15mm Historical Gaming

15mm Historical Gaming in South Eastern Wisconsin

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Battlefront's new plastic Mark IV's!

We're taking a look at a part of Battlefront's new plastic range today, GBX79, the plastic Panzer IV H platoon. I've always loved the Panzer IV. Everyone knows and loves the big cats, but my heart has always belonged to this little workhorse.

So, right off the bat I noticed something incredibly wrong. Some joker forgot to put one of the three golden panzers in my box. No worries though, I'm sure Battlefront will reach out to us shortly and do the right thing.

No luck... that's okay, I'll bet those Golden Panzers make the dice roll terrible.
Let's talk price. 45 USD for a platoon of 5 tanks is pretty reasonable in my mind. Are there cheaper models out there? Yes, but as is usually the case, they're cheaper for a reason.

If you haven't heard yet, there's an issue with the schurzen. Namely, there are only 5 panels, instead of the proper 6. This absolutely breaks my heart, because Battlefront did a couple of other things very well when it came to the schurzen. Battlefront has discussed this, and is offering to replace the inaccurate schurzen with proper sprues from the older model.

First on the list of things done right is the built in support tabs. It's become fairly common knowledge for our local German Armor players that a bit of sprue should be placed behind the bottom of the old schurzen, to support it against the rest of the tank. As my tanks are frequently part of the Battle Badger Lend Lease program when we're running Tank Ace Campaigns for local stores, I can't tell you how many times I had to re-attach cracked schurzen before I began doing this with all of my Mark IV's. With this new design, this extra step is no longer necessary, and players no longer need to be so incredibly particular about where and how they pick up their panzers.

These bad boys are a welcome addition to the schurzen design.
Pro #2 is the new schurzen mounting design. Gone are those fiddly little bits that were such a nuisance to remove from the sprue whole. In their place are these nice little tabs molded directly onto the hull itself. These mate with the divots in the top of the schurzen rail, which removes alot of what was a sort of guess work in the past.

The top of the hull, with it's new molded schurzen mounting tabs.
A close up look at the divots on the schurzen rail that play host to the new moulded mounting tabs on the hull itself.
Last on the schurzen list is the new turret schurzen design. I'm a fan of this design as it will allow for a couple new 'weathered' looks by removing a few panels from the turret. The hollow between the schurzen and the turret itself will make painting a bit easier as well.

A look at the new turret and it's schurzen design.
While I appreciate the changes and additions made to the schurzen design, I would probably lose sleep over having the wrong number of schurzen panels on my Mark IV's. So, right after I got my box, I shot an email off to Battlefront asking for my replacement schurzen. A helpful fellow named Andrew replied the next day, and I'm expecting my schurzen any day now. So, should you use the new schurzen, or replace it with the old ones? Well, it depends. If you're the kind of geek who twitches about stuff like this (like me) and you don't mind the little extra effort, Battlefront has made it very easy to make the switch. However, if the number of panels doesn't bother you, there is a lot of benefit to be had with the new design.

The real winner for me with this new kit is the separation of the tracks from the fender. This makes painting so much easier. In fact, if you're feeling really lazy, or you happen to have a very large amount of tracks to get through, you can prime the tracks the proper road wheel/hull color, then when dry, place the track road wheels face down on the table, and rattle can the tracks themselves. Now all that's left is coming back and hitting the edges and inside of the track with a bit of paint.

A look at the tracks.
My overall opinion of the kit is positive. The lower price, fender-less tracks, turret schurzen changes, and molded schurzen hull mounts make this kit an improvement over its predecessor. So long as I can get the proper number of schurzen panels easily this kit is certainly worth its price.


  1. You're going to show us the painting process with these as well, yeah?

  2. Right after I get through this pile of 29th Infantry for the Adepticon display...