Monday, January 16

Preview: Pz.Kpfw.III Ausf.N w/Winterketten from Takom in 35th scale

We like to see different versions of popular tanks in the market. So a Panzer III with Winterketten, promising a all-new hull and tracks looks like a good idea from Takom. We look at the N, and the winterketten along with the kits features in CAD in our preview...

Preview: Pz.Kpfw.III Ausf.N w/Winterketten from Takom in 35th scale.

Pz.Kpfw.III Ausf.N w/Winterketten
From Takom
Kit No 8011
1/35th scale
Plastic injection moulded kit with photo-etched-parts included.
The Subject: The Panzer III Ausf. N
The Panzer III Ausf N was an attempt to increase the potency of the tank by arming it with the 75mm KwK L/24 gun. This weapon fired an effective high-explosive round and an excellent shaped-charge that had better penetration than the long-barrelled KwK39 L/60 which it replaced.
The Ausf.N mounted a short-barrel 7.5 cm Kampfwagenkanone 37 L/24 (7.5 cm KwK 37 L/24) tank gun, previously used on the Panzer IV. It was a low-velocity tank gun that was designed to fire mainly high explosive shells. If it had to engage armoured vehicles in combat it could fire the Panzergranate armour-piercing AP shell, but it was only effective at short ranges. Later on in the war, crews had the option to load the new 7.5 cm HL-granaten 39 hollow-charge high-explosive anti-tank HEAT projectiles which had a greater effect against tank armour. 

British Army captures Panzer III Ausf N unit Norway June 1945
The Ausf N was recognisable by its short-barrelled gun and the lack of spaced armour on the mantlet. Many of the later Ausf Ns were fitted with a new cupola with thicker armour and a single hatch in place of the earlier split-hatch design. Ausf Ns were also given side skirts for greater protection from March 1943.

Panzer III Ausf N 1 Italy 1944
The initial order was for 450 tanks, but the troops at the front liked the Ausf N so much that Ausf M models were also equipped with the short-barrelled 75mm gun. With additional Panzer IIIs being so armed, the total number of Ausf Ns was brought up to 700. The Panzer III Ausf.N was increasingly used in the infantry support role once the 75 mm long-barrelled Panzer IV, Panther and 88mm armed Tiger tank entered service.

Panzer III Ausf N winter. This is the subject of this boxing, with the Winterketten included.
Starting in May 1943 Schürzen 5 mm skirt armour plates were mounted on the hull side and 10 mm plates on the turret, to prevent the Soviet 14.5 mm anti-tank rifle penetrating the side armour of the Panzer III. Draftgeflecht metal mesh screens were also trialled. They were both as effective as each other, but the Schürzen skirt armour plates entered production as it would have taken too long to develop the support hangers for the metal mesh screens.

Panzer III Ausf N with Schurzen
In the field, the Ausf N was used to provide close support for the Tigers (each heavy tank company had 10 Ausf Ns to nine Tigers), as the smaller vehicle was more agile at close quarters, whereas the Tiger was rather slow and vulnerable. The Ausf N was also used in the panzer regiments of the panzer divisions. In mid-1943, during the Kursk Offensive, German panzer units were equipped with 155 Panzer III Ausf Ns.

Panzer III Ausf.N specifications
Dimensions 5.49 m x 2.95 m x 2.50 m
(18ft x 9ft 8in x 8ft 2in)
Armament 75 cm Kw.K L/24
Machine Guns 2 × 7.92 mm MG34
Armor 16 mm – 60 mm
Weight 23 tonnes
Crew 5
Propulsion: Maybach HL 120 TRM V-12 285hp gasoline/petrol engine
Max Speed 40 km/h (24.85 mph)
Range 155 km (96 miles)
Total built 614 – 750 approx.
This new kit from Takom: 
The  Pz.Kpfw.III Ausf.N w/Winterketten (Kit No 8011) from Takom is one of their newest in the "Blitz" kit range. These offer the same amount of detail with fewer assembly hang-ups - and hopefully more models being able to be built. The hull is all new, and the winterketten are included in this boxing.
We know from a study of the box art the kit will offer:
- Link & Length style tracks
- Hatches that can be posed open or closed (no interior on this kit)
- Photo Etch for the smaller detail that cannot be easily replicated by plastic
- Four different marking choices from the "Krew" at AMMO

We expect to see it hit shops next month (late).

That is all we know about this release for now. You can see more about Takom's kits on their website or on their  Facebook page.