The Panzer III was a medium-weight tank that, at the outbreak of WWII, was designed to be the primary platform of the all-conquering panzer divisions. A number of specialized variants were created based on standard gun tanks, and one of these was the Panzerbeobachtungswagen III (Sd.Kfz.143). Kit features detailed exterior, one-piece lower hull with detail, engine hatches can be assembled open/closed, optional observation periscope, tooled starter crank port can be assembled open/closed, cupola hatches assembled open/closed, vision ports open/closed, exhaust pipes with hollow ends, photo-etch parts (brackets, air-intake grills, antenna, and more), separately molded on-vehicle tools, clear parts, sprockets and idler and road wheels, vinyl track lengths. Decals and markings for (2) vehicles: Abt.500 Eastern Front 1943 and Unidentified Unit 1942.
The Panzer III Ausf.M succeeded the Ausf.L. It shared the same 5cm KwK39 L/60 main gun and among its modifications was a deep-wading muffler with a series of associated hatch seals that allowed fording of water obstacles up to a depth of 1.3m. To meet popular demand, Dragon has released its newest Panzer III kit – an Ausf.M equipped with Schürzen, which were protective steel plates designed to stymie enemy anti-tank weapons. Furthermore, Dragon’s kit depicts a tank participating in the largest-ever tank conflagration, the Battle of Kursk in July 1943, that involved a staggering 8,000 tanks!
The Kursk pedigree of this 1/35 scale tank is immediately obvious in the stunning box-top illustration portraying a Panzer III M of 2.Panzer-Division fighting during this gargantuan battle. Meanwhile, inside the box lie all the necessary and desirable ingredients to create a spectacular Panzer III M from this period. The Schürzen plates are produced in a true-to-scale thickness, and the brackets on which the skirts are mounted are sophisticated and accurate. Offered as a Smart Kit, it is extremely well engineered and the parts separation is cleverly handled by the design team. Markings for vehicles in the Battle of Kursk are available in the form of Cartograf decals, including 2.Pz.Div. That means this kit shares the same divisional markings as the Panzer III Ausf.N and Panzer IV Ausf.G kits already available. Modelers can thus make a trio of tanks fighting at Kursk!.
Review by Cookie Sewell at missing-lynx.com:
- Advantages: first new foray into the supplemental Pzkw. III tanks; many options for specific display or finishing; “Smart Kit” minimizes the amount of etched brass required
- Disadvantages: kit does not come with Magic Track single link tracks, which will disappoint a few modelers
- Rating: Highly Recommended
- Recommendation: for all WWII German fans
Review by Jacob Hederstierna-Johnse [HEDERSTIERNA] at Amorama:
- This is a really nice and well executed kit. It represents the Panzerbeobachtungswagen III ausf.F very well and it can be produced into a great kit straight from the box. Dragon Models has paid a lot of attention to even the smallest detail, which in the end will make this kit top of the line. Maybe they are preparing a late version of this vehicle, and thereby giving us some schürzen to add on. I highly recommend this kit, and I’m sure Dragon Models will keep pressing on to give us these and maybe even more impressive kits in the future. I thank you for this fine review sample.