Bit of History for the Modeler
The German Panzer IV started off as the support tank for the tank
units. Initially armed with the low velocity 7.5 cm gun with useful
high explosive shell, it later took over the role of main battle tank
from the Pz III. The initial variants, Ausf. A though Ausf. D were
developed prior to 1939 and participated in the invasions of Poland,
Belgium and France. When replaced by later, better armored variants,
these early variants (Ausführung or Ausf.) that survived were
sent to the training schools, while some were up-gunned with the 7.5
cm L48 KwK gun.
Looking at the nice box art we see what to me appears to be an accurate
representation of the Pz IV. Ausf. B. The leaf spring suspension differs
from later variants only in the style of the roadwheels, sprockets
and idler wheels. With the Pz. IV Ausf. F they switched from 36-cm
wide track to 38-cm and 40-cm wide track with new wheels, among other
significant changes. Up on the turret we see the early commander’s
cupola, and the one-piece side doors. At this stage of production
and service there was no storage bin on the turret rear. On the gun
barrel is the aerial deflector for pushing the antenna out of the
way when the turret rotates.
front driver’s armor plate, we have an armor sliding visor rather
than the pivoting visor of the Ausf. E and later, and no bow machine
gun but a visor and pistol port instead. Above the driver’s
sliding visor are two small peepholes for a binocular periscope to
be used when the visor is closed in combat. On the glacis there are
no vents on the two brake maintenance hatches that we see on later
Pz IV variants.
Alert: Before we proceed further be aware that though most WaW and
IBG smallscale models I have are reliably 1/72 in scale, this Pz IV
model appears to be the smaller 1/76 scale! I was not aware of this
when I ordered it and when I saw “1/76” stated on the
box, I hoped it was a mistake. Why should I care? Well I care because
the little extra larger size makes detailing that much easier, and
there are many excellent aftermarket resin and brass detail parts
available in 1/72, but not in 1/76 scale. Was it an issue for IBG
in saving cost on plastic or size of the box? I am willing to pay
an extra Dollar or Euro for the difference. The only other Pz IV Ausf.
B model I am aware of at this time, is the 1/72 styrene plastic Mirage
Pz IV B kit 72852.
WaW has an interesting way of merchandising their items: they sell
us a booklet on the particular vehicle with a “Free collectable
model kit inside”. The assembly instructions are on one
of the pages within the booklet. The instructions look complete and
clear and include detailed features and history of the vehicle. Each
part is assigned a sprue and part number.
I counted about 36 gray color, injection-molded hard styrene plastic
parts on four sprues. Molding detail is sharp and with no significant
flash or sink holes.
Sprue-C contains the hull superstructure (C5) and some turret parts.
On the front superstructure plate we see the closed hatches and driver’s
visor and the closed radio operator’s visor, but no bow machine
gun for this variant. The turret’s side doors and visors are
molded closed. Notice the bulge on the rear turret wall for the cupola.
Sprue-E is the smaller sprue with parts for the main gun.
Sprue-A primarily holds the lower hull (A7), the glacis plate (part
A1) and lower turret part. This view shows the molded-on leaf-spring
suspension on the hull courtesy of slide molding. In the center are
the smoke candle rack and vehicle jack parts.
What I want to show here is a comparison of three Pz IV hull bottoms.
At top is the 1/72 scale unassembled Dragon hull for their Pz IV kits.
In center is the slightly darker gray World at War Pz IV hull, and
the partially assembled Mirage Pz IV hull below that. Here we can
see the significant size difference.
Sprue-B holds the one-piece easy-build track and wheels (parts B15
and B16), the track fenders (B13 & B14), the exhaust mufflers
and the commander’s cupola parts. A drawback to molding track
and suspension like this is that the pair of wheels are molded as
one thick wheel. If it is important to you, the bottom track run can
be carefully cut off allowing us to file a groove to simulate two
wheels. As expected for a quick build kit, the tools are molded onto
the fenders and the hatches molded shut.
Above is a close-up view of the WaW 1-piece track assembly with very
nice cast resin aftermarket sprocket and road wheels from OKB Grigorov.
The significant size difference precludes us from using the aftermarket
wheels which make it that much harder to turn this good model into
an even better display model. Though good for the way IBG molded the
track, it just does not compare well to good separate band or link
& length tracks. I have no problem with easy-build track &
wheel assembly like this; it is perfect for gaming for example, but
the 1/76 scale makes it difficult to replace the kit’s track
and wheels with better parts like the OKB resin parts.
Here we have a comparison of the WaW cupola parts B10 and B11 on the
sprue at left, in the center is a cast resin replacement commander’s
cupola by OKB. At right is the cupola in the Mirage Pz IV kit. The
WaW cupola looks well done, but a little low and the split hatch is
molded closed. The OKB cupola looks great and features open visors
and hatch and might be usable on the WaW turret.
The booklet with the kit features vehicle specifications, history
and the assembly instructions, in both German and English. The similar
booklet from First To Fight model kits is only in Polish.
In the booklet is a vehicle painting & marking guide. The Kevin
Hjermstad book (page 25) identifies this Pz IV with white number 800
to be a Pz IV Ausf. B with 4th Company, 2nd Battalion, 1st Panzer
Regiment in Poland, 1939. The panzer gray color looks a little too
light for me and the wheels I would do in dark gray rather than black.
Though the decal sheet includes several styles of Balkenkreuz, these
instructions do not show their placement.
TRACTS NO. 4, Panzerkampfwagen IV, Thomas Jentz & Hilary Doyle
IV, The Panzerkampfwagen IV Medium Tank 1939 – 1945, by Kevin
Hjermstad, Squadron Signal Publications (2000).
IV vs CHAR B1 BIS, France 1940, Duel 23, Steven Zaloga, Osprey Publishing
kit was purchased by the reviewer.
at War kits can be purchased from