Airfix- Panzer IV Ausf. H "Mid Version"
For the First Look of this kit with details of the sprues and decal schemes, check out this link: http://www.amps-armor.org/SiteReviews/ShowReview.aspx?id=14453
This is my second Airfix rebox kit since they've been re-releasing the old Academy kits and I am thoroughly enjoying kits that I probably wouldn't have necessarily searched out on my own without Airfix having brought them to my attention. There are only two schemes in the kit as previously mentioned- one set in Normandy and the other in Poland. I won't go into details with what is wrong with the Academy kit as I am sure you can search these things out easily enough. Also, sadly, despite me having photos of the build process, I seem to have lost them switching over from an older phone to my newer one. I would've thought they'd have backed up, but I was mistaken...so only finish photos from me this time- my apologies.
Before construction begins, there are lots of holes to be drilled out ahead of time-- short work for my Dremel Stylus tool. We start with the lower hull...not your typical bathtub setup...but an easy six piece assembly. Step 3 has you attach the rear hull plate and that was fine, but step 4, adding the bottom part of it caused a bit of a fit issue with me. There are choices of two different plates, and I may have chosen wrong, but it was all glued so I left it alone.
Next few steps involved the top front hull, suspension arms, and road wheels, sprockets, and rear idlers. The rubber band tracks were supposed to glue together but mine were resistant to the glue I had on hand, so I just glued them down to the road wheels, knowing they would be tucked under the fenders and side skirts. The multi-piece upper hull is assembled and then added on top.
The rear of the rear end assembly follows with brackets, tow cable and hooks, muffler, etc. No fit issues at all-- great job Academy. Steps 13 through 20 have you adding assorted brackets, tools, spare tracks and road wheels, and all the accoutrements that make a Panzer IV a Panzer IV. The side skirts went on quite nicely and fit well on the brackets provided.
Step 21 assembles the gun and mantlet and you proceed with the assembly of the turret through to step 25. At that point, the rear tool box is assembled and attached. Hatch covers and brackets for the turret armor skirts follow. The rear side skirt is supposed to wrap around the back side of the turret and attach to the brackets but mine did not want to conform to the tight curve. I got it done eventually and left off one small side piece for a bit of interest. Step 31 has you assemble the multi-piece commanders cupola and you complete assembly with the MG42 and attachment of the turret to the hull.
Painting and Weathering
I used AMMO by Mig paints to do the initial three tone camo, and then their Washable White to attempt the whitewash for the Poland scheme. The decals provided by Airfix were excellent and went on without a hitch. The scheme represents a 3rd (or 20th) Panzer Division tank. I used AMMO's new Winter-Autumn Ground Set (specifically the Farm Dark Earth and Winter Soil) to weather, along with some Streaking Grime to give it a well used look.
Overall, Airfix has done a nice job with this re-release. I sincerely hope they have enough success with these kits to see to designing their own armor line soon. They've really stepped up their game with the recent aircraft releases and I truly would like to see them follow suit with something in the way of armor. Anyone who has built these Academy kits knows their ease of build, and matched with Airfix's redesigned schemes, it's easy to pull off a great looking tank right out of the box.
Highly Recommended for Beginner to Advanced builders and those interested in Axis tanks that made up the late-war arsenal.
Thanks goes out to Airfix for this review kit.
Reviewed by Michael Reeves, AMPS Albany
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