Pz.Kpfw.III.Ausf.M with wading muffler

Published: September 9th, 2012     
Box Art
Box Art
Reviewed by: Jim Pearsall - IPMS# 2209
Scale: 1/72
Company: Dragon Models
Price: $20.00
Product / Stock #: 7290
Product provided by: Dragon Models USA

A note: I reviewed the Dragon PzKw III Ausf L about 5 months before I got this kit. I covered the history more exhaustively in that review.

The Panzer

The Panzer III was built by Daimler-Benz, and the A models were first produced in 1937. The first mass production version was the Ausf F, which entered service in 1939, just in time for Poland.

The Panzer III was upgunned and armor added due to the experiences in Russia in 1941 and '42. The Ausfurungs J through M were equipped with the 50mm KWK L39/60 gun, which could penetrate the T-34's front armor at ranges under 500 meters.

This model of the M had a modification to the exhaust system where the muffler was mounted near the top of the rear, allowing the tank to ford streams and shallow rivers.

The Kit

Dragon has mastered the art of packaging kits so that they can be put in the box easily at the factory, and will survive almost any handling. The sprues are in a sealed plastic bag. The special sprue for this kit was b. There are also two frets with PE parts.

The lower hull and suspension are one part, which is a good thing in 1/72 scale. The upper hull is also a single part. This also makes for ease of assembly and strength for the completed model.

Assembly

I decided to do the winter camouflage, so I painted all the parts on the trees Testors Model Master Enamel Panzer Gray, then applied an over coat of acrylic white. The acrylic has trouble giving solid coverage of the dark gray, which is the effect I wanted. I then applied a brown wash to the area of the hull where the tracks go, plus the running gear.

Assembly begins with the drive sprockets, idlers, road wheels, and return rollers. These are attached to the lower hull in step 2.

I ran into a problem with Step 3. Part A5 is misidentified as A10, and A10 is not identified at all. The drawing looks like this is all one part, but it's two. It took me about an hour to figure this out.

Fit is excellent everywhere; the plastic parts worked marvelously with Tamiya Extra Thin Cement. I had to use CA to put the fenders on, as there just wasn't enough contact area for Tamiya Extra Thin to provide the bond I needed to stand up to handling. I suppose a more adept builder wouldn't have to go to this extreme, but...

Painting and Decals

Since I had pre-painted the kit, I put on a coat of Future and applied the markings. The decals were great, but we've come to expect that from Cartograf. They came off the backing paper cleanly, stayed together during the poking and prodding needed for alignment, and then stayed where I put them. I used a little Micro-Sol under each decal, and that seems to be the method that works.

Finishing

When I got to Step 7, I discovered that part A37 was to be used twice. Hmmm, only one part. Most of another hour finally gave me the idea that this was the antenna and case. If you put the antenna down, as I had already built it, then you use A37 as it comes from the sprue. If you clip off the angle part and add a piece of stretched sprue, you can put the antenna up and attach the case as a separate part. But they didn't 'splain that.

I attached the wading muffler last. I painted it Jet Exhaust Metallic, which is metallic brown, and then added a rust wash and a coat of clear flat.

And it was done.

Overall evaluation

Highly recommended. The kit has no real problems as far as fit, it's an interesting subject, the photoetch and decals are very good. I had some problems with the instructions, but that's why we do these reviews, so you know about these problems. This kit is listed as an "Armor Pro" kit. Any experienced modeler can turn out a presentable Panzer III in a short time. I enjoyed this project, and it goes nicely with the brown Panzer III.

Thanks to Dragon USA for the kit, and to Steve and IPMS/USA for the chance to build it.

  • PE parts added
    PE parts added
  • Painted
    Painted
  • Front
    Front
  • Left
    Left
  • Right
    Right
  • Panzer IIIs
    Panzer IIIs
  • Muffler difference
    Muffler difference

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