Thursday, August 29

Review: Kagero’s MINITOPCOLORS 36 - Pz.Kpfw. III family book & decals combo

The opportunity to buy a decal sheet printed by Cartograf with sixteen different schemes from various vehicles from the Panzer III family in not only 72nd, 48th and 35th scales – for €14.10 – and throw a 16 page booklet with profiles in as well….let’s see if the exorbitant price is worth it! :-)

Marek Jaszczołt, Sławomir Zajączkowski
Format: Landscape (205x275 mm)
16 pages
English/Polish text
16 colour profiles
Decals for all colour profiles in 72nd, 48th & 35th scales
Price: €14.10 directly from Kagero.
ISBN 978-83-62878-66-6

Kagero’s latest “Topcolors”- no 36 - focuses on the Panzer III family with a softcover landscape book in 19 pages. The book features sixteen different variants of this tank – both in regular turreted versions and the assault gun Sturmgeschütz with the low profile.

Firstly we will talk about the book part of the package. There are twenty pages – each with a nicely rendered profile of a vehicle of the Pz.III family. Not only from the regular types we see but there is an ambulance vehicle and mine clearing and radio control vehicles in the mix. All of the schemes have some type of interesting hook to them for me – I could imagine making any of these on a kit I was making, and already I was thinking of possibilities of dioramas I could make…
The text is in a combination of English at the top of each page and polish on the bottom. My polish isn’t that good but the English text is right on and correct. I would think that if I were to add anything to this I would put another view or picture of the original vehicle on the page. There are however helpful smaller profile images of glacis plates and turrets that show exactly where the smaller decals go on each tank.

This is more like a deluxe decal sheet than an actual textbook  The decals themselves are printed by Cartograf, and although I did not test these I have tested a sheet a while back in the other Topcolors book on the panther. I found these decals adhered to the kit quite lovely and there was only a bit of carrier film left – and this was without using a decal solution. The colours were strong and the printing was in register so top quality markings make this set all that more worthwhile. 

The whole sheet in three scale with a 1P coin for comparison
Blown up with the penny next to the 48th decals
The markings included in three scales (72nd,48th &35th) vehicles include the individual and national markings for 8 Pz.Kpfw. III tanks and 8 Sturmgeschütz assault guns from the Panzer III family.

The selection contains the following vehicles:

- Pz.Kpfw. III (Funk) Ausf. J named “Strolch II” from Versuchskommando (F.L.) Tropen, North Africa, September 1942,
- Sturmgeschütz III Ausf. F/8 coded “A” and named “Henni” from an unidentified unit, late 1942,
- Pz.Kpfw. III Ausf. J coded “100” from 1./Pz.Abt.18, Vielikiye Luki area, winter of 1942-1943,
- Sturmgeschütz III Ausf. G coded “02” from Pz.Komp. (Fkl.) 314, Battle of Kursk, Russia, July 1943,
- Pz.Kpfw. III Ausf. N coded “R14” from staff of Pz.Rgt.25 from 7th Panzer Division, Battle of Kursk, Russia, July 1943,
- Pz.Kpfw. III Ausf. M coded “24” from staff of Pz.Rgt. Groβdeutschland, Eastern Front, summer 1943,
- Sturmgeschütz III Ausf. F/8 coded “35” from III./Pz.Rgt. HG of Fallschirm-Panzer-Division 1. Hermann Göring, Sicily, July-August 1943,
- Pz.Kpfw. III Ausf. J/L coded “234” from 2./Pz.Rgt.33 Prinz Eugen of 9th Panzer Division, Bryansk area, August 1943,
- Sturmgeschütz III Ausf. G coded “943” from 9./Pz.Rgt.24, northern Italy, September 1943,
- Sturmgeschütz III Ausf. G coded “10” from Stug.Abt.237 attached to the 18th Panzergrenadier Division, vehicle of the 1. Battery CO, Hptm. Bodo Spranz, Yelnya, Russia, October 1943,
- Pz.Kpfw. III Ausf. N coded “301” of the CO of Panzer-Sicherungs-Kompanie 3, Oblt. Karl-Friedrich Bohn; Slovenia-Croatia, October-November 1943,
- Sturmgeschütz III Ausf. G from StuG.Abt.270 attached to Ski.Jag.Brig.1, Germany, winter of 1943-44,
- Panzerbeobachtungswagen III Ausf. F/G coded “2701” from an unidentified unit, Eastern Front, 1944,
- Pz.Kpfw. III Ausf. N coded “211” from Pz.Abt.208, northern Italy, August 1944,
- Sturmgeschütz III Ausf. F/8 coded “001” from Pz.Jg.Abt.61, 11th Panzer Division, France, September 1944,
- Sturmgeschütz III Ausf. G coded “223” and named “Elsa/Nelly” from Pz.Jg.Abt.346, 346th Infantry Division, Holland, May 1945.
So there you have it – the age old question - which came first -The decals or the book? Well they are a tie as far as I am concerned, with both parts complementing each other nicely. The seriously low price – which I normally don’t mention in reviews, only adds to the appeal of this combo. A great title!

Adam Norenberg

Thanks to Kagero  for this book to read and review – their books are available from the Kagero site, but they are now available from their distributors Casemate Publishing and MMD Squadron as well as other retailers in various countries.