Dragon 1/35 Panzer III ausf N w/Winterketten
|REVIEWER:||Scott Van Aken|
On January 11, 1934, following specifications laid down by Heinz Guderian, the Army Weapons Department drew up plans for a medium tank with a maximum weight of 24,000 kg and a top speed of 35 km/h. It was intended as the main tank of the German Panzer divisions, capable of engaging and destroying opposing tank forces.
Daimler-Benz, Krupp, MAN, and Rheinmetall all produced prototypes. Testing of the prototypes took place in 1936 and 1937, leading to the Daimler-Benz design being chosen for production. The first Panzer III A came off the assembly line in May of 1937, and a total of ten, two of which were unarmed, were produced in 1937. Mass production of the tank, then in model III F, began in 1939.
Between 1937 and 1940, attempts were made to standardize parts between Krupp's Panzer IV and Daimler-Benz's Panzer III.
Much of the early development work on the Panzer III was a quest for a suitable suspension. Several varieties of leaf-spring suspensions were tried on Ausf A through D before the torsion-bar suspension of the Ausf E was standardized. The Panzer III, along with the Soviet KV heavy tank, was one of the first tanks to use this suspension design.
The Panzer III was intended as the main battle tank of the German forces. It outclassed most of the tanks of the time However, when it initially met the Soviet KV and T-34 tank designs it proved to be inferior. To meet the growing need to counter the T-34 the Panzer III was upgunned with the 50mm KwK 39 L/60 and received more armor which made it a very formidable opponent for the T-34. This still failed to address the problem caused by the KV tanks though, so in 1942, several self propelled guns as well as the longer barreled 75mm Kwk 40 L/43 Panzer IV Ausf F2 and the Panzer IV Ausf G were developed and produced.
In 1942, the Ausf N model of the Panzer III (and the subject of this kit) was created with an L/24 75 mm gun, a low-velocity gun designed for anti-infantry and close-support work. For defensive purposes however, it did carry a few rounds of hollow charge ammunition which could penetrate 70-100mm of armor depending on the round's variant but these were strictly used for self-defensive purposes.
This is at least the third Panzer III auf N that Dragon has done and it is not surprising as the kit has proved to be quite popular with builders. Over the years, Dragon has continually improved their kits and this one is no exception. The highlight of this kit is the inclusion of the wider winterketten tracks as part of their Magic Tracks. These special tracks also include the ice cleats that fit into the tracks at intervals. There is a lot more to be said about the kit so here is the PR stuff from Dragon to clue you in to some of the features.-Brand new winterketten track w/realistic detail
Yet another fine armor kit for those who like German tanks. This one should build into a superb replica and look great on your shelf.
Thanks to www.dragonmodelsusa.com for the preview kit. Get yours today at your local shop or on-line retailer.
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