Home > Reviews > German > Dragon Models Limited 1/35 Scale ‘39-‘45 Series Kit No. 6543; Pz.Bef.Wg III Ausf. J with Schuerzen - Smart Kit

Pz.Bef.Wg III Ausf. J with Schuerzen - 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. 6543; Pz.Bef.Wg III Ausf. J with Schuerzen - Smart Kit
Scale: 1/35
Media and Contents: 594 parts (536 in grey styrene, 37 etched brass, 19 clear styrene, 2 DS Plastic track runs)
Price: pre-order price US$58.99 via Dragon USA Online
Review Type: First Look
Advantages: The J kit now with skirts and a command antenna fit
Disadvantages: Kit does not come with Magic Track single link tracks, which will disappoint a few modelers
Recommendation: Highly Recommended for all WWII German fans



Following on the heels of its recent Beobachtungswagen Panzer III kit, DML has now released an Ausf. J command version with schuerzen skirting. This kit also replaces the previous 38 cm single link tracks with single track runs.

According to Jentz 104 Pzkw. III Ausf. J were converted by removing the bow machine gun and one ammo rack, adding the long range radios, a TSF 1 periscope to the turret, and in some cases fitting them with Schuerzen side shields. This took place in early 1943.

As with its base 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 view ports and viewers may be positioned open or closed as well. No machine guns are provided other than the turret weapon to match with its prototype.

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 and this kit provides them; others hate the fact they tend to be stretchy and are somewhat tedious to have to shorten and fit to the kit. As the old curse goes, be careful of what you wish for as you may get it! (I still think DML should take a cue from Trumpeter and provide both sets in the kit and let the modeler choose which one he prefers.)

This kit adds the “N” sprue which is the generic DML command antenna sprue, and also provides the etched brass “crow’s foot” bits to mount on them. These are always a bit fiddly to assemble but look good if done properly.

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 four different finishing options: s.Pz.Rgt. 656, Rgt. Nachr. Zaporozhe Bridgehead 1943 (three-color camouflage, RNZ with personal vehicle name “Pampas”, black crosses); Unidentified Unit, Russia 1943 (green over sand, no markings); Unidentified Unit, Russia 1943 (whitewash with grey bleedthrough, black crosses); and Pz.Rgt. 7, North Africa 1943(sand overall, no markings). A tiny sheet of Cartograf decals is provided.

Overall this now provides a mid-production command vehicle for the Panzer III family.


Sprue Layout:

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 31 StuG III basic upper hull details
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
L 1 DS Plastic track run - left
15 Pzkw IV F Clear styrene
N 14 Generic German command antenna installation
R 1 DS Plastic track run - right
R 45 Pzkw. III M/N - schuerzen fit
P 4 Clear styrene
MA 37 Etched brass
MB 4x2 Etched nickel

Thanks to Freddie Leung for the review sample.