IntroductionPzKpfw IV Ausf. F2
is a new model by SDV Model
of the Czech Republic, kit number 87159
. It is an injection molded 1/87 kit. PzKpfw IV Ausf. F2
is a recent release, one of two new Pz.Kpfw IV variants.
The Pz.Kpfw IV family is well known so no history will be presented here except to note that, compared to predecessors, the Ausf. F series were factory built with thicker armor, the glacis being 50 mm thick and the side and turret armor increased to 30 mm. Over 460 were built through March 1942, the last 42 receiving a long KwK 40 L/43 7.5cm gun. Those were the Ausf. F2. The KwK 40 L/43 allowed Pz.Kw IV F2s to shoot holes into the Russian T-34. Several F2s were rushed to the Afrika Korps where the British dubbed them "Mark 4 Specials"; Pz.Kw IV F2s were able to shoot holes into the American M3 Grants that were shooting holes through the Panzer III.
SDV Model writes;
The Czech company SDV model® was established in Prague in 1989. It specializes in production of short-run plastic kits of military machinery, trucks and buses in 1:87 scale. Our family-type company operates its own tool shop and press machines. Many other kits that are being sold under other trademarks were actually made by us.
At the time of this review SDV
's catalogue offers 1/87 and 1/120 models in five main categories and three subcategories;
BasicLine 1:87 - 163 civilian buses, trucks, farm equipment and circus vehicles.
MilitaryLine 1:87 - 100 military German and Russian or Warsaw Pact vehicles AFVs and soft skins.
Helicopters 1:87 - two Mi-24 Hind gunships.
Objektů 1:87 - a field fortification
Velikost TT (1:120) - 51 railway rolling stock and military vehicles, and accessories.
Nákladní vagóny 1:87 - a flat car with a tracked vehicle load.
Doplňky 1:87 - 52 sets of decals, paints, and model accessories.
Poslední kusy 1:87 - VT-55A railway wreck recovery vehicle.
While 1/87 military may not be as widely known in the US and UK as other “Braille scales”, 1/87 has been huge since Roco began releasing their MiniTanks back in the early 1960s, especially in Continental Europe. 1/87 is popular for wargaming as well as stand-alone models. It is also popular for dioramas because of the expansive availability of model railroad buildings, figures and scenery; 1/87 is model railroading's HO scale, thus perhaps the most prolific scale in the world. Huge dioramas are possible.
Let's look at this new offering.
In the box
When I first encountered SDV Model kits, I expected this model would be more like traditional injection or resin 1/87 kits - a few parts of combined major component assemblies. Surprise! It is a traditional kit consisting of over 75 pieces on 10 sprues. (Although some parts are the only piece on some sprues.)
Molding is good but does suffer some flash. No visible sink marks or ejector marks mar the parts. Minimal mold seam lines. Even the sprue attachment points are acceptably small. This is good because many of the pieces are small and fine.
Surface detail is both raised and recessed.
It is interesting how SDV Models engineered some parts. Instead of separate road wheels and track, the running gear is molded as a combination wheel set within the track loop, with the exterior wheel halves molded separately. This affords much greater detail and ease of painting. Otherwise the model looks conventional for assembly: top & bottom hull parts with fender ends; front and rear hull plates; engine deck plate; running gear; multi-piece turret with multi-piece gun, cupola, side hatches and storage bin; individual headlamps; pioneer and maintenance tools.
It is interesting how SDV Models engineered some parts.
Instead of separate road wheels and track, the running gear is molded with the suspension bogies with half wheels within the track loop, and the exterior wheel halves molded separately. This affords much greater detail and ease of painting. The tracks have sag along the upper run.
SDV Model does not skimp on less than obvious detail; the underside of the hull is covered with rivets, plates, and access panels. The idler mounts are individual parts, as is the rear hull plate; some detail is molded on yet the exhaust muffler and a tool box are separate parts.
The upper hull details are mainly molded on although the glacis is separate. Each of the hatches are molded on, all except the left side engine cover. The side intake louvers are separately molded, too. Each of the fenders have diamond plate, although it is big for the scale.
One set of things SDV did not mold are the lift hooks on the hull and turret. They also did not include a machine gun barrel for the hull, although that will be simple for the modeler to fashion.
The KwK 40 L/43 7.5cm cannon and mantel are a three-part assembly: one-piece barrel and muzzle, mantel and turret front. The muzzle is molded open.
Aside from the gun the turret is also a multi-part assembly: base; turret; side hatches; commander cupola; rear storage bin. SDV molded ports and bolt detail on the turret, too.
Most of the tools and fittings are separate pieces: pioneer and track tools; spare road wheels; fire extingisher; cleaning rod; Notek Tarnscheinwerfer
(Blackout Headlamp) and headlamps; spare tracks; antenna trough; tow hooks. Curiously, while they made the jacking block, SDV did not include the jack.
These parts are finely cast. However, most of those parts suffer flash or seam lines. Whether it will be easy to clean off the small parts remains to be seen.
SDV Model put a great deal of detail into this recent effort. This 1/87 model is challenging the quality of the larger braille scale models of recent years.
Instructions and decals
SDV Model produces good instructions. They are sharp black-and-white and grayscale illustrations. Parts breakdown are illustrated. Only two languages are used, Czeck and German.
A fine decal sheet and a small supplimental sheet are provided. Four units are represented:
1. Deutsche Afrikakorps
2. 31st Panzer Regiment, 5th Panzer Division
3. 7th Panzer Division Gespensterdivision
4. Black rectangle with yellow "X"
Several styles of tactical numbers allow the modeler to create thousands of vehicle numbers.
This decals sheet has individual carrier film segments for each marking. Printing is excellent.
SDV Model's instructions and decals are are strong suite of this model.
ConclusionPzKpfw IV Ausf. F2
by SDV Model
is a serious contender for 1/87 models. The amount of surface detail is impressive. It may not be comprehensive yet there is a lot of it. The decal sheet is impressive.
SDV Model's engineering is impressive as it simplifies the tracks and road wheels. The model is modular to simplify creating a kit of the PzKpfw IV Ausf. F1.
Most parts are finely cast. However, many parts suffer flash or seam lines. Whether it will be easy to clean off the small parts remains to be seen.
SDV Model has kitted a fine and affordable 1/87 Panzer IV. The quality of this kit makes me eagerly await their next new release, whatever that may be. I recommend this model.
Please remember to tell SDV Model and retailers that you saw this model here - on