Dragon 1/35 PzKfw III ausf N (Afrika Korps)

KIT: Dragon 1/35 PzKfw III ausf N (Afrika Korps)
KIT #: 6431
DECALS: Four options
REVIEWER: Scott Van Aken
NOTES: Smart Kit


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 another one of Dragon's Smart Kits. Basically, these kits come with everything you need to build a superlative model. No need to spend the money on aftermarket pieces for these kits. This one comes with Dragon's Magic Tracks individual track links, a couple of sheets of etched brass for things like engine screens, the weld detail for the Jerry cans, a Jerry can rack, as well as some additional parts to fit on the exterior of the hull.

There are over 700 superbly molded pieces that include slide molded gun barrel that has interior rifling. A new gun mantlet, one-piece hull, new tooled turret, optional extra armor, asymmetric storage bins, smoke generators and a number of other new parts and options. Part of the new hull mold is fully detailed torsion bar suspension pieces. All makes for a most completely detailed kit.

Instructions are standard Dragon with very well drawn steps and detail bits to help get things on just right. Gunze and Model Master paint references are part of the package. As all the tanks are with Abt. 501, they differ basically in hull number as all are in Panzer Yellow (Desert Tan).  A small and well printed decal sheet in included.


Overall, another superlative Dragon standard scale armor kit. The depth of detail and sheer parts count should be enough to keep a modeler happy and busy for many hours.

February 2008

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