The German PanzerKampfwagen Mk IV, 744(E) (A13) is a 1/35 plastic kit from Bronco Models. The kit number is CB-35030 and it is able to be built in one version. Bronco has released this representation of a WWII British Cruiser Mark IV tank that has been captured by the German military and is being used by the Pz. Abt. (Flamm) 100, 18th PZ. Division, during the Russian winter of 1941.
In April 1937 the British military wanted to create a heavy cruiser tank and developed the Cruiser Mk IV, which was simply a Cruiser Mk III that had 30mm of armor plating added to the nose, glacis, and front superstructure. The turret sides and front of the mantlet was also modified with additional armor. The reconfiguring did little to affect the tanks performance and speed. The Cruiser Mk IV’s performance was only slightly decreased from that of the Cruiser Mk III. There were a total of 65 Mk III tanks that were converted to Mk IV tanks and there was a total of 655 Mk IVA produced in 1938/1939 by English Electric, Leyland, and Nuffield Group.
The Mark IV had a crew of four which consisted of a commander, gunner, loader and driver. It was armed with a QF 2-pdr gun and carried 87 rounds as the primary armament. It also boasted a 303 Vickers machine gun with 3,750 rounds as the secondary armament. It was powered by a Nuffield Liberty V12 gasoline engine which produced 340 hp (250 kW; 340 PS). It had a weight of 33,040 lbs (14,987 kg), a length of 19ft 9in (6-02 m), a width of 8ft 4in (2-54M and a height of 8ft 6in (2-59m). It had a Christie suspension and had a top speed of 30 mph (48 km/h) on road and an off road speed of 14 mph (23 km/h) with an operational range of 90 miles (140 km).
Some of the tanks were sent to France with the British military in 1940 to help defend against German attack. The British were overrun and the crews attempted to destroy the tanks, however some of them fell into German hands. The German military made some modifications to the Mark IV. Some of these modifications included adding extra storage in the form of jerry can storage racks to the hull and the sides of the turret which gave it a unique appearance. They also replaced the tracks with Panzer II Ausf. D tracks and added an un-ditching beam to the rear deck.
SPRUES AND PARTS
The kit comes with twenty four sprues of tan styrene for a total of 777 parts, four frets of photo-etched brass with 131 detailing parts, one clear sprue with six parts and one length of string to be used as the tow cable. The styrene parts have nice clean detailing and there isn’t an excessive amount of seam lines, very little if any flash and there are very few molding pins to remove. The knock out marks that I did find are in locations where they will not be visible once the kit is completed. There is what I would call a normal amount of sprue attachment points for all of the pieces. The sprues are all identified by a letter and the individual pieces are all identified by a number. The photo-etched brass detailing parts have nice crisp detailing and they have what I would consider the normal amount of fret attachment points. The pieces are all identified by numbers. The kit does come with individual track links which will need to be assembled one piece at a time. The instruction sheet does indicate how to assemble the pieces and tells how many pieces are needed for each track, 119 per track to be exact.
BOX AND PACKAGING
The kit comes in cardboard box with a lift off lid. The lid has art work of the PanzerKampfwagen Mk IV, 744(E) (A13) on it. The box has a sturdy bottom but the cover is the typical type of thin cardboard used for kit boxes. All of the sprues are sealed within clear plastic bags. The instruction sheet is packaged loose.
The kit comes with an eleven page instruction sheet. The instruction sheet is printed on magazine type of paper which makes it very durable making it handy for future reference. The instruction sheet is laid out very nicely and the assembly steps are very clear and easy to follow. Another detail I like is that the nine assembly icons are shown and explained and shown in color throughout the instruction sheet. The instruction sheet is printed in three languages, English, German, and Chinese.
The instruction sheet is laid out as follows
Front page: Color art work of the tank and a brief history of it
Page 1: Assembly icon instructions and a painting guide.
Page 2: Sprue and PE drawings.
Pages 3 through 14: The assembly steps. Assembly amounts to a total of twenty one steps.
Back page: Color print of the tank with a decal placement guide.
The one thing about the instruction sheet that I didn’t like was that there isn’t any type of guide for using photo-etched brass for first time users. I feel that this is something that should be included with every kit that has photo-etched brass detailing parts. Another flaw with the instruction sheet is the “No use parts” section. The symbol for this is a grey square. The square is barely visible and is hard to see and so are the grey areas on the sprue drawings indicating which parts are not to be used. This really doesn’t matter as the parts will be left on the sprues after construction and will be obvious that they were not needed. However it is a flaw on the sheet and I thought it should be mentioned.
The kit comes with one sheet of water slide type decals. You get the decals represent the tank as being used by the Pz. Abt. (Flamm) 100, 18th PZ. Division, during the Russian winter of 1941. You do get four rows of numbers, (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, and 0) which you can use to create your own vehicle number.
On page one of the instruction sheets there is a paint reference guide included. It lists four different manufacturers and cross references for eleven different colors. The manufacturers shown are: Gunze Sangyo, Hobby Color, Humbrol and Tamiya. The colors listed are: Steel, Wood Brown, Silver, Flat White, Tyre Black, Semi-gloss Black, White, Flat Black, Burnt Iron, Rust and German Grey.
It isn't what I would call a perfect kit however it is a very nice product. I would have no hesitation to recommend it to others. Please keep in mind that this in an in-box review and that I have not removed any of the parts and dry fitted them to see how they fit.
Captured American and British Tanks Under the German Flag
by Werner Regenberg – Schiffer Military History
The Illustrated Encyclopedia of the World's Tanks and Fighting Vehicles
by Christopher F. Foss – Salamander Book published by Chartwell Books, Inc.
Tanks of World War II
by Duncan Crow – Exeter Books