Pz.Kpfw. 38(t) Ausf. E/F - 2-in-1
|Stock Number and Description||Dragon Models Limited 1/35 Scale ‘39-‘45 Series Kit No. 6434; Pz.Kpfw. 38(t) Ausf. E/F - 2-in-1 Smart Kit|
|Media and Contents:||704 parts (360 in grey styrene, 216 “Magic Track” links, 118 etched brass, 9 clear styrene, 1 length of twisted steel wire)|
|Price:||Estimated retail price US$42-45.00|
|Review Type:||First Look|
|Advantages:||Options for either early (Ausf. E) or late (Ausf. F) versions of this popular tank; fairly complete interior provided to include engine|
|Disadvantages:||Fenders still the original design with “straight” profile; fighting and control compartment interiors will be very hard to see|
|Recommendation:||Highly Recommended for all THNP series fans and German modelers|
Of the more than 1,200 Praga TNHP series tanks to serve with the German forces in WWII the most numerous were the Ausf. E and F with 525 vehicles provided. These were nearly identical tanks only differing in small details. Service life began in July 1941 in Russia and continued until late in the war, albeit by that time many were either lost or converted to SP guns.
After a three-year hiatus DML has now returned to the “Czech Wars” with an offering of a two-in-one kit for the E/F versions. This is essentially the Ausf. G kit from 2007 (No. 6290) with the addition of a handful of new parts for the earlier models.
The kit provides the correct drive wheels with the excellent suspension as well as different springs for the bogie assemblies. Assembly follows earlier kitS and is pretty straightforward. However, the back plate (part B40) remains a single piece without a removable access hatch so the access cover cannot be shown open or removed as in performing maintenance on the engine. Two sets of engine access hatches, early and late, are now provided for the engine deck (but both are numbered “B54/55" – one is black and one is blue in the directions to differentiate them).
One area in which DML was “dinged” on the Marder III kit and Ausf. G kits was the fenders. I still think the tanks MAY have been built with straight fenders but once in service, whether it is crew use or track slap or something else, the front of the fenders from the center of the vehicle onward appear to take on a slight bend upward from the rear section. DML claims that the fenders now look the part but for the life of me I can’t see it. However, the early (Ausf. E tanks) ones come with twin stowage bins that would most likely keep them from bending anyway so perhaps it is not as big a “nit” to pick on this kit. Note that you have to look to the margins of the directions for the difference between early and late fenders so fair warning.
Tracks are still “Magic Track” links, which are identical so do not have to be “handed” as with other kits. But they are tiny and tedious to assemble – perhaps DML will eventually offer DS tracks for these kits as well.
The interior is pretty much complete as near as can be seen, but the warning needs to be given that due to the small hatches (commander’s and radio operator’s) it will be very difficult to see the details even with an “IPMS Death Ray” (penlight). As noted the engine compartment is much more accessible as the hatches may be opened up on the deck cover. However, again DML doesn’t bother to indicate that you have optional choices in the directions, a disconcerting flaw that I have encountered more and more frequently. Many modelers will realize this going in, but it is not fun to have to put parts together in one step and then not install them until five or six steps later and then realize you have just sealed up all the details you worked on in between. DML still needs to improve their directions and highlight when you have to make choices.
The details are very nicely done and should be given foreground attention. Both of the machine guns have belts of ammo provided for them and are better done than the ones in the Tristar kit, albeit neither kit seems to have the angled handles seen on preserved guns.
Technical assistance is credited to Tom Cockle and Gary Edmundson.
The kit offers four different finishing options backed up with a set of Cartograf decals. The options are: Pz.Rgt. 27, 19th Panzer Division, Russia 1941 (grey, white outline 432); 5.Pz.Rgt. 27, 19th Panzer Division, Russia 1941-1942 (whitewash over grey, grey 521); 2./Pz.Rgt.27, 19th Panzer Division Russia 1941-1942 (grey, white outline 211); and 5./Pz.Rgt. 25, 7th Panzer Division, Russia 1942 (grey, red/white outline 525).
Overall this is a nicely done kit but I am sure there will be carping once more over the fenders.
A 70 Pzkw. 38(t) wheels and suspension
B 70 Pzkw. 38(t) Ausf. G fenders and hull components
B 2 Pzkw. 38(t) Ausf. E engine access covers
C 34 Pzkw. 38(t) Ausf. G Turret and Turret Race
D 58 Pzkw. 38(t) Ausf. G interior and transmission components
E 1 Pzkw. 38(t) Hull
F 8 Pzkw. 38(t) Ausf. G Turret Cupola and Interior
F 15x2 Pzkw. 38(t) Turret Ammo Racks and Interior
J 9 clear styrene vision blocks
K 18 Pzkw. 38(t) OVM
N 9 German Generic - jerry cans
N 5 cleaning rods and accessories
P 17 Engine and accessories
S 2 Pzkw. 38(t) Ausf. E/F upper and central glacis
T 4 Pzkw. 38(t) Ausf. E/F muffler and turret front
U 1 Twisted steel wire
V 4 Pzkw. 38(t) Ausf. E/F storage bins
Y 216 “Magic Track” links
MA 106 etched brass
MB 12 etched brass - jerry cans
RB 10 German Generic - radio sets
RD 18 German Generic - radio racks and receivers
Thanks to Freddie Leung for the review sample.