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Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Bolt Action - Review: Hobby Armor Depot Panzer III L

One of the most iconic - and my personal favorite - panzers of World War Two was the Panzer III.  The Panzer III was the work horse of the German Army between 1939 and 1943.  While the Panther stole the show at Kursk, half the German Panzer force was made up of Panzer IIIs.  The Panzer III saw action in every theatre the German Army fought in.  From Algeria to  Leningrad, panzer commanders blitzkrieg'ed their foes from the turrets of their Panzer IIIs.  

In Bolt Action, you can field your Panzer IIIs in all variants, with the L model being the best equipped. This medium tank is equipped with a medium anti-tank gun and two MMGs.  While you might not find yourself taking one in a standard reinforced platoon, that has no restrictions, the Panzer III L is a cool medium tank selection for the theatre selectors it is available in.  

I snagged my Panzer III (since taking the photos I picked up another) from Hobby Armor Depot, which makes cheap 1/48 scale resin kits.  I have previously done a full review of the company which you can check out in our T-34/85 article.   Of all the Hobby Armor Depot tanks I have, the Panzer III L is one of the better ones.  The resin is still light, but the tracks had good detail and there were no major issues with any other parts of the tank.  Which is good, because many of their models are miscast, misshaped, or have funky modeling issues.

Here is the Hobby Armor Depot Panzer III L next to a Panzer III N from Tamiya.    As you can see the scale is fairly similar, with the HAD model being slightly taller.  While the detail on the Tamiya model is more crisp, the HAD model still has a decent level of detail.  The HAD models come pre assembled and this Panzer III came with a catiwompus track.  Speaking of tracks the Tamiya tracks look a lot better.

The detail from the top down is also similar, but different.   I am worried the barrel, which is made of resin, could break easily.  However if you are gaming in 1/48, you plastic models kits could break easily too.  The armored skirts and front plate on the Tamiya model was a pain to glue.  Its nice not having to worry about assembly with the HAD model.

Here is the back deck.  When I first put these models side by side I was investigating the recast allegations and was checking the HAD model and Tamiya model for similarities and differences.  If you look closely there are slight differences in their back deck.

The MMG was a nail, like with the T-34/85, and every other HAD tank I have bought.  I clipped the head off so it wasn't an obvious nail.  It doesn't look terrible, but its still a nail gun.

Again HAD models is a decent alternative for budget gamers.  Their models are about $20 a piece and they have one of the largest ranges of models out there if you game in 1/48.  The quality is poor to average, but if you don't have a lot of funds check them out.  I have continued to research the recast issue for you BARbarians, but I not been able to find definitive evidence of recasting to date.  Join us on the Forums and we can chat more about HAD.

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