Cyberhobby 1/35 Panzer III (FL)

KIT #: 6616
PRICE: $69.00 SRP
MARKINGS: One option
REVIEWER: Scott Van Aken
NOTES: Smart kit with photo etch parts


On January 11, 1934, following specifications laid down by Heinz Guderian, the Army Weapons Department drew up plans for a medium tank with a maximum weight of 24,000 kg and a top speed of 35 km/h. It was intended as the main tank of the German Panzer divisions, capable of engaging and destroying opposing tank forces.

Daimler-Benz, Krupp, MAN, and Rheinmetall all produced prototypes. Testing of the prototypes took place in 1936 and 1937, leading to the Daimler-Benz design being chosen for production. The first Panzer III A came off the assembly line in May of 1937, and a total of ten, two of which were unarmed, were produced in 1937. Mass production of the tank, then in model III F, began in 1939.

Between 1937 and 1940, attempts were made to standardize parts between Krupp's Panzer IV and Daimler-Benz's Panzer III.

Much of the early development work on the Panzer III was a quest for a suitable suspension. Several varieties of leaf-spring suspensions were tried on Ausf A through D before the torsion-bar suspension of the Ausf E was standardized. The Panzer III, along with the Soviet KV heavy tank, was one of the first tanks to use this suspension design.

The Panzer III was intended as the main battle tank of the German forces. It outclassed most of the tanks of the time However, when it initially met the Soviet KV and T-34 tank designs it proved to be inferior. To meet the growing need to counter the T-34 the Panzer III was upgunned with the 50mm KwK 39 L/60 and received more armor which made it a very formidable opponent for the T-34. This still failed to address the problem caused by the KV tanks though, so in 1942, several self propelled guns as well as the longer barreled 75mm Kwk 40 L/43 Panzer IV Ausf F2 and the Panzer IV Ausf G were developed and produced.

The Ausf.M was successor to the Ausf.L, and it shared the same 5cm KwK39 L/60 main gun. Among its modifications was a deep-wading muffler with a series of associated hatch seals that allowed fording of water obstacles up to a depth of 1.3m. This performance represented a significant fording improvement over earlier Panzer IIIs. The hull-mounted smoke generators were also replaced with three 90mm NbK dischargers mounted either side of the turret. A total of 250 new Ausf.M tanks were produced from October 1942 to February 1943. The flamethrower version was also based on the Ausf. M and 100 were built on new chassis.


Though I do not think they have done them all, Dragon/Cyberhobby continues to fill in the blanks in their extensive Panzer III series. I can recall the hoopla made when they release their first Panzer III, the E version several years ago. Since then, they have continued to upgrade and update the molds. This one is a Smart kit with the individual track links. At a mere 500 parts, it is one of their mid-range kits in terms of difficulty.

Like all their other Panzer III kits, this one has a number of options, most of which simply pin down when during the production run the tank was made. This kit differs from earlier Panzer III kits in having the DS tracks in place of the individual track links. It also has the extra bits and new barrel to make up the flame thrower version.  Below is a full list of details.

This kit provides but a single markings option; that of an unknown unit in the Soviet Union. However the decal sheet offers a variety of hull numbers and unit markings so you can actually do a variety of different tanks, though you'll have to do your own research.


Cyberhobby has been providing a nearly bewildering number of variants and ones with special gear and this kit continues in that trend.This one needs to be built carefully, but will result in a fine replica when finished.

July 2013

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