Tamiya 35215 Panzer III Ausf. L
Im not going to get into a winded history of the Panzer III; you can
go buy any of a number of great books on
this German tank. What I will say is this is an absolutely incredible kit, far superior to the crappy Panzer III Ausf.
M/N that Tamiya did in the Stone Age of modeling.
The kit is molded in the standard Tamiya dark yellow plastic. The molding and detail are absolutely first rate,
some of the best I have ever seen in plastic. Everything is there, even if it is not on the instruction sheet (i.e. lifting
hooks on the rear deck). The only dimensional trouble is the gun length, about 4mm too short. The Jordi Rubio
barrel for the L/60 5-cm gun is the correct length, so I used this on the kit. I also replaced the soft vinyl tracks
with Fruilimodellismo tracks. Personally, I cannot put vinyl tracks on a kit anymore!
I also added the Aber photo-etch set designed for this kit. Aber is quickly becoming my favorite photo-etch
manufacturer. This set, like most of their sets, is quite extensive. I used almost all of the set, except for the extra
fret that contains parts to make most of the turret interior. This is available also available as a separate set.
The one detail missing from all Panzer III kits, Tamiya or otherwise, is the conduits for the lights and horn. I added
these from brass tubing with extra small brass wiring. I replaced the tow cables on the rear hull with annealed
picture wire and the Aber straps, though Tamiya provides does provide a nice, one piece, two cable assembly.
I decided to (slightly) convert my Panzer III to a very late Ausf. J of the 24th Panzer Division outside of
Stalingrad. This was done by adding the turret side visors and extra mantlet flap from a DML Panzer III Ausf. J. I
also deleted the spaced armor on the hull front and mantlet, though some late Js had these features.
The Panzer IIIs of the 24th Panzer Division also had a unique storage box on the back of the hull. This was made
from a resin block that was sanded to shape. Plastic strips and photo-etch hinges and locks completed the box.
My Panzer was painted in overall Tamiya Panzer Grey, with a little bit of black added. If one looks at the few
color photos of German panzers in dark grey, it looks almost black. I did a minimal amount of dry brushing with
oils, and then went to town with earth tone pastels. The tanks driving into the Caucasus in 1942 were heavily
covered in dust. I am definitely a "realism over artistic" modeler, I prefer DIRTY tanks.
Well, thats that. Go out and buy this kit. Buy two. I promise you will NOT be disappointed.
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