Kit Preview : 1/76 MMS Panzer IV E
About the manufacturer
MMS is the leading 1/76 white metal model brand. The quality of casting and level of detail are comparable to traditional plastic kits, albeit without etched metal detailing. Smaller details such as mirrors are often omitted , and the running gear of tracked vehicles is usually a simplified one piece casting where the guide teeth are backed by a solid metal strengthening strip.
Due to the tight packaging in unprotected plastic bags, parts often come bent or one might say, with pre-built battle damage. Care must be taken to straighten things out lest parts be broken. Most MMS models I have seen are accurate, the only exception being the Shermans which have too short tracks, too much ground clearance and a too short transmission cover.
About the vehicle
The Panzer IV E had thicker armor than the D model and a redesigned turret rear and cupola. 223 were produced between September 1940 and April 1941. They were used on the Eastern Front and in North Africa.
The Wikipedia entry on the Panzer IV is a good place to start if you want to learn more.
About the kit
This is a typical MMS tank kit. The track/wheel assembly is one piece with the guide teeth backed by a continuous strip of metal. I find this to be acceptable as it is hardly seen behind a dark wash. The idler wheels are molded solid and will need drilling out. Contrary to the Panzer III kits, there is molded suspension detail on the hull. If you are reading this review you certainly know about the Airfix kit and are wnodering hosw this model compares. The MMS hull is more detailed and has the same size. It comes without the armored smake candle box and has the later engine deck grilles so is really only appropriate for the F2 model. The antenna gutter is slightly too small and lacks the mountings. I find it best treplaced by plastic strip as the metal one is really in too soft a metal to keep straight. The front towing eyes need to be drilled out. The turret is more accurate as it has rear pistol ports and rain gutters over the side doors. It has the small hook on the sides but lack the larger L-shaped thingies just ahead of the doors.
Overall a very nice kit. It will join my miniature Afrika Korps.