ARM: Review - 1/35 scale Pzkw. III Ausf. G Afrika Korps

Kit Review: 1/35 scale =93Orange Box=94 Kit No. 16 (Dragon Models Limited 1/35 scale Kit No. 9116); Pz.Kpfw. III Ausf. G =93Afrika Korps=94 w/Bonus Deutsche Afrika Korps figure set - Super Value Pack;

698 parts (463 in grey styrene, 216 =93Magic Track=94 single link tracks, 17 etched brass, 2 etched nickel); retail price US$29.95

Advantages: fairly good kit of a short-barreled Pzkw III with five figures and extra details for inexpensive price

Disadvantages: not =93Smart Kit=94 technology; very little etched brass for brass fans; no DS tracks supplied

Rating: Recommended

Recommendation: for all German fans wanting a quick build or basis for a diorama

Twenty years ago some of the most desirable and expensive armor kits available were the Gunze Sangyo series from Japan, as they were more accurate than most other kits and the first true multimedia armor kits to boot (we will ignore some of the composite wood and metal kits from WWII and the early 1950s here). However, in the early 1990s they were bought out by DML of Hong Kong, who then converted most of their multimedia parts to styrene and issued them under their =93Imperial=94 or

90xx series kits.

Now DML affiliate has released one of their more popular kits, a Pzkw. III Ausf. G, in its =93Afrika Korps=94 guise (Imperial Series Kit No. 9032) with some new parts, =93Magic Track=94 single link track, and DML =93Deutsche Afrika Korps=94 figure set No. 6063 in one box at a bargain price.

The ex-Gunze kit is not a bad model, as it was light years ahead of the now 38-year-old Tamiya kit when it came out; today it has been bypassed by DML=92s own =93Smart Kit=94 Pzkw. III series kits. But it is still a serviceable model, and even with the single link tracks has

200-300 fewer parts than many other recent kits; if you want a fast build, this is a good kit to consider.

The original kit used a large number of common parts for both their StuG III Ausf. F/G kit and the Pzkw. III series models, so as a result the modeler does have to do some work as he goes along to convert the generic parts to a dedicated Pzkw. III tank. It=92s all simple things, but it means drilling out mounting holes and cutting off unnecessary bits as you go. All of the hatches except for those on the turret are fixed in place.

The suspension has separate road wheel arms and a choice of drivers and idlers, but the G needs specific items which are called out in the directions. As this kit is not an =93in your face=94 model construction is conventional and quick, with the only exception being the use of the =93Magic Track=94 links. As I have noted now on most occasions, there is nothing wrong with these tracks other than there are 108 links provided per side (not all are used) rather than one simple DS plastic run =96 difference being 3-4 hours to assemble correctly vice five minutes.

The turret is nicely done other than it has a two-piece (sides) gun barrel and NO interior parts to be seen. This is unfortunate as the hatches have interior details, so it means either use figures or cannibalize bits from another Pzkw. III kit. The commander is an older figure but unfortunately is not really suited to mounting in the hatch opening.

The figure set is a =93Gen1" set and finds four figures in an admin setting with no weapons. They come with a field stove, water cans and water bottles as well as a pet dog and even a lizard. Poses are very casual (this was one of the first of the Ron Volstad designed sets) and would make a good diorama posed with the commander (wiping his brow) next to the tank at an admin halt.

Two finishing options are provided: one desert model from Pz.Regt. 5,

5th Liechte Panzer Division, North Africa 1941 (red 114), or one from 7th Company, Pz.Regt. 3, 2nd Panzer Division, Russia 1941-42 in grey (white 731). A small sheet of targeted Cartograf decals is provided.

Overall this kit no longer is the cutting edge that it was back in the late 1980s, but it is still a good kit and the combination of figures, Magic Track links and some new bits for the price makes it an attractive =93quickie=94 project or centerpiece for a diorama.

Thanks to Freddie Leung for the review sample.

Cookie Sewell

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The turret for the Panzer III Ausf. F and G models is an original Dragon item from the late 1990's, since the basic Gunze Sangyo kits were of later variants. The turret shell isn't entirely accurate in shape at the rear, compared to the drawings in the recent Panzer Tracts book, and it's slightly too narrow. Still, you probably won't see the discrepancy unless you look for it, and the turret width can be disguised by posing the turret at an angle. The only competing kit, the Zvezda Ausf. F version, is a near copy of the Dragon kit, so there's no real option at this point, unless someone offers a resin turret (indeed, I'm surprised that nobody ever has). Gerald Owens

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Gerald Owens

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