I actually started work on this one last week while watching the NFL playoffs due to the fact that the first step deals with the many road-wheels that are common to the Pz IV family. This step calls for the assembly of the sprockets, idlers, road wheels, and return rollers. You do need to be sure that you use the correct parts and not include A6 by accident since that's the earlier style of sprocket face. All of the 36 road wheels (32 for the suspension, 4 for the spares) require their mold seam to be removed and this is why it was perfectly suited for working on while watching TV...it's a slow, tedious, repetitive process, but one that I wanted to get out of the way early. The return rollers also had a small seam to clean up and when you assemble them together, care is needed due to the small mating surface to insure they are even top and bottom. This step also asks you to construct 4 lifting eyes but these aren't used until much later in the instructions, so I skipped that for later.
Once done, I set them off to the side in a plastic drawer from my spares bin to avoid any going "missing". This is something I do as a matter of course with all "loose" parts that are assembled or partially assembled but left off the vehicle until after painting.
Step 2 moves on to the lower hull. There are two sub-assemblies to this step, the first deals with the rear plate. An option is presented to use either the early style plate, E26, or the later style plate with the round coolant access hatch, E27. I opted for E27 and installed the square access hatch E29 before attaching to E13 and creating the full plate.
The second sub-assembly deals with the nose plate. An option is presented here as well to go with the standard 50mm nose plate or add an extra 30mm welded plate. To add the extra 30mm plate, 4 holes need to be opened up to accommodate it. All but 1 of the vehicles, Red 215 LAH 1943, are shown in the finishing guide with the extra plate installed, so install it depending on your choice. I went ahead and added it before installing the towing pintles to have room to work with to insure all the surfaces mated well since it has molded on weld beads included.
The towing pintles are a complex 5 part assembly for each side and after some study, decided the best way was to fit the pintles, A31, into the eyes first then use some liquid glue to secure them to the base.
The rear plate was then installed along with the base extension plate, E11. The tendency at this point might be to think that Dragon made an error and there's a large gap between the molded on idler mount braces and the rear plate, but this gap should be there as it will be filled in with parts E31 and E32 in Step 4.
The nose plate was then installed along with the front halves of the final drive mounts on either side to complete the step.
Step 3 is a busy step dealing with adding more details to the lower hull sides. A sub-assembly is called for to create each of the armored final drive housings and the instructions can be a little confusing here if not careful. The arrangement of A9, A10, and A8 depends on which side you're dealing with and the arrow from the sub-assembly points to the right side when it should point to the left.
The suspension mounts were installed, 4 to a side. Be careful when removing them from the sprues not get them mixed up as there are 4 per sprue, but 2 are for the left (A38) and 2 for the right (A39). The two-part bump-stops were also assembled and installed, 5 per side, and the two armored circular ports on the left side installed.
Step 4 deals with the details for the rear hull plate. A sub-assembly step for constructing the muffler is provided. The muffler has 7 parts for itself plus 2 more for the holders/mounts to the hull. 2 of those parts consist of the feed pipes from the engine deck and, while a nice detail, are totally hidden from view once the semi-circular trays are mounted. These 2 pipes play a critical role though in that they are integral to mounting to the hull plate and need to be perfectly straight to avoid complications, so I test fit them multiple times while the glue set to be sure. The slight mold seam was sanded down with a sanding twig. Installation of the muffler is a tight fit, almost a snap fit, and very little glue was required to secure it in place.
The rear idler mounts were also constructed as a sub-assembly and then installed along with parts E31/32 to close the gaps mentioned previously. The crank-start port and cover were also installed along with the auxiliary turret motor muffler which has two choices, one with the exhaust pointing up (B28) or down (E17), and I chose the one pointing down. Last but not least, the rear towing pintle was assembled and installed. You've got three choices here and I chose the heavy-duty option of parts H23/H26/H13/H27.