Hobby released two versions of their smallscale Pz. IV Ausf. D model,
both essentially the same kit but for the decal markings and a few
The nicely done box art for kit 72856 shows a Pz IV Ausf. D that has
been modified to serve in “tropical” North Africa hence
it is a Tropenpanzer. Particular and interesting features are the
open viewport on the turret side and the open turret side door. These
early Pz IV used a large single side door while the Pz IV Ausf. F
and later used two smaller doors. This early Pz IV is armed with the
7.5-cm L24 main gun. The hatches and doors shown open here can be
portrayed open on the model but there are no crew figures included.
front driver’s plate and the side of the hull we see bolted-on
appliqué armor, but there is no appliqué armor on the
bow. The roadwheels deserve to be pointed out as accurate for this
early Pz IV, having the correct large flat armored hub used on the
Pz IV Ausf. A through the Ausf. D. Spoiler alert, these are not the
roadwheels included in the Mirage kits. On the subject of the roadwheels,
make note of the spacing between the roadwheels and the idler, it
looks reasonably accurate in this artwork and this detail will be
important later. On the rear of the superstructure is a spare roadwheel
and what appears to be a wooden box.
The box art for Mirage’s other smallscale Pz IV Ausf. D model
kit 72854, portrayed during the 1940 invasion of France based on the
burning FT17 tank in French markings off to the upper right background.
This Mirage kit does not portray the use of applique armor, so we
have a good view of the stepped driver’s armor plate and the
round pistol port right of the driver’s sliding visor. There
is a sheet metal rain guard over the driver’s visor. There are
spare tracks hanging from the bow and two spare roadwheels on the
starboard side of the engine deck. I do not see an antenna deflector
mounted under the main gun, a typical feature of the short gun Pz
very nice box art is actually a copy of a 6th Panzer Division Pz IV
D during the 1941 invasion of the USSR down to the spare track, the
Balkenkreuz, spare wheels and the commander pose with binoculars in
the cupola. What the artist changed was the vehicle number from 402
to 411, and the background setting (see page 15, Panzerkampfwagen
IV Medium Tank 1939 – 1945, by Kevin Hjermstad). Based on references,
I do not believe that this turret storage bin was used on panzers
in 1940, but were documented in 1941 in the USSR and in North Africa.
This Mirage model comes with water slide decal markings for five Pz
IV set in North Africa in 1941 with good 5-view diagrams for their
placement. Unfortunately, due to the color of the backing paper the
details of the markings are difficult to see. In the profile drawings
note spacing of the roadwheels, they should be all evenly spaced even
though mounted on four leaf-spring bogies per side.
Mirage’s assembly instructions are the usual multi-step exploded-view
instructions with a special page at the end for using the etched brass
parts followed by the five guides for the decal markings. This particular
page is from the Mirage Pz IVB Ausf. C model which is largely the
same model kit. The instructions show the addition and detailing of
the Jerrycans which are not included with this model kit but come
from the separate Accessory Set Jerrycans For Pz IV (Mirage set #552)
that we can buy. UniModels (UM)
in their Pz IV F kit 544 include the Jerrycans within their kit. At
lower right is the water slide decal sheet for this model and unfortunately
the markings do not show up well against the paper.
There is no sprue and parts diagram which I very much miss. The Mirage
smallscale Pz IV kits come with about 230 pale gray injection molded
styrene plastic parts, a small fret of etched brass parts, two soft
plastic band tracks, and two soft plastic towing cables.
The darker gray resin roadwheels in the above photo are from the OKB
Grigorov set 72322 that show the correct flat disc-shaped hub
of the factory Pz IV D and used in 1940. The pale gray plastic wheels
are the Mirage kit roadwheels. Mirage Pz IV kits actually give us
two complete sets of roadwheels: Parts 23 and 24 for use with the
Pz IV D model kit; and Parts 26 and 27 for use with Mirage’s
Pz IV B model. Looking closely, I cannot see any significant difference
between the two sets of wheels other than a small difference in the
diameter of the rubber tire.
Compared to the turret of the 1/72 Revell Pz IV kit (at left) the
Mirage kit turret at right appears too small.
For comparison, in the center is the excellent OKB early Pz IV Cupola
and hatches from OKB Grigorov’s cast resin set
S72394. At left is the styrene plastic cupola included in the
World At War Pz IV Ausf. B
kit. At right, in pale gray styrene plastic, is the commander’s
cupola included in the Mirage Pz IV kits (part-K4). Though not terrible,
none of the plastic kit cupolas compare well to the OKB cupolas.
Comparing the Mirage Pz IV lower hull at far right with the 1/72-scale
DML (Dragon) Pz IV hull,
and the 1/76-scale World At War Pz IV hull in center shows that it
is at or close to 1/72 scale as advertised. This 5-part Mirage kit
lower hull is common to the 1/72-scale Mirage Pz IV Ausf. B, C, D
and Ausf. E kits. Keep in mind here that the DML hull is not fully
assembled so looks smaller than it will be when done. Here on the
Mirage hull we can see the arm for the idler wheel axle (part-18)
installed according to instructions, which is too long and protrudes
to the rear when if should angle down.
The photos above and below show the installation of the excellent
OKB resin commander’s cupola on the turret. The Mirage commander’s
cupola was cut off part-K4 and the more accurate OKB cupola superglued
onto the turret roof. A weld bead made of fine thread is glued around
the turret bulge part-K4. Pistol ports on each side of the turret
rear and lifting brackets on the turret corners were forgotten by
Mirage so are scratchbuilt from sheet styrene and copper wire. Grab
handles over the side doors and on the engine deck are brass wire
placed into drill holes.
space of part-C7 in front of the driver’s plate and visor should
not be there, the driver’s plate should begin forward at the
top of the glacis plate; this throws the whole dimensions of the Mirage
kits off. Modeler Robert Kru addresses how to fix this mis-design
The roadwheel bogies are set so the wheels will appear to be riding
over uneven ground. The Mirage kit muffler (parts-12, 13 and 40) are
incorrect for the Pz IV Ausf. C and D, so a new longer and thinner
muffler was scratchbuilt out of plastic tubing. The kit idler axle
(parts-18) put the idler wheels too far back; the axle should hang
down at 45 degrees or more but cutting it off and repositioning it
hanging down like here makes the idler too low.
The Mirage kit’s leaf spring bogies (parts-19) are wobbly, so
small pieces of white plastic are glued on to strengthen the bogie
attachment. Another problem with the Mirage Pz IV model is the uneven
gap between the roadwheels. Based on the plans and historical photos
all the roadwheels should be equally spaced. The axles for the return
rollers were also wobbly and difficult to get straight. Keep in mind
that there are left-side and right-side bogies so make sure we get
the bogie orientation correct.
foreground are the cast resin replacement sprocket wheels for the
early Pz IV from OKB
Grigorov set S72425.
The engine deck hatches without ventilation grating (parts-E8 and
E9 instead of parts D8 and D9) for the factory built, non-tropical,
Pz IV were used as this panzer will be portrayed in France, 1940.
I had some fit problems around the glacis no matter how hard I tried
so had to use filler putty.
significant difference of spacing between the roadwheels on the bogies.
According to reference drawings and photographs, the spacing between
each and every roadwheels should be the same.
The above photo shows the idler too low though the idler axle is in
an accurate position implying that perhaps there is a problem with
the kit parts? In the photo below the idler wheel has been relocated
to a more accurate location and the kit track glued onto the wheels
with a little track sag on the top run.
The track was several links too long so the extra length was cut off
and attached to the starboard side as spare links. A feature this
and many smallscale Pz IV kits leave out are the small cutouts in
the rear mudguard with a spring to hold the rear flap.
The kit’s radio operator’s hatch on the sprue (part E6)
was miss-molded to the shape of a small tractor seat so an appropriate
hatch was found in an aftermarket etched brass set.
Foil straps are made to secure the muffler. Mounted on the muffler
is the smoke candle rack which seems like a strange place for smoke
candles, but that is where diagrams and photos show them. Bent wires
have been mounted on the rear plate for the towing cables. The tow
cable here from the kit has no surface texture of a twisted wire rope.
thread coated in white glue simulated the weld seam for the protruding
cupola. Also scratchbuilt on the turret rear, are lifting hooks in
the corners and two pistol ports. One turret side door is open and
one affixed partially open for ventilation, so some detail will be
added to the inside surface of the doors, as well as the cupola hatch.
band track for the Mirage Pz IV kits is in my opinion good for a plastic
kit and significantly better that the stiff polyethylene band track
in the old ESCI Pz IV kits. At far right we can see the aftermarket
OKB Grigorov S72117
resin Pz IV track which are significantly better than any smallscale
kit-supplied track, in my opinion.
A significant error in Mirage’s Pz IV D kit is that the superstructure
appears too short in the driver’s and engine deck area. To be
clearer, the driver’s front plate with the visor should be forward
to the edge of the glacis plate. The Mirage Pz IV Ausf. C kit 72853
has a similar problem. Robert Kru addresses this problem and fix in
his Mirage Pz IV kit construction review in .
The turret does not sit flat on the hull. The reflectors (kit parts
54) on the rear mudguards appear too large. The tow cable coming with
the kit and mounted on the rear of the Panzer is too thick and does
not have a decent cable texture; I recommend making a cable from fine
string coated in white glue. Straps made from foil are wrapped around
the new muffler.
I found this model to be a “mixed bag”. I appreciate that
all the hatches can be modeled open. There are many challenges to
overcome for a good display model: The incorrect roadwheels, gap between
the roadwheels, position of the idler axle and idler wheel, incorrect
muffler, wobbly suspension bogies, and poor fit around the bow and
other areas requiring the need for model putty, etc. The wobbly fit
of the bogies made it difficult to model the bogies straight as seen
in the above photos
with its faults it builds into a good looking Pz IV and allows a modeler
to change, scratchbuild and learn detailing skills. The parts are
molded well despite some sinkholes and one miss-molded part. The next
Mirage Pz IV that I build will be better.
Pz 4B, C, D, Some advice to improve the kits, Robert Kru
TRACTS No. 4, Panzerkampfwagen IV, by Thomas Jentz & Hilary Doyle
IV Medium Tank 1939 – 1945, by Kevin Hjermstad, Don Greer, Ernesto
Cumpian Squadron Signal Publications (2000)
IV in Action, Squadron Signal Publications, Armor Number 12, by Bruce
Culver and Don Greer (1975)
Chats #106 video | Panzer IV | The Tank Museum, Bovington, UK
the Chieftain's Hatch video - Panzer IV Pt. 1, with Hilary Doyle
& Nicholas Moran. World of Tanks North America.
sample purchased by the author.
Hobbies products are available at