Background

The Panzer Ausf. H, began production in April 1943 and received the designation Sd. Kfz. 161/2. This was the ninth variant of the Panzerkampfwagen IV tank family (9 Serie BW). This medium tank received a designation of Sd.Kfz.161/2. Production took place until July of 1944 and Ausf H reached the largest production figures of any Panzerkampfwagen IV model with 3774 produced by Krupp-Gruson AG in Magdeburg, Vomag AG in Plauen and Nibelungenwerke AG in St.Valentin. The last company produced the most of Ausf H tanks until it switched production to the next and final variant Ausf J. Chassis numbers for Ausf H were 84401 to approx.89540.

n December of 1942, Krupp was ordered to redesign future Ausf H model to have sloped front and side armor. The project was cancelled in February of 1943 due to increase in weight to 28tons that required additional modifications and instead Ausf H based on original hull was to be produced. New Ausf H was basically a late model Ausf G with six-speed Zahnradfabrik ZF SSG76 transmission. All Ausf H were armed with 75mm KwK 40 L/48 gun and two MG 34 machine guns with 87 75mm and 3150 7.92mm rounds. The gun sight was T.Z.F.5f. The crew of five consisting of commander, gunner, loader, radio-operator and driver operated the vehicle. Radio equipment was made up of Fu 2 and Fu 5 as well as intercom. The power plant was 12-cylinder water-cooled Maybach HL 120 TRM gasoline engine producing 265hp at 2600rpm. The during the production in June of 1943, the front armor was increased from 50mm with additional 30mm plate to basic 80mm on the front hull and superstructure. The weight of Ausf H was 25 tons, while that of Ausf G was 23.6 tons. Maximum road speed was 38km/h, while average road speed was 25km/h. Further modifications, included deletion of side superstructure visor ports in June of 1943, followed by application of Zimmerit paste starting in September of 1943 and modifications to the suspension (idler and return rollers) in September-November of 1943. Also modified were air filters and introduced were new commander’s cupola and anti-aircraft MG 34 cupola mount (Fliegerbeschussgerat). Vehicles were also fitted with side armor skirts (both hull – 5mm and turret – 8mm) – Schurzen. In addition to new modifications, numerous changes made to Ausf G were also applied to Ausf H. As in any other case, older parts were also used in repairs and rebuilds creating non-standard vehicles.

Panzerkampfwagen IV Ausf H tanks were issued to Panzer Regiments in Panzer Divisions and were used in that role to the end of the war. On June 6th of 1944, majority of Panzerkampfwagen IV tanks present in France were Ausf H.

The Kit

Being a lower priced kit this one is good value for money for the entry level or casual modeler. It doesn’t have the same level of detail as the newer Dragon offerings but at half the price . This is basically a copy of the older Tamiya Pz.Kpfw.IV kit ( not to be confused with their newer Ausf.H and Ausf.J kits ), right down to the tub with the set-up to take a motor. This kit is great for the beginner,this is why I chose to build it in 1994. This was the first time I applied Zimmerit. It was a real challenge,applying it ,taking it off,reapplying it,etc. I was using all sorts of mediums,including spackle. I finally used Automotive Enamel Red Spot Putty. By God It worked. As I recalled I used Tamiya Acryclics. I decided to show one of my first armour kits that I built. One Must Never Give Up.