Over the years, I have accumulated a fair number of Panzer IV tanks. Mostly from Battlefront, but with the release of PSC tanks I added another company of tanks. Then I got to thinking… wouldn’t it be cool to see how other manufacturers stack up against Battlefront. In this post we will look at the Battlefront Panzer IV H with metal schurzen, Battlefront Panzer IV H with plastic schurzen, Battlefront Panzer IV J, Plastic Solider Company Panzer IV H, Peter Pig Panzer IV H, Quality Castings Panzer IV H, and the Old Glory Panzer IV H.
Battlefront Panzer IV H with metal schurzen and zimmerit
Battlefront’s Panzer IV H with the optional metal schurzen predates the change several years ago to plastic schurzen. The hull is cast resin with the gun, cupola, tracks, and schurzen all metal. As with most Battlefront models there is a good amount of detail, but some of the tools on the model are not as finely detailed. It seems to be associated with the metal track component and probably one of the reasons Battlefront has gone to plastic tracks as some of the metal products lose their crisp detail as the mold ages. The same issue applies to the rear fenders attached to the track component. They are slight rounded. I have to apologize for the paint job. I was too lazy to strip the old paint scheme and airbrushed over it. The older paint scheme was applied when I was just getting into the hobby and applied a bit too thick which removed much of the detail from the zimmerit. The lower part of the turret that sits in the hull was also too long and had to be sanded down a bit to make it look right. The model is about 1 mm less wide than the Battlefront Panzer IV H model that replaced it with plastic schurzen. Overall, I would give the model an average rating based on the quality issue with respect to the detail on the metal track component.
Anyone who has ever put one of these models together has cursed the plastic schurzen. The hanger and brackets that attach to the hull are all separate plastic pieces. Those little brackets that hold the hanger have to be glued on individually. It is a really pain in the ass. Obviously, if done correctly, it provides a very well detailed model. It just so happened that this box was one of my first 15mm tanks ever and personally I had a difficult time assembling them. Given nearly 7 years experience with 15mm models now, it would have been an entirely different experience. However, it is a very common comment on just what a pain it is to assemble them.
The hull and turret of the model are resin. The gun, tracks, fender, and cupola are made from metal. The schurzen and the hanger components are plastic. The detail of the model is an improvement over the older Panzer IV model from Battlefront. This model does have the zimmerit paste which many models lack. Overall I am pretty pleased with this model except for the ordeal of installing the plastic schruzen and the rear fenders that pop off with any impact.
I threw this model into this review because I think it is the pinnacle of Battlefront quality. The tank hull and turret are resin with the remainder of the tank in plastic. It is a beautiful model with very fine detail. The schurzen are suppose to represent wire mesh instead of the older solid schurzen. A good wash will fill in the spaces in the mesh and give the model depth to the eye. I would assume the Germans did this for two reasons… reduce weight and material shortages. It could probably be replaced relatively easy too. Currently, they Panzer IV J is only available in the box set of 5. My only complaint is the lack of stowage to customize the model.
The PSC model kit allows you to assemble a number of variations of the Panzer IV including the F1, F2, G and H. As with all PSC tanks there is a significant amount of assembly required to complete the model. One either like to assemble or hates it. Personally, I didn’t mind the assembly and managed to assemble 10 models relatively easily. The shurzen are added during the assembly and can be cut in a number of configurations. During the assembly, I added BBs in the hull to give the model a bit more heft. The PSC model is comparable in detail to Battlefront models. The big difference is that the tools on the PSC are significantly smaller than the BF version. I believe BF does this in order to accentuate the tool on the model. Something I don’t mind either. The barrel on the Panzer IV model is good compared to that on the StuG which I did not like. As with most PSC figures, I did not like them and added BF figures as the crew. One of the complaints on the accuracy of the model is the commanders hatch is suppose to be one piece in the late war Panzer IV. The PSC version is a two piece hatch as earlier models were designed. Honestly, I am not too worried about it, but for some it might be important. Overall, this model is a top choice and probably comes out ahead because of the cost. Generally, the model comes in a box of five, but can be purchased individually on a sprue.
The Peter Pig model is all metal and assembly is very similar to Battlefront models with just a few parts. The Peter Pig Panzer IV comes in three flavors… base model, battle hardened with extra stowage, and a model with camouflage. This model is the standard model. I also have the model with camouflage, but did not get a chance to complete it for this review. Detail on this model is superior to the current Battlefront Panzer IV H model. The tools, lines, and equipment on the tank are far more crisp. Peter Pig does not have an option for a model with zimmerit. My only complaint on the model is that the turret sits in a hole in the center of the model and is prone to falling off if knocked around. I would recommend finding something to secure the turret or just handle it carefully when you pick it up.
This Panzer IV is an all metal model with minimal assembly. Quality castings models can be hit or miss. I wasn’t very impressed with this model. The turret was missing the cupola, the schurzen had the front edge only partially formed (cut off the front to remove it), there are a significant amount of mold lines that are hard to remove, and the details on the model seem to be not as sharp (perhaps the mold is getting old). Maybe I was unlucky on this model, but my impression is that this model is not worth the investment given the available choices. Another issue with the model is that is it missing the filter on the right side of the hull that was unique with the Panzer IV H and later. It is quite possible that some of the early models didn’t have the filter. However, one must not the absence of zimmerit on the tank which was indicative of earlier Panzer IVs. The last issue I had was that the hole where the turret spindle sits into the hull was full of metal forcing me to drill it out. This reinforces my thought that the mold is going bad for this Panzer IV model.
Old Glory tanks usually come in bags of three. The model is again all metal with a minimum amount of assembly for those who dislike the PSC Panzer IV. The model didn’t have any outstanding defects like the Quality Castings model. It required some cleanup and there is a roughness about the schurzen. The detail level on the tank is good, but not near the level on the PSC, BF, or Peter Pig model. The turret sits into the hull and similar to the Peter Pig model does not stay put if you knock it over. The Old Glory model suffers from the same missing filter issue as the Quality Castings model. The model also does not have zimmerit. Overall, this model is average in detail, but the price point at $5 per model is very acceptable.
A couple folks asked for the measurements of the different models. I broke out the calipers and measured length, width, width with schurzen, and height to right above the turret hatch. Below are the findings. It might be surprising to some!
Cost breakdown is based on best available cost I can find as of April 2013. The Battlefront Panzer IV with metal schurzen is out of print, but you can special order the metal schurzen.
|Manufacturer||Zimmerit||Package Cost||Unit Cost $ USD|
|Battlefront Panzer IV H w/ metal schurzen||Yes||Out of Print||11.25|
|Battlefront Panzer IV H w/ plastic schurzen||Yes||52.2||10.44|
|Battlefront Panzer IV J||No||52.2||10.44|
|Plastic Solider Company||No||25.99||5.20|
Update (3 August, 2013)
In July I completed a second variation of the Peter Pig Panzer IV. Here are a few shots…