Neubau-Panzerkampfwagen IV (3.7 cm & 7.5 cm) kits in 1/72 scale

Dragon: Neubau-Fahrzeug Nr. 3-5 kit 7438
Modelkrak: NeubauFahrzeug kit MKT 7223

Preview by Stephen Brezinski - sbrez1(at)comcastl(dot)net
Edited by Rob Haelterman

Brief History
The reference book Panzer Tracts No. 4 states that five of these multi-turreted tanks were produced as test vehicles in 1934 and in 1936 The first two were of soft steel with a turret made by Krupp, and one with a Rheinmetall produced turret while the hulls were produced by Rheinmetall company. Three more with the Krupp turret were later produced with armor plate, though the armor plate is thin, little better than the Sd.Kfz. 251 halftrack. These two model kits represent the latter three production vehicles. Jentz & Doyle give the official name Neubau-Panzerkampfwagen IV (3.7 cm & 7.5 cm) and the common name used today, the Neubaufahrzeug.

These multi-turret land-battleship tanks are similar to the British Vickers Independent tank, French Char 2C, and the Soviet T-28 and T-35 tanks, a phase in tank design that nations seem to have gone through in the 1930s. The later three with armor plate were sent to Norway in 1940 where one was destroyed. George Bradford describes a Soviet account of the description of the last two’s destruction in the USSR in 1941.


The Box Art: What We Are Supposed to get in the Box?

Dragon’s boxart above looks accurate and shows the particular features: a commander’s cupola with vision ports for good situational awareness, a large main turret with a 7.5 cm L/24 (like on the early Pz. IV) side by side with a 3.7cm gun (like on the early Pz III), and side doors for the loader and gunner (like on the Pz III and Pz IV), and machinegun turrets fore and aft of the main turret. Visible but difficult to see here is the radio antenna on the port side that is pivoted down above the side door.

The suspension has eight roadwheels on five coil-spring bogies and a tensioning roadwheel below the idler wheel in the front, all partially hidden by an armor skirt. The idler is at the front while the drive sprocket is in the rear, opposite that of most German Panzers. The bow and glacis armor plates are well sloped like on German armored cars and halftracks of the period, well before development of the T-34 tank. The Panzer is painted in a soft-edge two-tone camouflage of green and gray.

The box art for Modelkrak’s 1/72 scale interpretation of this vehicle shows a variation of the name’s spelling and a port-side drawing or photograph that matches Dragon’s artwork. There is a large rectangular door on the armored skirt above the 3rd roadwheel that I suspect may be a crew door for the driver and machinegun turret, but I’ve not seen any photos showing this door open and what is inside. The hull and turrets appear welded though there are screws, bolts and rivets evident in areas.

Dragon also offers plastic kits of the two Neubau-Fahrzeug prototypes produced in mild steel. Neubau-Fahrzeug Number 1 (kit 7436) features the Rheinmetall company produced turret with the two guns one above the other and a more rounded turret. Neubau-Fahrzeug Number 2 (kit 7437) below features the Krupp produced turret with the guns side by side and a more angular shape. The hull parts for these two Dragon kits should be the same as only the turrets differed. The turret parts for kits 7437 and 7438 should be the same, only the kit decal markings will be different. These two vehicles were reported to be only used for evaluation and training, so I doubt were painted in 3-color camouflage as portrayed here, just Panzer gray, but I am not an expert. Kit parts and review comments for Dragon kit 7438 will be the same for these two very similar kits.

Standard on Dragon assembly instructions is a parts diagram on the front, and multiple-view color drawings for placement of the decal markings. The light color of the decal paper makes it difficult to see the decals though. The top two drawings portray two of these Panzers that served in the invasion of Norway. The bottom drawings I presume to portray training or evaluation vehicles.


The Kit Parts

Neubau-Fahrzeug Nr. 3-5 kit 7438, from Dragon Models
Dragon gives us 75 light gray injection-molded styrene plastic parts on four sprues and with the upper hull and turret as two loose parts, and two soft plastic band tracks in plastic bags. No etched brass, crew figures nor resin parts are included. Quality of the molding and detail is very good and typical of Dragon kits, with little to no flash and sink holes.

NeubauFahrzeug kit MKT 7223, by Modelkrak, Jadar Models
Modelkrak gives us about 60 light amber color cast-resin parts on pour plugs, all sealed in several small plastic bags within a cardboard box. There are no etched brass parts and no crew figures. Quality of the cast resin parts is very good and typical of Modelkrak model kits.

Modelkrak’s hull at far left is molded as one piece and compares reasonably well in dimensions with the Dragon kit hull; regarding features it does not compare as well. The size and dimensions of things like the driver’s area and the four rectangles on the engine deck are different, and on the Dragon hull there is a bulge in the hull below the port side machinegun turret. The large hull part did suffer some breakage of the fenders.

The turrets do not compare well: the Modelkrak main turret is squarer and the machinegun turrets are narrower and more elongated. The Dragon plastic model is clearly based on Doyle’s vehicle plan, and Modelkrak’s resin kit is based on George Bradford’s plan. Knowing Doyle’s reliance on factory documents I am inclined to trust Doyle’s vehicle plan in Panzer Tracts No. 4, meaning no disrespect to Mr. Bradford.

Both the plastic and the resin kit feature all the crew hatches molded closed except for the commander’s cupola of the Dragon model. Maybe add a grab handle of brass wire to the driver’s hatch. At the bottom are the two 18.5-cm long soft plastic band track from Dragon. This Dragon kit track bears a strong resemblance to Pz IV and Pz III track but actually differs in appearance, length and width from Dragon’s Pz IV track in their Pz IV kits 7321 and 7497. At the time the Neubaufahrzeug was developed, the real production Pz III and Pz IV track were 36-cm wide while real Neubaufahrzeug tracks are listed as 38-cm wide.

Like other Dragon model kits, using slide molding they can mold the gun muzzles open on parts B20 and B21 while the Modelkrak resin gun muzzles should be drilled out. Much of the slide-molded quick build suspension will be obscured by the armored skirt.

Dragon’s Sprue A includes turret, fender and muffler parts. The commander cupola parts A33, A42 and A43 allow the cupola hatch to be modeled open. Quality of the molding looks very good with no significant sinkholes or flash. Notice that pioneer tools are molded to the fenders (mudguards) of both the Modelkrak and the Dragon models which I find disappointing.

Four more sprues all labeled Sprue-A holding the port and starboard side sprocket and idler wheels, and the fore and aft machine gun turrets. Fortunately, despite having five Sprue-A, none of the parts numbers are duplicated.

Modelkrak’s 42 or so tank parts and eighteen 3.2 cm-long lengths of resin track. The quality of casting is very good with no significant bubbles or defects. There are a lot of resin pour plugs to be cut off and sanded smooth. The Modelkrak resin track was adequate for 25 years ago but does not compare well with the Dragon Neubaufahrzeug band track. I believe that some aftermarket Pz III/Pz IV track such as from OKB could be a great improvement.

Dragon’s assembly instructions are the typical exploded-view type in six steps and are competent.

Modelkrak does give simple assembly instructions, and with some good reference book photos and drawings should make assembly successful. This is a complicated resin model kit and I recommend it for experienced modelers who do not mind tedious clean-up of the resin parts. The shape of the turret and some hull details in the overhead view of Modelkrak’s 3-view drawing looks more like Dragon’s turret and Doyle’s plan, rather than the turret in Modelkrak’s kit.

Thank you to Modelkrak and to Dragon for releasing these two fine smallscale models of obscure but interesting AFVs. They would look good displayed next to several Soviet T-28 models.



  • PANZER TRACTS No. 4, Panzerkampfwagen IV, by Thomas Jentz & Hilary Doyle (1997)
  • Nazi Germany’s Fist Super Tank, The pre-panzer Neubaufahrzeug, By George Bradford, FineScale Modeler magazine, July 1995.

Dragon and Modelkrak kits can be purchased from Tracks & Troops

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Article Last Updated:
10 December 2020

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