1⁄35Panzer IV D
Dragon Panzer IV Ausf.D
stage 1Stage one of the instructions begins with the assembly of the drive sprockets and idlers. The drive sprockets themselves are made up of 7 parts each, that is, if you take the easy option! Dragon offers you the option of actually using a pre-drilled sprocket face, with separately moulded bolts! An extremely useful option for maintenance dioramas, where the sprocket can be shown partially dis-assembled. Since I wanted to display the finished vehicle fully assembled, and retain what little sanity I have, I decided to use the sprocket with the moulded on bolt detail! There is any tiny amount of play when joining the two halves of the sprocket, so be careful that the teeth of the two halves are perfectly aligned or it could cause problems later when it’s time to install the tracks! With the construction of the idlers, we are again offered a choice, this time, whether or not to use the photo-etched ‘faces’ which sandwich the styrene halves of the idler. I chose to use them, and again, you must be careful when cementing them into position, since both plates are different, one having a flat edge on the central locating hole. The next job was to build each of the 8 leaf-suspension bogeys. Each of these is made of 18 parts, and so it’s no small job. Apparently they are built in a similar way to the originals, in order that they function the same. I found that the trick to constructing them is to build them up to the point of putting part A10 into place and then to embed the rest into a blob of blutack before placing A10 into place, and then carefully adding a tiny amount of liquid styrene cement around it’s border. You must be careful not to overdo it, so that the leaf suspension remains free to move. In this way they do indeed function in much the same way as the originals! The road wheels can be assembled at this point, and the road wheel tyres can either be left on or off for ease of painting later on. Be warned though, that the fit is tight, and indeed they can split when putting them onto the road wheels, so if you are going to paint them separately, make sure there is no paint on the inside or even this small thickness can lead to them splitting later! The wheel hubs fitted to the D were of the early type, which are represented by parts A31, although many photographs show a mixture of the later armoured type, which are included in the kit too, so you can correctly use a mixture of the two types, which is what I did. Stage 1 ends with the construction of the lower hull rear plate, no major problems to look out for here, just make sure you insert parts D28 into the idler housings before fitting them, something I had to go back and do later! Dragon provide small etched chains for both the filler cap and the towing pin, but these look a bit ‘flat’, and so I replaced both with some real chain from the spares box.
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