Matchbox/Revell 1/76 Panzer III Ausf. LTomasz Basarabowicz
There are no complains as far as the dimensions are concerned. The most obvious alteration is the cupola (parts 20 & 21) which should be replaced with one taken from the PzKpfw IV from Airfix or PzKpfw III or IV from Fujimi/Nitto. The mantled spaced armour (part 13) also needs attention inasmuch as it needs the MG port and sighting ports drilled out and the sight port opening up to a square hole. Two side hatches (parts 17 & 18) have to be thinned down.
There are two small bumps on the turret rear supposed to represent the actual pistol ports they have to be replaced with some scraps of sprue.
The hull needs a lot of attention and the work is best carried out before it is assembled.
Firstly, carve the moulded shock absorbers from each hull side and replace them with ones from Airfix or Fujimi/Nitto StuGs. Certainly, the Fujimi/Nitto PzKpfw III appropriate parts can be used, too.
As for the hull bottom (part 1) carve off the moulded track retaining bar and also the peculiar moulded lump on the rear plate, filling with plasticard the hole left by its removal.
Assemble the hull as per kit instructions. The producer seems to forget about the exhaust system. It has to be added utilising parts taken from Airfix or Fujimi/Nitto StuGs or PzKpfw III. It can be made of scratch, too J . Eventually, a baffle plate has to be made of brass or thin plasticard. Curve it and add it over the exhaust system. Next, add the new track retaining bar in place of the poor imitation you have just carved off on the hull nose.
The next major and most difficult modification is to the superstructure front to obtain the proper spaced armour (applique) effect which is not portrayed correctly in the kit. At this stage, the references are best carefully studied. The Saumur Museum example can provide some inspiration, too. At the beginning, measure 29 mm forwards from the air intakes on the both sides of superstructure (part 28), then scribe a line across the top of the superstructure and down its sides at this distance. The next step is to cut away all the superstructure in front of this line. Add then a new superstructure front face from 0,5 mm thick plasticard ensuring when cementing it in place that it slopes back at the correct angle. Onto this new front plate, cement a ball mounting for MG (Kuegelblende) and the drivers visor both taken from any small scale PzKpfw IV (the Airfix or Fujimi ones are the best for this purpose). Remove their locating lugs first, of course.
Now take the front plate for the spaced armour (part 24) and after drilling out a ho;e for the MG ball mount and filing out the cutout for the drivers visor, fit it in its original position on the glacis plate. Then fill in the gap left around it on the top and sides with strips of plastic about 0,5 mm thick, cut to fill across the gap approx. 3 mm wide.
The turret needs moving back about 2 mm, so elongate the turret pivot pin hole to suit or fill it in and redrill another one.
Add superstructure vision ports cut from any PzKpfw IV kit (Airfix is the best one here again). Also, add a starting handle aperture cover plate made from scrap and a Notek light taken from the spares box.
This part of the kit required the least amount of work fortunately except of those dreadful vinyl tracks of course. Well, you can always attempt to fit the filed down ESCI single track links ... .
BTW, I bought several Matchbox PzKpfw IIIs the kits suspension is the best replacement for Fujimi/Nitto StuGs & PzKpfw III inaccurate and too small roadwheels, sprockets, idlers & return rollers. Incidentally, the Fujimi/Nitto Panzer III series kits have the tracks hopelessly too short.
There are two markings sets that are possible to apply. First one depicts a tank of Panzer Regiment 8. (with single red with whit outline digits peculiar to this unit), 15. Panzer Division, DAK, 1942. An alternative scheme represents a Panzer Regiment 7. Tank, 10. Panzer Division in European livery, shortly before the Division was sent to Tunisia.
For other marking schemes see for example Panzer Colours III, page 6 (3. Panzergrenadier Division) or Militaria Hors-Serie No.27, page 19 (2. SS Panzer Division "Das Reich").
And how about the kits conversion potential for 1/76 scale addicts what comes to mind firstly are Pz.Kpfw. III Ausf. M, Ausf. N or Flammpanzer ...
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