ARM: Review - DML 1/35 scale Panzer III Ausf. G Early Production

Kit Review: Dragon Models Limited 1/35 Scale ?39-?45 Series Kit No. 663

9; Sd.Kfz. 141 Pz.Kpfw. III (5 cm) Ausf. G Early Production -Smart Kit; 878 parts (602 in grey styrene, 216 ?Magic Track? links, 35 etched brass, 23 clear styrene, 2 preformed steel wire); pre-order price US$49.95 via Dra gon USA Online

Advantages: another updated early production Panzer III; many options for s pecific display or finishing; ?Smart Kit? minimizes the amount of etche d 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


While the Pzkw. III Ausf. F was the first full-bore production version of the tank starting in 1939, it was soon found to be wanting due to its weak

3.7 cm cannon. While some were eventually upgraded to the better 5 cm gun, most were not and the last ones noted in combat were still in service in 19
  1. Its successor on the production line, the Ausf. G, added a much more power ful and useful 5 cm L/42 cannon with the 51st production model that gave th e Germans much needed firepower against both enemy armor and troops. 550 of this later version were built between April 1940 and February 1941 when th e next variant, the Ausf. H appeared.

The Ausf. G also added a turret ventilator and in mid-production a new cup ola was also mounted on the turret.

DML has now released a new kit of the early model 5 cm Ausf. G and it basi cally mimics the previous Ausf. F kit from 2012 but with a total of 75 new parts. These replicate the different turret and gun arrangements, applique armor plate, and other detail changes. It still has the narrower tracks (Ma gic Track links) and other carryover parts.

Once again DML requires the modeler to drill out holes in the kit for spec ific parts, as well as calls out options. Alas, theses are tucked into the very busy directions and thus the modeler must be attentive to ensure he do es not miss them (the ?Calvin and Hobbes? dictum of ?directions are f or sissies? does NOT apply to kits this complex!)

The suspension begins with five of the original seven ?mini-sprues? an d three new ones provided for the early model ?porthole? drivers and mo re complex idlers, plus newly molded shock absorbers.

The hull pan is one with the side hatches and other detail changes. It ret ains the full torsion bar suspension from the other kit and the detailed su spension components and muffler assembly. As with the earlier kits all hatc hes are separate with some interior details and can be positioned as the mo deler chooses. All engine deck ventilators are spaced and mounted on separa te frames to get the correct appearance and ?lift? needed to give an ac curate representation of the original. A completely new engine deck is prov ided for the early variants of the Pzkw. III with this kit.

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. Note that the kit comes with both the early 3.7 cm gun and the later

5 cm one, so the modeler actually has a choice between the first 50 and the succeeding early tanks. Both cupolas are also provided ? and for ONCE a guide as to which finishing option had which cupola! Kudos to DML for payin g attention to that detail.

The kit comes with 36 cm ?Magic Track? single-links, and while not wro ng many modelers appreciate the DS plastic tracks as they speed constructio n.

Technical consultants are Tom Cockle and Gary Edmundson.

The kit provides five different finishing options: 16th Panzer Division, R ussia 1941 , Greece 1941 (grey, red 544); 2nd Panzer Division, Russia 1941 (grey, turret marking, white 731); 13th Panzer Division, Russia 1941 (grey, white 722); 2nd Panzer Division, Greece 1941 (grey, black rectangle, white 415); and 2nd Panzer Division, Greece 1941 (grey, chassis number, white 40

2). All markings are targeted and from Cartograf.

Overall this is a ?gap filler? for Panzer III fans and should prove po pular.

Thanks to Freddie Leung for the review sample.

Cookie Sewell

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