Trumpeter 1/35 Brückenleger IVb Kit First Look
|Date of Review||August 2007||Manufacturer||Trumpeter|
|Kit Number||0390||Primary Media||Styrene, Photo-Etch|
|Pros||Another interesting adaptation of the Panzer IV chassis||Cons|
|Skill Level||Intermediate||MSRP (USD)||$59.95|
One way that an army which was not winning the day could buy valuable time to reconstitute its forces is to withdraw behind a major obstacle such as a ravine or river and then destroy any bridges across that obstacle. In some cases, enemy forces can still cross the obstacle, but heavy weapons, supplies, and other support would have to find another way across or wait for the bridge to be rebuilt.
During World War II, the Germans faced the loss of bridges in their push into the Soviet Union as the Red Army attempted to delay the Wehrmacht wherever possible. The Wehrmacht engineers, like many other support forces, converted surplus tanks into special purpose vehicles to support their missions while under combat conditions. One such adaptation was the use of the Panzer IV chassis as the prime mover of portable bridge segments. These 'bridge layers' could span narrower obstacles with their bridge span, or combine with other spans to provide alternate pathways for advancing forces.
Trumpter is back and teasing us once again with another adaptation of the Panzer IV. This time the Panzer IV Ausf B chassis has been adapted to serve as a bridge transporter and layer. With the growing list of kits based upon the Panzer IV from Trumpeter, it is only a matter of time before we see an actual Panzer IV tank as well!
The kit is molded in light gray styrene and presented on 21 parts trees, plus the separately cast upper and lower hull sections. Duplicate trees are not shown. The kit also includes five frets of photo-etched details, and two sets of vinyl 'rubber band' tracks.
Assembly starts with the lower hull with the installation of the suspension arms, road wheels and return rollers. As with the previous releases using the Panzer IV chassis, this kit has lots of details on the outside. You have your choice of styrene individual track links or the rubber band track to move your bridge layer.
In addition to the beautiful details on the exterior, these kits also feature a highly detailed interior, with a nicely detailed transmission, driver's station, and radioman's station in the forward hull. The remainder of the hull interior and what would be the engine compartment are left empty as there is no convenient way to have the hatches posed open and see anything with the bridge in place. The kit provides the 'wooden' turret ring cover and wooden hatches that replaced the turret.
The remainder of the effort is focused on that complex structure that supports and deploys the bridge, as well as the bridge itself. When completed, this has lots of opportunities for coloring and weathering to really make the completed model an eye-catcher.
A set of decals are also included with simple national crosses and two different 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.
My sincere thanks to Stevens International for this review sample!