by: Ken Schwartz
Introduction Following on the heels of their recent Panther kits, Dragon has released a Pz.Kpfw IV F2 (G) as the latest in their series of “Smart Kits.” The IV F2 is the first of the "long gun" family of Pz.Kpfw IV vehicles and is the first to be released as a "Smart Kit" unlike previous kits which were classed as "Super Kits".
Kit Contents The kit contains twelve highly detailed sprues. These cover a complete lower hull followed by the traditional lower suspension, dry sprockets, fenders which are detailed on top as well as below, top deck with open hatches that enable viewing of the turret interior, full set of traditional on-board tank tools, one set of clear sprue that is used for vision blocks and periscopes, one small fret of detailed photo etch, and a complete detailed turret.
Extras and Finishing GuideAnother great feature to this kit is a booklet called, “The Inside Story.” This book refers to all of the extreme detail Dragon Models has put into this kit. It begins with the weld seams of the turret which are the correct ones for this version and continues on to the long barreled 7.5 cm gun sleeves and ending with detailed suspension and road wheels. Dragon has also given you a decal sheet with several divisional markings as listed below:
Pz.Abt.204, 22 Pz.Div.,Russia 1942
Pz.Rgt.29, 12.Pz.Div.,Russia 1942
Pz.Abt.1, ‘LAH’ Div.,France 1942
Pz.Rgt.8, 15.Pz.Div., Tunisia 1942
Pz.Rgt.15, 11.Pz.Div., Russia 1942
Unidentified unit, Eastern Front 1943
Details and FeaturesI would like to take a little time to discuss some of the finer details of this tank. The weld seams on the turrets of other kits of the IV F2 are smooth and have a single level as on the Ausf. D and E, but this feature is incorrect. Dragon has carefully placed the weld seam on a split level because there is a slight step down at the rear of the turret. The original vehicles have various weld seams throughout and Dragon has done an outstanding job in replicating them from top to bottom making this tank an authentic version.
While on the subject of bottom, Dragon has replicated this tank from its under carriage to both sides of its fenders. The kit also comes with the now famous “magic tracks", which are beautifully molded with open guide horns. The wheels and suspension have been faithfully reproduced in a way that makes them an easier assembly with total accuracy beginning with the leaf springs all the way to the parting lines on the rubber road wheels.
The last aspect I would like to mention is the fact that you can really “open her up”. Dragon has provided the options of opening or closing several items on this vehicle. Some are standard such as the hatches, but others like the fuel filter hatch, the front view port, transmission hatches, and signal port can also be posed open just to name a few.
ConclusionThis kit is one of those that any “tread-head” would want in his collection. When one looks at the extreme detail that Dragon has put into this kit and presenting it as one of their “Smart Kits” simplifies it so any level of expertise can build this kit and enjoy the process.