ARM: Review - DML 1/35 scale Pzkw. III Ausf. J (Tp) Early Production

Kit Review: Dragon Models Limited 1/35 Scale =9139-=9145 Series Kit No. 654=
3; Pzkw. III Ausf. J (Tp) Early Production - Smart Kit; 749 parts (488 in g=
rey stryene, 216 =93Magic Track=94 links, 28 etched brass, 19 clear styrene=
); pre-order price US$49.95 from Dragon USA Online=20
Advantages: repeat of Early Production J kit with a different set of tracks
Disadvantages: kit does not come with DS tracks, which will disappoint a fe=
w modelers
Rating: Highly Recommended
Recommendation: for all WWII German fans
For reasons best known to themselves, DML has now released a tropicalized =
version of its Ausf. J Initial Production kit (No. 6463) which only adds ne=
w tracks and a new sheet of markings. These appear to be a universal 38 cm =
track link used on both sides of the tank, with both sets of tracks facing =
the same direction. Note that this is the 16th different new mold Panzer II=
I kit released by DML or its cyber-hobby.com boutique affiliate.
As with its base kit, the hull pan is similar to that from the StuG but ha=
s the side hatches and other detail changes. It retains the full torsion ba=
r suspension from the other kit and the detailed suspension components and =
muffler assembly. As with the StuG all hatches are separate with some inter=
ior details and can be positioned as the modeler chooses. All engine deck v=
entilators are spaced and mounted on separate frames to get the correct app=
earance and =93lift=94 needed to give an accurate representation of the ori=
ginal.=20
The kit provides only the early model=92s L/42 gun barrel with its =93slid=
e molded=94 hollow bore with a complete breech assembly. Options also inclu=
de blackout or clear headlight lenses and all view ports and viewers may be=
positioned open or closed as well.=20
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 en=
ough room for a nice resin interior here and enough ports and hatches to se=
e it.=20
Some modelers are now learning to love the new DML DS plastic tracks, but =
this kit was not a beneficiary of that technology so the modeler will have =
to use the excellent if tedious =93Magic Track=94 links. As the old curse g=
oes, be careful of what you wish for as you may get it! Also the kit only c=
omes with a modicum of etched brass - mostly grilles, brackets and the trac=
k guides for the idler wheels. I am sure that =93boutique=94 upgrade kits a=
re on the way for those who believe one can never add enough brass!=20
As this kit is designed to replicate the early production tank some differ=
ent parts on the sprues are used. However, a goodly number still go to the =
spares bin.=20
Research and drawing was by Hirohisa Takada, Shin Okada, Minoru Igarashi, =
and the Dragon engineering team. Technical consultants were Tom Cockle and =
Gary Edmundson.=20
The kit provides three different finishing options: 5th Panzer Division, R=
ussia 1941 (NOTE =96 box art disagrees with itself! Directions show sand wi=
th grey and red 123); Pz.Abt. 190, Africa 1942 (sand with grey spots/wear, =
white 113); 21st Panzer Division, North Africa 1942 (sand, black 712). A=93=
targeted=94 sheet of colorful markings is provided by Cartograf.=20
Overall this finally provides the Afrika Korps version of the J model.
Thanks to Freddie Leung for the review sample.=20
Cookie Sewell
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AMPSOne
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