ARM: Review - DML 1/72 scalle Pzkw.III Ausf. M w/Wading Muffler

.? .>Kit Review: Dragon Models Limited 1/72 Scale Armor Pro Series Kit No. 7290; Pz.Kpfw. III Ausf. M w/Wading Muffler; 114 parts (106 in grey styrene, 6 etched brass, 2 DS Plastic track runs); pre-order price US$19.95 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
    DML is following up both its 1/35 line of Panzer III kits and its return to small-scale Panzer III tanks with a new kit of the Ausf. M variant with the elevated “wading” muffler installation and some other tweaks.
    As with the recent Ausf. L and N kits, only sprue D (wheels) and E (the tracks) are retained from the StuG kit. Two new sprues cover the upper hull and turret of the M model and its characteristic muffler installation.
    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 (and hatches on the generic sprue) but from what information I have M models 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 ones in this kit were 154mm versus a recommended length of 158mm.
    The wading muffler consists of three parts and a new plate for the lower side of the rear hull extension. The flaps (open under most circumstances) are molded closed.
    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 five finishing options: 4./SS Pz.Rgt. “Totenkopf”, Pz.Gren.Division “Totenkopf”. Kharkov 1943 (whitewash, black 414); Pz.Rgt.3, 3rd SS Panzer Division “Totenkopf”, South Russia 1943(sand wth brown, black I-3); 23rd Panzer Division, South Russia 1943 (tricolor, red 222); 3./SS Pz.Rgt. “Totenkopf”, SS Panzergrenadier Division “Totenkopf”. Prokhorovka 1943 (sand, white 331); 8./SS Pz.Rgt. “Das Reich:, SS Pz.Gren.Div. “Das Reich”, Kharkov 1943 (grey, white honorific, black 851). A targeted sheet of Cartograf decals is provided. (I just list what DML calls them with the additions of SS or not, I don’t alter their names for the units.)          Overall this is a nice kit of a very late model Panzer III and should prove popular.
    Thanks to Freddie Leung for the review sample.
Cookie Sewell
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