1/35 - Flammpanzer III
w/ Magic Tracks and German Strumpionier figure set (Orange Series)
Kit Number: 9113
Reviewed by  Ken McDevitt, IPMS # 46356

[kit boxart image]

MSRP: $ 29.95

Description and History:

This new Orange Box is a combination set of a Flammpanzer III and a set of German Sturmpionier figures (Kursk 1943). The Flammpanzer III was a variant of the famous Pz.Kpfw.III tank, with 100 Panzer III tanks being converted into flamethrowers between February and April of 1943. The flamethrower was a 14mm Flammenwerfer with a maximum range of 60m, supported by two MG34 machineguns for self-defense. This value-added kit comes equipped with 40cm Magic Tracks, and it will combine well with the four combat engineers offered in the super-value pack.

Box Size: 9.6" X 15" X3.1"

In the Box:
· 13 sprues in plastic sealed bags
· 1 photo etch fret
· 5 decals on 1 sheet
· Instruction booklet: 8 pages with 19 steps with painting and marking guide for Flammpanzer and Sturmpionier figures.

First Impressions:

The sprues are free of any flash and there are very few injector pin marks. However there many cylinder shaped "nodes" on many parts. Not really a problem because they are easy to remove. The single sheet of decals looks clean and crisp. The four Strumpionier figures have minor seam lines and each has many accessories that can be added to the figure.

Build Plan:

This is an OOB(Out of Box) build with no aftermarket additions or replacements. With a few exceptions the assembly sequence will be followed. I'll wait until the Dark Yellow base coat is applied to the body before installing the wheels, tracks and tools. Vallejo Model Air will be used for large area painting and Vallejo Model Color will be used for smaller parts.

Construction and Discoveries:

With a few exceptions, this was an easy build and most level 2 modelers should not have any problems. With this build. With most tanks models, there are many small parts that take patience to place and glue and this is no exception. I almost created a disaster when following the directions because there are several areas in the instructions that have the REMOVE symbol. See pictures:

[review image] [review image]

My initial reaction was to remove the called out sections but seemed very strange. So checking on modeling forums the answer and reason became apparent. Since the Flammpanzer is a variant of the Pz.Kpfw.III and this model is based on that the called out sections needed to be removed by sanding or shaving down the lines and not cutting out the section. Perhaps this would have be evident to a more experienced modeler. But, I have added this awareness to my experience. My other really stupid mistake was attaching the bottom of the turret(b17) upside down to the turret (b). Fortunately, I realized this about 15 minutes after gluing and was able to remove and reattach without much problem. (Note to Self: Read instructions carefully and at least twice, dry fit and check instructions for correctness. Then and only then apply glue.)

The rest of the body and various boxes, headlamps etc where no problem although you need to be careful with placement. There are positioning lines in millimeters that show you exactly where to place some boxes and other parts. Be very careful in doing this and don't try to place them by just "eyeballing" and guessing because in some cases other pieces depend on the correct positioning to fit accurately. The Magic Tracks were easy to assemble and snapped together and did not require any cleanup. Left side links are dark grey and right side links are light grey. There are 14, 7, and 5 link sections that can be stowed on the tank body as spares. Each main tread side has 98 links. This may sound strange but, the light grey treads snapped together and stayed together. The dark grey treads did not "snap" and I had a lot of difficulty keeping them together. It took 3 times as long to link the 98 dark grey pieces. My technique for the short sections was to assemble the sections with the inside of the track facing up and apply liquid cement to hold them in place for painting. For the left and right treads I followed the same approach but waited 30 minutes after applying the liquid cement and then, while they were still flexible, I formed them around the wheels and left them in place for a few hours. When removing them. They retained their shape and then I did the painting. The dark grey 98 left side tracks had a lot of sag and I removed 5 links. For the right side light grey tracks I removed 2 links. And before you ask… Yes, both sides had the links compressed together and not fit loosely with gaps.

The figures all carried rifles and various kits, bags, canteens etc. (see pictures). Additionally they specialized as mine-sweepers, flame-throwers, communications and barbed wire clearers. The four figures had minor seam marks and some sprue attachment leftovers to clean up and the bodies were easy to assemble. The joint gaps were covered with Mr. Surfacer 500. The hose to the flame-thrower was broken on the sprue. Please see the Box Cover for pictures of the figures.

Progress Photos:

[review image] [review image] [review image] [review image] [review image]

Detailing and Weathering:

For models that I do for IPMS reviews I try to complete them and turn in the review as soon as possible. So, the "Final" pictures will have no weathering or very subtle weathering. The other reason is since this is a build review; I want to emphasize the build and details. I don't want to mask the details with heavy weathering techniques.

So, I applied a few coats of a filter (95% mineral spirits to 5% Model Master Enamel Olive Drab). Then 2 coats of Future (Pledge with FUTURE Shine) to seal was followed by a pin wash and overall wash in grooves and seams and then the decals. After another 2 filter passes on just the decals, I applied Dullcote.

Final Photos:

[review image] [review image] [review image] [review image] [review image]

I would recommend this kit and would like to thank Dragon USA for supplying the kit and IPMS for the opportunity of doing this review.