Something rather pretty has rocked up from Warlord Games, their new plastic Panzer III kit! As I'm sure many of you are aware I'm a big fan of Warlord Recent StuG III kit, and when this was first announced I assumed it would essentially be the same running gear parts and just new superstructure. This was wrong, and the kit is a totally new design from Warlord/Italeri. This model was a review sample provided for my by Warlord, and came without instructions and decals, however these will be included in the release models, however I can't comment on them at this time.
Warlord/Italeri's Panzer III allows you to build an Ausf J with short barrelled 50mm gun, a J with a long 50mm gun, as well as the type L, M, and N variants, with their respective levels of up armouring and schurzen plates. Also included is a rather nice commander figure, and a few lengths of spare track to use as stowage if you so wish. The model is very cleanly molded in Warlords standard dark grey plastic.
The Panzer III more than any other of the vehicles takes a step closer to being a scale model, and has many small and very refined details.
That's not to mean you have to slavishly build tons of tiny parts to get your tank on the table, you can skip as many or as few as you like if you want to get something on the table, as the fit is very very good.
One thing that is worth noting though is there are a few small holes you may need to drill out if you want to add Schurzen plates for type L, M or N.
I expect the kit's instructions will differentiate which variants carried which combination of equipment and armament, however the weapons are a superb plug fit and I've built mine so that I can switch between the three, and they live in side the tank when not in use!
I built this one as an earlier Ausf J, as would have been seen in around 1942 during the advance to places like Stalingrad, and the fighting in North Africa. Despite not having instructions and having to do a bit of research into how this version was armoured with regards to the extra bolt on armour in the kit, construction took around 45 minutes or so, and was very satisfying.
Special mention should go to the tracks. Warlord have moved away from the upper and lower track sections seen on their earlier kits, to 4 piece lengths per side. This allows better, crisper detail around the sprockets and idler, and also makes a neater, more seamless join.
I painted my Panzer using Vallejo 867 Dark Blue Grey over a grey primer, and then used a bit of blister packing foam to add chips, before following up with some washes using artists oils. I was going to add more fancy modulation, but decided to add dust instead using Games Workshop Agrellan earth painted on thick, then wiped off using a finger tip or cotton bud. a light dust of some MiG Pigments and the Panzer was done.
To summarize, This is a very good, accurate model of a Panzer III that can cover a lot of different versions and periods. Details is excellent and in scale, and the gun barrels are pre drilled for the main armament. The only thing not straight from the box here is the antenae, which I added from wire, and the markings are from my decal stash.
At £18 Warlords new Panzer represents excellent value, and is very highly recommended.
Next week I'll be building another of these as a later war vehicle with skirts and painted as a vehicle operating in Italy/Sicily with the Hermann Goring division. You can order your own Panzer III from Warlord Games and you can see more of my work, and contact me through Volley Fire Painting Service