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Osprey Modelling 26: Modelling the Early Panzerkampfwagen IV

by Tom Cockle

Osprey Publishing Ltd, ISBN 1-84176-865-0, 80 pages.

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Tom Cockle knows a great deal about the early Pz IVs and here he gives us a great guide to modelling them. If your first thought is “why bother, there are kits now”, think again. Only one of the main subjects here is available as yet, and even that one will benefit greatly from the extra details set out in this book.

As usual with this series, the book begins with a brief rundown on the vehicles included followed by a section on tools and techniques. Then comes the first build, an Ausf F of 5 Panzer Division in Russia, 1942. This one is at Intermediate level and is based on the Tamiya Ausf H with the MIG Productions conversion set, Model Kasten tracks, Aber etch and several other aftermarket accessories. A host of modelling tips and detailing ideas are given, so anyone who’s ready to go a bit beyond just using a conversion set will find it an ideal guide to modelling this tank. The second build is at Advanced level, and deals with an Ausf C of 6 Panzer Division in France, 1940. It combines parts from Tamiya’s Ausf D and Wirbelwind with the Tiger Model Designs Ausf F1 backdate set, Aber etch and Model Kasten tracks plus, again, various small aftermarket items. This makes it a fairly major conversion job, but within the capabilities of experienced modellers and of course ideal as a guide to superdetailing (and maybe correcting) the forthcoming Tristar Ausf C. All you need to know is pointed out and shown in the photographs.

Next is an Ausf A of 1 Panzer Division I Poland in 1939, and here the same two Tamiya kits and other sets are combined with scratchbuilding to make it a Master level job. The scratchbuilding is necessary because the Ausf A had a wider superstructure than other Ausfs, so no kit parts are useable in between the lower hull and the turret – and even the turret is substantially reworked. All the techniques needed are described, so there’s no need to panic. If you want to try this one, just follow the chapter through stage by stage. The final main build is not often thought of as a Pz IV, but that was its designation. It is the famous Neubaufahrzeug, as used by PzAbt s.b.V 40 in Norway in 1940. This one is from an Armo multimedia kit with Friuli tracks and a few spares from other kits and accessories. The level isn’t specified, but I’d reckon it as Advanced if not Master. Some modifications are made for greater accuracy, and again everything is described and show in the photographs.

All these builds are fully described, step by step, and shown in clear photographs, and each has full details of colour scheme application and weathering methods as well as a fully described scenic base. For good measure they are followed by two Gallery items, an Ausf D and an Ausf E, described less fully but with enough to guide anyone wanting to carry out similar conversions. OK, new kits are expected of both but these models show a great detail of added detail that will be useful for anyone building those new kits. The final sections give us a useful list of reference books, magazine articles and websites, notes on the locations of the three surviving early Pz IVs, and a good list of kits and accessories followed by a colour chip chart.
Although overtaken to a limited extent by kits announced since its writing began this is a very valuable guide to modelling the early Panzer IVs – and the NbFz! It points out a mass of specific features that kit manufacturers may overlook or simplify so will be a great guide to superdetailing the new kits quite apart from enabling readers to build those that don’t exist as kits.

Highly recommended.

John Prigent
More details from Osprey Publishing

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