Dragon 1/72 Panzer III ausf N 'DAK'
|REVIEWER:||Scott Van Aken|
|NOTES:||Armor Pro kit|
The Panzer III was intended as the primary battle tank of the German forces, and early in the war, it was quite capable of performing that function. However, when it initially met the KV and T-34 tanks in mid 1941, it proved to be inferior in both armor and gun power. To meet the growing need to counter these tanks, the Panzer III was up-gunned with a longer, more powerful 50-millimetre (1.97 in) cannon and received more armour although this failed to effectively address the problem caused by the KV tank designs. As a result, production of self-propelled guns, as well as the up-gunning of the Panzer IV was initiated.
In 1942, the final version of the Panzer III, the Ausf. N, and subject of this kit, was created with a 75-millimetre (2.95 in) KwK 37 L/24 cannon, a low-velocity gun designed for anti-infantry and close-support work. For defensive purposes, the Ausf. N was equipped with rounds of hollow charge ammunition which could penetrate 70 to 100 millimetres (2.76 to 3.94 in) of armour depending on the round's variant but these were strictly used for self-defense.
The Japanese government allegedly bought two Panzer III's from their German allies during the war. Purportedly this was for reverse engineering purposes, since Japan put more emphasis on the development of new military aircraft and naval technology and relatively little on the development of new tanks. The vehicles apparently weren't delivered until 1943 however, by which time much of the Panzer III's technology had arguably already become obsolete.
Many consider the Dragon range of 1/72 military vehicles to be the best around. For sure they seem to have great detail and that is what many modelers seek. This one continues their growing range of panzers by offering a nice Afrika Korps boxing.
The kit includes a single piece hull with a one-piece upper surface. The Panzer III had quite a few road wheels and so it is with this kit. In fact, I would have to say that about half the parts count is wheels, rollers and sprockets. There are even spares to attach on the fenders.
The kit provides a nice photo etch enhancement in the form of intake and exhaust grilles, something that is perfect for this medium. The kit also includes Dragon's superb DS tracks. The turret includes a nicely done gun and mantlet along with the bustle that was used on this version.
Instructions are well done with a full color painting guide. Two options are given, both in overall desert tan. Both are with sPz. Abt. 501 in Tunisia during 1942/43. The small sheet provides more markings than are shown so one could use them if so desired.
A very nice addition to the Dragon line. I personally like DAK tanks and some of the few German 1/72 tanks I have built have been from this field of operations. This one should make into a real beauty when done.
Thanks to www.dragonmodelsusa.com for the preview kit. Get yours today at your local retailer.
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