|KIT:||Mirage 1/72 PzKw IV ausf C|
|PRICE:||$18.98 MSRP ($16.96 at Squadron)|
|REVIEWER:||Scott Van Aken|
|NOTES:||Photo Etch fret included|
Designed and built in the late 1930's, construction of the third version of the PzKpfw IV was halted after only 134 of the planned 300 units were built. Improvements in tank design being such that it was decided not to continue with this variant in favor of more modern vehicles.
Many of these tanks ended up in the 21st Armored Division (new). This was one of the more unusual units of WWII. Reformed after the defeat in North Africa with many of the survivors of the old 21st AD, who were training new tank crews. This unit consisted of outdated German tanks and captured French tanks as well as SPGS built on French chassis, French half-tracks, Soviet field guns and a potpourii of vehicles from all over occupied Europe. The idea was to eventually rename the unit the 22nd Panzer Regiment and provide it with modern tanks, but this had not yet happened by the time of the Allied invasion of Europe in June of 1944. The result is that this unit was sent into battle with this motley mixture of outdated equipment. Needless to say, it was almost totally decimated in the ensuing fighting.
Molded in various shades of grey, the seven sprues that comprise this kit are fairly well molded. Inspection of the pieces shows that there is no appreciable flash, those ejector pin marks that are present will be easy to remove or are hidden after construction, and though there are a few sink areas on some of the parts, it isn't anything major. I have to say that if you are looking for a good value for your money, this is it as the number of parts included in this kit are nearly staggering. Granted, two of the large sprues are dedicated to road wheels and suspension, but that can be expected on any tank kit.
The kit includes a photoetched fret which is basically used for fender caps and a few other smaller bits. As with an earlier kit, the brass feels as if there is a coating of plastic on it as it is seems a bit slick, but that is just the way it is produced. The tracks and tow cables are made from a very flexible black vinyl.
Instructions are quite good with the various sequences drawn in a 3-D style that almost seems photographed. Any modifications needed are clearly shown. There is a separate section showing the use of the photo-etch fret so I'm assuming that using it is optional for those who don't feel comfortable using this material. A color chart is provided with Generic, Vallejo, and Humbrol references. No color information is given during actual construction; all of that left for the painting and decal guide. There are markings for three tanks which are either in panzer grey from Germany in 1939 or the Balkans in 1941, or in a tan/green scheme as shown on the box art from the Normandy invasion in 1944. Decals are well printed, but the white seems to nearly disappear against the light blue background of the sheet so I wonder how it will work when applied. I've not had any issues with Mirage decals in the past and expect none with these.
Another neat small scale armor kit from Mirage. There are a lot of parts in this one that should make up into a fine little model. With the insurgence of 1/72 military vehicle kits that I see from shows and their disappearing from the shelves, I'm sure that we'll see even more subjects appearing.
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