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Pz.Kpfw.III Ausf.N w/Winterketten

DML 1/35 Pz.Kpfw.III Ausf.N w/Winterketten s.Pz.Abt.502 Leningrad 1943 - Smart Kit First Look

By Cookie Sewell

Date of Review July 2010 Manufacturer DML
Subject Pz.Kpfw.III Ausf.N w/Winterketten s.Pz.Abt.502 Leningrad 1943 - Smart Kit Scale 1/35
Kit Number 6606 Primary Media 837 parts (576 in grey styrene, 216 “Magic Track” links, 26 etched brass, 19 clear styrene)
Pros Builds one specific variant of this tank; “Smart Kit” minimizes the amount of etched brass required Cons Kit does not come with DS tracks, which will disappoint a few modelers
Skill Level Experienced MSRP (USD) $TBA

First Look

There are two sides to every story, and the loss of the first Tiger I in Russia in early 1943 is one of them. The Germans very rarely if ever want to admit these tanks were lost in combat, and the records uncovered by Tom Jentz show that in most cases they only cited damaged tanks repaired and not the cost to the Germans to ensure the tanks were not taken by the enemy.

In early 1943, during one of the battles outside Leningrad the Soviets came upon a broken-down Tiger I and proceeded to try and capture the tank. The Germans fought back furiously and tried stuffing the Tiger with engineer explosives in case they failed. But the Russian counterattack was too stiff and the Germans were driven back, losing the Tiger to the Red Army.

The German version only notes the loss of one Tiger I. The Russian version notes that in addition to the captured Tiger, which had to be cleared of explosives before it could be moved, the Germans also lost five Pzkw. III Ausf. N escort tanks and about 200 infantry in trying to recover the tank. Flummoxed by the enormous bulk of the Tiger, under fire from the Germans the Soviets had to come up with “harness” linked to FIVE T-60 light tanks in order to tow their prize from the battlefield. A few short weeks later, the Tiger was on display in Red Square and later was sent out for range testing for Soviet tank guns.

DML has now released a kit of one of these specific escort tanks, and while it is basically only their original Pzkw. III Ausf. N kit from 2008 they have added a nice set of “Winterketten” with the extended blades on the outside of the track, and also thrown in a set of ice cleats for these tracks.

As such there is little changed from the first kit. However this kit, unlike the others, has an early hull pan is a with the side hatches. It retains the full torsion bar suspension from the other kit and the detailed suspension components and muffler assembly. As with the StuG all hatches are separate with some interior details and can be positioned as the modeler chooses. All engine deck ventilators are spaced and mounted on separate frames to get the correct appearance and “lift” needed to give an accurate representation of the original.

The kit provides some of the options for spaced armor arrays to include the additonal armor. Options also include blackout or clear headlight lenses and the “kugel” mount for the bow machine gun. All viewports and viewers may be positioned open or closed as well.

Once again this kit includes the rudiments of an interior, which accurate as far as they go. This should please the “after market boys” as there is more than enough room for a nice resin interior here and enough ports and hatches to see it.

Once more this kit offers DML “Magic Link” single link 40 cm tracks with the extended blades molded in place. For people who find that tedious, DML has also thrown in a set of 72 ice cleats which have to be cemented to the track links. They provide suggested attachment patterns. Perhaps it is easier and stronger to use “Magic Link” tracks for this configuration.

Technical advice was provided by Tom Cockle and Gary Edmundson.

The kit provides two finishing options: s.Pz.Abt. 502, Leningrad 1943 (whitewash with grey number patches and white 116); and s.Pz.Abt. 503, Eastern Front 1942 (grey with white 142). All markings are targeted and from Cartograf.

Overall while perhaps releasing a separate set of Winterketten and ice cleats would have provided modelers with options for previously purchased kits. this does provide an opportunity for making a known Tiger escort tank.

Thanks to Freddie Leung of Dragon Models USA for the review sample.

Sprue Breakout:

  • A 82 Pzkw III J hull details and turret mounting
  • A 61x2 StuG III Wheels and torsion bars (7 mini-sprues connected)
  • B 11 Pzkw III J upper hull and fenders
  • B 46 StuG III Road wheel arms and lower hull details
  • C 41 Pzkw III J applique armor and details
  • D 31 StuG III basic upper hull details
  • D 35 Pzkw. III J turret details
  • E 15 Pzkw III J turret and mantelet details
  • F 15 Pzkw IV F - turret cupola
  • G 52 Pzkw IV F - turret and hull details
  • G 15 StuG III OVM and light components
  • G 11 Pzkw. III fenders and mantelet parts
  • H 1 Lower hull pan
  • J 8 Machine guns and muzzles
  • L 19 Pzkw. IV L/24 gun
  • L 108 Magic Track - Left
  • 15 Pzkw IV F Clear styrene
  • P 4 Clear styrene
  • R 108 Magic Track - Right
  • W 72 Ice cleats
  • MA 26 Etched brass (6394)