Dragon 1/35 PzKpfw.IV ausf J (Mid-Production)
|REVIEWER:||Scott Van Aken|
The Panzerkampfwagen IV (Pz.Kpfw. IV), commonly known as the Panzer IV, was a medium tank developed in Nazi Germany in the late 1930s and used extensively during the Second World War. Its ordnance inventory designation was Sd.Kfz. 161.
Designed as an infantry-support tank, the Panzer IV was not originally intended to engage enemy armor—that function was performed by the lighter Panzer III. However, with the flaws of pre-war doctrine becoming apparent and in the face of Soviet T-34 tanks, the Panzer IV soon assumed the tank-fighting role of its increasingly obsolescent cousin. The most widely manufactured and deployed German tank of the Second World War, the Panzer IV was used as the base for many other fighting vehicles, including tank destroyers and self-propelled anti-aircraft guns. Robust and reliable, it saw service in all combat theaters, and has the distinction of being the only German tank to remain in continuous production throughout the war, with over 8,500 produced between 1936 and 1945. Upgrades and design modifications, often made in response to the appearance of new Allied tanks, extended its service life. Generally these involved increasing the Panzer IV's armor protection or upgrading its weapons, although during the last months of the war and with Germany's pressing need for rapid replacement of losses, design changes also included retrograde measures to simplify and speed manufacture.
The Panzer IV was the most widely exported tank in German service, with around 300 sold to partners such as Finland, Spain and Bulgaria. After the war, the French and Spanish sold dozens of Panzer IVs to Syria, where they saw combat in the 1967 Six-Day War.
The Panzer IV was the only German tank to remain in continuous production throughout the course of WWII. The final version in the Pz.Kpfw. IV family was the Ausf.J This particular variant commenced production in June 1944, and a total of approximately 3125 were eventually manufactured. The Ausf.J succeeded the Ausf.H, and rather than being an enhanced version of the Ausf.H, the final design was actually simplified in an attempt to ease and speed up construction. Thus, the electric turret drive was deleted and an extra fuel tank was fitted in its place. Other distinguishing features include the absence of Zimmerit.
Once more, Dragon Models continues to provide sub-variants of popular armor subjects. I have to think that they have done at least a half dozen Panzer IVs if not more. This kit fits well into their Smart kit line with a parts count of over 750 bits. Of course, many of those are the individual track links, but there is a ton of detail for this kit as well. The addition of the steel etched side skirts is a very nice option as they are scale thickness. There is also a standard etched brass sheet with screens and few other bits. Those who really want to go to town on the etched stuff will find several upgrade sets available. I'll let the Dragon PR folks give you a long rundown on the kit's features.
- Side-skirt armor plates can be installed separately
- Side-skirt armor produced in metal for scale thickness
- One-piece 3-directional slide-molded turret for Pz.Kpfw.IV Ausf.J
- Mantlet guard can be removed and gun unloaded as on real vehicle
- Detailed gun muzzle brake
- Complete gun assembly w/full detail
- Finely detailed 7.5cm Kw.K. 40 L/48 gun
- Gun sleeve w/delicate weld and bolt detail made from 3-directional slide molds
- New turret roof rendered w/turret-skirt armor brackets
- Turret-skirt and side-skirt armor plates can be installed separately
- Rear antenna included
- Newly tooled exhaust pipe on the hull rear
- Includes hollowed-out undercut on turret bottom
- Incorporates toothed turret ring inside turret
- Two types of driver's and radio operator's hatch w/splash guard
- Hatches w/internal detail
- Spare-wheel rack w/spare wheels on upper hull side
- Two types of side-skirt armor plate w/bolt detail
- Brackets for side-skirt armor realistically detailed
- Turret-skirt door can be positioned open/closed
- Optional turret-side door can be positioned open/closed
- Side fenders w/pattern detail on both top and bottom surfaces
- Injection-molded fenders made to thinnest possible dimensions
- Two types of ventilation cover w/great detail
- Newly tooled storage mesh on turret side
- Commander's cupola recreates structural details
- Cupola vision blocks can be assembled open/closed
- One-piece lower hull made from slide molds
- Hull bottom fully detailed
- One-piece upper hull 2-side slide-molded w/new engine-deck design
- MG34 in Gen2 standard w/gun mount
- Photo-etched part for engine-deck ventilation grill
- Two types of engine hatches can be assembled open/closed
- Spare-track bracket on lower hull front
- Spare-tracks on armor side
- New OVM arrangement on fenders
- 40cm Magic Tracks in both side detail
- Spare-track bracket on glacis plate w/photo-etched and plastic option
- Final-drive housing w/details on both sides
- Separate armored cover for final-drive housing
- Sprocket wheels w/breathtaking detail and multiple delicate parts
- Newly tooled fuel filler flap
- Extendable jack w/separate parts
- Accurately detailed idler adjuster mountings
- Detailed towing-eye brackets w/separate parts
- Road wheels and suspension w/multiple components exhibit crisp detail
- Idler wheels have detailed parts
- Air-intake covers have option of injection or photo-etched parts
- Realistic double-layered air intake
- Injection-molded OVM w/clasps
Another great Dragon armor kit of the most important tank in Germany's inventory. It will build into a superb model when you are done.
My thanks to www.dragonmodelsusa.com for the preview kit. Get yours today at your local shop or on-line retailer.
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