Monday, 14 December 2015
Operation Winter Storm: Panzergrenadiers 9 – Panzer III
Here are some more German support for the Operation Winter Storm project in the form of three Panzer III J.
Introduced in 1939, the Panzer III was designed as the primary battle tank for the German forces intended to fight other tanks. They were originally equipped with a 3.7 cm KwK 36 L/45 gun, which proved adequate during the campaigns of 1939 and 1940. However, after Operation Barbarossa, the Pz III proved to be inferior in both armour and gun power when facing the heavier Soviet tanks such as the KV-1 and T-34. In a bid to counter these tanks, the Pz III was upgraded with a longer, more powerful 50 mm gun and more armour.
These upgrades proved somewhat effective for a while, especially against the T-34, but by 1942 the Pz IV and Pz III had effectively switched roles – the former was now the main tank fighter and the latter used in close support of the infantry – due to the better upgrade potential of the Pz IV. After the Battle of Kursk in 1943 the Pz III was gradually withdrawn from the frontline. Instead the chassi was used as the basis for the Sturmgeschütz III assault gun, the single most produced German armoured fighting vehicle of WW2.
Like the Panzer IV, these models are from Plastic Soldier Company and represent great value for money. They're nicely detailed – especially compared to the Battlefront kits I've done before, where the tracks in particular have been poor with soft details.
One difference between the Panzer IV kit and this one, are the one-piece tracks. A welcome change indeed, as I found the separate tracks on the Pz IV too fiddly for my liking with no apparent gain in details. And with these tracks there wasn't any risk of putting anything on in the wrong place ...
I've added some more stowage to these Pz III:s, where as on the Pz IV I kept it relatively clean. Painting was done in the same way as the other tank. As for the weathering I tried to keep it a little more subdued this time, but I'm not 100% satisfied yet – slowly getting there though.
Now I'm in the homestretch for the German part of this project: just two more vehicles left.
Thanks for reading!