Pz.Kpfw. III (5 cm) Ausf. H Sd.Kfz. 141 Early Production - Smart Kit
Dragon, 1/35 scale
Reviewed by Cookie Sewell
|Stock Number and Description||Dragon Models Limited 1/35 Scale ‘39-‘45 Series Kit No. 6641; Pz.Kpfw. III (5 cm) Ausf. H Sd.Kfz. 141 Early Production - Smart Kit|
|Media and Contents:||835 parts(548 in grey styrene, 216 “Magic Track” single links, 42 etched brass, 19 clear styrene)|
|Price:||pre-order price US$54.95 via Dragon USA Online|
|Review Type:||First Look|
|Advantages:||Many options for varying the model with and without some components; “Smart Kit” minimizes the amount of etched brass required|
|Disadvantages:||No DS tracks, which will disappoint a few modelers|
|Recommendation:||Highly Recommended for all German WWII fans|
Continuing on with their “complete the record” history of the Panzer III, DML has now released a kit of the early variant of the Ausf. H variant; earlier kit 6642 was the late version. This was the first version of the early production Pzkw. III tanks to mount the new KwK L/42 5 cm cannon in response to perceived battlefield threads, and a total of 280 were built between October 1940 and April 1941 when the redesigned and uparmored Ausf. J version went into production.
Like other previous Panzer III kits 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. Note that about five of the sprues are either new or heavily modified from past kits.
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.
Oddly about every other Panzer III or IV kit comes with DML DS plastic tracks, but this kit retains the excellent if tedious “Magic Track” links. But in the case of this kit, it provides a set of “universal” tracks – only one link design – and shows no difference in the assembly.
This kit offers a wide variety of detail options and as such the directions are EXTREMELY busy. For the first time I can recall this shows holes being filled in (a symbol like a ball point pen tip) so the modeler must take extra care when following the directions. Most complex is the diagram showing the depressions on the turret forward roof section being filled in.
Technical consultants were Tom Cockle and Gary Edmundson.
The kit provides five different finishing options: 1st Panzer Division, 1941 (grey, crosses, white 322); 2nd Panzer Division, the Balkans 1941 (grey, crosses, white 412, insignia); 7th Panzer Division, Russia 1941 (grey, crosses, red 724); Unidentified Unit, 1941 (grey, crosses, white 333); Pz.Rgt. 3, 2nd Panzer Division, Greece 1941 (grey, crosses, white 111). A“targeted” sheet of colorful markings is provided by Cartograf.
Overall this continues the family, and by my count now makes over 15 different Pzkw. III variants from DML or cyber-hobby.com - Ausf. B, E, F, H early, H late, J Early, J Late, J with B IV, L, L trop, M Early, N, N w/schurzen, and N w/winterketten. But still no Ausf. A...
A 91 Pzkw III hull details and turret mounting
A 61x2 StuG III Wheels and torsion bars (7 mini-sprues connected)
B 17 Pzkw III fenders and turret details, rear engine deck
B 46 StuG III Ausf. G- road wheel arms and lower hull details
D 34 Pzkw III gun and L/42 barrel
E 20 Pzkw III turret and mantelet details
F 15 Pzkw IV - turret cupola
G 52 Pzkw IV - turret and hull details
G 20 StuG III OVM and light components
K 31 Pzkw. III J Initial Production engine hatches, details
15 Pzkw IV F Clear styrene
P 1 Lower hull pan
P 4 Clear styrene
S 11 Pzkw. III H details
T 2x2 Pzkw. III Early model drivers
U 12 Pzkw. III H upper hull details
V 62 Pzkw. III H hatches and details, rear engine deck
X 6 Pzkw. III Early model idlers
Z 4 Shock absorbers
W 216 “Magic Track” universal link track
MA 42 Etched brass
Thanks to Freddie Leung for the review sample.