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Bergepanzer IV Kit

Trumpeter 1/35 Bergepanzer IV Recovery Vehicle Kit First Look

By Michael Benolkin

Date of Review August 2009 Manufacturer Trumpeter
Subject Bergepanzer IV Recovery Vehicle Scale 1/35
Kit Number 0389 Primary Media Styrene, Photo-Etch
Pros Another interesting adaptation of the Panzer IV chassis Cons  
Skill Level Intermediate MSRP (USD) $69.95

First Look

Bergepanzer IV Kit
Bergepanzer IV Kit
Bergepanzer IV Kit
Bergepanzer IV Kit
Bergepanzer IV Kit
Bergepanzer IV Kit
Bergepanzer IV Kit
Bergepanzer IV Kit
Bergepanzer IV Kit
Bergepanzer IV Kit
Bergepanzer IV Kit
Bergepanzer IV Kit

One of the less glamorous but essential combat support vehicles in the field is the armored recovery vehicle or bergepanzer in German. These vehicles served as a combination of tow truck and maintenance service vehicle for tanks and heavy combat vehicles. Unlike tow trucks, these tracked vehicles could get into areas where wheeled vehicles would have a problem accessing, and their armored hulls would protect their crews when operating in proximity to enemy forces.

The bergepanzers were line tanks that were for one reason or another removed from frontline service and had their turrets removed. In place of the turret was a wooden hatch cover and a series of winches and pullys mouted atop a stowable boom assembly to allow for the extraction of a tank in a ditch, the removal of an engine powerpack in the field for service, or other heavy-lift jobs. These vehicles were a combination tow truck and mobile service vehicles where, if you couldn't make a pit stop on your own power, the pit crew could come to you.

Trumpeter is back and teasing us once again with another adaptation of the Panzer IV. This time the Bergepanzer IV and we're clearly getting close to a full-up Panzer IV release. This is the first time we've had the upper hull section from the Panzer IV in the box and a number of other new features. First the statistics:

The kit is molded in light gray styrene and presented on 18 parts trees, plus the separately cast upper and lower hull sections. Duplicate trees are not shown. The kit also includes two frets of photo-etched details, and NO vinyl 'rubber band' tracks. This release features track links. In addition, the kit boasts 832 parts in styrene and another 139 in photo-etch.

As with the ammo carrier and bridgelayer variants of the Panzer IV series, this Bergepanzer shares the same nicely detailed lower hull, suspension and wheel assemblies, but no vinyl tracks are provided, as stated above, the tracks are all individual links.

Like the bridgelayer, this kit comes with a nicely-detailed crew compartment interior complete with transmission, driver's station, bow gunner's station, tool and parts stowage, and internal stowage for the pioneering tools.

Unlike the bridgelayer, this kit has a fully populated engine compartment as well, so you'll have something nice to see regardless which hatch or access door you look inside. The engine includes the block, radiators, blowers, ductwork, control modules, etc.

This variant retains its tank roots with stowage for main gun ammunition, so clearly these recovery vehicles could be used to resuppply the tanks in the field.

A set of decals are also included with simple national crosses and two different styles tactical numbers.

This is a very nice looking model and is definitely nicely detailed without being over-engineered. Nevertheless, with all of the photo-etched details that are integral to the completion of this model, this is definitely one project best left for the modeler that is comfortable working with small PE brass parts and cyano-based adhesives.

This is the closest we've come yet to a full-up Panzer IV from Trumpeter and I can hardly wait. With these complete interiors, the AMS modeler will have a field day without the need for much of any aftermarket details. Kudos to Trumpeter!

My sincere thanks to Stevens International for this review sample!

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