Trumpeter 1/35 Pz.Kpfw.38(t) Ausf.E/F Kit First Look
|Date of Review
|Simple build, nice exterior detailing
When Germany occupied Czechoslovakia, one of the first items on the Wehrmacht's shopping list was control of the Czech armor factories that were turning out tanks with superior firepower then their Panzer I and Panzer II main tanks. These tanks would continue to be manufactured and were designated as PzKpfw 38(t).
The model E/F tank featured a 37mm Skoda main gun and two 7.92mm machine guns. The tank had a crew of four, could carry up to 72 rounds for the main gun, and had a maximum speed of 42 kph, thanks to the 150 horsepower diesel engine. The E/F was also equipped with additional 25mm armor plates bolted to the front of the tank to increase its armor protection to 50mm from the frontal aspect.
The PzKpfw 38(t) was used extensively by the Wehrmacht in the Polish, French and Balkans campaigns. After these tanks were considered obsolete, their chassis were used as the basis of a number of combat and support vehicles including the Hetzer.
Trumpeter has jumped into the Panzer 38(t) family of armored vehicles with this Ausf.E/F variant. The kit is actually an easly build and seems to follow the KISS (keep it simple stupid) principal nicely. The tank is not over-engineered and is primarily an externally detailed kit (no interior) hence the very reasonable price. The kit is molded in desert tan styrene and presented on ten parts trees of parts plus a separately packaged lower hull and a single fret of photo-etched parts.
Assembly of the kit appears to be straightforward with the lower hull leading off the process. This includes the road wheels and suspension, drive sprockets and return rollers, and lower hull details. The forward plate has the tow hooks and spare track stowage while the rear hull plate has tow hooks, rear lights, stowage box, etc.
Half of the trees in this kit are individual track links BUT these don't go all the way around the wheels. Like the ESCI armor kits of old, this kit also has two long runs of track molded in one piece (one for each side) where the tank rests on the ground and four shorter runs for where the track lifts up to the return rollers and drive sprockets. Just like the ESCI kits.
The upper hull has some nicely done pioneering tools that mount onto the fenders including that unique heavy jack mounted onto a cradle.
One nice feature in the kit is the complete gun detailing. The main gun, coaxial machine gun and bow machine gun have the interior details as well as what extends out of the hull. This has promise for some interior detailing should you wish to go there.
The turret is next and has seats inside for the gunner and commander.
Markings are included for two examples, one Panzer Gray tank with hull number 833 and the other in the tri-color sand/brown/green wearing generic German crosses on the turret.
After all of the super-detailed kits that Trumpeter has released in this scale, it is really interesting to see a simple kit that still has some nice detailing on the exterior but isn't so detailed that it won't appeal to less experienced modelers. The use of photo-etch is minimal and the use of the ESCI-styled track assembly will be a good tutorial for those who haven't attempted (or mastered) the art of individual track links.
My sincere thanks to Stevens International for this review sample!