Thursday, April 16

Preview: Takom's opens the account of Panzer III's with the Pz.III Ausf.M in 35th scale

Takom is back with another of the German heavy hitters - their most used tank during WWII - the Panzer III. The first in this series (yes series of Panzer II kits) is the Ausf.M variety with a little extra spaced armour added to the mix. See what we know about the kit so far and the real thing in our preview...

Preview: Takom's new 35th scale Panzer III Ausf.M mit Schürzen

Panzer III Ausf.M mit Schürzen
1/35th scale 
From: Takom 
Kit No #8002
4 marking choices included
Photo-etch & link & length tracks included
Hatches open and close
Due for Release: January 2020
The Ausf. M Model in real life...
In 1943 Daimler Benz adapted their Panzer III L's with more features, the Ausf.M model turned out to be the second last variant, with minor modifications of the Ausf. L such as deep-wading exhaust, for river crossing capabilities on the Ausf.M (250 built until early 1943), and since the beginning, fitted with Schürzen (armoured skirts).
The Panzerkampfwagen III Ausf M was the second of two interim versions of the Panzer III produced while attempts to fit a larger gun to the tank were underway. It was virtually identical to the Ausf L, with the same 5cm KwK39 L/60 gun and extra 20mm spaced armour on the superstructure front and mantlet, but with the addition of fording equipment, which allowed it to wade through four or five feet of water.

A command version, note the radio aerial
This was achieved by providing watertight covers for every opening below the turret, including the normal air inlets for the engine. While the tank was crossing water air for the engine was provided via the turret.
In June 1942 the short 7.5cm KwK L/24 previously used in the Panzer IV was fitted in a Panzer III, producing the Ausf N. The success of this version meant that the order for the Ausf M was modified. The original order for 1,000 Ausf Ms was soon cut down to 775. Of these 250 were completed as ordered, 213 as Ausf Ns, 100 were set aside for use as flame panzers, 165 were used as the basis for StuG IIIs and 47 never completed. The Ausf M was used to replaced front line losses, taking part in the battle of Kursk and the defence of Sicily, although by then its 5cm gun was of little use in tank-vs-tank fighting.
The use of spaced armour or "Shurtzen" on the Panzer III...
The Panzer III Ausf.L, and M models had an additional layer of offset 20 mm (0.79 in) homogeneous steel plate on the front hull and turret, with the M model having an additional 5 mm (0.20 in) Schürzen spaced armour on the hull sides, and 8 mm (0.31 in) on the turret sides and rear. This additional frontal armour gave the Panzer III frontal protection from many light and medium Allied and Soviet anti-tank guns at all but close ranges. However, the sides were still vulnerable to many enemy weapons, including anti-tank rifles at close ranges.

A typical set up of the extra armour is seen in the photo below (and all of these in the article)
Panzerkampfwagen III Ausf M / Sd Kfz 141/1
Number produced: 250
Produced: October 1942-February 1943
Length: 6.41m/ 21ft
Hull Width: 2.95m/ 9ft 8in
Height: 2.50m/ 8ft 2in
Crew: 5 (Commander, gunner, loader, driver, radio operator)
Weight: 22.7 tons
Engine: Maybach HL120TRM
Max Speed: 40km/hr/ 24mph
Max Range: 155km/ 96 miles
Armament: One 5cm KwK39 L/60, plus one 7.92mm MG 34 in the turret and one in front of the superstructure

A preserved version (without sideskirts as you may want to make your kit in the present day...

Takom's new kit statistics...(what we know)
Name: Panzer III Ausf.M mit Schürzen
1/35th scale 
Kit No #8002
- There are four marking choices included by the people at AMMO
- Photo-etch is included - but as part of the "blitz" line, this will be minimal
- No interior on this kit, we will surely see full interior kits in the future 
- As with other kits or recent and in this Blitz series, the link & length tracks with a track jig  included
- The hatches on the kit open and close

Lastly, it is confirmed this kit is due from Takom in January 2020

More news about this kit as soon as we have it, 'till then keep tuned and we will get building them as soon as we get them in our hands here at TMNHQ.