is a company from the Netherlands that produces 1/87 resin and multi-media military vehicles, among other subjects. This it kit 87.105, Panzer IV Ausf. F1 / F2
The PzKpfw IV family is well known so no history will be presented here except to note that the Ausf. F series were factory built with thicker armor, the glacis being 50 mm thick and the side and turret armor increased to 30 mm. Over 460 were built through March 1942, the last 42 receiving a long KwK 40 L/43 7.5cm gun. Those were the Ausf. F2. The KwK 40 L/43 allowed it Pz.Kw IV F2s to shoot holes into the Russian T-34. Several F2s were rushed to the Afrika Korps where the British dubbed them "Mark 4 Specials"; Pz.Kw IV F2s were able to shoot holes into the American M3 Grants that were shooting holes through the Panzer III.
The ModelArtitec's Panzer IV Ausf. F1 / F2
is cast in buff resin. Those of us familiar with MiniTanks will recognize the parts breakdown: hull, turret, separate left and right running gear, gun, hatches and accessories. The parts are solid resin. Each of the running gear are one-piece castings of treads, sprockets, idlers, road wheels, and return rollers. How many parts?
Left running gear
Right running gear
"Short" 7.5mm gun guard (metal)
Panzerfuhrer hatches X 4
Extra track, bogies, and gear X 11
I found no bow machine gun barrel in the kit, nor did I see it on the instruction sheet. Considering the scale and easy of fashioning one, perhaps this omission is excusable. It appears that packaging quality control is lacking as there are several pieces shown in the instructions but not present in the kit - at least two spare road wheels and a rack of three jerrycans.
The resin is without air pocks nor visible mold seam lines. Light flash is on many parts including the gun barrels, which I removed by simply rubbing my finger over it. The KwK 40 L/43 7.5cm gun barrel was ever so slightly warped but straightened out acceptably. There is what looks like excess resin where the commander hatches attach to their pour block, although I only saw it under magnification. While the hull, turret, guns and a running gear are pre-separated from the pour blocks, one running gear casting has a low ridge along the bottom of the tread.
Casting is otherwise very good with sharp detail including distinct undercuts.
Detail is remarkable. Headlamps - even the Notek blackout light - are cast on and look concave. Track detail is also impressive. The spare length has openings for the drive sprockets. Roadwheels have fine bolt detail and rims defining the rubber tires. Artitec
sculpted convincing track sag along the return rollers.
On the turret top edges above the side hatches are handles, one having air between it and the turret. There is enough detail for me to write another paragraph, yet I offer many photos in lieu of text. "A picture speaks a 1,000 words."
Again, about the only detail lacking is the bow machine gun barrel. A bit of stretched sprue or fine wire corrects this omission.
Instructions, paint and decals
Assembly and painting instructions are halftone and line art on a single sheet of paper.
Humbrol paint is referenced by paint numbers. Some mixing formulas are printed, too.
Decals are simple. Two Balkenkruz and three Afrika Korps insignia. Any unit or tactical numbers are left to the modeler's resourcefulness.
This part is quick and easy as cleanup of the parts is simple. Alignment of the running gear pieces on the hull is by stepped indents and raised areas. The turret seats into the hull snugly, so tight that while it can still rotate, it does not fall off. Finally, the main gun of your choice. Five pieces, five minutes - if that! Continued assembly consists of the commander hatch halves, the bow spare track length, and any of the optional stores one wishes to attach. By far, painting takes more time than assembly.
ConclusionArtitec's Panzer IV Ausf. F1 / F2
is high quality HO-1/87 model of the workhorse of the Panzerwaffe. The fidelity of detail and casting quality is excellent. The choice of several spares and stores is greatly appreciated.
There are bits of flash but they are easy to clean off. Excess resin on one track was not a problem to carve away. However, I am disappointed that all of the separate detail pieces shown on the company images of assembled models were in in my kit.
This resin (with a single metal part) kit of the Panzer IV Ausf. F1 / F2
is an excellent model for the 1/87-HO scale community. I highly recommend it.