ARM: Review - 1/35 scale Pzkw. III Ausf J and B IV

Kit Review: 1/35 scale Kit No. 29 (Dragon Models Limited 1/35 Scale =9139-=9145 Series Kit No. 6510); Pz.Kpfw. III Ausf. J Command Tank and Borgward IV Ausf. B; (599 in grey styrene, 216 =93Magic Track=94 links, 29 etched brass, 19 clear styrene, 2 DS plastic); estimated price US$42 via DragonUSA Online

Advantages: can be built as either an early (KwK L/42) or late (KwK L/

60) Pzkw. III Ausf. J; many options to match specific tanks at set points in the production run; =93Smart Kit=94 minimizes the amount of etched brass required; Borgward total upgrade from previous kit with DS tracks

Disadvantages: main kit does not come with DS tracks, which will disappoint a few modelers

Rating: Highly Recommended

Recommendation: for all WWII German fans

Occasionally DML=92s boutique affiliate does something which both makes sense and looks right. In this case they have taken their outstanding Pzkw. III Ausf J kit in toto and added a reworked and remanufactured version of the Borgward IV Ausf. B remote control engineer vehicle (e.g. explosive layer) and control device to the kit.

The Borgward IV kit (No. 6101) was originally an =93A=94 version and was hated when it came out for having two-piece single link tracks. Considering this vehicle in 1/35 is the size of a medium tank in 1/72 you can see the tracks qualified as =93right puny=94 and were a tedious pain to assemble. Now the new variant uses one-piece DS plastic ones, and even if they need trimming to fit this decision will be popular with most modelers. Alas, they did not do that for the main kit, so like them or hate them it still uses the =93Magic Track=94 links.

The model itself gives all of the major options needed for the actual vehicle, such as an optional driver=92s compartment with rudimentary interior and a separate explosive charge case for the bow. While they are separate parts, it does not show how to fold up the driver=92s compartment armor, however, so you will have to research that one on your own.

As it is a verbatim reuse of the kit molds and boxing, the Pzkw. III Ausf. J is based in large part on their excellent StuG III =93Smart Kit=94 molds. The kit shares five sprues and the =93Magic Track=94 links with the StuG kit and also borrows a few sprues from the Pzkw. IV Ausf. F =93Smart Kit=94 as well (mostly the cupola and clear ones.) The rest =96 some 196 plastic parts and 26 etched brass ones =96 are new to this 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 =93lift=94 needed to give an accurate representation of the original.

The kit provides a number of options to include the complete spaced armor array as well as the choice between the L/42 and the L/60 guns, with four different possible combinations; both barrels are =93slide molded=94 with hollow bores and, as with the original, share the same breech and fittings internally. However, the version modeled uses no applique armor and the L/60 gun. Also note that the turret bustle basket must be replaced with parts from the B IV sprues to build the command tank version.

Options also include blackout or clear headlight lenses and the =93kugel=94 mount for the bow machine gun (also used on this model). 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 =93after market boys=94 as there is more than enough room for a nice resin interior here and enough ports and hatches to see it.

The kit provides one single finishing option: Pz.Kp. (Fkl) 312, Kursk, 1943 (both three color mottle, Pzkw.III White F21). All markings are targeted and from Cartograf.

Overall this is a good choice for cyber-hobby and one which provides a good basis for a diorama or vignette, as well as a B model of the diminutive B IV vehicle.

Thanks to Freddie Leung for the review sample.

Cookie Sewell

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