Kit Review: Dragon Models Limited (cyber-hobby.com)1/35 Scale =9139-=9145 Series Kit No. 6474; Pz.Kpfw. III Ausf. N w/Schurzen - Smart Kit; 858 parts (599 in grey styrene, 216 =93Magic Track=94 links, 24 etched brass,19 clear styrene, 8 etched nickel); estimated retail price US$47.50
Advantages: changes out a number of sprues for more recent moldings; offers the schurzen with this kit
Disadvantages: kit does not come with DS tracks, which will disappoint a few modelers
Rating: Highly Recommended
Recommendation: for all WWII German fans, and anyone doing a Tiger I diorama
I was surprised when I got this kit =96 exactly two years after their first kit of the Pzkw. III Ausf. N was released in December 2007 =96 to see how much they had changed from the earlier kit. I had expected that all they would do was simply add the =93Schurzen=94 shield option as they did with the recent StuG III Ausf. G kit; not so.
Even though this kit only has about 20 more parts than its first release (No. 6431) did, DML has replaced or changed eight sprues for parts from the Ausf. M kit or the Pzkw. IV Ausf. H kit, as well as add some other bits as well. They now include the full plastic turret =93schurzen=94 array as well as four etched nickel panels per side for the last variants of this tank.
The hull pan is a later one minus 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 options for 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.
Once again this kit includes the rudiments of an interior, which 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.
This kit continues to offer DML =93Magic Link=94 single link 40 cm tracks. As I have noted many modelers hope for DS tracks to simplify assembly (e.g. two parts to 216) but the tracks provided are correct and the best single link tracks for assembly going. Also the kit only comes with a modicum of etched brass - mostly grilles, brackets and the track guides for the idler wheels.
The kit provides five finishing options: 2nd, 6th and 18th Panzer Divisions, all at Kursk 1943; Panzerbrigade Norwegen, Norway 1945 (three color splotches); and Pz.Abt. 212, Western Front 1944 (sand brown with brown patches). All markings are targeted and from Cartograf.
Overall this is a better version of the Ausf. N and sure to find popularity with Tiger modelers as well.
Thanks to Freddie Leung for the review sample.