DML 1/35 Tauchpanzer IV Ausf.D Kit First Look
|Date of Review||October 2006||Manufacturer||DML|
|Subject||Tauchpanzer IV Ausf.D Kit||Scale||1/35|
|Kit Number||6327||Primary Media||1,276 parts (745 in grey styrene, 288 "Magic Track" links, 189 etched brass, 36 clear styrene, 10 preformed steel wire, 2 turned brass, 2 twisted steel wire, 2 in grey DS plastic, 1 turned aluminum, 1 brass tube)|
|Pros||Ultimate Panzer IV D model kit; provides for nearly every major line tank variant made||Cons||Essentially Pz.Kpfw.IV Ausf.D 3-in-1 kit with some new parts; perhaps parts should have been offered as an upgrade/ aftermarket kit and not a complete model|
|Skill Level||Intermediate||MSRP (USD)||$45-48|
DML, through its boutique affiliate cyber-hobby.com, is now offering what has to be the ultimate Pz.Kpfw.IV Ausf.D kit – one that can be built "five" different ways. The kit will produce one of the followign options: a line Pz.Kpfw.IV Ausf.D; Pz.Kpfw.IV Ausf.D with applique armor; Pz.Kpfw.IV Ausf.D Tropical (Afrika Korps) version; Tauchpanzer IV Ausf.D in combat mode; or Tauchpanzer IV Ausf.D in fording mode.
Basically this model is the previous DML Kit No. 6265 Pz.Kpfw.IV Ausf.D 3-in-1 verbatim, to include all of the parts in that kit, with a new set of directions provided as extra and a total of 35 more parts added to cover the specific Tauchpanzer variant. These include all of the seals and covers provided for the vehicle, two DS plastic parts (a new mantelet with rubberized canvas cover in place and a similar cover with viewers placed over the commander's cupola, and the fittings for the snorkel device itself which is a length of brass tubing. The nice thing is that the styrene fittings provide for the mounting plates for the covers, so that the model may be shown with or without the covers in place.
The rest of the kit is identical to the previous one with only minor changes. As before, the model has a wealth of detail. A pretty substantial basic turret interior and basket are included, and all hatches are separate pieces with interior detailing. The cupola now consists of an amazing 30 parts with options to display the visors either open or closed, as well as the hatches open or closed. All small details such as pistol ports and access hatches are separate and may be assembled open or closed. As is now pretty common on DML kits, you have a choice of a "slide molded" styrene barrel or a turned aluminum one. Both appear to come with rifling.
The running gear is no less detailed. For example, the drivers assemble nearly in the same manner as the original: core sections, toothed rings with 12 separate bolts each, and caps and spindles – each one requires 31 parts and a LOT of patience. Bogie assemblies still consist of 18 parts each. The same "Magic Track" with 144 links per side of snap-together tracks are provided, but as I noted with that kit they are "handed" with the pin heads on the inside and the "keepers" on the outside. They are bagged separately and the "code" appears to be the bag on the left side of the header provides the left side track, and the one on the right the right side track. A jig for setting "droop" is also included. One-piece "slide molded" idlers are again included, as well as the normal two-piece kind.
Two hulls are included; while this was not popular with the Ausf.E kits for some reason, since the Ausf.D was fitted with applique it seems to be a logical method of attempting to capture that detail and maintain scale and ease of assembly. The hull is pretty much the same as that on the E but comes with the different bits for the D in regard to its foredeck and muffler assemblies. The drivers appear to me at first glance to be about the right height – e.g. the sprocket faces (not the tops of the teeth) look to be level with the tops of the return rollers.
As with nearly all DML kits, you have the option of using styrene parts for all assemblies or replacing many of them with etched brass. The main ones where most modelers will probably opt for the latter are the louvers and slats on the rear engine deck in the "tropical" version and the cold weather flaps on the sides of the hull.
The directions are very busy, and I do wish DML would spend more time on them. It's not fair to a very good and detailed product like this to simply ram the directions on how to get it to all come together into something which can be simply run off on a two-sided sheet 350 x 920 mm and stuck in the kit after folding by machine when it makes reading and working on the various assemblies tedious or frustrating. Here the three basic versions – standard production, uparmored and tropicalized – are separated by the former being in blue ink, the middle one in black ink and the latter in grey. They are very busy and you have to be sharp to see the different call-outs. Note that a complete separate direction sheet is provided for the two Tauchpanzer variants, and it is to be used to build them as it covers the ENTIRE model and not just the conversion parts.
A total of 11 different vehicles among the three variants offered are covered in the painting and markings section for the Pz.Kpfw.IV Ausf.D 3-in-1 kit. . For the standard production version, tanks from the 5th Panzer Division in the Balkans, the 10th, 2nd, and 6th Panzer Divisions in France, and the 7th Panzer Division in Russia are covered, all in Panzergrau. For the add-on armor versions, two vehicles from the 21st Panzer Division in Libya are covered, both in camouflage schemes. Finally, four vehicles of the uparmored tropical version are offered, two from the 5th Leichte Division, one from the 21st Panzer Division, and one from the 15th Panzer Division, all Libya 1941.
Two more schemes and a total of 7 vehicles are provided with the Tauchpanzers; two Tauchpanzer IVs from the 25th Panzer Regiment, 7th Panzer Division Eastern Front with the fording gear fitted (Panzergrau), and five tanks from the 18th Panzer Regiment, 18th Panzer Division, Eastern Front 1941 with the fording gear mounts in place and gear removed. Both are "targeted" Cartograf decal sheets so the numbers all come preformatted, and no "number jungle" is provided with the kit.
Overall this is another lovely kit, and if you have not purchased a Ausf.D kit this is the one to pick up. But for those who have already bought one, I am surprised that DML did not have cyber-hobby.com offer it as an aftermarket add-on/upgrade kit.
Thanks to Freddie Leung of Dragon Models USA for the review sample.
Combined Sprue Layout for this kit (with corrections from the Pz.Kpfw.IV Ausf.E kit noted):
- A 10+10 IV (drivers and rollers)
- A 33 x 2 IV D driver rings (NEW)
- A 84 x 2 IV (wheels and suspension elements) (REDO)
- B 24 IV (bow section)
- B 32 IV (armored final drives)
- D 90 IV (fenders and details) (REDO)
- E 55 IV (hull top) (REDO)
- F 44 IV (turret interior)
- G 24 IV (turret details + droop template) (REDO)
- H 58 (OVM)
- J 55 IV Specific Parts (NEW)
- L 2 (one-piece idlers)
- K 36 x 4 (Magic track)
- M 36 x 4 (Magic track)
- N 12 (Jerry cans)
- O 38 IV (tires)
- O 5 Slide molded styrene parts
- P 17 IV (Clear) (REDO)
- Q 25 (cupola) (REDO)
- R 11 (cupola - clear)
- S 2 IV (fenders)
- T 8 clear fittings for Tauchpanzer cupola
- X 2 IV (lower hull)
- W 22 Tauchpanzer IV fittings
- Y 2 DS plastic fittings for Tauchpanzer IV
- Z 1 twisted steel wire
- MA 141 IV (etched)
- MB 36 (etched)
- MC 10 (etched)
- MD 1 turned aluminum
- MD 2 etched brass
- MD 2 turned brass
- ME 10 pre-bent wire
- ME 4 preformed brass
- ME 10 preformed steel wire
- ME 1 brass tube