German Brückenleger IVb
Trumpeter Kit No. 00390
1:35th Scale

Review by Terry Ashley


Trumpeter continue to release variants of the Panzer IV family and following the two Munitionsschlepper D/E and F (kits #00362, #00363) and the Dicker Max (kit #00348) comes this extensive kit of the Brückenleger IVb “Bridgelayer” of which 20 were built on the Ausf.D chassis.

The Kit:

This kit includes numerous parts from the previous Ausf.D based kits (#00362 and #00348) with a new upper hull and the large bridge and laying mechanism for a total of 488 parts in light grey plastic and a further 256 individual track links also in the light grey plastic as well as set of full length vinyl tracks. Some of the parts from the previous kits are not used and there are five frets of etched parts that provide the full fenders if you prefer these. Added to this are 4 small springs, 6 small brass pins a long length of twine and a small decal sheet plus a 28 page instruction sheet for quite a box full.

Extra Bits

The standard of moulding is similar to the previous kits with fairly well defined details on most parts but again not quite up the standards set by Dragon and Tristar on their recent Panzer IV Ausf.D kits in some areas but will still build in to a nice model.

There is also some additional fine flash about the place on some of the older parts and some substantial pin marks to contend with and this sees a bit more than usual cleanup required on the parts. Also some of the mating surfaces needed attention to remove small imperfections to ensure an even fit and test fitting of all parts before gluing would be encouraged.

A number of parts give you a choice of mediums with the tracks in vinyl and individual link and the full length fenders in plastic of multi-part etched metal as well as parts for the idler wheels and smaller detail items as etched parts.

Dimensionally the kit measures up well against the 1:35 plans in the Panzer Tracks book No.4 (Panzer IV) in overall dimensions but there are minor size issues with things like some hatches, visor covers and the muffler width which we will look at as we go along.

Lower Hull:

The lower hull tub is the same from the previous kits with the bottom, sides and front plate in one piece with separate rear panels with the detail on the bottom plate.

Detail on the sides includes the intricate detail under the final drive housing again similar to Dragon but with all the detail moulded on and no separate parts included. The final drive housing is very basic in detail having the forward armoured cover moulded in place and with separate small bolts heads located on sprue B which you cut off and add as before.

The instructions tell you to add 10 bolts around the armoured cover but this is for the Ausf.E and you should only add 6 bolts for the Ausf.D with the return roller mountings and idler mounting braces also included on the hull sides with the correct style for the Ausf.D.

At the back there is the lower panel which has the contoured fillet included which has the contours almost right but should have the inner contour smoothed out a little which is easy enough to do.

The rear hull panel is simple in design with the idler mountings in just three but they still look the part and are not lacking in detail despite the fewer parts.

Added to the rear panel is the large muffler with the small exhaust pipe as with the normal Panzer IV arrangement. You actually get two mufflers in this kit, the one from the previous kits and a new one in the same two halves (parts F39, F40) so make sure you use the correct parts for this kit. Unfortunately this is still about 3mm too narrow when compared to the Panzer Tracts plans and you don’t get the small axillary muffler which is correct as there is no turret.

The join fillet between the lower rear panel and the upper section of the superstructure is available as a single plastic part (B41) or two etched parts (A20 and A24) for a choice but this step is missing from the instructions for some reason with the parts being the same as for the Munitionsschlepper kits.

The fit of the rear panels was very good without any trimming or filler required.

On the lower front plate there is a choice of large towing shackles or larger bridge brackets that require you to open up locating holes in the hull front plate depending on the version but the larger square brackets appear on most photos of the Brückenleger I have seen.


Also included in this kit is the fairly complete forward compartment with a floor section, nicely detailed gear box as well as the transmission and brake assemblies, full driver’s controls of foot pedals and steering levers as well as the instrument panel and radios mounted above the gearbox. The crew seats are also included along with fittings on the inside of the front plate and on the sidewalls for a well fitted out compartment that would only need some finer details to finish off nicely.

Suspension/Running Gear:

The drive sprockets are in the conventional two parts with excellent detail on both sides of both sprockets disks and detail wise there is not much between this and the other kits.

The road wheels are moulded with the rubber section included and with the correct Ausf.D style hub cap as a separate part with the wheel disc detail being perfectly acceptable but there is no manufacturer embossing on the sidewall. Also the mould seam is along the front edge of the tyre and you will need to shave this off for a more rounded tyre shoulder with the return rollers also being quite basic and the front edge of the tyre section needed the mould seam shaved off.

At the back the two part idler wheel with a separate etched ring to represent the outer rim lip but unfortunately this is designed to fit on the outer edge of the wheel and not inside the outer rim as it should be. The etched part also does not include the spokes and so the idler spokes lack the lip but it is still a reasonable representation of the Ausf.D idler wheel.

The bogie units are again broken down in the same manner as both the initial Dragon and Tristar bogies with the assembly the same apart from the small arms (parts A1/A2 and A20/A21) joined before adding to the unit with the bogies able to be articulated as with the other kits.

The only real issue here is the bogie mounting bolts are still way undersized but have the correct spacing for the Ausf.D bogies with the assembled bogies fitting easily to the hull mounting points. The bogie bump stops are again the correct style for the Ausf.D and simply fit in place without any problems.


The kit provides a set of full length vinyl track 36cm track which is quite nicely moulded with open guide horns of individual plastic 36cm track also with open guide horns.

The vinyl track has nice details but there is a bit of vinyl flash that is not easy to remove while the plastic track just needs the three sprue attachment scars cleaned up before assembly.

The vinyl tracks will glue together using normal plastic cement while the individual links are designed to be glued together and it’s easiest to glue a length together and wait for the glue to “go off” before adding it around the drive sprocket or idler or to add the track sag.

Upper Hull/Superstructure:

The front glacis plate is a separate part with separate brake access hatches and central transmission inspection hatch with the brake access hatches being fairly basic in detail as are the hinges and the keyholes should be more rectangular in shape instead of the square holes provided.

The transmission inspection hatch has the corners too square but it’s difficult to remedy as the glacis cut-out will also require the corners rounded more than they are and the flush screws around the hatch are more just holes without any real detail.

Added to the back of the glacis is the small panel with moulded on flush screws to take the superstructure but to fit both the glacis and panel will require the mating edges smoothed out for a better fit.

The large superstructure is in one piece with separate driver’s plate and rear panel with cut-outs for the top crew hatches, turret ring, side engine intake louvers, and the engine deck access doors which are separate parts.

The new upper hull also has a new stepped front driver’s plate with the armoured driver’s visors moulded in place and these look a little “flat” as a consequence with the upper rain guard provided as a plastic or etched part to use as you wish.

The pistol port cover has the correct offset conical contour but also a flat edge which is not usually seen while the rectangular machine gun fairing is missing the small indent on the right bottom side which is included on the Dragon and Tristar parts and also note the MG34 is not fitted.

The two forward hull side visors are separate parts but are about 1mm too short with the vision slit mounted centrally instead of towards to bottom of the visor as it should. This could be remedied along with the height by gluing a 1mm plastic strip along the top of the visor and when blended into the visor would give you the correct height as well as the offset vision slit, all too easy.

The two top crew hatches have separate signal port covers but the corners of the hatches are a little square and you could round this slightly for a more appropriate appearance. The keyhole is again square and it should be rectangular as with the Tristar hatches and there are four large pin marks on the inside if you were going to show these open?

The turret ring opening is covered by wooden panels that have nice wood grain effect included and this fits neatly in place without any problems with a notch at the front of the turret cut-out to ensure it lines up correctly.

The side engine intake grills are provided as two part plastic parts moulded a little thick but are adequate although you may want to thin the fillets somewhat as well as multi-part etched intake covers.

The full length plastic fenders have nice tread plate on the top but no detail on the undersides and include the front and rear extensions with holes for the separate tools as well as the small springs to add for good detail.

If you want to go the whole etched bit the full fenders are also provided with frames for the fenders and separate tread plate sections with multi-part etched parts for the front and back fender extensions and small etched hinges and the actual small springs for the fenders.

All the tools have moulded on tool clips which again seem a bit odd given the amount of etched parts included and the crew boarding step is provided in plastic or etched parts A21, A22 with wire for the step. The track tool is also included as etched part A7 but again the instructions don’t show either of these etched parts with just the plastic step part G6 being shown. If you have the Munitionsschlepper kit instructions these show the assembly of these parts and it must have been an oversight on the revised plans for this kit?

At the back the engine access doors are separate parts but the left hand door is about 1mm too short compared to the Panzer Tracts plans and the hatches in the Dragon and Tristar kits while the cooling filler cover is in the correct position and the doors have the correct rectangular lock fittings.

Bridge and supports:

All these parts are new and have nice details but there is still some minor flash to be removed here and there as well as nice surface detail most notably the wood grain effect on the wooden bridge sections which is on both sides of the planks with the textured varied so it doesn’t all look the same.
Some of the wood grain may seem a little overdone but a quick sanding will reduce this and a coat of paint and weathering will reduce the effect in any case and the bridge section should look good after assembly.

All the main bridge support girders are in two halves with separate inner bulkheads for good definition but there are quite a few pin marks on the inside of the girders that you may want to remove as they could be seen after assembly.

You should also take note as each of the three bridge sections are slightly different and make sure you don’t mix these up either during assembly or after as the two end sections A and C look very similar.

The long hull bridge support beams are also in two halves without any visible pin marks to mar the many rivets and these supports fit into smaller brackets attached to the hull top as well as a large support extension out the back of the hull.

The bridge deployment arms structure is in multi-parts and care will be needed during assembly to ensure you fit everything together as per the instruction sequences as there are a number of movable pivot points that will allow the bridge to be fully stowed or being deployed in a diorama setting.

At the rear corners are the two large winch assemblies that use the twine included for the steel cable fitted to the bridge for deployment but the instruction diagram showing the fitting of the cable is not the clearest and careful study and a bit of trial fitting may be needed to get the correct layout.


A small decal sheet is included with markings for one Brückenleger in overall Panzer Grey finish with white balkenkreuz and unit markings although no unit info is given.


These are the usual exploded view drawings which are easy enough to follow but of course you should study each sequence carefully before cutting or gluing as you would with any kit.


As with the Munitionsschlepper kit this is overall an excellent kit of this unusual but very interesting vehicle with some excellent details thanks to the etched parts included and while the Panzer IV hull and running gear details are not quite up to the standards of the other kits it will still build into a nice kit with a bit og TLC and the minor dimentional again doe’t seem to be such of an issue on the Brückenleger as it would be on a standard gun tank.

The ability to show the model in the loaded or deployed mode adds to the diorama potential and this kit should be very welcomed by German armour fans

Highly recommended 8/10 despite the small dimensional issues due to the subject.

The Sprues:

Click on thumbnails for larger view

Detail Images
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Panzer Tracts No.4
Panzerkampfwagen IV

Typical Panzer Tracts book with excellent technical descriptions and detailed coverage of the Panzer IV.


Achtung Panzer No.3
Panzer IV

Excellent detail coverage of the Panzer IV with the usual detail photos and drawings of all versions of the Panzer IV.

Trumpeter Thanks to Trumpeter for the review kit.
Trumpeter is distributed in Australia by J.B.Wholesalers

Page created July 9, 2007