Arnaud Gaillard's 15mm Panzer IVH Review! | Print |  E-mail
Written by Arnaud Gaillard   
Saturday, 12 May 2007

The Panzer IVH models included in this review

Arnaud Gaillard took a look at four Panzer IVH models and posted a well-written French-language review of them on his WWII site. When he mentioned that this was of the style we use, we became interested and asked if we could post an English-language version of the review here. Arnaud was kind enough to grant us permission, and this is his review.

To the best of our ability, this is a straight translation of Arnaud's work, and while he has seen the English version of the review, his acceptance of the translation was somewhat muted. Thus, we apologize in advance for any inaccuracies introduced during translation.

Introduction


In Flames of War, during the late-war period, the Panzer IV becomes the basic vehicle of German armored companies. Considering what I already knew of the Panzer IV offerings from two manufacturers, I decided to do a small comparative.

For this review I gathered vehicles from four manufacturers: Quality Casting, Old Glory/Skytrex, Battlefront and Quick Reaction Force. I wanted to include Peter Pig, but it is rather difficult to order on the company's Web site, and my usual retailers do not carry its figurines. That means Peter Pig's Panzer IV H will miss this opportunity, unfortunately.

All the models are advertised as Panzers IV H, except the QRF model, which is sold as a Panzer IV J. The differences between the Panzer IV H and J models are minor (there was no version I), with no major changes to the outside of the vehicle, apart from the modification of the exhaust system. It should thus be possible to mix them in this review without too much problem. All the figurines are advertised as being 15mm, but some manufacturers specify that the vehicles are modeled to 1/100 scale�they're the same in theory, but as we will see, this is rarely the case.

Each figurine has strong and weak points, which will be detailed in the following pages. If you want a hint as to results, I've already sold the Quality Casting PzIV unused.

On the photographs of this page, the manufacturers are: A=Battlefront, B=Quality Casting, C=Old Glory, D=Quick Reaction Force

I painted the figurines a tan color to bring out the highlights and photographed them before applying camouflage. The QRF figurine had already been painted in three-tone camouflage before inclusion in this comparative. Hopefully this does not detract too much from the comparison.


all of the models in this review from above

Panzer IV H

Before getting into the minis, let's discuss the actual Panzer IV. This is the only German tank to remain in manufacture, through multiple versions, from the beginning to the end of the war. More than 9,000 units were produced.

Conceived originally to support the Panzer III, it quickly exceeded the PzIII in its anti-tank role. The H model is distinguished from preceding versions by the adoption of the 7.5 cm KwK 40 L/48 gun, a small increase in armor thickness and a few cosmetic modifications. More than 2,200 Panzer IV Hs were produced, making it one of the most prolific Panzer IVs, along with version J.

Panzer IV H
General CharacteristicsShielding and Armament
Crew5Shielding80mm (frontal)
Overall length7020mmPrincipal Weapon7.5cm KwK 40 L/48
Width with Aprons3330mmSecondary Armamenttwo machine-guns MG34 of 7.92mm
Height2680mm

Weight25 T




The models from behind

Battlefront Panzer IV H


The Battlefront Panzer from the side

The kit and its assembly
The Battlefront mini is, as usual, the only one in this comparative whose body is made out of resin. We think Battlefront uses resin to give its molds a longer lifespan. The principal problem of plastic vis-�-vis metal is that the plastic is breakable, making the figurine a little more breakable when dropped. This frailty is particularly obvious on the Battlefront T-34, for which I bring my glue out regularly. That said, I think that the plastic looks as good as metal, but you must be more careful.

The options included in Battlefront's blisters are always rich, and this model is no exception: It includes the body of the tank and turret (plastic), two treads and the primary gun out of metal, a hatchway giving the possibility of making the tank open or closed, and of course a tank commander figurine and Bailed Out marker for FoW.

The vehicle went together without a problem and should not need any major trimming, with the exception of two large run-outs that give a strange angle to the tread apron. In addition, on the right side, the positioning of the rollers makes it impossible to stick the track guards against the side of the tank.

I placed the turret hatch in open position and added the figurine of the tank commander.The figurineBattlefront's figurines tend not to not respect historical dimensions exactly, rather aiming for aesthetics. If the overall length corresponds well to 1/100, the figurine is approximately 10 percent too narrow (31.5mm in the place of 33mm) and 15 percent higher (31mm instead of 27mm). Thus it will be difficult to mix Battlefront figurines with those from the other brands, except in this case the Pz IV from Battle Honors, which goes perfectly.

The turret attachment mechanism is the only one that makes it possible to place a play magnet, which can be useful to attach the turret to the hull while leaving the turret mobile, if you often move your army.

This Panzer IV is also the only one in this comparative that came covered with Zimmerit; whether this is acceptable or not is a matter of personal taste. The Panzer IV H was produced both with and without this coating, though it was rather rare to see them without toward the end of production. On the other hand, as on many tanks of this brand, the hull machine gun is not present and will need to be added with a small wire if you want one.

BF ConclusionIn total, this is a good model, as is usual for the Battlefront figurines. The tank is quite detailed, the kit is complete and total quality is good. The only regret is the typical aspect of BF vehicles which misses a little historically, but it will nevertheless make a good impression on any table.

Strengths/Weaknesses points
Well DoneLess Well Done
+Very good Quality of Molding+Plastic Vehicle Body
+The Richness of the Kit+Failure to respect the dimensions
+The Number of possible combinationsof original vehicle
Final Score:


Price:
Ordered at Dream-Factor: 8 Euros

Panzer IV H Old Glory/Skytrex


The kit and its assembly

Old Glory always sells tanks in packs of three. Sometimes this can be a problem when composing a squadron because there's seldom a unit of three tanks. But this also makes it possible for Old Glory to offer an attractive price, and this is its principal strength: figures of sufficient quality at an aggressive price.

To supplement a company, you could turn to Skytrex, which sells the same figurines as Old Glory individually (molds being identical), at a price identical to that of the competition.

The kit thus comes with three tanks, each comprising five parts. The tread aprons are directly integrated with the treads. Assembly was rather simple, after the trimming always necessary with figurines by Old Glory.



The figurine
The first point of importance for these Old Glory models is the price. With the current 40 percent off sale on WarWeb, the price of each vehicle was $4, which is the least expensive tank like it on the market. The figurine is in itself of good quality, even though it is regrettable that you cannot modify the configurations and that the tank must be completely closed. Another weak point is the turret attachment, which is shallow and does not allow a solid seat of the turret in the body. In my opinion this is the largest weakness of this figurine.

Side dimension of the Old Glory figure hold to historical proportions the best, within 1mm in each dimension compared with the 1/100 scale. My only complaint is that the model had some sprue, but it cleaned very easily. A common criticism against Old Glory is that it's not very precise with its molding, and it uses molds until past their prime. This is not the case with this Panzer, which we found well-detailed.



Conclusion
Tanks by Old Glory are unbeatable in the quality/cost ratio department. Their principal defects: the paucity of options included with the kit, which has only one possible configuration, no tank commander, and having to buy them in sets of three. All in all, this tank is not a bad choice and earns the same score as Battlefront.

Strengths/Weaknesses points
Well DoneLess Well Done
+Price+Turret attachment mechanism
+Solid Metal Body+Small inaccuracies in the moulding
+Simplicity of Assembly+Limited Configurations

+Minimum three per package
Final Score:





Panzer IV H Quality Honours Casting

The kit and its assembly

This kit is very complete: It contains a Panzer IV body, a turret with the gun already fixed, a hatchway in open or closed position, a figure of the tank commander, and apron kits for both tracks and the turret.

And it's at that point that things go south. Assembly of this kit was a true nightmare. The tracks are very difficult to put together because they don't have a proper surface for joining to the hull.



But the hardest remained to come. The side armor is not properly designed for joining, so we had to cut the upper fasteners and stick the whole thing to the hull of the tank�workable, but it makes for a very fragile model.


A tank with partial side armor, with visible tracks, probably wouldn't last long on the battlefield.

The Model
This model presents a very strange general look, with a very narrow track width, as you can see on this photograph. The shape of the aprons is also very unusual, and the tank commander figurine is particularly malformed�the poor fellow has no face when one looks at him laterally!



Dimensionally, we ran into same problem as with the Battlefront mini. The vehicle is less broad (31mm vs. 33mm) and higher (28mm vs. 27mm) than the original at 1/100. Moreover, the gun seems too short�one might mistake this for a Panzer IV G. Overall, this is really a disappointing model, and one of the worst examples of Battle Honors' line.

Conclusions
Battle Honors really disappointed with this model. On the plus side, I received a rather well done ISU-122 in the same order, which I will discuss in a future review. As for the Panzer IV, however, I think you will be happier with another vendor's model.

Strengths/Weaknesses points
Well DoneLess Well Done
+Nothing+Complexity of Assembly

+Small inaccuracies in the moulding

+Strange Form of many parts of the vehicle
Final Score:




QRF Panzer IV H

The kit and its assembly
The kit, made out of metal, contains a body, two tracks, a turret with the gun molded on and armor already fixed, and two side aprons as well as the pieces for making an open or closed hatchway. It should be noted that the gun broke during shipping and has been re-glued. Assembly did not present any difficulty; everything went together quickly. Note that that the kit does not contain a tank commander figurine the gentleman in these photographs comes from Battlefront.

The figurine
This model is a Panzer IV J, but apart from the exhaust and end-of-war-version armor plates it's impossible to differentiate this model from the version H. This Panzer IV J forms part of the new series re-mastered by QRF, and that fact is obvious. The figurine is very nicely molded and presents very little flash. Assembly of the turret is via a stem that sits in a hole made in the hull of the tank; on our model the hole is not centered perfectly, thus the turret is slightly canted toward the left. The principal reproach that I can make with this model is its size.



The smallest model of those reviewed, it does not seem to be exactly to 1/100 scale but runs 2mm to 3mm short in each dimension, even though QRF states that these minis are scaled to 1/100. This is not a large thing, but is sufficient to make it incompatible with the other figurines.

Conclusion
This tank presents rather well, but it misses the mark on a few small items that keep it from earning a top rating. On the other hand, the precision of the molding provides great detail.


Strengths/Weaknesses points
Well DoneLess Well Done
+The smoothness of the engraving+A little small
+The general aspect/look+Turret Mounting is off center
Final Score:


Article Conclusion



After this small review, my winner is Old Glory, for two important points: ratio of price to quality and respect for historical dimensions. The Battlefront and QRF models don't come in very far behind; each has strong points that will appeal to some wargamers.

Discuss this review on the WWII Area Forum or The Wargames @ Nordalia forums.
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