues of light gray styrene (all individually packed in plastic bags), upper turret part and two lower hulls – also in light gray plastic and not connected to sprues, two bags of “Magic Tracks”, a bag with road wheel tires, three sprues of clear styrene parts, small sprue with cacti parts made of yellow DS100, three photo-etched parts frets, a length of metal cable and a small box with various metal parts (aluminum gun barrel, brass ammo rounds, pre-formed wires etc.). Of course we also get Dragons usual folded instruction sheet and two decal sheets printed by Cartograf.
The kit is a 3-in-1 release and includes parts to build one of three versions: Early, Late (with extra armor plates) and Afrika Korps (with extra armor and some DAK specific details). Decals provided in the kit allow for building one of 10 (!) vehicles. Options include 3 DAK tanks, two early tanks from Eastern Front (one in winter camouflage) and five late version tanks – one from Balkans and fours from Eastern Front, all these in Dunkelgrau.
I have not noticed any flash or sink holes on parts and all ejector pin marks are well hidden (except those on track links). Details on parts are very crisp and generally the molding quality is top notch.
The individual link tracks are of “Magic” type, what means that they come ready to use and in theory don’t require any cleanup. In practice there are two small ejector pin marks on each link that many modelers would want to remove. Luckily they are of “proud” type, so don’t require any filler to eliminate. The guide horns have holes in them. Different track parts are given for the left and right side of the tank with different details of pin ends. The fit of track links to each other is rather loose, so they don’t stay together after assembly unless the glue is used. Dragon provided big jig to make assembly of upper run of tracks easier. The jig helps to achieve realistic sag of “dead” tracks used on Panzer IV.
The suspension is beautifully detailed. Road wheels have separate tires and hubs. Tires have the manufacturer’s name on them (although the name is slightly changed to “CONTINENTAU” to avoid trademark violation problems – easy fix with a tip of sharp knife). These tires also have realistic mold parting line around the edge as present on real new tank tires, but it can be easily removed if someone prefers to model heavily used wheels as tires are made from standard hard vinyl. They are molded in very cleaver way with single tiny sprue gate on the inner edge, what makes the cleanup extremely easy. We get two optional sets of idler wheels – one set is for those who don’t want to use photo-etched parts and accept slightly compromised details. In this set each wheel is made of two halves. The other set of idler wheels is made using the slide molding technique and to very detailed one piece wheels modeler needs to add two photo-etched parts. Multi part suspension units remain movable after assembly. The most incredible detail in the whole kit is hidden inside the final drive housing! DML included separate crown gear there and drive cover has details molded on outer and inner – normally hidden – surface. Tiny conical bolt heads found around the final drive housing are provided as separate parts.
In the kit we get two complete lower hulls – one with additional armor plates molded on sides for late and DAK versions and one without them for early variant. Bolt details and various panels are present on all outer surfaces of the hull.
Upper hull is composed of several smaller components and various separate hatches, not only crew ones, but also some inspection panels and engine covers. Engine covers for the rear deck are provided in two versions – solid ones for European versions and ones with louvers in them for DAK variant. Internal louvers are provided as PE parts. Complete machine gun composed of several parts is provided to be installed in the movable ball mount in the front hull plate. Clear parts are included for hull vision blocks and headlight lenses. Foldable step on the left side of the hull is composed of a few photo-etched and styrene parts and will require some attention to assemble correctly, but should look excellent once built. Two types of spare wheel carriers are provided, both using pre-formed metal parts. Tow cables are composed of plastic ends with slide-molded holes in them to which the metal cable is attached.
Fenders have treadplate pattern molded on both sides (with bottom side pattern being the inverted copy of the one on top side with depressions instead of raised details). Two versions of fender parts are provided – one with holes for attaching pioneer tools with clasps details molded on them and the other version does not have any holes in it and is designed to be used with the second set of tools provided. These other tools don’t have plastic clasps molded on them, but instead we get photo-etched clasp parts.
For the turret we get several interior parts, like the floor plate, crew seats, traverse mechanism, and detailed gun breech assembly. The gun barrel is provided as machined aluminum part, but also optionally in plastic (in two pieces). The plastic part has the muzzle open using slide-molding and even includes rifling details (although rather overscale). The metal barrel does not have rifling details inside. The gun mantlet and mount is quite complex and very detailed assembly. Vision ports in turret front can be attached closed or open using the PE hinges. Commander’s cupola has optional parts to show vision block covers in open or closed position and clear parts are provided for actual vision blocks. The storage box at the rear of the turret can be assembled open and the ribbing detail on the bottom side of the box lid is provided as PE parts. The hatches in turret sides have workable hinges (but the size of them is kept in scale), clear parts for vision blocks and tiny separate parts for handles. Even small pistol port covers at the rear of the turret can be attached in open or closed position.
Extra parts provided in the kit include two machined brass main gun ammo rounds, three jerry cans (with PE parts), two cacti and a Generation 2 figure of General Heinz Guderian. The figure is composed of 21 plastic parts plus some photo-etched details.
I don’t hesitate to say that new Pz.Kfw. IV kit is one of the best 1/35 armor kits I have ever seen. It is really difficult to describe it properly in the short article – it is something that just has to be seen. DML’s recently released Tiger I kits were excellent, but quality of this new kit goes even further! Of course these comments are based only on examination of parts in the box, but I’m quite certain that the kit will also be very pleasant to build. Considering the involvement of known modelers Tom Cockle and Gary Edmundson in the kit design, it is safe to assume that the finished model will also be very accurate. I’m sure that Terry Ashley at PMMS
will take a closer look at the accuracy of this kit in his review, so I encourage you to check his website for more information. New DML Panzer IV is one of those kits that immediately make their way to the top of “to build” list as it is simply impossible to just put it in the stash and leave there! Even to a modern armor modeler like myself it just screams: BUILD ME NOW!
Many thanks to Dragon Models Limited for the review sample!