2 x Pz.Kpfw.IV ausf. D #02
The Tamiya Kit (# 35096) vol.I
With the advent of all these new super kits, and the vast improvement of details, older kits really show their age and have become, more or less, redundant. And also retiring at the same time is the vast array of aftermarket parts that went with them. Over the last few years, I have sold off most of my older kits, only keeping those that are the only game in town, or those that I had bought AM parts for. In reality, looking around at auction sites, you cannot get near the price of a new kit for the older version plus several expensive aftermarket items.
I had been planning to build the Pz.Kpfw.IV ausf.D for a long time. As usual I never got around to it, but kept picking up bits and pieces to improve it. When the Tristar kit was released, I was going to off-load this kit, but decided to build it anyway and compare the two. Much of my inspiration over the years has been the fantastic conversions and super-detailed builds shown online and seen locally at shows. I had the parts so I needed to prove to myself I could do something (hopefully) similar. So make way for the second part of this build; another panzer IV D.
The base kit from Tamiya doesn’t look too bad when checking through the sprues. The biggest problems are that the dimensions are off, to allow for motorisation, and all the holes for switches and mounting screws are left on the lower hull. The sprues are labelled “Japan 1977”, so that means the kit weighs in at 33 years old!!! Its only when you compare details, parts for parts with the Tristar kit, and especially the small details that you see how much the moulding technology has evolved.
As mentioned previously, I had picked up quite a few bits´n´bobs to dress up this old timer. They included; Tamiya’s own Panzer IV ”on vehicle equipment”. A very handy little set if you have some older German kits in your possession to replace tools. A host of goodies left over from the Tristar build, as well as parts left over from a Dragon Panzer IV kit including the magic tracks, kindly given to me by a friend (thanks Oscar). Modelkasten Panzer IV wheel set that includes hubs for early, mid and late versions. Eduard and Tamiya’s own etch sets. The Tamiya set only has doors for the ventilation channels, some hand tools and 2 horse shoes. Tiger Model designs (TMD) Panzer IV rear plate and the Panzer III/IV cupola. The rear plate is meant for the later releases and does not fit properly and the cupola I bought because it was wrongly identified in a reference book. This cupola was used on the Ausf.E version. It still is a better proposition that the “thing” that is included in the Tamiya box. Last, but not least, some tow ropes from Eureka XX.
The heaviest of the re-working was made in first stages. The old back plate was straight down; therefore the detail was visibly out of scale. I added the TMD back plate, but this was designed more for later Tamiya models, so needed some re-working to fit. I cut off the bottom part and replaced it with plastic profiles. I used the Tristar kit as a reference.
Next stage was adding the wheels and running gear. The Modelkasten wheel set allows you to build early, mid and late wheels by choosing the relevant hubs. Early was chosen in this case. Clean up was very minimal and took no time at all, as did assembly, compared to the Tristar set. The Tristar kit contained 2 sets of idlers, so I was able to use the second set here. The TMD idler arms were both too short and too thin to accept the new idler wheels, so new arms were made from plastic sprue glued in place. Tristar also had two complete gear covers extra for the drive sprocket, but grafting these in place wasn’t so straight forward. The hull wall was moulded to accept the Tamiya version, so this had to be filled first. The Tamiya hull front then had to be built to match the gear covers, as the hull front was straight. Not enough bolts were available so I used some from calibre 35 on the covers.
I also cut off the Tamiya fenders and replaced them with the extra Dragon fenders. Dragon’s panzer IV D comes with two sets of fenders; one with location holes for the tools and one without location holes for those choosing to use brass clamps. The detail on the Dragon fenders is unbelievable … top and bottom, and so much better than the Eduard etch, as well as so much easier to work with! The upper hull is not fixed in place yet. The indy tracks will be added first before permanently fixing it in place.