Friday, February 2

In-Boxed:1/35th scale Pz.Kpfw.38D mitt PZ.IV turm 8cm PAW 600 from Amusing Hobby

Not something that we had heard of until it turned up in Amusing Hobby's latest releases, the Panzer Pz.Kpfw.38D was a proposed light tank by the Germans in late WWII that never came to fruition. We have built our kit aleady - so what better time to do a good review of it once we know the ins and outs? see what's in the box in this first part of the review...

In-Boxed: Pz.Kpfw.38D mitt PZ.IV turm 8cm PAW 600

From: Amusing Hobby
1/35th scale
Kit No#35A019
Plastic injection moulded kit
Product Link on the Amusing Hobby Website
Price: ¥3,120/ $30.03 USD/ €24.15 from Hobbylink Japan
We recently received the new kit of the paper panzer Pz.Kpfw.38D mitt PZ.IV turm 8cm PAW 600 from Amusing Hobby in 1/35th scale. We were interested in this kit - as we had not seen it before except for on forums discussing proposed tanks in online games. We thought we would build the kit up for you - but first - an in-box review to show you what comes in the box so you can decide if you are interested in the kit.

But first - this is what we know about the proposed tank...
The Panzer 38(d), also known as Pz 38 Reich, was a redesign of the 38(t) to adapt it to German production plants. In November 1944, Krupp sent a batch of projects to the Inspector-general of the tank force (Panzertruppen), proposing to re-arm existing tank designs. The basic idea was to use the best weapon available with the least amount of armour, so weight would be saved making the vehicles more maneuverable. Krupp believed that the vehicle should have enough armour to actually protect itself from its own weapon. In January 1945, the Inspector-general passed the proposals to the Waffenprüfamt 6, who in turn threw most of the proposals out, because so many new designs were unrealistic to produce. 
One of the proposals was to put a Panzer IV turret on the redesigned Panzer 38t hull and re-arm it with the L/48 75mm KwK 40 cannon which was more realistic that this particular vehicle we have for review today - which sought to have the PAW 600 as the main armament.The PAW 600 (Panzerabwehrwerfer 600, officially designated 8H63) was a lightweight anti-tank gun that used the high-low pressure system to fire hollow charge warheads. In 1945, it was used operationally by the Wehrmacht in only very small numbers. Only about 250 of these weapons were produced before the war's end. Whether any of these actually were fired in combat is still up for conjecture.

As for the proposal of this tank? It was deemed technically possible to mount the turret at the cost of reduction of the hull angle and armour, but the weight would stress the roadwheels immensely. The vehicle (projected to weigh a total of only 16 tons) would thus have little mobility advantage over existing designs like the "Hetzer" who's firepower and armour would be roughly comparable (60mm front, and 20mm on the sides).

The kit:
A medium sized box with an action-filled artwork on the cover, I opened it up to find all of the six grey sprues, the myriad of tracks, small sheet of photo etch all wrapped in their own plastic bags. There are not only black and white instructions but markings for four "what if?" tanks on coloured paper along with a small decal sheet.
Ther are four colour choices provided by the team at AMMO from Mig to give you some inspiration. Seeing these never saw service they serve as a guide more than something to replicate line for line. Standard late war colours are pointed out of course in AMMO shades.

The instructions have a colour front and rear page, with largely black and white instructions inside. There are sixteen steps clearly laid out. I didn't make any mistakes throughout the build, so if a dummy like me can follow them you know that they do the job.

The kit plastic:
There are six sprues, one hull in gey plastic, along with a small bag of several one-piece tracks in a brown colour. The plastic isn't too hard or soft, the flash on the parts is only minimal as are any artifacts like sink marks or ejector pins which I could not really find on the kit. Nice work on a simple set of sprues.

Speaking of Sprues - Sprue A contains mostly the rear hull deck and engine exhaust parts. A fairly benign sprue of important but nondescript parts.

You can see by this picture of the rear hull plate that the weld marks that Amusing Hobby includes in their kits is present here. A gentle surface texture is present but those wanting for more will have to rough up the surfaces themselves.

The Hull.
The bottom half bathtub style hull is simple in design to save time on the build, the weld marks in the hull are present as are the bolt impressions on the hatches. How much of the underside you will see depends on if you want to display this upside down not, but modellers demand, and in this case re-supplied with this detail in their kits.

A hull of a relatively small size on this small tank.

Sprue D
The oddly faceted top of the hull and side fenders along with a Panzer IV-esque turret are on this, the largest sprue of the kit. Basically, the simple nature of the parts of the kit is symbolised by these parts that make up most of the tank you will see here in the one place.

A close up of the top of the hull with its odd shape and the bolted and welded details of the joins on display here. There isn't a great deal of other surface texture so you might want to rough up any rolled steel surfaces if that's your thing. I don't like the sprue gates joining the kit on the outside of the hull but they aren't a big deal to remove cleanly.

The underside and top of the PZ.IV turret that was supposed to go on this tank. To me, it does not look exactly like a Panzer IV turret so It might be a slightly redesigned version (again the tank was never made so the world's your oyster) but it looks good. The welds int he joints are again nice, but I do not know what all of these holes in the top of the turret are for...

Hatches for the sides of the turret and the PAW 600 main weapon are here. The barrel for this is built in layers - a little like a christmas tree if you will - and this is the only part that I noticed any flash on the kit that gave me trouble.

Sprue C (X2) is a double, and it gives you both sides of the suspension of the running gear of the kit. Drive wheels, return roller, spring suspension and a few smaller parts, very reminiscent of the Pz.38T running gear for those who are familiar with that tank.

You can see here the fine hexagonal bolt shape on the main roadwheels, also you can see the almost inevitable but not at all welcome seam line down the middle of the spring suspension. I made sure I sanded this off before I added them to the kit. It did not take too long for them to come out as they should.

The regular Panzer OVM tool set up is included here on Sprue P. This is very reminiscent of a Panzer IV/ Panther kit's tools, and while nothing special, it is a well-moulded sprue that does not need that much work to have the parts ready to use. Notice there are towing hooks with holes in them to insert cables - but there are no metal cables included in the kit, so get some shop picture frame wire if you are smart with your money. Sprue Z houses a hack to put on the left hand side of the upper hull.

The Tracks as a fairly simple process to put together. Each one is one piece, and nicely detailed. The links simply join up. How they perform after being wrapped around drive wheels is something we will look at in the build article to follow.

The small photo-etch sheet covers the grilles on the engine deck and the cover for the exhaust. A nice addition and just enough to add detail without slowing down the build.

So that's what comes in the box.

We got straight to work building this kit and finished it off in a weekend, so in knowing a little more about this kit has helped the review no end. Following Amusing Hobby's normal M.O. so far, this is an easy to build kit with tracks that may or may not please you.

The tracks are easy to put together but not so easy to keep together after they are made and wrapped around the wheels, the kit is easy to build straight from the box, but not as detailed as some might like. It was plenty well detailed for this reviewer, and the low parts count in an unusual and interesting kit that will leave even "what-if" modellers saying "What IS it?"

A great little kit - we will bring you the build article next week.

Adam Norenberg

Thanks to Amusing Hobby for sending this kit to us to review and then build.