Kit Review : Academy Pz.Kpfw IV Ausf. H with Armor

Academy 1328 – Pz.Kpfw IV Ausf. H with Armor

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Being a lower priced kit this one is good value for money for the entry level or casual modeler. It doesn’t have the same level of detail as the newer Dragon offerings but at half the price it certainly is no dog either.

This kit comes in a largish tray and lid style box containing five sprues, four in dark yellow, with the fifth containing individual track links that is moulded in black. This is basically a copy of the older Tamiya Pz.Kpfw.IV kit ( not to be confused with their newer Ausf.H and Ausf.J kits ), right down to the tub with the set-up to take a motor.

The mouldings offer good clean lines, crisp mouldings and minimal clean-up. No flash, minimal mould lines and most knock out marks are in places they won’t be seen. You still will spend a little time tidying up the mould seams but that’s pretty inevitable on your average injection moulded kit.

The hull assembles quickly and easily with no real issues though like the Tamiya kit it is copied from the sponsons are open underneath. Again for the purists there are some minor accuracy issues, mainly the odd shaped final drive housings and the inclusion of the side vision ports on the hull which were dropped very early on in the Ausf.H ( not really an issue for an early H but if it matters to you they’re wrong for the rest of this kit which has parts for a mid to late production H ).

The turret is also very simple and includes the option of having the cupola lid open as well as the turret side doors. There is some minor alignment problems with the side doors so I would recommend assembling the doors and their hinges together at the same time to get them to all line up the best. One nice touch is the seperate muzzle brake end which avoids having a join in the very end which can often be a pain to get perfect in two piece plasic barrels.

The tracks are one piece vinyl though the kit also comes with a single sprue of individual link tracks for use as additional armour ( Academy also offers an inexpensive set of individual link tracks as an after market option ).

A commander figure is included, though he looks a little undersized ( often a failing with Academy figures ) as he scales out at 168 cm ( 5 foot 6 ). Not a major as Panzer crews weren’t tall men but he does look to be of very slight build shall we say.

The Schurzen armour skirts are massively over scale in thickness but then that is always a failing of trying to make these in plastic. The actual skirts were only 5mm thick which in 1/35 would make them around 0.15mm. But then they’re only oversized if you know that, if you don’t care they look fine and you can always use them as templates to cut thinner ones from brass shim stock if you’re so inclined. There is also a minor alignment problem with the front most hull schurzen rail mounts so test fitting these is a must.

Only one set of decals is provided, they aren’t identified but the unit symbol is for the 24th Panzer Division ( though in white rather than the traditional yellow ).

So all up a good tidy kit for a simple build. Detail is fresh and crisp, instuctions are clear and easy to follow, fit and finish is good. As with all “budget” kits there are going to be omissions and areas that could use improvement, but if you don’t care about a high number of parts for ultimate detail, and you’re not looking for the absolute tops in accuracy, but rather a good, simple representation of a Pz.Kpfw.IV when you’re done then this is the kit for you.

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12 Responses to Kit Review : Academy Pz.Kpfw IV Ausf. H with Armor

  1. Boris The One says:

    Hi everyone. In its first years, Academy bought Hasegawa and Tamiya old moulds, as well as made their owns. I have assembled Academy´s Panzer IV H, Wirbelwind and Stug IV, all of them copies of older Tamiya kits. The last one 20 years ago, as a novice modeler.
    Of course they lack the accuracy, or the level of finesse of Dragon or Tristar, to name a few. But puting together those kits is easy and fast. And that’s what makes enjoyable the modeling.
    I didn´t have any problem undestanding the instructions. Even in korean, they are clear and easy to follow. Try Skif, Maquette, or even Italeri´s. They are a PITA.
    About the tracks, I have encountered no problems with them. They have the correct length and good quality material with enough detail.
    Now let me mention some little issues you will face.
    Some putty was required to fill a gap between the engine cover and the rear vertical plate, as well as some work covering and filling the motorization holes. Other than that, it did not need more filler.
    The Wirbelwind gave me some minor problem aligning the turret walls, but it´s minimal.
    The Schurzen are on the heavy side, too thick, but can be discarded and used as templates to make your own with sheet styrene or soda can.
    That´s all! And if the gun wobbles, just glue it fixed in place. Magic solution!
    With some scratchbuilding work and good painting, anyone can turn these inexpensive kits into decent looking models.
    I recommend these kit mainly for novice modellers, because the few pieces they have and the easyness of assembly, but also for experienced modelers who are not crazy for accuracy, and like to make conversions, because of their price they are excellente basis for use of after market parts. Or simply practice new techniques.
    Enjoy!

  2. Kenobi McCormick says:

    I recently bought this kit and have to disagree with it being a good kit. Mine had NUMBEROUS issues which made it nearly unbuildable.

    1: The tracks were about half an inch too short, and in gently trying to stretch them to fit, they snapped like twigs.

    2: The fit and finish on most of the detail parts was abysmal. I spent more time filing away at parts than I did actually gluing them onto the tank.

    3: The gun is about as stiffly mounted as one of Bugs Bunny’s ears. It flops about and will only hold two positions: Fully elevated and resting on the top of the hull. It also wobbles about left and right relative to the turret some 10 degrees or so.

    4: I found the instructions massively confusing.

    I was actually quite disappointed with this kit. I had got it instead of Tamiya’s PzIV because this one had the longer gun and the Schurzen, but honestly, I should have spent another 35 cents and got the Tamiya kit instead. The Tamiya IS2 and Tiger I I got in the same order practically built themselves, this PzIV barely went together at all.

  3. samson123 says:

    hi dean, is this a great kit or like is there any major problem with this kit??? PS:gonna be my first kit. thanks

  4. James says:

    hi there chris,

    if you need i’ll scan and send the manual to you give me ur mail address

  5. James says:

    hi there i’m having problems with the front wheels to fit on the circle pin…by the looks of things they’ve made the hole of the front wheel a hexagonal shape to fit onto a circle pin, it just doesn’t make sense. what do you suggest i do? am i doing something wrong? and the tracks to fit on the wheels are all bent? is anybody else experiencing these problems??

    • Dean says:

      The hexagonal bit is because these are a copy of the original Tamiya Pz.Kpfw.IV Ausf.H which were motorised so they had a steel axle with nuts that fitted in there ( hence the two versions of the final drive housing – one with the pin, one with a sqquareish hole ). It shouldn’t make any difference as the sprocket ( the front wheel ) mounts to the pin using one of the polycaps ( the little round black vinyl bits on a small flexible sprue ). There should be one of these installed inside the sprocket when the two holves are joined together and that’s what goes onto the pin. As for the tracks the old style vinyl “rubber band” tracks often do that, you can usually reshape them by soaking them in hot water and then bending them back in the opposite direction.

  6. Bart says:

    hey Dean (and anyone), I have kept pretty much every set of instructions from every model I have built, so have quite a pile here if anyone else needs anything along those lines. May have lost a few (thinking back now), but pretty much keep everything.

  7. Chris Eaton says:

    Having bought an Academy 1/35 Panzer IV for my son to model, on opening the box, it has only instructions in Korean or Japanese – none in English.
    Has anyone any idea where I can source a set of English language instructions for this please ? The making up of the tracks from individual links looks particularly complex with some critical measurement instructions.
    Any help really appreciated.

    • Dean says:

      Hi Chris, if you drop me a line via the “contact us” link I’ll scan a copy for you and email them through to you.

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