Continuing the subject with the best kits available for The Barkas Build, we are focusing on the main subject in this article – Panzer III tank. Again, Dragon leads the way with kits for Panzer III but I will mention here, that this goes only for production series of Pz.Kpfw. III. The pre-production vehicles are another subject and I will present you with info about those kits as well. There, the picture is very different. No Dragon or Tamiya. But let’s get back to Panzer III production series. I will try to be brief with the words in the article, focusing on presenting you the kits which me, and some other modelers, including Hamilkar Barkas, the reason for The Barkas Build – consider best in the scale and on the market.
First we are starting with Dragon 6394 Panzer III Ausf.J 2 in 1. This kit is considered The Best Panzer III in any scale. I won’t bother you with the box contents and fall into useless explanations why, but shortly described – the combination of accuracy, level of detail, included options and included add-ons in the box make that kit unreachable to any other company and even to any other DML addition to the line of Pz.Kpwf.III sets. It is stunningly well designed and packed in a way that leaves any competition miles behind. It is not a cheap one, but it will definitely worth getting that. Ausf.J was a version widely used, so your imagination is the only limit when working on this piece of art!
Second best to this stands Dragon /again/ 6606 Pz.Kpfw. III Ausf. N with Winterketten. A vehicle from s.Pz.Abt.502 Leningrad 1943. This is again all-in-one set, and this time it features winter tracks as well. It is not a cheap one, but is still relatively easy to be found. It trick here, as with the one above it, is that you don’t need any aftermarket to improve it. It is perfect as a stand alone vehicle OOTB. Nevertheless, Black Dog have released a wonderful stowage set for it, which you can find on eBay for decent money. I like this kit the most for two reasons – obviously the winter tracks and then the winter camo. Those two combined can give you an enourmous weathering opportunities. So if you are in for the mud/dirt/snow/streaks fun, this is the kit to go:
It has photo etch, high level of detail and proven accuracy. It only let down /for some/ is that it is not suitable for novice modelers. But then comes the third kit which well worth the money here and that is Tamiya #35290 Panzer III Ausf.N which is pretty much the same tank without the winterketten and with a slightly lower level of detailing. The assembly on the other hand is second to none because it is Tamiya’s typical genius engineering and famous simplicity. Tamiya is also cheaper version of that tank with the only let down – the fact that you will need aftermarket tracks to make it really sparkle. That will bring the price to the level of those two above, but it will always, and I mean ALWAYS be more pleasurable to be built even including aftermarket tracks.
It is available as a limited edition /probably Japanese market/ set: Tamiya 25159 with Aber PE set and Metal Gun Barrel but for the money you will pay to get it you will collect everything plus the metal tracks and eventually some resin. So I would skip that for purely financial reasons.
Next on the list is Dragon 6632 Pz.Kpfw.III Ausf.F which is a bit earlier version of the Panzer III. I love that kit and I wondered do I mention it here or not and then Hamilkar Barkas himself mentioned it in a discussion about the vehicle that we had. So obviously, I wasn’t the only one who thought this kit is special and is one of the best you can buy out there. Here we have slightly different vision of the tank but with absolutely no compromises in terms of detail and accuracy. It is the true definition of the promo “Smart Kit”, a forgotten art that Dragon granted us few years ago. Even though it is not the meanest looking Pz.III it is definitely a must-have kit.
The very last one I think it’s worth buying is an older tooling of Dragon/Cyber Hobby, which still holds to today’s standards and sometimes even holds better. It is 1/35 Pz.Kpfw.III Ausf. G “Afrika Korps” with bonus German figure set “Deutsche Afrika Korps”, value added brake cooling air-intake cover, smoke candle rack, photo-etched parts for Jerry can rack on turret top and magic track. Or at least that is what description states. It is rather pricey. But if you want to get yourself back to the days when things were more simple, this is the one for you. It doesn’t feature Smart Kit technology nor the countless add-ons seen in today’s kits. However when you start building that kit you quickly realize that this is what modeling is about:
The box might not look like much, it is a Cyber Hobby after all, but contents are one of a kind.
Now, after all said I know that you might find it difficult to choose especially if you are Panzer III fan, but this is not all of it! There will be couple more articles about it, including different scales, different vehicles based on the same chassis and pre-production variants, which are all new toolings and are more than just-attractive. In case that you want to stick to the basis of the vehicle, and you wanna be accurate and to know which one to pick out of many, read again the article. Here you can find the top kits available. Not only my opinion of course. If you want to see for more options.. stay tuned for the next article!