Panzerkampfwagen IV Ausf. F
|Stock Number and Description||Tamiya Kit No. 35374 - Panzerkampfwagen IV Ausf. F Sd.Kfz. 161|
|Media and Contents:||432 parts in dark grey plastic; 26 parts in medium grey plastic (three crew figures); polythene caps; markings for a choice of two vehicles.|
|Review Type:||First Look|
|Advantages:||High level of detail; crisp mouldings; high quality figures.|
|Recommendation:||This is a substantially new kit that has nothing at all in common with Tamiya's 1977 Panzer IV Ausf. D. Detail is very good, and the inclusion of link and length tracks is welcome. The three included figures will deliver an instant vignette too. I'm really liking Tamiya's latest generation of military vehicles and it won't be long before I am building mine!|
B a c k g r o u n d
The Panzerkampfwagen IV, commonly known as the Panzer IV, was a German medium tank developed in the late 1930s and used extensively during the Second World War.
The Panzer IV was the most numerous German tank and the second-most numerous German armored fighting vehicle of the Second World War, with some 8,500 built.
The Panzer IV chassis was used as the base for many other fighting vehicles, including the Sturmgeschütz IV assault gun, the Jagdpanzer IV tank destroyer, the Wirbelwind self-propelled anti-aircraft gun, and the Brummbär self-propelled gun.
The Panzer IV saw service in all combat theaters involving Germany and was the only German tank to remain in continuous production throughout the war. The Panzer IV was originally designed for infantry support while the similar Panzer III would fight armoured fighting vehicles. However as the Germans faced the formidable T-34, the Panzer IV had more development potential with a larger turret ring to mount more powerful guns and took over the anti-tank role.
The Panzer IV received various upgrades and design modifications, intended to counter new threats, extending its service life. Generally, these involved increasing the Panzer IV's armor protection or upgrading its weapons, although during the last months of the war, with Germany's pressing need for rapid replacement of losses, design changes also included simplifications to speed up the manufacturing process.
Production of the Panzer IV Ausf. F started in April 1941.
It featured 50 mm (1.97 in) single-plate armor on the turret and hull, as opposed to the appliqué armor added to the Ausf. E, and a further increase in side armor to 30 mm (1.18 in). The main engine exhaust muffler was shortened and a compact auxiliary generator muffler was mounted to its left. The weight of the vehicle increased to 22.3 tonnes (24.6 short tons), which required a corresponding modification of track width from 380 to 400 mm (14.96 to 15.75 in) to reduce ground pressure. The wider tracks also facilitated the fitting of track shoe "ice sprags", and the rear idler wheel and front sprocket were modified.
The designation Ausf. F was changed in the meantime to Ausf. F1, after the distinct new model, the Ausf. F2 with the long-barrelled 75mm KwK 40 L/43, appeared.
A total of 471 Ausf. F (later temporarily called F1) tanks were produced from April 1941 to March 1942.*
F i r s t L o o k
Tamiya released a 1/35 scale Panzer IV Ausf. D in 1977. That kit has nothing in common with this new Ausf. F.
The lower hull and some of the running gear are are sourced from the 1994 Panzer IV Ausf.H/J kits, but everything else is brand new.
Tamiya's new 1/35 scale Panzer IV Ausf. F kit comprises 432 parts in dark grey plastic, 26 parts in medium grey plastic; polythene caps, markings for a choice of two vehicles.
The lower hull is provided as a single-part tub.
The new upper hull is broken down into separate parts for the top, the sides, the reat and the glacis plate. Plastic braces to set the correct angles for the upper hull are also included.
The track guards are supplied separately as multiple parts for each side too. Non-slip texture looks good.
Two styles of engine deck hatches are offered - one with vents and one solid.
The running gear comprises simple one-piece axles, springs and mounts, to which are added plastic two-part road wheels with separate hub caps.
The tracks are link and length although the approach is somewhat different from Tamiya's recent efforts. Instead of having a single long run for the top and bottom of the tracks, this kit supplies a combination of single, dual and seven link sections.
The upper run will be assembled with the assistance of jigs for each side.
Detail on the outer surface is well done. There are some very faint ejecor pin circles on the inner surface. These will be easy enough to eliminate but if you don't feel like doing this, they will be pretty much hidden once the tracks are fitted.
Similar to the hull, the turret is broken down as a flat pack with separate bottom, sides, front, rer and roof.
The 75mm mm gun is nicely detailed. The gun features a poseable breech block and the ability to elevate. A spent shell basket with convincing fabric draping effect is also included. Apart from this, the Commander's seat is also included and the cupola is well detailed inside and out. All of this is probably plenty for glimpses through open hatches.
Speaking of which, the turret side hatches and the Commander's hatch may be posed open or closed.
Smaller detail parts such as tools, tow cable guides and the gun barrel travel lock are well moulded.
The plastic parts are rounded out with three brand new crew figures perched casually in the turret hatches.
In common with Tamiya’s recent figure release, they are all well moulded and the facial detail is particularly nice.
Two marking options are provided for vehicles in service on the Eastern fronts, both in the summer of 1944. One of the vehicles is finished in overall Panzer Grey, and the other is in a base coat of DAK Yellow Brown with a disruptive scheme of Khaki.
The instructions are well laid out over 35 steps with clear illustrations supplemented by brief text directions where required. The section dealing with the tracks is especially well done.
C o n c l u s i o n
This is a substantially new kit that has nothing at all in common with Tamiya's 1977 Panzer IV Ausf. D.
Detail is very good, and the inclusion of link and length tracks is welcome. The three included figures will deliver an instant vignette too.
I'm really liking Tamiya's latest generation of military vehicles. It won't be long before I am building my Panzer IV Ausf. F!
*Historical summary courtesy of Wikipedia.
Thanks to Tamiya Japan for the sample
Tamiya kits are distributed in the UK by The Hobby Company Limited for the sample.
Text and Images by Brett Green
Page Created 10 January, 2021
Page Last Updated 11 January, 2021