Kit Preview : 1/76 MMS Panzer IV D
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. The sprocket wheels need to be glued on. Contrary to the Panzer III kits, there is molded suspension detail on the hull. The roadwheels are of a type appropriate for the E-G versions. The earleir models had a flat armored hub without notches for individual bolts.
The comparison photo shows side by side the MMS D type, Milicast D type and MMS E type. The Milicast model is clearly too small. The E model has sunken front access hull panels and a different turret.
All MMS Panzer IV's seem to have a rear deck that is a bit too long giving them oversize engine access panels.
Overall a very nice kit.