The Panzer IV Ausf.E 'Vorpanzer' was the second of Dragon's 'superkits', and to their credit, Dragon made a whole host of corrections that had been brought to their attention by modellers. The kit is superb but still suffers in places due to constraints placed upon it by the moulding process. This set from Eduard attempts to improve these areas.
The set consists of two reasonably-sized frets of photo-etch, and five pages of instructions. Although there is a lot of photo-etch already supplied in the recommended kit, most of what you get is to replace styrene parts to give a more-scale appearance.
To begin with, the set provides brackets for fixing the spare track links to the glacis plate, something which Dragon omitted entirely in the original kit, and also a bracket for fixing more spare track links to the front of the lower hull. Also in the set are two nice front fenders for the drive sprockets including separate hinges. These are useful if you're going to want to bend them a bit to represent damage as well as giving a far better scale appearance. Also supplied are a few minor improvements for the co-driver's machine gun, although these will be nigh-on impossible to see once the model is completed.
A big improvement over the kit-supplied Jack block is provided by Eduard, in the form of a complete replacement for the kit offering, and that includes the three wooden blocks themselves which are supplied as photo-etch, as are all the straps and brackets. The engine intake grills get a full work over, with new plates to replace the photo-etch ones in the kit. Dragon's are nice, but these are slightly better, offering improved hinge detail. Of course, all the associated retaining strips are also supplied, although these are on a par with the kit offerings.
Eduard offer new brackets for the rear convoy light and reflectors, although again, these are almost identical to the kit offerings again. A new filler cap is provided, attached to a small length of photo-etched chain, and also a set of rear mudguards for over the idlers, again with their hinges etc. The angle bracket joing the rear lower hull to the upper is replaced with a better looking piece, although this will require you to add boltheads which you can shave off the replaced part. Also supplied are two strap brackets for the engine exhaust muffler, which are a vast improvement over the kit parts.
The fold-up step for the left fender is upplied in the Eduard set, although thsi looks identical to the Dragon-supplied part, but at least it will give you a spare to work with, as they are very difficult to construct without breaking! As is usual with Eduard sets for these latest Dragon releases, they supply tool clamps, which again, are already supplied by Dragon, although the Eduard ones are much easier to construct, being one-piece, unlike the kit offerings that require three hands and the patience of a saint to build them.
I have already used the brackets for the antennae trough and found them to be fantastic! These and the completely new clasps for the rear turret stowage bin would make me buy the set alone! The problem with the kit supplied ones is they don't fit properly, and these Eduard ones are so simple to construct, and look so good, I'd use them every time! There are some minor improvements for inside the turret, but again, these will be almost impossible to see, even with all the hatches open on the completed model.
Eduard again replace things already provided as Photo-etch in the original kit, but in this case they are an improvement over the originals. Besides, there is a lot more included which in my opinion, make this a wothwhile set. Highly recommended.
My thanks to Eduard for the review sample.
A very useful set that offers improvements over kit parts, both in terms of appearance and construction.