Panzerkampwagen III Ausf.G

Kit #

Preview by Rob Haelterman - heman_148(at)hotmail(dot)com

Until recently, I had never heard of this brand. Looking at this kit, and having started building the First Air M13/40, I immediately realized that this is a shame.

I don't know if this sample kit is representative of the kits that are on sale, but it comes without a box. Unlike the M13/40 it comes with a limited manual and dry decals and unlike the M13/40 it is not a full kit, but a conversion set for the Revell Panzer III.
At first sight, the kit is a real gem. First of all, it took me a while to convince myself I was looking at a resin kit. The parts come on sprues, the material is more supple than other resin kits and crispness of the detail is better than on almost all kits I have laid hands on, styrene kits included. Flash is almost non-existent, and the connection of the sprues to the parts is minimalistic, which reduces clean-up to an absolute minimum. I have been told that these are actually injection kits, injection resin kits, that is, using metal moulds. If so, then First Air must have access to some sophisticated technology. The best proof is the monobloc hull, which is as straight as you can expect a hull to be.

Parts lay-out: solid hull, solid turret, gun mantlet, hull front, separate fenders and return rollers. All the rest will have to come from a Revell kit. The turret has nice counter-sunk rivets. The fenders have the appropriate surface texture and have the tools molded on.

The hull is a monobloc casting, with very little clean-up needed and generally very crisp detail. The arms of the suspension have softer detail and the bottom of the hull lacks any detail. Anything not hidden by the roadwheels is very nice, however. As you can see, the fittings for the fenders are molded onto the hull. Combined with the separate fenders, this gives you a unique chance to model a Panzer III with (part of) its fenders missing.

The short barreled 50mm gun and uparmored bow are provided, as well as the early type headlights, front and rear Notek and the return rollers. I am not sure why these are provided, as my references do not indicate any changes during production of the Panzer III, but it might be due to the incompatibility of the Revell parts. Not visible on the picture is the business end of the gun barrel, which is hollowed out.

The instructions are limited to 5 pictures of the finished tank, with some annotations in Japanese, a page full of Japanese text (which I cannot read, unfortunately) and two paint schemes, which I guess are from 15 Pz.Div. in 1942. (The Japanese use the same numerals as we do, so I guess that this is what the "15" means.)

The decals are by Archer Fine Transfer. These are dry, rub-on decals, and are typical of Archer's quality: very finely printed and very thin. Even though they will be more difficult to apply, they will give the best result you can imagine. While you get more than enough transfers, you don't get the number "6" of the second marking option. I am also unsure if the "F","G","J", "S" and "A" were ever used on the Panzer III. One of the transfers in my set had accidently rubbed onto its protective backing, which means that it is lost.


As the Ausf.G has a very convoluted history with an incredible amount of (substantial) changes implemented during the production run, before switching to the Ausf.H, it is not always easy to pin down what this variant should look like. A brief analysis:

You will have to use the Revell copula on the First Air turret with short 50mm gun and more vertical backside. This means we are looking at a late Ausf.G or an early Ausf. H.

The uparmored front of the kit is more typical for an Ausf.H. The armored hatches at the very rear and the armored covers in front of them (those that you will borrow from the Revell kit) are either for the Ausf.G Trop or the Ausf.H.

You will have to use the Revell road wheels, drive sprocket, idler and tracks. This means we are using parts that are typical for the later suspension (with repositioned front return roller and 400mm tracks), which would indicate a very late Ausf G or an Ausf. H.


So, looking at it all, I would say the kit would suitably depict a very late Ausf.G Trop or an early Ausf.H. The only thing to modify, in either case, would be the position of the first return roller to make it compatible with the 400mm tracks; this is child's play.


Pictures of the assembled model, taken from Henk of Holland website, used with permission.




[1] Panzer Tracts 7-2, PanzerJäger, T.L. Jentz and H.L. Doyle

[2] Achtung Panzer 7, PzKpfwI/PzKpfw II, M. Bitoh, Dai Nippon Kaiga


Thanks to Gunji Ueda of First Air for the preview sample.

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Article Last Updated: 09 January 2012

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