Panzer IV Tank
The AIRFIX Pz Kpfw IV (F1+F2) By Nigel Robins
This much-underrated kit, which was first produced back in 1971, really captures the look of the real thing.
What is right with it?
Pretty much everything! It is nice to build, scales out on the plans and is a good subject (although I personally would have preferred a late "G" myself) and gives a choice of two variants.
What is wrong with it?
Not a lot! Made as an F2 it is pretty much perfect. It could do with an aerial mount and trough, the Notek light needs the topsides filling as its top is round! and I think the hull machine gun is too stubby and short. To make your model different you can add the large rectangular box fitted to the front right hand mudguard, an MG 42 and mount to the cupola and paint it tank grey! The F1 could benefit from a wishbone shaped frame fitted under the main gun (Intended to push down the aerial as the turret rotated) stowage and crew figures and the modifications already described for the F2. The decals are the biggest disappointment as they are uninspiring and Airfix could at least supply, after all these years, a set that gives more than one option. The F served on virtually all fronts from 1942 onwards, so a big range of colour schemes and transfers would really help the beginner.
We advise building the "box" section up first (Sides, floor and top plate) before adding the wheels etc. I also recommend that the driving and idler wheels be fixed on with superglue, though some prefer to packing them from behind, as advised in the page on the Sherman. It is advisable to remove the teeth of the track as it passes around the idler wheel as this is slightly out of line, by about 1mm, with the rest of the wheels. If this is not done the tracks at the rear of the tank will not sit at 90 degrees to the ground instead the angle is around 85 degrees which looks totally wrong, giving the vehicle a bow-legged appearance at the rear. I would advise anyone to buy the Squadron Signal book on the Panzer IV as this is a real help building this kit.
Conversions to other marks
This is harder than you may think as the early versions up to "E" had narrow track and a different idler wheel though some "Es" were retro- fitted with the later idler as per Airfix. There were many detail differences though all are manageable, my advice is to concentrate on the "E" as it is the easiest and there are not available kits of this important variant. Later variants have different driving sprockets, exhausts, gun- barrels, cupola hatches and skirts. The easiest version is the early "G" and Matador provide a conversion set for this: KCG-15.