Kit Review: Dragon Models Limited 1/35 Scale ?39-?45 Series Kit No. 6641; Pz.Kpfw. III (5 cm) Ausf. H Sd.Kfz. 141 Early Production - Smart Kit; 83 5 parts(548 in grey styrene, 216 ?Magic Track? single links, 42 etched brass, 19 clear styrene); pre-order price US$54.95 from Dragon USA Online
Advantages: many options for varying the model with and without some compon ents; ?Smart Kit? minimizes the amount of etched brass required
Disadvantages: kit does not come with DS tracks, which will disappoint a fe w modelers
Rating: Highly Recommended
Recommendation: for all WWII German fans
Continuing on with their ?complete the record? history of the Panzer I II, DML has now released a kit of the early variant of the Ausf. H variant; earlier kit 6642 was the late version. This was the first version of the e arly production Pzkw. III tanks to mount the new KwK L/42 5 cm cannon in re sponse to perceived battlefield threads, and a total of 280 were built betw een October 1940 and April 1941 when the redesigned and uparmored Ausf. J v ersion went into production. Like other previous Panzer III kits the hull pan is similar to that from t he StuG but has the side hatches and other detail changes. It retains the f ull torsion bar suspension from the other kit and the detailed suspension c omponents and muffler assembly. As with the StuG all hatches are separate w ith some interior details and can be positioned as the modeler chooses. All engine deck ventilators are spaced and mounted on separate frames to get t he correct appearance and ?lift? needed to give an accurate representat ion of the original.
The kit provides only the early model?s L/42 gun barrel with its ?slid e molded? hollow bore with a complete breech assembly. Options also inclu de blackout or clear headlight lenses and all viewports and viewers may be positioned open or closed as well. Note that about five of the sprues are e ither new or heavily modified from past kits.
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 en ough room for a nice resin interior here and enough ports and hatches to se e it.
Oddly about every other Panzer III or IV kit comes with DML DS plastic tra cks, but this kit retains the excellent if tedious ?Magic Track? links. But in the case of this kit, it provides a set of ?universal? tracks ? only one link design ? and shows no difference in the assembly.
This kit offers a wide variety of detail options and as such the direction s are EXTREMELY busy. For the first time I can recall this shows holes bein g filled in (a symbol like a ball point pen tip) so the modeler must take e xtra care when following the directions. Most complex is the diagram showin g the depressions on the turret forward roof section being filled in.
Technical consultants were Tom Cockle and Gary Edmundson.
The kit provides five different finishing options: 1st Panzer Division, 1941 (grey, crosses, white 322); 2nd Panzer Division, the Balkans 1941 (grey, crosses, white 412, insignia); 7th Panzer Division, Russia 1941 (grey, cro sses, red 724); Unidentified Unit, 1941 (grey, crosses, white 333); Pz.Rgt. 3, 2nd Panzer Division, Greece 1941 (grey, crosses, white 111). A?target ed? sheet of colorful markings is provided by Cartograf.
Overall this continues the family, and by my count now makes over 15 diffe rent Pzkw. III variants from DML or cyber-hobby.com - Ausf. B, E, F, H earl y, H late, J Early, J Late, J with B IV, L, L trop, M Early, N, N w/schurze n, and N w/winterketten. But still no Ausf. A...
Thanks to Freddie Leung for the review sample.