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. They also need 8 spoke stubs per wheel on the outside rim. There is an inner rim on the wheels as well. The sprocket wheels need to be glued on. Contrary to the Panzer III kits, there is molded suspension detail on the hull.
The comparison photo shows side by side a Vacucast Panzer IVE, the MMS model and the Airfix Panzer IVF. The Vacucast kit is slightly smaller with coarser details and a gunner hatch that is too far from the side. Annoyingly the engine panels do not match on any of the three models.
Here is a link to the Vacucast kit for further comparison.
Overall a very nice kit. It will join my miniature Afrika Korps.