Pzkw. III Ausf. J Initial Production - Smart Kit
Reviewed by Cookie Sewell
|Stock Number and Description||Dragon Models Limited 1/35 Scale ‘39-‘45 Series Kit No. 6463; Pzkw. III Ausf. J Initial Production - Smart Kit|
|Media and Contents:||750 parts (488 in grey stryene, 218 “Magic Track” links, 27 etched brass, 19 clear styrene)|
|Price:||estimated price about US$50.50|
|Review Type:||First Look|
|Advantages:||Many options to match specific tanks at set points in the production run; “Smart Kit” minimizes the amount of etched brass required|
|Disadvantages:||Kit does not come with DS tracks, which will disappoint a few modelers|
|Recommendation:||Highly Recommended for all WWII German fans|
DML has now released a dedicated version of the initial production model of the Pzkw. III Ausf. J version, which adds a single new sprue, new brass and “chops” out unnecessary oarts from the previous Ausf. J kit (No. 6394). It retains the parts from the StuG III “Smart Kit” molds as well most of the original kit. 31 new parts are added to this kit.
The hull pan is similar to that from the StuG but has the side hatches and other detail changes. It retains the full torsion bar suspension from the other kit and the detailed suspension components and muffler assembly. As with the StuG all hatches are separate with some interior details and can be positioned as the modeler chooses. All engine deck ventilators are spaced and mounted on separate frames to get the correct appearance and “lift” needed to give an accurate representation of the original.
The kit provides only the early model’s L/42 gun barrel with its “slide molded” hollow bore with a complete breech assembly. Options also include blackout or clear headlight lenses and all viewports and viewers may be positioned open or closed as well.
The kit includes the rudiments of an interior, but unlike many Russian or Ukrainian kits the details they provide are highly accurate as far as they go. This should please the “after market boys” as there is more than enough room for a nice resin interior here and enough ports and hatches to see it.
Some modelers are now learning to love the new DML DS plastic tracks, but this kit was not a beneficiary of that technology so the modeler will have to use the excellent if tedious “Magic Track” links. As the old curse goes, be careful of what you wish for as you may get it! Also the kit only comes with a modicum of etched brass - mostly grilles, brackets and the track guides for the idler wheels. I am sure that “boutique” upgrade kits are on the way for those who believe one can never add enough brass!
As this kit is designed to replicate only the initial models of the J sent to Russia, there are no options for using any of the later parts in the kit so a goodly number go to the spares bin.
Research and drawing was by Hirohisa Takada, Shin Okada, Minoru Igarashi, and the Dragon engineering team. Technical consultants were Tom Cockle and Gary Edmundson.
The kit provides three different finishing options: 2nd Panzer Division, Russia 1941 (grey - white 631); 2nd Panzer Division Russia 1941 (grey - white 624); and 11th Panzer Division (grey - white 32). A small “targeted” sheet of colorful markings is provided by Cartograf.
Overall this continues the family, but those hoping for a “2-in-1" with an Afrika Korps version will have to await another kit.
A 91 Pzkw III J hull details and turret mounting
A 61x2 StuG III Wheels and torsion bars (7 mini-sprues connected)
B 14 Pzkw III J upper hull and fenders
B 46 StuG III Road wheel arms and lower hull details
C 41 Pzkw III J applique armor and details
D 34 Pzkw III J gun and barrels (less L/60)
D 13 StuG III basic upper hull details (reduced)
E 15 Pzkw III J turret and mantelet details
F 15 Pzkw IV F - turret cupola
G 52 Pzkw IV F - turret and hull details
G 15 StuG III OVM and light components
H 1 Lower hull pan
J 8 Machine guns and muzzles
K 31 Pzkw. III J Initial Production engine hatches, details
L 144 Magic Track - Left
15 Pzkw IV F Clear styrene
P 4 Clear styrene
R 144 Magic Track - Right
MA 27 Etched brass
Thanks to Freddie Leung for the review sample.