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In-Box Review
135
Pz.IV Ausf. H Photo Etch
Basic Parts Upgrading Suite for Pz.IV Ausf. H
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by: Bill Cross [ BILL_C ]

Introduction

The Panzerkampfwagen IV (Pz.Kpfw. IV), known to English speakers as the Panzer IV, was the workhorse of the German tank arm in WW II. Approximately 8,800 were produced from 1936-45, originally as an infantry support vehicle (the lighter Panzer III originally had the role of tank killer). But after encountering the far-superior T-34 during the invasion of the Soviet Union in 1941, the army turned to the Panzer IV as its preferred AFV until it could develop the heavier Panther and Tiger tanks (though their limited production numbers kept them from ever being the decisive factor Germany hoped for). Especially once the IV had been up-gunned with the excellent KwK 40 L/43 75 mm. (itself later replaced by the longer 75 mm KwK 40 L/48), it was a match for anything the Soviets or Allies could throw at it.

Because of its wide service on all fronts, the Pz.Kpfw. IV remains one of the more-popular tank kits. Now a new photo etch manufacturer, Orange Hobby in Shanghai, China, has released an upgrade kit intended for the Dragon 6300 Ausf. H.

The Kit

Simply stated, this is the most-complete PE upgrade I’ve ever seen (the only exception being some high-priced Voyager sets for the Tiger and Hummel). One of the knocks on most PE makers is the way they parcel-out the components over multiple sets (e.g., the turret bins, radio mast, cleaning rod and other “optional” parts). Not this time: the Orange Hobby set includes everything you will need to upgrade a standard Dragon Panzer IV kit (Schurzen are not-included, since not every Pz. IV had them):

7 frets of PE brass
1 brass radio antenna
4 brass rods for the gun cleaning rod components
3 brass rods for the turret side hatch hinges and spare track supports
Black thread for towing cable plus 2 brass end-rings and collars
Length of 2mm brass wire
1 brass turret cupola ring
1 resin jack “wooden” bracing block
1 sheet of decals for the fire extinguisher
3 pages of instructions in color with extensive labeling

In fact, the only thing missing was the tension spring for the jack wooden block. The kit includes thin brass wire to make your own, a process I don't look forward to.

the review

As stated, the kit includes everything but the proverbial kitchen sink. Little touches like a radio mast (and detailed base), gun cleaning rod and tow cables mean you won't have to hunt down other AM products to bring your kit into its sharpest accuracy. The brass is good quality (though not quite as good as Griffon Model, whose brass is generally thicker and less likely to bend erratically or break) .Thin brass is easier to bend - sometimes too easy, and can get distorted during assembly. Breakage is also a problem, especially if you misread directions and bend something the wrong way. But the Orange Hobby brass pieces have excellent detailing, including rivet holes and other markings. Tool brackets look pretty standard, and will therefore bedevil most humans without heavy-duty magnifiers and very small fingers.

A big complaint I have with PE makers is the lack of information about the parts upgraded. Is that a hinge for a track tension lock or the jack? Is that a crowbar or the track tension adjusting tool? The instructions both clearly identify the pieces upgraded and are in color as well.

Conclusion

With photo etch increasingly a key AM desire for model makers, this kind of high-quality offering is sure to give other manufacturers a run for their money. In fact, I would say if you are planning on upgrading a DML Pz. IV, this is the only kit to buy.
SUMMARY
Highs: The set leaves nothing out: PE, metal parts (including gun cleaning rod), resin (jack wooden block) and decals for the fire extinguisher.
Lows: None I can see.
Verdict: Superb set of PE, metal accessories, resin and decals that handles all aspects of upgrading the DML Panzer IV. The best all-in-one PE set I've ever seen.
Percentage Rating
95%
  Scale: 1:35
  Mfg. ID: G35-031-158
  Suggested Retail: N/A
  PUBLISHED: Nov 29, 2009
  NATIONALITY: Germany
NETWORK-WIDE AVERAGE RATINGS
  THIS REVIEWER: 90.08%
  MAKER/PUBLISHER: 86.15%

Our Thanks to Orange Hobby!
This item was provided by them for the purpose of having it reviewed on this KitMaker Network site. If you would like your kit, book, or product reviewed, please contact us.

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About Bill Cross (bill_c)
FROM: NEW JERSEY, UNITED STATES

Self-proclaimed rivet counter who gleefully builds tanks, planes and has three subs in the stash.

Copyright ©2019 text by Bill Cross [ BILL_C ]. All rights reserved.



Comments

I was not able to get price information on the set. I have seen OH products a variety of places, including eBay. You know, James, I hate it when reviewers make sweeping remarks and don't specify, so I'm glad you asked: The brass is thinner than Griffon model and is on a par with Voyager or Aber. The thickness of Griffon sets also varies, depending on the job of the brass. Their superb FlaK 36 set, for example, has very thick brass for the gun shield. Thin brass is easier to bend, but sometimes too easy, and can get distorted. Breakage is also a problem, especially if you misread directions and bend something the wrong way. The tool brackets look pretty standard, and will bedevil most humans without magnifiers and very small fingers. The nice thing about this set is that Dragon is now releasing a new IV-H and this set is perfect for it. In fact, now that I have the PE, I intend to purchase the kit, which otherwise I might not have. Sick, isn't it?
NOV 29, 2009 - 11:03 AM
I really like that each item is clearly identified on the frets themselves -that seems to be an innovative feature. Nice review, Bill!
NOV 30, 2009 - 02:47 PM
Thanks, Ted, for making this possible. Do you know the price for the set or where it's being sold?
DEC 01, 2009 - 02:50 AM
thanks for the review! PE kits like that are greats - and they are sure to raise ( I hope) some thoughts on improvement in other manufacturers. I mean, having a PE kit like that, that has all the bells a whistles (rods, metal wire and what-not) are far better to the ones that just gives you a PE sheet. Plus, it'll be hard competition in terms of value for money: why should one buy a PE kit from company X where he gets just the sheets, while others give absolutely all that is necessary?
DEC 02, 2009 - 10:32 PM
I want the DML 6300 Ausf H for either christmas or my birthday shortly after. You just sold me this PE Set. I've never seen a more comprehensive detailing set in different media like this. This should sell like crazy !! It's a one-stop shop. Anyone got a solid retail lead for the UK ?
DEC 18, 2009 - 10:24 AM
I see comments that this kit seems geared for the DML kit. I just recieved the Tamiya kit (early H). Will this work? I haven't had many adventures in aftermarket etch parts and don't know kit specifics. Has anyone seen pricing info?
DEC 28, 2009 - 10:55 AM
Since October Voyager has a range of Jumbo packs: Jumbo packs They are surprisingly cheap as well. At JBModel, the early JagdPanther G1 Jumbo pack is 22 euro, while the single etched set is € 22,95. That's a bargain as the Jumbo set even includes the complete barrel.
DEC 28, 2009 - 11:11 AM
I was looking at the voyager jumbo pack for the my Tamiya version. It includes the complete gun assembly. Price at Lucky Model was $37.00 US. I haven't found a price on this etch set yet.
DEC 28, 2009 - 06:52 PM
Thank you for pointing that out, Herbert. It seems Voyager is feeling some pressure now and doing what Eduard has been in aircraft for some time with their "Big Ed" combo packs.
DEC 29, 2009 - 06:48 AM
   

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