|REVIEWER:||Scott Van Aken|
The Panzerkampfwagen III, commonly known as the Panzer III, was a medium tank developed in the 1930s by Germany, and was used extensively in World War II. The official German ordnance designation was Sd.Kfz. 141. It was intended to fight other armoured fighting vehicles and serve alongside and support the Panzer IV; however, as the Germans faced the formidable T-34, more powerful anti-tank guns were needed, and since the Panzer IV had more development potential, it was redesigned to mount the long-barrelled 7.5 cm KwK 40 gun. The Panzer III effectively became obsolete in the anti-tank role and was supplanted by the Panzer IV. From 1942, the last version of Panzer III mounted the 7.5 cm KwK 37 L/24, better suited for infantry support. Production of the Panzer III ended in 1943. However, the Panzer III's capable chassis provided hulls for the Sturmgeschütz III assault gun until the end of the war.
Panzer III Ausf. N was an Infantry support tank, armed with a short-barrelled 7.5 cm KwK 37 L/24 gun. 700 were produced or re-equipped from 1942 and 1943.
Most small scale armor builders of a certain age built quite a few ESCI kits. They offer good detail and their nicely done link and length tracks. These are generally easier to paint than the vinyl of the time and often preferred to individual link.
The kit starts you out building the suspension and attaching the road wheels to the side panels Then those are joined to the lower hull piece and the end plates attached prior to gluing on the upper hull. The turret is two sides that trap the movable barrel section. The gun mantlet and barrel are then attached along with the upper portion of the turret, cupola and the bustle.
This kit comes with the side skirts for the hull and the turret The skirts and attachment bits are on a separate sprue so you can do without them if you choose. They are really overly thick for this scale, but the only other option is p.e. which many would rather avoid.
In all, it is a nice kit with good detail that rivals what Dragon and others produce. Italeri owns the ESCI and ERTL molds from what I understand so you can also find this kit in Italeri boxes. Instructions are well done and there is a small decal sheet for the box art vehicle.
One can often find these ESCI kits for a fraction of the cost of modern 1/72 toolings. Well worth picking up if you locate them
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