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