Panzer IV Ausf.D in 1/72...
...building the small scale Dragon kit
I bought this one, a recently released small scale model from Dragon Models and it features something a bit different to their earlier Pz IV kits. The tracks are moulded in a flexible material, and it includes both the road wheels and the return rollers all moulded together. Locating holes on the backs of all the return rollers and road wheels fit onto the suspension arms. The drive sprocket and rear idler wheels fit to the hull sides, and the track units are designed to slip round them. They are quite a tight fit and I did have one of the rear idlers break off. The solution was to drill (using a simple hand pin-chuck) holes in both the idler and the broken location pin and insert a length of brass rod which reinforced the joint. Fixed with super glue that did just the job and the tracks then fitted alright.
The rest of the kit is quite straightforward and fit of parts was good. It is simplified, with detailing moulded onto the track guards and only lights and one toolbox to fit in place. The short barrelled main gun also has the aerial deflector bar moulded in one piece and it works well.
With the stepped front plate and the one piece side hatches on the turret it captures the detail of the Ausf.D nicely enough.
It seems to me that Dragon have been taking notice of other releases in the marketplace, as the build has been simplified compared to previous kits in their series in a similar way to both Trumpeter and Italeri in recent years. It appears that the market for simpler builds, attractive to many wargamers who want multiples of a particular vehicle and want to get them made and painted in quick time so they can be got into use on the gaming table. I know some modellers still prefer for details like tool stowage to be separate parts, but the simpler style of kit seems to be attracting a wider audience.