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Monday, March 18, 2013

Bolt Action - Review: Bandai Panzer IV H

In a previous post I reviewed 1/48 scale T-34/76s and SU-85 kit from Bandai, which I got in a crazy awesome deal.  I absolutely loved those models and could not wait to tear into the other kits I scored.  Looking through the rest of the stack of models I decided to start with a Panzer IV H, because it will get a lot of table time.  Like the T-34s and SU-85 this model had both internal and external pieces.  I chose not to assemble the internal parts to save time and prevent headaches. 

I am pleased with how this tank turned out, especially since it only cost me about $6.  However, this kit was a pain in the rear to build.  Every time I build a Russian tank and then follow it up with a German tank, it becomes clearly evident why the Germans lost the war.   The Russians made things simple, while the Germans made things complicated.  If the Russians built a medium tank in 5 steps that Germans built one using 50.  It took me longer to assemble this Panzer IV than it did to assemble all four of the Russian tanks I built the other day.  During assembly, I glued parts to my fingers, lost parts on the floor, broke parts, and miss glued parts.
The mounts for the schurtzen where an absolute nightmare and more work than this war gamer could handle,  I finally gave up and just glued what I could to the tank to make it work.  Half the mounts I lost, broke or glued to my fingers.  Every single little tool and compartment on this model was a separate piece.  This kit is a prime example of why I hate building model kits and generally avoid 20mm gaming.  However now that it is built, it is a nice tank, even if I made obvious mistakes.

Unlike the small parts, the major parts were easy to assemble and fit together very well.  Most my problems were with thin and small parts.  One thing I am worried about is how the schurtzen will hold up over time with use.  The mounts are thin and I broke a lot of them during assembly.  I just hope they don’t fall off in the next few months after I send the tank crashing around my gaming table. 

The kit also came with a full crew, but I opted not to use them.  I like the Panzer IV all buttoned up and didn't want to deal with crew.   The kit also had decals; but like the ones that came with the Russian tanks these were old and since the Russian decals disintegrated, I didn’t even attempt it with these.  

Even though I like the final product I am going to give this Panzer IV kit a lower rating.  It may be a fantastic model kit that a patient modeler might love, but as a war gamer it was not an enjoyable assembly process.  I give it 6 out of 10 fiddly schurtzen brackets.
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“Craig Baxter is the Director of the WWPD Northern Research center in Anchorage, AK. When he’s not contributing to he is busy blogging, painting, modeling and rolling dice. You can find more of his work and articles”


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