Thursday, September 10, 2015

[Unboxing] Tamiya 1/35 Panzer Kampfwagen IV Ausf.D


As I get tired of GunPla, I decided that it is time to do something more realistic, let's check out this tank.  I present to thee, the Panzer IV!

Some 'Foreword '

When I was younger, I initially was interested to build model kits, specially the military armor ones or the AFV kits.  Unfortunately, I never had the finances and the tools to execute such activity properly.  GunPla gave me some access to an easier alternative to PlaMo with its snap-build engineering.  But then again, GunPla, even if you paint or customize it, will get pretty boring and uninspired, whatever you do.  This is because, GunPla is sci-fi - fiction.  It's technically something that represents something that does not exist in real life or WILL NOT exist probably for the next 30-100 years from now.  Part of my philosophy in building PlaMo is realism or at least apply the most realistic-effect concepts in a model.  Yes, you can apply 'realism' (i.e. weathering, shading, etc) in GunPla but the fact still remains, it does not exist in real life - nice to look at but it doesn't really have that 'human' connection in our current society.  Now to hit that empty spot in my heart, I decided to park my small GunPla backlog, and decided to do this.  This is the Panzer IV version D.  As a child, my main image and profile of a tank are these German tanks from WWII.  I really really like the design and its eventual effectivity in real life.  For me, building a model tank is going to be a very fun project because I know that I will be building something that existed, something that was part of the human race's history.  In building model AFVs, the main point to observe is also realism.  It demands the builder/modeller to truly research about the subject; to not only study the tank itself but also to study the effects of nature and external factors to the subject in real life.  It also challenges you to emulate all conditions it was in when it was in the field.  The call to do the most accurate realistic effects on something that existed before is very enticing and something that will only make one's modelling skills go a step higher.  With this project, I am aiming to make something I was never able to pull off before, something great!  I hope I can also inspire everyone not just to stay as a 'snap-builder' but rather invest in becoming a builder.

Short Info about the kit

The kit I picked is based on a tank that I really liked and had a connection to even when I was a child.  It is the Panzer Kampfwagen IV Ausführung D.  Roughly translated it means Armored Field/Fighting Wagon/Vehicle IV version D.  The Panzer IV, even though part of the Lightning Tactics, was not originally the main battle tank of the German Wehrmacht during WWII.  It was supposed to be the Panzer III but due to failure in upgrading it in time, the Panzer III got sidelined eventually, and the Panzer IV with its better offensive capabilities took center stage and even saw action up until the end of the war along with the newer tank releases at that time.  This kit I got is made by Tamiya, one of the renowned PlaMo companies in the world.  The kit itself is an old one, originally released on 1977 but just continued to be re-released and re-tooled but still one of the best kits for the said model of the tank.  The kit is based on an early version of the Panzer IV, specifically the Model D or Ausf.D which is considered a pre-series model.  These pre-series models of the Panzer IV were basically test beds for concepts but technically models like this Ausf.D are already widely employed during the early parts of the war and the Ausf.D is already as effective as it was intended to be.  If my research is correct, the Panzer IV only reached its 'production series' status when it reached the E or F variant which made the Panzer IV even more effective in battles.
Picture from
The picture above is the Panzer IV Ausf.D which is where the kit is based on.  It has the biggest gun in the first parts of the war, sporting a 75mm short-barrel, turret-mounted gun.  Later versions of the Ausf.D were fitted an extra layer of 30mm plate armors on vital locations on the hull.  The Panzer IV's were also widely employed in battlefield that is saw campaigns in Poland, France, Balkans and in Africa.  And I know everyone can relate why I chose the Panzer IV, it is just a good-looking tank :)
Now let's look what kit has to offer.

The Presentation

Top/Front Box Art
Side 1
Side 2
Side 3
The kit was purchased for Php998 (Philippine Peso)

Side 4

*This side shows other kits based on the same Panzer IV chassis.  As the war progressed, they used the same Panzer IV chassis on different application, specially for some self-propelled artillery weapons and some Sturm/Assault AFVs.  These are actually something to consider in future projects.

I am not entirely sure if the kit I got was the re-tooled release of the kit, but I discovered that this one is manufactured here in the Philippines and I believe they only opened a factory here in the Philippines almost only a decade later.  It is mostly likely made here in Tamiya's Philippine-based factory but I am not sure if they used the re-tooled casting molds but aside from the flash present in the plastic parts, the details are practically crisp.

Parts Count

The kit includes:
  • 2 vinyl tracks
  • 1 separate piece for the lower hull
  • 2 sets of poly caps
  • 1 sheet of water-slide decals
  • 2 sheets of instruction manuals
  • 4 plastic runners/sprues for the parts
Runner A
 Runner A predominantly contains the wheels (road, idler, drive sprocket, etc) of the tank.
Runner B

Runner B contains the parts for the upper hull and the turret.  Also contains the parts for the figure for the tank commander.
Runner C
Runner C contains other parts specially for the stowage, tools, and other filigree parts.
Runner D
Runner D just continues with the miscellaneous parts.  Also contains the figures for the tank driver and loader.
Lower Hull
 Most tank kits usually has the lower hull casted separately and not on a sprue.
 Not quite sure but I believe you can motorized these models
But I won't put any motors in this kit so I guess I will have to putty those wholes up.  Too bad, there could've been more details there as well - well not that we get to see it anyway.
Poly-caps and Decal Sheet
The decal sheet contains the usual Balkenkreuze markings plus the division numbers which you can use depending on what particular frontier of the war you are basing the model on.  We also get 2 sets of poly caps.  These will be used for the wheels as they are meant to be detachable to allow easy painting and attachment of tracks later on.
Vinyl Tracks
 With this coming as an old kit, it includes a vinyl-molded tracks.
A lot of modellers in the net usually go for a workable set of tracks - one that you build yourself, track link by track link.  But I am kind of curious on how to work with these parts.  I am actually still deciding on whether getting a separate kit for the tracks but depending on the availability of such after-market parts, I have yet to see for myself.
Another thing that the modelling community says about the tracks of this kit is that it does not represent the correct tracks that the Ausf.D particularly used in its service.  These are basically the 40cm tracks that included the features for threading over snow.  The Ausf.D used only the 38cm ones and the 40cm ones were basically only installed on the Ausf.E.  I know this sounds too OCD, but nonetheless, it adds to the fun of pursuing realism with this line of PlaMo.
Instruction/Assembly Manuals
The kit has 2 manuals, 1 with Japanese texts and 1 with English-Deutsche texts.  Both technically contains the same contents.  Both gives helpful hints and basics on building such kits.  They also provide nice information about the tank itself to get you started about the historical background of the tank and where and when it was used.  It also provides the color call-outs that will be used (all in Tamiya Acrylics).
Another good thing that the manuals provide is the options you can build this into.  This kit was primarily based on the Early Version of the Ausf.D - basically the version that was used on the Polish and French Campaigns but you can also construct it in its Late Version and in its Afrika Korps version.  The manual will guide you to what parts to put in depending on the version and also what color and decals to use which is kind of handy if you want to be accurate.

So far, these are all there is in the box for the kit.  I am excited to put this together and we'll see how I will do with this project.  Stay tuned for the WIP series for this project :D


Here is the kit taking a bubble bath in preparation for assembly. LOL.

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