Dragon 1/35 Pz.Kpfw. III ausf J (initial production)
|REVIEWER:||Scott Van Aken|
The Panzer III was Germanyís main battle tank for the first couple of years of WWII, with earlier Panzer IV variants serving primarily as close-support weapons. However, after Pz.Kpfw.III tanks began encountering more heavily armored T-34 and KV-1 tanks during the invasion of Russia, existing Panzer III models were found to be inadequate for the task. One solution was to up-gun the tank with a longer and more powerful 5cm KwK 38 L/42 cannon, and to add more armor to the vehicle. Thus the Panzer III Ausf.J was born. It featured 50mm-thick solid armor plates on the front and rear of the hull, an increase from the previous 30mm-thick armor plates. Among other modifications, the new armor resulted in a ball-mount MG being fitted on the front superstructure and a redesigned driverís visor. A total of 482 of these initial version tanks were produced starting in March and ending in December 1941.
Dragon's initial production of the Panzer III caused quite a stir amongst armor fans. It was lauded at the time as being the best and most accurate Panzer III kit yet produced. As time has moved on, Dragon has made updates and improvements over that original kit and the latest version is the ausf J initial production. Features of this kit are:
All of that amounts to nearly 700 parts. Many of those are, to be sure, a result of the Magic Tracks individual link track system. Instructions are comprehensive and show any optional bits and pieces. I like that the left and right tracks are not the same color so that makes it easier to assemble them properly. Markings are provided for three tanks. All are in overall panzer grey. Two are with the 2.Pz.Div in Russia during 1941 while the third is with the 11.Pz.Div during the same time. The markings for these are more colorful than the norm for tanks and are provided on a nicely printed decal sheet.
Tank fans will be pleased that this sub-variant has been produced and it adds to a growing catalogue of military vehicles. From what I've seen, this is a popular tank as the LHS sold theirs quite quickly.
Thanks to www.dragonmodelsusa.com for the preview kit. Get yours today at your local shop or on-line retailer.
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