The Panzer IV is often overlooked, living in the shadow of the more impressive looking Tiger and Panther. The basic design, reliability and adaptability of the Panzer IV were so good however, that it was the only tank to be produced from before the war right until the last days of German War Manufacture. The chassis was used for many different variants, the StuG and Nashorn but two of many. Model companies have in the past concentrated on the later variants, and the Ausf. F/G, H and J are readily available in plastic, with varying levels of accuracy. The pre and early war Panzer IV’s have always been scarce, Tamiya’s Ausf. D probably the best known, but now rather long in the tooth one.
But since 2005 the balance has been re-dressed, and Dragon and Tristar have been delighting Panzer IV fans with new kits of the Ausf. E, D, C and B. These kits are miles ahead of the old Tamiya offering, exhibiting great attention to detail as well as new features like working suspension. Whilst the Dragon kits come with a full set of Photo-etch, the Tristar kit comes with just a small fret with only a handful of parts.
Enter then Eduard, stepping in with a set of Photo-etch to add those little scale touches.
What’s in the bag?
The set consists of two frets and four pages of instructions. The set is packed in a clear plastic ‘envelope’ and the frets are sandwiched between two cards, to avoid any damage during handling. Both frets are etched cleanly, with fine surface texture and detail where appropriate.
A closer look
Very welcome inclusions in this set are both front and rear mudguards, items that are not supplied in either Dragon or Tristar PE sets. In period photos these mudguards are almost always seen to be damaged or hinged up, which is difficult to re-create convincingly with plastic mudguards. The front mudguards feature moulded on hinges, which are not difficult to do, but the instructions are not very clear as to how to do it. The rear mudguards have recessed dots to replicate rivet detail, which is a shame as the rivets should be prone to the surface.
New straps for both the main and auxiliary exhausts are a great improvement over the moulded straps, the exhaust of the Tristar kit not being the finest to begin with. Staying at the rear end, there is a fine convoy light, the flap of which can be mounted up or down, to the left and a replacement rear light for the right mudguard.
Some detail is added to the turret and the hatches, replacing handles and adding a frame around the hatch vision blocks.
For the right mudguard the usual array of tool and spare track brackets are provided, and Eduard’s simple one-piece design makes them reasonably easy to work with. The Tristar shovel is much improved with the Eduard shovel blade, in effect only retaining the handle in plastic.
For the left mudguard two options are available, one uses the folding step and track tool (which is also provided in the Tristar kit, but less detailed), whilst the other option is a jerry can rack, which is a field modification. The wood grain on the etched parts is nice, and after painting should be just the right depth. More tool clamps, including a bracket for the fire extinguisher finish it of.
The Tristar kit is good, but if you want that little bit more scale detail, and model damaged mudguards, this kit provides it. The rivet detail on the mudguards not withstanding, this set is excellent and a worthwhile addition to the Tristar kit. Recommended
- achtung Panzer no.1
- Panzerkampfwagen IV "Workhorse of the German Panzertruppe" by Walter J. Spielberger and Uwe Feist
- Panzer IV by Janusz Ledwoch
- PzKpfw IV Ausf A to J by Jonathan Forty (Tanks in Detail series)
- Panzer Colours II by Bruce Culver
- Various websites
Thanks to Eduard for providing the review sample.