Vorpanzer refers to the spaced armour on areas of the hull superstructure and turret. The idea being to make certain types of fire ineffectual before impacting on the tank proper. To model this Dragon have included an extra sprue containing the add on armour. This probably would have sufficed with any other manufacturer, but Dragon have gone much further than this, even to the extent of re-tooling existing parts in response to modeller's requests. In this review I'll go through the features of the kit as detailed by Dragon themselves, and then examine the changes that Dragon haven't mentioned.
The kit is basically the original Panzer IV release, minus the Guderian 2nd Generation figure, the option of an unarmoured hull, and the cactus!
The review to the original kit by Vodnik can be found HERE!
and a link to the full build by me, HERE!
Like the original kit, the features in this one are amazing,
Two sets of fenders and tools, allowing those who want to use photo etched clamps to do so easily and accurately,
Toothed turret ring & turret basket included,
Internal rifling on gun barrel,
Full internal detail on all hatches,
Internal detail to both drive housings including gearwheels for those who wish to include the vehicle in a diorama setting
Separate roadwheel tyres with no clean up required.
The option to have all vision blocks and periscopes displyed opened or closed.
The list could go on, and the sharpness of the detail cannot be appreciated from the photographs, put simply, the kit is stunning in its finesse. The now usual Dragon 'extras' are included, such as metal barrel, as mentioned earlier, photo etched tool clamps, 2 sets of tools, reverse detailing on the fenders, 'Magic tracks' with no clean up necessary, and a former for assembling them is included too.
As with the first kit, there is a full machine gun included for installing in the ball mount at the front of the hull, and all periscopes are supplied in clear plastic. The cupola builds up beautifully and looks amazing once complete!
The engine deck again provides optional grills in photo etch, there are photo etch details for almost everything! In addition to the 3 photo etched frets there are various pre-formed wires supplied to represent wiring to the lights etc.
A detailed examination of the sprues included in the kit do show where Dragon have listened to modellers;
The photo etch supplied have been reworked, fret MC no longer includes the medals and shoulderboards for the Guderian figure, but instead hold brackets for the add-on armour.
Fret MA is the same as in the original release, but is minus the inserts for the jerry cans, which are now on fret MB, since on this fret the brass sheets for the alternative spare roadwheel holders have now been deleted.
On sprue D, which holds the hull rear and the fenders with holes for the tools which have clamps moulded on there are a couple of differences. Part D51, which is the rear of the hull itself has a small circular structure which had four small rivets in the original release, but these have now been deleted. D42 has been completely re-tooled into a new version of that part. D52 has been re-tooled and is no longer flat but instead has sidewalls, whilst D71 is narrower. These changes seem to have been made to allow for the new angle of slope of the bottom portion of the rear the rear hull, which has also also meant that the size of the plate that supports the idler axle and has the 4 triangular fillets on has also been decreased.
The turret has been re-designed and is now shorter with more correct angles, two locating points, one on each side has been re-located further forward.
The drive housings themselves have been re-tooled, and now have much better axle detail for those who wish to show this in a diorama setting.
Newly designed turret storage bin.
Newly designed towing hooks.
The options for the front strip on the housings has also been altered with the inclusion of four new parts, 2 x B26 and 2 x B37, which have more conical bolts with smaller spaces inbetween.
There's a re-tooled visor..........and a completely new glacis plate. On the glacis the two brake inspection panels and the transmission hatch have all been moved down in response to modellers requests, and a top and bottom weld seam introduced also.
The drive wheel themselves have been re-tooled, moved slightly upwards, and have much better bolthead detail around the rim, with the addition of a new part.
On the superstructure,, part D28 the right sidewall hasd now been corrected with the deletion of the vent, that was in any case hidden on the previous release.
Part E8 the Machind gunners hatch has had the small triangular bracket rotated to face the correct way
Parts E34 & 35 have been re-tooled to allow use of E12 which is the ball mount surround for the machine gun....this has been enlarged.
The strip on the rear hull, part E23 has had bolt detail added.
The decal sheet in this version is not as extensive as that given in the first version, but still provides markings for 5 versions, 4 in panzer grey and one dark yellow.
I thought the original Panzer IV was good! I still think it is. I think this one is better. Dragon have certainly gone out of their way to consult not just with Tom Cockle and Gary Edmundsen, but also the larger modelling community in an effort to try and get it as accurate as possible. I'm not expert enough to say whether they have or not..... but it sure looks good from what I can see!
My Thanks to Dragon
for the review sample