Academy 1/35 Panzer IV Ausf.H late-production Kit First Look
By Michael Benolkin
|Date of Review||October 2022||Manufacturer||Academy|
|Subject||Panzer IV Ausf.H late-production||Scale||1/35|
|Kit Number||13528||Primary Media||Styrene|
|Pros||New tooling||Cons||See text|
|Skill Level||Experienced||MSRP (USD)||$59.00|
The Panzer IV series was developed in the early 1930s as the next step in the evolution of German armor. Where the Panzer I and II were light tanks that spearheaded the early Blitzkrieg, the Panzer III series was envisioned as the tank fighter while the Panzer IV was to be the infantry support tank, initially armed with the 75mm L/24 main gun. When the push into the Soviet Union began, the early Panzers were soon to be outgunned by Soviet armor. While the Panzer III and Panzer IV were both up-armored, the smaller turret ring of the Panzer III limited the firepower upgrades that could be applied to that series. The Panzer IV featured a larger turret ring that could accommodate the continued growth of turret and main gun. While the Panther was intended to replace the Panzer IV, the latter remained in production and in service through the end of the war.
Here is Academy's Panzer IV kit, this release representing the late-production H-model. This kit follows along the same design philosophy as other recent releases like the M1A2 Abrams series and K2 MBT. Molded in tan styrene, this kit is presented on nine parts trees (duplicate trees not shown). The hull and turret surfaces are not molded with Zimmerit, so earlier versions of the tank will be no-doubt forthcoming, but given that this version did have Zimmerit applied, Academy has found an innovative way to represent the textured surfaces without the use of any putties or other such materials. Included in the kit are a set of resin-printed decals produced by DEF. These decals have the texture of the Zimmerit and they are applied like any waterslide decals. Experienced armor modelers have seen resin-printed decals like these before, but it is nice to see Academy make good use of this option as well.
Among the features and options presented in this kit:
- Color-coded instructions (blue-gray for current parts being assembled, white for completed subassemblies, gray for optional parts choices
- Multi-part lower hull which provides greater strength and surface details
- Lower hull has no holes for motorization
- New upper hull with anti-slip surfaces molded into the top surfaces (appears to be in the correct areas)
- Hull uses overlays to capture the specific details of the version represented in the kit
- Detailed suspension and roadwheels on lower hull
- Rubber (vinyl) track runs
- Positionable crew hatches
- Optional side skirts
- Choice of main gun muzzle brake
- Detailed stowage and pioneering tools on hull
- Detailed turret
- MG mount on commander's turret
Color profiles and decals for seven Panzer IV Ausf.H/J subjects are included:
- 521, Panzer-Lehr-Regiment 130, France, 1944
- 634, Panzer-Lehr-Regiment 130, France, 1944
- 221, 3.Pz-Div, Russia 1944
- 621, 6.Pz.Rgt, 3.Pz-Div, Poland, 1944
- 834, 2.Pz-Div, France, 1944
- 802, 2.Pz-Div, France, 1944
- 825, 2.Pz-Div, France, 1944
Some notes to consider:
- The hatches are all positionable, so if you have one of the many Panzer IV crew figure sets out there, this will make a great kit to use them
- The turret side hatches are positionable, but the doors in the turret shield armor must be modified to open as well. They are molded separately, but they are molded closed.
- The overall layout of this kit is excellent though there are a number of tiny parts, especially the side skirt hangars that mount to the insides of the skirts. For this reason, we list this kit recommended for experienced modelers
- For those who may want aftermarket options, there are detail sets on the market for the various Panzer IV kits produced by other manufacturers available
Academy did an impressive job with this release, and given the unused parts leftover, we'll be seeing other Panzer IV variants coming our way in the near future. If you're looking for a handy reference for the Panzer IV series, may I suggest David Doyle's Panzerkampfwagen IV title.
My sincere thanks to MRC for this review sample!