Kit Review: Dragon Models Limited 1/72 Scale Armor Pro Series Kit No.7385; Pz.Kpfw. III Ausf. L Late Production; 116 parts (108 in grey styrene, 6 etched brass, 2 DS Plastic track runs); pre-order price US $17.50 via Dragon USA Online
Advantages: first new kit of a Pzkw. III from DML in several years; based on StuG III kits with same attention to detail
Disadvantages: nothing major noted
Rating: Highly Recommended
Recommendation: for all German small-scale modelers
After a hiatus of several years DML has now returned to 1/72 scale Panzer III kits with this new release of an Ausf. L. Using some of the tooling and parts from the nicely done StuG III kits from 2007, it captures the right look of the L variant with the long 5 cm L/60 gun.
As noted, only sprue D (wheels) and E (the tracks) are retained from the StuG kit. Three new sprues cover the upper hull and turret of the L model and its details.
As before the kit makes a great deal of use of slide molding for its parts. The return rollers are molded together but the slide mold provides for the face details of each pair. The same is true for the gun barrel and a hollow bore as well as some other smaller details.
The hull comes with the places marked in raised lines for the side hatches, but from what information I have late model Ls did not have side hatches. A few careful passes with a knife tip or mini-chisel should remove them. The vision ports have been removed from the turret.
The kit now has supplemental directions for the DS Plastic tracks that advises pulling on them if too short or trimming them if too long: as they do take standard plastic cements this is not a major problem and will ensure a good fit.
The kit comes with six etched brass bits: the engine radiator air intakes and exhaust grilles and the rain shield over the forward spaced armor array. Two braces do not show up in the directions.
Credit is given to Tom Cockle and Gary Edmundson for technical assistance.
The kit offers four finishing options: Pz.Rgt. 25, 7th Panzer Division, South Russia 1943 (whitewash, red 301); Pz.Rgt. 4, 13th Panzer Division, South Russia 1942 (sand with brown, white 7-11); Pz.Rgt. 33, 9th Panzer Division, South Russia 1942 (sand with green blotches, red 421); and SS Wiking Division, Russia 1942 (sand, white115). A targeted sheet of Cartograf decals is provided.
Overall this is a nice (and simple!) kit of a late model Panzer III and should prove popular.
Thanks to Freddie Leung for the review sample.