Dragon 1/72 Pz.Kpfw IV ausf G (early production)
|REVIEWER:||Scott Van Aken|
Panzer IV is the common name of a medium tank that was developed in the late 1930s by Germany and used extensively in World War II. The official German designation was Panzerkampfwagen IV (abbreviated PzKpfw IV) and the tank also had the ordnance inventory designation SdKfz 161.
It was initially designed as an infantry-support medium tank (Begleitwagen, mittlerer Panzer), to work in conjunction with the Panzer III which was intended to engage enemy tanks. Later in the war it was up-gunned and up-armored and took over the tank-fighting role while Panzer IIIs were either put into infantry support duties or converted into other vehicles. The Panzer IV was the most common German tank of World War II, and was used as the base for many other fighting vehicles, such as tank destroyers and self-propelled anti-aircraft guns. The Panzer IV was the workhorse of the German tank corps, being produced and used in all theatres of combat throughout the war. The design was upgraded repeatedly to deal with the increasing threats from enemy forces. The Panzer IV has the distinction of being the only German tank to remain in continuous production throughout all of World War II, with over 8,500 produced from 1937 to 1945.
During its production run from May 1942 to June 1943, the Panzer IV Ausf. G went through further modifications, including another armor upgrade. Given that the tank was reaching its viable limit, to avoid a corresponding weight increase, the appliqué 20-millimetre (0.79 in) steel plates were removed from its side armor, which instead had its base thickness increased to 30 millimetres (1.18 in). The weight saved was transferred to the front, which saw a 30-millimetre (1.18 in) face-hardened appliqué steel plate welded (later bolted) to the glacis—in total, frontal armor was now 80 millimetres (3.15 in) thick. To simplify production, the vision ports on either side of the turret and on the left turret front were removed, while a rack for two spare roadwheels was installed on the track guard on the left side of the hull. Complementing this, brackets for seven spare track links were added to the glacis plate. For operation in high temperatures, the engine's ventilation was improved by creating slits over the engine deck to the rear of the chassis, and cold weather performance was boosted by adding a device to heat the engine's coolant, as well as a starter fluid injector. A new light replaced the original headlight, and the signal port on the turret was removed. In April 1943, the KwK 40 L/43 was replaced by the longer 75-millimetre (2.95 in) KwK 40 L/48 gun, with a redesigned multi-baffle muzzle brake with improved recoil efficiency.
This Dragon kit increases their reputation for including finely done 1/72 armor kits. Probably the best line in the business in terms of quality and perhaps even numbers. This is arrived at with little in the way of photo-etch, for which many will be pleased, using it only for a few fender braces and some stowage compartment lids. This also has their very nice DS tracks, which can be treated like any other styrene plastic when it comes to gluing and painting. There is a lot more so I'll let Dragon's PR people fill you in on the features.
If you are a fan of building 1/72 armor, then this is a very nice kit that you'll want to add to your collection.
My thanks to www.dragonmodelsusa.com for the preview kit. Get this one today at your local shop or on-line retailer.
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