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19Nov/150

Bolt Action Panzer III

Along with the StuG III comes the "donor" tank, the Panzer III.

Bolt Action - Panzer III Ausf. J, L, M, N

The Panzer III, PzKpfw III, or SdKfz 141, was a medium battle tank of the german army. He was one of the most important vehicles 1941-42, but the chassis was build until the end of the war as it was used for the StuG III. It saw action in the early years of the war, as it wasn't strong enough - even with the combat performance upgrades - to withstand the enemy developments.

This kit, a model kit by Italeri, downscaled for Warlord Games, covers the main Ausführungen J, L, M and N. Included are two sprues, two leaflets including assembly instructions and a small decal sheet. The casting quality is solid and shows a lot of detail.

Bolt Action - Panzer III Ausf. J, L, M, N Bolt Action - Panzer III Ausf. J, L, M, N Bolt Action - Panzer III Ausf. J, L, M, N

Assembling begins with the track sections, that consisting of several parts and simplified tracks for easier and faster building.

Bolt Action - Panzer III Ausf. J, L, M, N Bolt Action - Panzer III Ausf. J, L, M, N

While the glue dries, the lower chassis is prepared with the spare track upfront. You need to drill out the holes for the front plate and back parts, as they are optional or not added with every Ausführung. The track sections are added left and right. Turn it around and make sure it levels out as the rabbet has a little clearance.

Bolt Action - Panzer III Ausf. J, L, M, N Bolt Action - Panzer III Ausf. J, L, M, N Bolt Action - Panzer III Ausf. J, L, M, N

The lower hull is filled with wheel weights, 30g, to give it a nicer feel. Some kits have diecast chassis to add weight to it. Next up are the exhausts (that differ depending if you're going with J/L/N or M/N) and the assembly of the upper chassis plate. It might be that the tracks are a bit narrow and the upper plate needs a bit of a push to fit in place.

Bolt Action - Panzer III Ausf. J, L, M, N Bolt Action - Panzer III Ausf. J, L, M, N Bolt Action - Panzer III Ausf. J, L, M, N

Aa we now have the bare chassis, the detail parts can be added to the hull. Beside tools and spare parts, the front armour is added.

Bolt Action - Panzer III Ausf. J, L, M, N Bolt Action - Panzer III Ausf. J, L, M, N

Next up is the turret, as we have depending on the Ausführung different weapon options, the 5 cm KwK 38 L/42 for Ausf. J, the 5 cm KwK 39 L/60 for Ausf. J late L or M, or the 7,5-cm-KwK 37 for Ausf. N (and some L or M). In this review, Ausf. M is the one that is build. The gun can be build in a way that allows to be elevated.

Bolt Action - Panzer III Ausf. J, L, M, N Bolt Action - Panzer III Ausf. J, L, M, N

After the decision for the gun, it is time to build the turret. The commanders hatch can be build open or closed, if you want. Some parts are optional, like the smoke grenade launchers.

Bolt Action - Panzer III Ausf. J, L, M, N Bolt Action - Panzer III Ausf. J, L, M, N Bolt Action - Panzer III Ausf. J, L, M, N

I did a review on the Rubicon Model in the past, and don't have the old resin Warlord Games vehicle at hand, so i took the other plastic kit for comparison. The Warlord/Italeri has more and the more accurate details (especially the lights and plates on the back are historical inaccurate on the Rubicon Kit), but Rubicon has nicer track detail. Both kits offer the same options, including skirts, beside Rubicon lacks the Ausf. L in its box.

Bolt Action - Panzer III Ausf. J, L, M, N Bolt Action - Panzer III Ausf. J, L, M, N Bolt Action - Panzer III Ausf. J, L, M, N

And a final 360° view of the built tank Panzer III Ausf. M without skirts.

Bolt Action - Panzer III Ausf. J, L, M, N Bolt Action - Panzer III Ausf. J, L, M, N Bolt Action - Panzer III Ausf. J, L, M, N

Conclusion
Warlord prices the Panzer III at 18 Pound, that is the same price as Rubicon, and the same as Blitzkrieg Miniatures (but they only offer resin). It comes with the optional parts for four different variants and has optional parts and skirts. The casting is proper and the details are plenty. Adding the skirts will take its time and you'll need a steady hand for it. The rubicon kit is easier to built, but historical inaccurate and the side skirts are simplified / less detailed.

Both kits are on eye-level, with the Warlord Games kit a bit ahead as the typical Rubicon pros of more options don't count and the "model kit" background of the Warlord kit gives it more detail, crisper cast and the historical accuracy.

Bolt Action is a brand of Warlord Games.

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