ARM: Review - 1/35 scale Pzkw. III Ausf. L Trop

Kit Review: 1/35 scale kit No. 44 (Dragon Models
Limited 1/35 Scale =9139-=9145 Series Kit No. 6587); Pz.Kpfw. III Ausf. L
Tp - Smart Kit; 751 parts (490 in grey styrene, 216 =93Magic Track=94
links, 26 etched brass, 19 clear styrene); retail price about US$49.95
Advantages: Basically late (KwK L/60) Pzkw. III Ausf. J; =93Smart Kit=94
minimizes the amount of etched brass required
Disadvantages: kit changes out but one sprue from Kit 6394; does not
come with DS tracks, which will disappoint a few modelers
Rating: Highly Recommended
Recommendation: for all WWII German fans
After experiments to mount the Pzkw. IV turret on the Pzkw. III
chassis proved that it could not carry the weight, the Germans then
upgraded the Pzkw. III Ausf. H to the Ausf. J. When the Js had to be
upgraded with applique armor and other modifications, production
continued as the Ausf. L with only minor changes to the design. Over
650 of that model were built.
This kit =96 if I interpret it correctly the =93Tp=94 stands for
=93tropicalized=94 or modified for use in North Afrika - is based directly
on DML Kit No. 6394 and only changes out a single sprue covering the
engine deck parts. (Oddly enough this is labeled =93Pz.Kpfw. III Ausf. J
Initial Production=94!) The former kit used the direct parts from the
StuG III kit, whereas this one adds a news sprue with slightly
modified vent covers and layout. As a result the kit shares four
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 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 but in this molding only provides the L/60 gun. The barrel
is =93slide molded=94 with hollow bore. Options also include blackout or
clear headlight lenses and the =93kugel=94 mount for the bow machine gun.
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.
Once again the kit comes with =93Magic Track=94 single links. I recently
saw someone ask why I list that as a disadvantage to the kit. It is
not wrong, and the DML =93Magic Track=94 links are quite popular with many
modelers. But most modelers have found out that assembly of single
link track is quite repetitive and tedious and now yearn for the days
of single track runs. The DS Plastic tracks are excellent as they
usually provide the detail of resin with the simplicity of the old
vinyl tracks. Preference is with the modeler as to which is better.
The kit provides but one finishing option: 5th Company, 8th Panzer
Regiment, Libya 1942 (brown patches over sand brown, red 5). A tiny
sheet of Cartograf decals is provided with the kit.
Overall this is a better selection than some of the truly bizarre choices and should prove popular.
Thanks to Freddie Leung for the review sample.
Cookie Sewell
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