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Pz.Kpfw.IV Ausf.A

DML 1/35 Pz.Kpfw.IV Ausf.A - Smart Kit First Look

By Cookie Sewell

Date of Review August 2012 Manufacturer DML
Subject Pz.Kpfw.IV Ausf.A - Smart Kit Scale 1/35
Kit Number 6747 Primary Media 1,142 parts (781 in grey styrene, 216 "Magic Track" single links, 126 etched brass, 18 clear styrene, 1 twisted steel wire)
Pros Finally the first model of the Panzer IV family available in a kit! Cons Drivers with individual bolts particularly tedious
Skill Level Experienced MSRP (USD) $54.95

First Look

Everybody has to start somewhere, and the first of over 10,000 Panzer IV tanks began with this vehicle in April 1936. Known as the "Battalionsfuerherwagon Serie 1" (battalion commander's vehicle) it was designated as Sd.Kfz. 161 but entered service as the Pzkw. IV Ausf. A. Only 35 of this model were produced in 1937 and 1938 before the improved Ausf. B appeared.

While the tank underwent many changes over its production life, unlike the Panzer III this tank basically underwent no massive design changes during its nine year production life and an Ausf. A and Ausf. J could easily be seen to be closely related. However, due to the thin armor and short gun on this vehicle, it was withdrawn from active service prior to the campaigns of 1941.

At long last DML has gone back and now released a kit of the first Panzer IV, virtually completing its product of the entire family of vehicles. Based on the Ausf. B and D kits from about six years ago, this one adds or changes out more than 165 parts from the earlier kits to represent the Ausf. A model. These concentrate on the turret and the front section of the upper hull. A new upper hull with the one-piece hatches and straight upper glacis plate is provided, along with the internal mantelet gun mount and fittings for the turret.

The rest of the model is similar to the D kit. 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 simplified "dustbin" cupola is provided with a one-piece clear insert for it. All small details such as pistol ports and access hatches are separate and may be assembled open or closed.

The running gear is the older DML high detail version. This returns to drivers that 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 consist of 18 parts each. The same "Magic Track" with 108 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 but you will have to use a magnifier to tell which side is which. One-piece "slide molded" idlers are again included, as well as the normal two-piece kind.

The very early hull is provided, which is correct. 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 there is only one version of this kit, the typically busy DML directions are not as confusing as some previous variants.

Tom Cockle and Gary Edmundson are listed as the technical consultants for this kit.

A total of five different vehicles are covered in the painting and markings section for the Pzkw. IV Ausf. A. These include: Unidentified Unit, 1939 (panzer grey with brown, red 714); Unidentified Unit, 1939 (panzer grey with brown, white I01); HQS, 2nd Battalion, Pz.Rgt. 36, 4th Panzer Division, Poland 1939 (panzer grey with brown, white II-01); 4.Pz.Rgt. 1, 1st Panzer Division, Poland 1939 (panzer grey with brown, white 423); and 4./Pz.Rgt. 1, 1st Panzer Division, Poland 1939 (panzer grey with brown, white 412). Extra numbers are included for other vehicles.

Overall this is a lovely if very complex kit, and "completes the record".

Thanks to Freddie Leung of Dragon Models USA for the review sample.  

Sprue Layout:

  • A 44 x 2 Pzkw. IV - drivers and idlers, driver bolts
  • A 84 x 2 Pzkw IV - wheels and suspension elements  
  • B 32 Pzkw. IV -armored final drives
  • C 33 Pzkw. IV Ausf. A - fenders, upper hull, details
  • D 98 Pzkw. IV (early models) - fenders, hull details
  • F 44 Pzkw. IV - turret interior
  • G 27 Pzkw. IV Ausf. A - turret details
  • H 58 German Generic - OVM
  • J 8 German Generic - MG 34 machine gun
  • J 55 Pzkw. IV - hull and turret details, exhaust
  • K 108 Magic Track single links
  • L 2 One-piece idler wheels
  • M 108 Magic Track single links
  • N 44x2 Pzkw. IV Ausf. A - detail parts, wheel tires
  • 0 32 Pzkw. IV - tires
  • P 17 Clear styrene
  • T 1 Clear styrene insert for cupola
  • X 1 Pzkw. IV - lower hull
  • W 47 Pzkw. IV - upper hull, engine deck details
  • Z 1 twisted steel wire
  • MA 121 Pzkw. IV Ausf. A - etched brass
  • MC 4 Etched brass
  • ME 1 preformed brass