The Panzer IV is often referred to as the backbone of the German Panzer Divisions, with almost 7500 being produced in total. With the recent release of Dragons' Ausf. E and Vorpanzer kit, and other versions from Cyber Hobby, this books' release is timely, and being written by Tom Cockle, a consultant for Dragon on the production of the kits themselves, then surely it's a must have reference?
First and foremost, this book doesn't present itself as an authoritative reference on the Early Panzer IV. It's one of the 'Modelling' series, and as such it presents everything you need in terms of a 'how to guide' to produce four specific variants.
The introduction to the book is however a very short history of the vehicle, giving a brief outline of the main differences between the variants. This is followed by a short chapter outlining the materials that were used in the production of the finished vehicles featured in the book. Then we have a long, thorough chapter on modelling each of the following:
Panzerkampwagen IV Ausf. F, 5 Panzer Division, Russia 1942
Panzerkampwagen IV Ausf. C, 6 Panzer Division, France 1940
Panzerkampwagen IV Ausf. A, 1 Panzer Division, Poland 1939
Nebau - Panzerkampwagen IV, Pz.Abt.z.b.V.1940, Norway 1940
The chapters above, in which Tom Cockle details just how to produce these vehicles are essential reading for anybody attempting to produce a Panzer IV. They even include the Nebau, which was the rare multi-turreted version. Tom covers everything... from which kits to use as a starting point, what to change, how to change it, all the way to how he painted and weathered the vehicle, and how he produced the base it's displayed on in the book.
There are step by step instructions, accompanied by good, pin sharp photographs showing exactly how the author produces the finished vehicles. He also indicates all the materials he uses, and the approximate skill level required, which begins with intermediate, and progresses with advanced level to master level.
The next chapter after these shows a selection of photographs of other Panzer IV models, both painted and unpainted, accompanied by text in which the author describes briefly each one, major modifications to each and what was used to produce each vehicle.
The book ends with a further reading list, followed by a list of 1/35 kits of the Panzer IV and available accessories, and finally a clour chart on the inside back cover.
If you need to know engine specifications for a Panzer IV Ausf. D, then don't get this book. If however, you want a step by step guide by one of the acknowledged experts in the field, on how to produce a historically accurate, miniature replica of an eraly Panzer IV, get one today. Highly recommended.
Further information is available here
My Thanks to Osprey for the review sample.