Pz.Bef.Wg. III Ausf. J - Smart Kit
Reviewed by Cookie Sewell
|Stock Number and Description||cyber-hobby.com 1/35 Scale Kit No. 53 (Dragon Models Limited ‘39-‘45 Series Kit No. 6544); Pz.Bef.Wg. III Ausf. J - Smart Kit|
|Media and Contents:||794 parts (521 in grey styrene, 216 “Magic Track” individual links, 35 etched brass, 19 clear styrene, 2 pre-bent steel wire, 1 length of twisted steel wire)|
|Price:||Estimated to be USD$47.99|
|Review Type:||First Look|
|Advantages:||Nice clean kit of a late-model command tank with simplified antennas; 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|
|Recommendation:||Highly Recommended for all WWII German fans|
So far the DML stable has been short on early model command tanks with the exception of the Panzer I series. There was a modified Panzer III command tank in the old “Imperial” series of ex-Gunze Sangyo kits but so far little in the line of new “Smart Kits”. Now cyber-hobby.com has released this kit of a late model Panzer III command tank with four distinct antennas for its various communications systems.
Early models of Pzkw. III command vehicles (Panzerbefehlswagen) mounted a dummy 3.7 cm gun and only had machine guns for self defense, and as a result were soon singled out for elimination on the battlefield. As a result, in late 1942 standard Pzkw. III tanks were converted over to command tanks but retained their 5 cm L/42 main gun and coaxial 7.92mm machine gun for self-defense. 81 conversions were made between August and November 1942 when variants aremed with the long L/60 5 cm gun took their place. They were first issued to the SS panzer divisions.
Based on the 2007 DML Panzer III Ausf. J kit (No. 6394) this kit adds some small details such as extra track links and the four radio antenna of the command variant to that 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 a number of options to include the complete spaced armor array but as a J only comes with the L/42 gun. The barrel is “slide molded” with a hollow bore. Options also include blackout or clear headlight lenses and the “kugel” mount for the bow machine gun (but the machine guns are not included with this kit). 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 retains 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, but in this case adds the new antenna parts to include the curious “basketball net” one on the rear of the turret.
Technical consultants were Tom Cockle and Gary Edmundson.
The kit provides four different finishing options:
Pz.Rgt. 7, North Afrika, 1943 (sand, no markings);
2./SS.Pz.Rgt. 1, 1st SS Panzer Division “LAH”, Kharkov 1943 (whitewash over sand, red 555);
1./SS.Pz.Rgt. 3, 3rd SS Panzergrenadier Division “Totenkopf” (whitewash over grey, white I01);
Pz.Rgt. 11, 6th Panzer Division, near Stalingrad 1942 (grey with whitewash, white 903).
One other unmarked vehicle in green over sand mottle is shown. All markings are targeted and from Cartograf.
Overall this is a good choice by cyber-hobby.com and will appeal to a number of modelers.
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 35 Pzkw III J gun and barrel
D 31 StuG III basic upper hull details
E 15 Pzkw III J turret and mantelet details
F 15 Pzkw IV F - turret cupola
F 8 Spare track links
G 52 Pzkw IV F - turret and hull details
G 35 StuG III OVM and light components
H 1 Lower hull pan
L 108 Magic Track - Left
15 Pzkw IV F Clear styrene
N 15 Command antenna set
P 4 Clear styrene
R 108 Magic Track - Right
Z 1 Twisted steel wire
MA 26 Etched brass
MB 1 Etched brass
MC 8 Etched brass
MD 2 Pre-bent steel wire
Thanks to Freddie Leung for the review sample.