Pz.Kpfw.III Ausf.H

Kit # 270

Preview by Dimitry Kontos - kontosdimitris1960(at)gmail(dot)com
Edited by Rob Haelterman

Uni Models (UM) of Ukraine produces several versions of the later Panzer III (i.e. Ausf. H, J, L, M, N and Bergepanzer). These kits are sharing four out of the five sprues, while the fifth one bears the parts necessary for the specific version. That means that the modeler will end with a lot of spare parts, as well as that most of the following comments are applicable to all Pz.Kpfw. III kits produced by UM.

Before we start, some notes:
• I am not an expert in German armor, so I compared this kit mainly with the Revell’s Ausf. L and Dragon’s Ausf. J. Other sources that I have used are mentioned at the end of the preview.
• I have to apologize for the quality of the photographs (I am a notoriously bad photographer). For better photographs of the kit’s contents, I suggest you to visit Henk of Holland’s site.

What is in the box ?
The side-opening has the artwork of a DAK Ausf. H on top, while on its back there are drawings of one (generic) vehicle in Dunkelgrau. The kit consists of five sprues with a total of 235 parts. Out of them, 190 are suited for the Ausf. H, while the rest belong to those other versions of Pz.Kpfw. III the company produces. All five sprues are packed in a cellophane bag. In a zip lock bag there is a small photo etched sheet and the (quite large) decal sheet. Sprue “A” (there are two of them) is mainly dedicated to the suspension and tracks, while sprue “D” is unique in this kit and contains the parts necessary for an Ausf. H. The other two sprues are common in all UM’s Pz.Kpfw. III kits (and actually provide a lot of useful spare parts).

Compared with the above mentioned kits, as both companies are well reputed for accuracy, the UM offering is on par with them. If there is any size difference this is not noticeable with the bare eye, so I assume that this kit is rather correct in scale. Furthermore, I reduced a 1/35 scale drawing and found no difference.

Lower hull and suspension
The lower hull is well made and with enough detail on the bottom. The wheels are also well made and correct for the scale. There are two problems though, that will embarrass the builder: First, the wheels do not have the usual (and rational) arrangement of “peg and hole”, but there are holes in both the inner and outer ones. This makes the alignment of the wheels fairly difficult and affects the stability of the construction (surprisingly the return rollers are “normal”). Second, the lower hull does not have any guides to be glued with the sides, so the alignment and stability is dubious as well. As of detail, the escape doors and the shock absorbers are provided separately and are well made. The first of the return rollers is provided with a separate base, so it can be placed either in equal or in unequal spacing with the other two (I suppose that they had in mind to produce an earlier version – or perhaps this is necessary for their StuGs – with which they share several parts). The idlers are beautifully done and correct in size. With the sprocket there is a problem. Correct in shape and size, they are attached to the sprue in four points, while the sprue itself runs on the sprocket. This means that it is almost impossible to get the sprockets out of the sprue, without damaging them. In the rear of the lower hull, there are the exhausts (using a saw is highly recommended here). Holes have to be drilled in order to attach them to the rear armor. The exhausts themselves are rather simplified compared with the other kits, but they are acceptable. Not surprisingly they are not drilled at their end. The intake mesh is provided, but this piece is fairly crude and better to be replaced. Finally, four pieces are provided for the rear towing shackles.

Upper hull
There is a lot of well defined detail in this part. The brake access doors are not provided separately, but they are correct for the type. The appliqué armor characteristic for Ausf. Hs, is provided in two pieces with nice detail. The superstructure’s appliqué armor contains also the hull machine gun’s mount, the driver’s visor and has holes for his periscope (better to be further drilled). All tools and tool boxes are provided separately and are well done. The (separate) fenders have no anti-slip surface. The early type front towing shackles are provided in two pieces each. There are also two pieces to be attached in the lower hull’s corners (the later ones that actually were hull’s extensions and were drilled, are not suitable for an Ausf. H). The rear convoy light, the horn, the Notek light and the headlights are provided separately too. There is a catch though: Again there is no “peg and hole” arrangement, thus it is fairly easy to lose these parts during the construction (believe me: I learned it the hard way!!!!!!). In the rear part of upper hull, there are three rectangular bases, to accommodate the engine’s armored covers (the kit contains seven such covers). Also bases are provided to accommodate the two rear ones, but these are most suitable for the early tropical covers (which are also provided, but are rather small). If you want to build an initial production Ausf. H, all these bases have to be sawed off. The air intake grills, are provided in photo etched and are superb. The final end of the upper hull is provided as a separate piece and includes the starter crank’s cover and the (correct for the type) smoke candle rack, with its armored cover. Photo etched covers for the headlights are provided. The kit’s major omission concerns the brake cooling covers, where (for some unknown reason) the company missed to mold or provide their spherical tops.

The turret
The turret consists of three main parts: Left, right and top. The handles are provided as simple plastic lines, thus it is recommended that they be replaced by wire. The side doors are molded with the turret and are (naturally) closed, but they are nicely molded. The cupola is in two pieces and can be assembled with open or closed visors. The split hatch is closed (a single piece hatch is also provided, but it is suitable only for a late Ausf. N). The arrangement of the cupola means that it will require some effort if the modeler wishes to add a figure. There is no bullet splash strip before the turret’s side visors (this is not necessarily an omission, as only the early Ausf. Hs had this feature). The rear pistol ports are provided, but with no pointing mark, so the modeler has to refer to period photographs, in order to find the correct point to place them. The rear stowage box, although correct in shape, does not have the attachment strips (all kits of the Pz.Kpfw. III lack this detail) and as its cover is rather thick, some sanding is required here. The mantlet is correctly done with two visors and the turret’s machine gun is provided separately. With a little effort the gun can elevate. The 50mm KwK 38/L42 gun is very well done and although not drilled, isabsolutely correct in shape and size. A rather slim and long 50mm KwK 39/L60 gun is provided also, for an upgunned Ausf. H. The exhaust fan cover is provided in photoetch, but, as it lacks volume, it is recommended to be replaced.

These are from polystyrene of the link and length type. Their overall detail is good. Compared with the Revell ones, though, the links are slightly bigger. Five to six links will be remain as spares and these, along with a small length provided, can be used to represent the spare tracks for the front armor.

The well registered decal sheet provides white and black Balkenkreuze and divisional signs for the following Panzer Divisions: 3rd (Berlin bear emblem included), 10th (bull emblem included), 11th (the ghost emblem included), 14th, 15th (DAK palm trees included) and 18th. Of interest is the inclusion of the shield of 18th Division’s Tauchpanzers, a Panzer Gruppe Kleist “K” and a playing card symbol, used in the Balkan campaign.

The four page instruction sheet, is of the blown diagram type with 19 sub-assembly steps. On the front page there is a brief history and data section, as well as a diagram of the contents. The fourth page has three view diagrams, and decaling and painting instructions for ten vehicles – all of them in Dunkelgrau. Humbrol codes are suggested.

Scans from Henk of Holland used with permission.


This is not a flawless kit and it is not recommended for beginners. On the other hand, it is dimensionally correct, has a lot of detail and provides a host of spare parts. An averagely experienced modeler will have no problem to create a beautiful and correct presentation model. Furthermore, it is a very good basis for several conversions (e.g. Munitionsschlepper, Bergepanzer, PanzerBefelswagen III, Tauchpanzer, etc).

The sample model was bought be myself.


  • Achtung Panzer Vol. 2
  • Squadron/Signal Armor in Action. Nr. 24
  • The Encyclopedia of German Tanks
  • Peko Books, Vols. 14 and 18

UM kits can be purchased from Tracks & Troops

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Article Last Updated: 23 December 2019