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In-Box Review
135
Tauchpanzer III Ausf G
Pz.Kpfw.III (5cm) (T) Ausf.G
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by: Bart Campbell [ CAMPBELLBART ]


Originally published on:
Armorama

Introduction

The Tauchpanzer was developed for a German planned amphibious invasion of Great Britain, code name Operation Sea Lion. A number of Panzer IIIs were converted into diving tanks and had the ability to drive along the seafloor. They were fitted with special breathing apparatuses and the plan was to lower them from ships onto the seafloor near the coast of Britain and have them drive onto the shore. This plan was eventually aborted and the Luftwaffe was used instead.

This kit portrays a Tauchpanzer III Ausf.G, which was the most common version of this tank.

Contents

This kit comes in a standard Dragon Models size box. The sides and back of the box show the special features contained in the kit. The box indicates there are over 400 parts contained in the kit, however, a great deal of these parts are not used for this kit. Dragon Models has used sprues from a variety of previously released kits such as; Pz.Kpfw.III, Stug III, and Tauchpanzer III Ausf. F.

Inside the box you will find;
  • 21 sprues in light grey plastic
  • 3 sprues in clear plastic
  • 2 frets of photo etch
  • a small sheet of decals, instructions
  • 2 x one piece vinyl tracks

Review

Instructions
The instructions are like most Dragon Models kit instructions, very busy and a little difficult to follow for a newer modeller, however, should be no problem to follow for people with some modelling experience.

Lower Hull Assembly
The construction begins with the drive sprocket, idler wheels, return rollers and the road wheels, all of which are nicely moulded and detailed. The road wheels have “CONTINENTAU” (should be an L instead of a U at the end) moulded on the rubber rims and photo etch parts are included for the idler wheels. Assembly continues with the rest of the suspension and running gear which are also nicely detailed. Each road axle is connected to a torsion bar that is slotted through an opening in the hull sidewall and fixes onto the inside of the opposite hull wall. The lower hull also features escape hatches which can be made open or closed.

Fenders
Assembly continues with the fenders. They have the tread plate pattern on both upper and lower surfaces and the details are nicely moulded. The fenders are thinner at the outside edges which make them look to scale unlike a lot of other plastic fenders. The front mud flap is moulded in place; however the rear mud flap is a separate piece. It would have been nice to see both mud flaps as separate pieces. Some, but not all, of the locating holes for the tools are not all the way through which will save a great deal of hole filling if you decided to use photo etch for the tool clamps and if not, are very easy to finish the hole. I do wish Dragon Models would have done this for all of the locating holes instead of just some. The tools and tool clamps are nicely done and very detailed for being in plastic. I was a little disappointed to see Dragon Models did not provide tools without a moulded tool clamps as they have done in previous kits for people wanting to use photo etch.

Upper Hull
Next is the assembly of the upper hull deck which starts with the engine cover. All the hatches on the engine deck can be glued in either open or closed position. Dragon Models gives the option of fitting the tow cable or not. The cable itself is moulded in styrene, with all the holders/clamps moulded on to it. The cable and holders are cast very fine with nice detail. The other option is to just use the holders/clamps and not have the cable. This is a nice option to have. There are separate crew hatches on the front of the vehicle, both of which have detail on their internal surfaces. The front glacis and upper hull sides are well detailed as well. The vision blocks on the hull sides are designed so they can be made opened or closed. The instructions have you take a break from the upper hull to assemble the main gun and commander cupola. After constructing these portions of the turret the hull is fully assembled. During this phase the smoke grenade rack with smoke grenades is assembled. Photo etch chain is provided for the grenades.

Turret
The turret is the next part in the assembly. The commander’s cupola can be made opened or closed and is provided with transparent periscopes. Each half of the hatch is separate with internal detail as well. The barrel for the main 5cm Kw.K38 L/42 gun is a one piece part with some breech detail. All of the crew hatches can be modelled open or closed with some interior details.

Tracks
The tracks are the final step in assembly and Dragon Models did not save best for last. The one piece vinyl tracks are well detailed for vinyl tracks but are a far cry from the individual links people have come to expect in newer Dragon Models kits.

Painting and Markings
The kit provides the standard water slide transfer decals with the option of three different vehicles; Two from 2./Pz/Rgt.35, 4.Pz.Div, 1941
one from Pz.Abt.D, 1940
All three tanks are to be painted in German grey.

Conclusion

This is a very nice kit and I recommend it for anyone wishing to build a great kit straight from the box. The moulding is fine and crisp and there is very little clean up required which could assist in making this a quick build. The instructions can be a bit busy which may be confusing for newer modellers, however anyone with some experience should have no problem. This will make a great model straight from the box and can easily be updated if one chooses. The only major flaw, in my opinion, is the tracks. I’m not sure why Dragon Models has decided to switch back to “old school” type tracks, perhaps to draw in modellers who shy away from individual track links. If this is the case, I think it would be better to provide both one piece and individual links to give modellers the option.

SUMMARY
Highs: High quality and detailed casting. Very little clean up required before assembly.
Lows: Tracks are the "old school" type. Instructions are busy to look at and may be difficult to follow for a new modeller.
Verdict: This kit would be a great build straight from the box and could be easily updated with a new set of tracks.
Percentage Rating
85%
  Scale: 1:35
  Mfg. ID: 6773
  Suggested Retail: $54.95
  Related Link: http://www.dragon-models.com/d-m-item.asp?pid=DRA6
  PUBLISHED: Jan 06, 2014
  NATIONALITY: Germany
NETWORK-WIDE AVERAGE RATINGS
  THIS REVIEWER: 84.50%
  MAKER/PUBLISHER: 86.19%

Our Thanks to Dragon USA!
This item was provided by them for the purpose of having it reviewed on this KitMaker Network site. If you would like your kit, book, or product reviewed, please contact us.
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About Bart Campbell (campbellbart)
FROM: ONTARIO, CANADA

Copyright ©2017 text by Bart Campbell [ CAMPBELLBART ]. Images also by copyright holder unless otherwise noted. Opinions expressed are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of TankRat's. All rights reserved.


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Comments

Great review Bart... All these Panzer lll kits are great , I'm still waiting for the Desert G to come out.. I understand the track problem and I too think it would be great to have the choice in the box of which type to use or at least if we could buy them separately (cheap) . Good job ! Rick
JAN 06, 2014 - 10:48 AM
Great review! I agree with Rick; the Panzer II kits are easy to build and really well done.
JAN 06, 2014 - 06:46 PM
While I would really welcome a Tauchpanzer III, this won't be the one for me. I will not buy another Dragon Panzer that doesn't include Magic Tracks. I absolutely LOVE those tracks and I just can't bring myself to encourage them in their switch to the DS rubber bands by buying their latest kits. I think the DS tracks are fine for US armor, but not for Soviet or German. That being said, I am also disappointed that this kit doesn't include the "disposable" diving equipment that would have been needed for submerged river crossings (like the Bug during the invasion). I realize the frames are there around the mantlet and bow MG as well as the inflatable ring around the base of the turret, so one can build a post-invasion vehicle, but the fabric covers for the guns and cupola and the breathing tube for the turret do not seem to be included. Perhaps they are just providing an opening for the aftermarket folks (like their M48A3 without the fabric pieces and searchlight), but I think it's just as likely that they'll eventually come out with a Premium edition Ausf G or maybe an Ausf H that has everything. I've got 3 different Ausf N kits in my stash next to my 3 Stug IIIG and 4 Panzer IVE kits. I've finally learned to wait for exactly what I want from Dragon. That has me waiting for the Afrika Korps Panzer IIIG as well as a Panther A with Zimmerit. Just my 2 cents... Thanks for the excellent review. I was wondering what was in the box since their assembled kit photos are missing some of the parts.
JAN 06, 2014 - 08:09 PM
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