Sd.Kfz. 141 Pz.Kpfw. III (5 cm) Ausf. G 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. 6639; Sd.Kfz. 141 Pz.Kpfw. III (5 cm) Ausf. G Early Production - Smart Kit|
|Media and Contents:||878 parts (602 in grey styrene, 216 “Magic Track” links, 35 etched brass, 23 clear styrene, 2 preformed steel wire)|
|Price:||pre-order price US$49.95 via Dragon USA Online|
|Review Type:||First Look|
|Advantages:||Another updated early production Panzer III; many options for specific display or finishing; “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 German WWII fans|
While the Pzkw. III Ausf. F was the first full-bore production version of the tank starting in 1939, it was soon found to be wanting due to its weak 3.7 cm cannon. While some were eventually upgraded to the better 5 cm gun, most were not and the last ones noted in combat were still in service in 1944.
Its successor on the production line, the Ausf. G, added a much more powerful and useful 5 cm L/42 cannon with the 51st production model that gave the Germans much needed firepower against both enemy armor and troops. 550 of this later version were built between April 1940 and February 1941 when the next variant, the Ausf. H appeared.
The Ausf. G also added a turret ventilator and in mid-production a new cupola was also mounted on the turret.
DML has now released a new kit of the early model 5 cm Ausf. G and it basically mimics the previous Ausf. F kit from 2012 but with a total of 75 new parts. These replicate the different turret and gun arrangements, applique armor plate, and other detail changes. It still has the narrower tracks (Magic Track links) and other carryover parts.
Once again DML requires the modeler to drill out holes in the kit for specific parts, as well as calls out options. Alas, theses are tucked into the very busy directions and thus the modeler must be attentive to ensure he does not miss them (the “Calvin and Hobbes” dictum of “directions are for sissies” does NOT apply to kits this complex!)
The suspension begins with five of the original seven “mini-sprues” and three new ones provided for the early model “porthole” drivers and more complex idlers, plus newly molded shock absorbers.
The hull pan is one with 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 earlier kits 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. A completely new engine deck is provided for the early variants of the Pzkw. III with this kit.
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. Note that the kit comes with both the early 3.7 cm gun and the later 5 cm one, so the modeler actually has a choice between the first 50 and the succeeding early tanks. Both cupolas are also provided – and for ONCE a guide as to which finishing option had which cupola! Kudos to DML for paying attention to that detail.
The kit comes with 36 cm “Magic Track” single-links, and while not wrong many modelers appreciate the DS plastic tracks as they speed construction.
Technical consultants are Tom Cockle and Gary Edmundson.
The kit provides five different finishing options: 16th Panzer Division, Russia 1941 , Greece 1941 (grey, red 544); 2nd Panzer Division, Russia 1941 (grey, turret marking, white 731); 13th Panzer Division, Russia 1941 (grey, white 722); 2nd Panzer Division, Greece 1941 (grey, black rectangle, white 415); and 2nd Panzer Division, Greece 1941 (grey, chassis number, white 402). All markings are targeted and from Cartograf.
Overall this is a “gap filler” for Panzer III fans and should prove popular.
A 91 Pzkw III J hull details and turret mounting
A 53x2 StuG III Wheels and torsion bars (5 mini-sprues connected)
B 18 Pzkw III upper hull and fenders
B 46 StuG III Road wheel arms and lower hull details
D 33 Pzkw III J gun and L/42 5 cm barrel
E 19 Pzkw. III turret base, mantlet, details
F 15 Pzkw. IV cupola
G 52 Pzkw IV F - turret and hull details
G 15 StuG III OVM and light components
H 9 Smoke candle rack and smoke candles
J 8 Machine guns and muzzles
L 108 Magic Track - Left
K 34 Pzkw. III Ausf. J Initial Production engine deck details
15 Pzkw IV F Clear styrene
P 1 Pzkw. III Early Model hull pan with side doors
P 4 Clear styrene
Q 24 Pzkw. IV Early Model Cupola
R 108 Magic Track - Right
R 6 Clear styrene
S 44 Pzkw. III Early Model turret with 3.7 cm gun
T 4 Early model Pzkw. III drivers
U 12 Pzkw. III turret plage and applique armor
V 61 Pzkw. III Early Model engine deck and details
X 6 Early model Pzkw. III idlers
Z 4 Shock absorbers
MA 35 Etched brass
MB 2 Preformed steel wire
Thanks to Freddie Leung for the review sample.