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Monday, April 20, 2015

Review: Plastic Soldier Company Panzer III J-N

If you listen to the News from the Front show at all, you know I love me a Panzer III.  I was very excited when I saw that The Plastic Soldier Company was making a new Panzer III J-N box set to go with their earlier Panzer III box set.  Being me, I cannot possibly have enough Panzer IIIs in the collection, so I went ahead and got myself a box (...or two...) as soon as I could.

My first task was to follow Steven's advice, and get some Panzer III Ns for my LW Hermann-Goering collection.  Please note that this set comes with FIVE models, but I did four for this review, as that is what my collection required.

Wow, does this kit have the options, or what?  Six different versions of the Pz III is really nice.  I did find the parts list a little hard to read, but just remember to use everything grey or green UNLESS you see an option in the color of your particular model.  Use the reference pictures if you need to.  Once you get the first one assembled, it is a piece of cake.

The instructions are pretty good for this kit.  With so many models and just one instruction sheet, they did a good job of getting the essentials in there.  Remember to match your parts list with the instructions, as a pictured part may not be needed for your build.

It is old hat now, but the single piece tracks from PSC are the best.  I found that the attachment points are very smartly placed to minimize showing on your final model - always a good thing.  There are a ton of options here, so be careful when getting your parts out.  Dreams of two turrets are dashed, as there are just not enough spare parts to make it happen.  You do get plenty of extra parts, like gas cans, spare wheels and track pieces, so load up if you want to.

The detail in the kit is very impressive, with very crisp lines.

As with most quality plastic kits, there are quite a few parts (I had one extra in the picture , and left one out - doh!).  I REALLY do not like assembly, but I thought this was not too bad.  I found that the mold lines are quite fine and were not hard to clean up at all.

Attaching the Schurzen to the turret was remarkably easy.  On the rear section, there is a lip that lets you line up perfectly.  I did find that getting the tabs to stick to the turret is a little fiddly, but it all seemed to hold up well in the end.  I was afraid that the connection would be fragile and move, but that was not the case - it all held fast after completion.

The attachment for the side skirts is really solid.  That rail parallel to the ground fits perfectly on the fenders, making it very easy to line up, and provides a very solid base for attachment.  Again, I was concerned about these being fragile, but that was not the case after a full drying of the glue.

Here, the tank is assembled and ready for primer.  As you can see in this picture, there is a depression in the Schurzen running parallel to the ground.  I did not fill this in as - well, it would be a pain in the rear - and I also wanted to see if it was less noticeable when the model is complete.

Though not pictured, the size of the tank is very compatible with Battlefront resin Panzer IIIs, which I will be using these models alongside.  It seems to me that PSC has up-scaled their more recent kits to fit the more chunky look of other manufacturers.

All primed up and ready for a base coat.  The models take the paint very nicely and I had no problems at all.

Hmm... looks like the depression is still visible.  Since I am doing a camouflage scheme, there is still hope for concealing this.  If your build anticipates a solid color, you may want to think about filling this depression in.

Here, I have completed the basic camo scheme - trying to match a model I did four years ago.  I am going for the "put on in the field with rags" look, and I think I got it.  As you can see, the size is comparable to the Battlefront model, but some of the details -- like the Schurzen -- look slightly different.

The finished platoon.  I was happy with the final product, though you can still see the depression in the Schuzen if you look very, very closely.

The details in this kit are very, very good.  The wash I use really pulls out the details and looks great.

Overall, I give this kit a 4 out of 5 Ice Cream Cones.  At USD$25.99, I think that this is a good value.  I would like to see the depression on the side skirts fixed, and I sure would love to see decals included with this kit.

Miniatures provided by WWPD.

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