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Panzer IV Ausf H (early)

by Ian Robertson


Panzer IV Ausf H


Tamiya's 1/35 scale Panzer IV Ausf H is available online from Squadron.com




The PzKpfw IV Ausf. H was the largest production run of the Panzer IV, with over 3,700 produced during WWII.  This version was introduced in 1943 and shared many characteristics with its predecessor, the Ausf. G. 



My model represents an early PzKpfw IV Ausf. H operating in southern Russia in July 1943 during the Battle of Kursk.



Tamiya's 1/35 Panzer IV Ausf H


The kit is Tamiya’s PzKpfw IV Ausf H (#35209) with the following modifications:

·        The single piece side skirts in the kit were replaced with thinner panels fashioned from Evergreen sheet styrene.  Rivet details on the new skirts were made using a Waldron sub-miniature punch and die set.

·        Friulmodel individual link metal tracks to replace the kit’s vinyl tracks.

·        Dry transfers for the tank’s numbers. 

Building the kit was a snap and took only 6-8 hours (not including painting and weathering, which easily doubled the time involved).  The fit is near perfect and the detail is superb.  Apart from some Mr. Surfacer 500 and subsequent sanding to hide the seam on the main gun barrel and muzzle, very little extra finishing work was required.



Painting and Weathering


I pre-shaded the model with a combination of dark red-brown and black, and then applied the base color of dark yellow (Tamiya XF-60).  Pre-shading served two purposes: (1) it covered the yellowish-tan styrene of the model, making it easier for me to ensure that the XF-60 went on uniformly, and (2) it provided the subtle shadows and accents I was looking for in the finished model. 




These shadows and accents were further enhanced by a series of washes using model master burnt sienna and umber, as well as by post-shading and staining using highly thinned black Polly Scale acrylic.  Tamiya’s red-brown (XF-64) was used for the squiggles on the turret skirts and side skirts.  The exhaust was painted with Model Master burnt iron, followed by an application of “Real Rust” by Aim Products, and finally black chalk pastel applied with a brush.




Once the basic camouflage and weathering had been applied I added “mud” to the lower hull behind the wheels, as well as to the underside of the hull.  The mud consisted of celluclay mixed with white glue, water, and fine sand.  The mixture was tinted brown with acrylic paint and applied to the model by hand and with an old brush.




(Note - in reality, mud may not be appropriate for my particular model because the summer of 1943 in southern Russia was hot and dry.  Then again, maybe a rainstorm one evening muddied things up.) 

Side skirts (schurzen), which offered protection against hollow charge anti-tank rounds, were present on many German panzers during the Battle of Kursk.  However, panels from these skirts frequently dislodged, leaving incomplete protection as I have depicted on my model. 



Tracks from a Dragon T-34 kit were added as extra armor on the front hull and turret.  Squadron’s PzKpfw IV In Action book provided the photographic inspiration for this addition.  I painted the T-34 track a with a mixture of black and brown acrylic, and then treated it to some “Real Rust”.



Fruilmodel Tracks


Friulmodel’s individual metal track links were intimidating when first removed from the package, but they proved very easy to put together.  The pins visible in the photograph were glued to each link with a dab of CA glue and then trimmed flush with a dremmel tool. 



Three hours was needed to assemble the tracks.  Given their ease of assembly and fantastic appearance, price is my only deterrent from using friulmodel tracks all the time.  I painted the tracks in a similar manner as described above, but without the rust stains.



The Base


I glued blocks of styrofoam to a bread board to create gently rolling terrain for my model.  The styrofoam was then coated with celluclay (same tinted mixture as described above).  Track impressions were made by pressing the kit’s vinyl tracks into the wet celluclay.  Sand was sprinkled in this area to enhance the texture.  Artificial grass was then added to the wet celluclay and painted XF-60. 



After painting, but while the celluclay was still spongy, I set the model down on the base and added more celluclay at the base of the tracks to embed them.  Mud was also added to the wheels and in the recesses of individual track links (so much for all that friulmodel detail!).





Images of the completed model were taken outdoors with a SONY digital camera set at its highest picture resolution (2048 x 1536 pixels).  Other camera settings were as follows: 200 ISO film speed (it’s an option on my digital camera), 800-1000th/sec shutter speed, F-stop 8.0, and fixed focus distance of either 20 or 30 cm.



Images were cleaned up using Adobe Photoshop 6.0 for the Macintosh. Specifically, the interface between the base and background were merged using the software’s “blur” tool, and edges in some photographs were sharpened using the “sharpen edges” tool.  Sharpening images in such a way helps to restore some of the clarity lost during image compression.



Additional Images


Click on the thumbnails below to view larger images:

Model, Images and Text Copyright © 2003 by Ian Robertson
Page Created 14 August, 2003
Last Updated 17 March, 2004

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