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Pz.Kpfw.IV

Trumpeter 1/35 Pz.Kpfw.IV Ausf.D/E Fahrgestell Kit First Look

By Michael Benolkin

Date of Review April 2006 Manufacturer Trumpeter
Subject Pz.Kpfw.IV Ausf.D/E Fahrgestell Scale 1/35
Kit Number 0362 Primary Media Styrene, Photo-Etch, Turned Aluminum
Pros Awesome details, very little left for the aftermarket community that doesn't already come in the box Cons  
Skill Level Intermediate MSRP (USD) $64.95

First Look

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Pz.Kpfw.IV

The Germans wasted few resources during World War II. When a weapons system became obsolete, they would find other ways it could still serve the fatherland. One such example was what to do with out-of-date Panzer IV Ausf.D/E tanks? In a number of cases, the turret and turret ring were removed and the chassis was transformed into a munitions carrier. Not just any munitions either, the load-bearing suspension of the Panzer IV made it ideal to haul 600mm mortar rounds between a railhead/supply point, and a Karl Mörser battery that was sending warm greetings to Russians under siege.

Each round weighed approximately 2 tons, and the Panzer IV munitions carrier could accommodate up to four rounds. Transfer of the rounds from the carrier to the Mörser was accomplished with a 3-ton crane mounted to the forward portion of the carrier's hull.

Welcome to Trumpeter's first installment in their new 'Expert Series' - the Pz.Kpfw.IV Ausf.D/E Fahrgestell. In English, this is the Panzer IV Model D or E version chassis. These Panzer IV tanks were produced and employed during the early stages of World War II while the Germans were still pressing their Blitzkrieg on the continent. These were soon replaced with later models produced in larger numbers and packing superior firepower. When a number of these were stripped and pressed to support the Karl Mörser as ammo supply vehicles, they became Munitionsschlepper für Karlgerät.

When Trumpeter announced this new series of kits, I had a difficult time imagining how they would make these kits more detailed without making them difficult to build. I think they did a very good job here.

Molded in light gray styrene, the kit consists of 675 parts and is presented on 15 parts trees (duplicate trees not shown) plus six (6!!) frets of photo-etched details. In addition, the kit features two turned aluminum 600mm mortar rounds. Use them in your project if you'd like or collect several sets and use them to shell the competitions' tanks on the contest table. Just kidding!

So where are many of these parts? 204 are individual track links (102 per side) should you opt to use these links, though the kit also provides vinyl tracks for those adverse to using the links.

Since there is no turret in this version of the vehicle, with the exception of the covered ammo pallet mounted atop the rear of the hull, the nicely detailed 3-ton crane, and eight complete styrene 600mm rounds, the rest of the parts are strictly hull and suspension. If they have this much work completed for a Panzer IV Ausf.D chassis, chances are pretty good that there is a tank variant or two in our future as well.

Look at the photo-etched parts included in this set. There is very little left for the aftermarket world to address that doesn't already come in this box.

Aside from the extensive photo-etched details, the styrene layout and assembly steps look very straightforward. In the hands of an experienced modeler, this should be a pleasant build.

While this is a bit more expensive than a DML kit, you're not going to find this much photo-etch in the DML box, and by the time you've picked up the equivalent detail sets to provide similar detailing as this kit provides, you've probably spent more money.

If you already have one of those Karl Mörser kits stashed away in your collection, you'll need one or more of these parked along side your big gun to keep it fed. It is still hard to get your head around the fact that this tank only carried 3-4 rounds per trip!

My sincere thanks to Stevens International for this review sample!

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