Takom- 1/35 Pz.Kpfw.III Ausf. M mit schürzen
For the First Look review of this kit- head here: https://www.amps-armor.org/SiteReviews/ShowReview.aspx?id=14581
So heading into building this, I had seen some friends who were building this kit having fit issues with theirs so I proceeded with caution. There were a few times where I had some fidgety issues, but in the end things worked out after some careful attention. Let's get into it...
The first few steps have you attaching the suspension arms, return rollers, and road wheels to the lower hull tub. There are pegs and holes to line things up correctly, although they are a bit shallow so care is needed. Putting the two wheels of each of the 12 road wheel pairs together is a bit of a trick, as there is a bit of flash that needs cleaning up on the mating surfaces. The spare track links that make up the front add-on protection are next. The rear end armor and muffler with pipes concludes steps 4-6. You have the option of having the hatches for the exhaust area open or closed, but with nothing to show inside I closed them.
Steps 7 & 8 have you attach the sprockets, rear idlers, and the link and length tracks. There is no indication for the directionality of applying the tracks, but the sketch of the front view on the back cover of the instructions proved helpful. The longer lengths were a bit tricky to get attached- but in the end they came out alright.
Steps 9-15 are about attaching the engine hatches, schürzen brackets, headlights, tool box, mudguards, and tools and tow cables. I actually left these off until after painting.
Step 16 has you attach the hull top to the lower half and the front plate atop the glacis. The PE schürzen get added to the attached frames on step 17, but I actually attached the plates to the frames, and then the frames to the brackets as adding them was a tricky fit and I didn't want to try messing with CA glue without being able to manipulate things off the frames.
Steps 18-21 involves assembly of the small bits to the turret, the rear stowage box, smoke grenade launchers and frames, side hatches, and commander cupola. The stowage box did not attach so well to the turret back...I would've liked to see some better attachment points there.
Steps 22 & 23 are about assembling the mantlet, gun breech, barrel, and assembling it all to the turret and turret ring. Everything fit pretty well here, bringing us to step 24 to the turret schürzen. You can pose the middle plate part leading to the turret hatches open, but with no interior, I closed everything. You then add the turret to the hull and you're done.
Painting and Weathering
As mentioned in the First Look, there are four scheme possibilities in the kit- all Kursk based. I chose the third scheme- 6. Kompanie, Panzer Regiment 11, 6th Panzer Division from July 1943. I used the Early/Mid-War German Colors set from AMMO and AMMO washes and pigments for weathering. I left off a couple of the PE schürzen for some added realism.
I was pleased to see Takom focus on one of my favorite German tanks. My only hope is that the option for all of the open hatches might mean that they will eventually release an interior kit like they have done with the previous Panthers. The Blitz kits are a nice option for those not interested in such things and are much more reasonably priced. There were definitely some fit issues- not something typical of most Takom kits I have built. However, with careful dry fitting and planning, the issues were minimized and I ended up with a good looking representation of this iconic German tank. Hopefully if there are further releases, we can get some more varied scheme options.
Highly Recommended for Beginner to Advanced builders- despite a few minor fit issues.
Thanks goes out to Takom for this review kit.
Reviewed by Michael Reeves, AMPS Albany
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