A Brief History

In preparation for Operation Sealion, 42 Panzer Iv Ausf.Ds (and some Pz.IIIs and StuGs IIIs) were converted to Tauchpanzer (“diving tank”) with all openings such as the Commander’s cupola, gun mantlet and machine gun mount covered with rubber sheeting and the turret ring protected by inflatable rubber ring while the exhausts were fitted with non-return valves.
Air was supplied via a flexible 18-meter hose held on the surface by a buoy and they could submerge to a depth of about 15 meters with the maximum underwater speed about 3 mph. With the cancellation of Operation Sealion some were used by the 18th Panzer Regiment during the River Bug crossing in Operation Barbarossa.
In the diving Panzer IV it was rebuilt Pz.Kpfw. IV Ausf D for a planned underwater. All openings were sealed with waterproof fabric, the flaps, the cannon, the MG opening. An additional seal for the turret ring and the window of the driver have been attached from one inflatable rubber hose. The air intakes for the engine and the exhaust were hedged with check valves.

The Kit

Tristar have discontinued their previous kit of the Panzer IV Ausf.D (kit #35015) and replaced it with this kit which has some updated and corrected parts from the first kit and can be built as a standard Ausf.D as well as the Tauchpanzer.
This makes it clear which kit has the updated parts taking any guess work out of knowing what you are buying rather than just added updated parts but leaving the kit number the same. This “new” kit uses the basic parts from kit #35015 with additional Tauch parts as well as numerous updates as mentioned and consists of approx. 850 parts in light beige plastic including 108 for the individual track links. There is also a small etched fret and length of copper cable for the steel tow cable plus the decal and instruction sheets.
Tristar has a totally different approach to how it breaks its kits down, but the end result – if carefully assembled – is a really super-accurate kit with no real need for putty or any gap-filling. Having assembled two of them recently, I must say their fit is impeccable and this kit from dry fitting seems little different. As a result, Tristar can produce in styrene what other manufacturers choose to produce in multimedia.
The kit went together well with no major fitting issues. The details are crisp and clean,and it is very “user friendly”. This was my first Tristar kit. And let me tell you I am hooked.