Dragon 1/35 Pz.Kpfw IV Ausf H (late production)

KIT #: 6300
PRICE: $53.00 SRP
DECALS: Five options
REVIEWER: Scott Van Aken
NOTES: Smart Kit


 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.

The Ausf. H, began production in April 1943 and received the designation Sd. Kfz. 161/2. This variant saw the integrity of the glacis armor improved by manufacturing it as a single 80-millimetre (3.15 in) plate. To prevent adhesion of magnetic anti-tank mines, which the Germans feared would be used in large numbers by the Allies, Zimmerit paste was added to all the vertical surfaces of the tank's armor, though this was dispensed with in late production versions. The vehicle's side and turret were further protected by the addition of 5-millimetre (0.20 in) side-skirts and a turret skirt. During the Ausf. H's production run its rubber-tired return rollers were replaced with cast steel; the hull was fitted with triangular supports for the easily-damaged side-skirts. A hole in the roof, designed for a new close-support weapon, was plugged by an armored plate due to the shortage of machine guns. These modifications meant that the tank's weight jumped to 25 tonnes (27.56 short tons), reducing its speed,a situation not improved by the decision to adopt the Panzer III's six-speed SSG 77 transmission, which was inferior to that of earlier-model Panzer IVs.


As usual, Dragon's web site lists all of the features of this kit much better than I can tell you. One thing that impresses me is that they are always ready to improve or upgrade things as technology or research improves. I particularly like that they mold the individual track links a different shade of grey depending on the side on which they fit. Some of us have been known to put these things on backwards.....

So without further ado, here are all the features:

- Side-skirt armor plates can be installed separately
- Newly designed side-skirt armor produced in metal for scale thickness
- Newly tooled one-piece 3-directional slide-molded turret for Pz.Kpfw.IV Ausf.H
- New turret roof rendered w/turret-skirt armor brackets
- Turret-skirt and side-skirt armor plates can be installed separetly
- Mantlet guard can be removed and gun unloaded as on real vehicle
- Rifling inside gun barrel is finely reproduced
- Detailed gun muzzle brake
- Finely detailed 7.5cm Kw.K.40 L/48 gun
- Gun sleeve w/delicated weld and bolt detail made from 3-directional slide molds
- Mantlet view port can be modeled open/closed
- Turret-skirt door can be positioned open/closed
- MG34 in Gen2 standard with gun mount
- Brackets for side-skirt armor realistically detailed
- Newly tooled spare-wheel rack w/spare wheels on upper full side
- Two types of side-skirt armor plate w/bolt detail
- Injection-molded fenders made to thinnest possible dimensions
- Includes hollowed-out undercut on turret bottom
- Incorporates toothed turret ring inside turret
- New spare-track bracket on glacis plate wiht photo-etched and plastic option
- Commander's cupola recreates structural details
- Cupola vision blocks can be assembled open/closed
- New driver's and radio operator's housing w/splash guard
- Hatches w/internal detail
- Newly tooled spare-track bracket on lower hull front
- Spare rod antenna storage on late Pz.Kpfw.IV Ausf.H
- 500mm T-34 waffle pattern tracks as extra armor protection
- New OVM arrangement onn fenders
- Newly tooled one-piece upper hull 2side slide-molded w/new engine-deck design
- Newly tooled side fenders w/pattern detail on both top and bottom surfaces
- Great detail on newly tooled hull rear
- New spare tracks on rear armor plate
- Photo-etched part for engine-deck exhaust grill
- Engine hatches can be assembled open/closed
- Injection molded OVM w/clasps
- Air-intake covers have option of injection or photo-etched parts
- Realistic double-layered air intake
- 40cm Magic Tracks in both side detail
- Complete MG w/workable ball mount
- Final-drive housing w/details on both sides
- Separate armored cover for final-drive housing
- Sprocket wheels w/breathtaking detail and multiple delicate parts
- 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
- Fuel filler flap has open/closed option
- Rear antenna included
- One-piece lower hull made from slide molds
- Hull bottom fully detailed

There are five markings options, all with a base of panzer yellow and various camouflage patterns. Starting from the top of the illustration, three are from the eastern front with the first two of unknown units while the third is from 3.Pz.Div. All from 1943. The last two in somewhat similar camo, are from 2.Pz.Div in Normandy during 1944. The instructions are superbly done with all the options clearly marked so the builder can make a choice. As usual, Gunze and Model Master paint references.  


Dragon models continue to impress with the dedication to detail and the level  of detail provided. With over 800 parts, this won't be slammed together, but the result of careful construction will be a superb looking replica.



August 2009

Thanks to www.dragonmodelsusa.com for the preview kit. Get yours today at your favorite shop or on-line retailer.

If you would like your product reviewed fairly and fairly quickly, please contact the editor or see other details in the Note to Contributors.

Back to the Main Page

Back to the Previews Index Page