Pz.Kpfw.III Ausf.B

Kit #: W-006 Article by Patrick Storto - Sorto10(at)comcast(dot)net
Edited by
Rob Haelterman

This is a combination kit/magazine made by IBG Models (Poland) and Guideline Publications (UK) as part of their "The World at War" line. The 1/72 kit comes with a full-sized 20 page color magazine; you can actually purchase an annual subscription and receive ten kit/magazines.
The kit comes in a one-piece box with cover art on the front and a four-view painting illustration on the reverse.
The magazine includes all the historical and technical details you could ask for (now I know that the Pz.Kpfw.III Ausf.B had a "Bosch BNG 4/24 CRS 178 electric starter"), as well as the assembly and painting instructions. Text is bilingual (English and German), and included are several biographies of German tank officers. I did discover one typo on page 16 in the English painting instructions; the color RAL 7017 is referred to as "Dunkelgrau"...it should be "Dunkelbraun" (and is correct in the German text).

In the box, there are six sprues of parts and a set of decals.

Once liberated from the sprues, there are only 26 parts for the kit. Note that the kits in this line are "Easy-Build" kits, similar to those made by HaT/Armourfast, Italeri, Pegasus, S-Models, or the old Eidai/Grip kits. One aspect of these kits is that the entire suspension (tracks, drive sprockets, idlers, return rollers, running wheels) are molded as a single piece. Detail is pretty good, but shallow in some places due to the simplified molding (for example, there is no detail on the faces of the track links).

Assembly is pretty simple and straightforward (only four steps in the instructions). I only had a few points to make:
1. After detaching the lower hull from the sprue, you may have four prominent flat posts sticking up from the top. These need to be removed and trimmed flush with the top ledge (at least the rear posts....the two front ones don't necessarily interfere with assembly).
2. A nice touch is that the bow MG can rotate. The main gun does elevate/depress.
3. The track assemblies do not need to be glued on, just pressed onto the stubs that receive the drive sprockets and idlers. But if you do glue them on, don't waste glue on the return roller stubs...they are not tall enough to actually touch the return rollers.
I completed this kit pretty much out-of-the-box, without any modifications. After assembly, it's just a painting/detailing project. I chose the Panzergrau color scheme in the instructions. Some of the softer details may get obscured by paint (for example, there are two round hatches on the front lower glacis plate; after a coat of paint I could not see the hatch outlines anymore).

Two sets of decals for the same vehicle are included; one in white lettering (used in the opening stages of the battles in Poland), the other in yellow. Tank crews found out the hard way that the white crosses on the turrets offered excellent aiming-points for the Polish anti-tank gunners, and some units repainted the markings in yellow paint to reduce visibility.
The decals are two crosses and three sets of the vehicle number; instructions show the placement of the crosses and numbers on the turret sides. The third number could be placed on the turret rear (although this was usually a smaller font than on the turret sides)....your choice. I decided to use the white decals, but dabbed mud-color on the crosses (an initial fix employed by some crews).
Note that the box and magazine cover art appear to show a vehicle in Normandy with the later style Balkenkreuz markings; the vehicles sent to this theater were modified Ausf. B/D vehicles, and no decals are supplied for this version. The box art also shows the two tone grey/brown scheme used before the war. Some sources claim this scheme was used in Poland, but it is not clear to what extent it was employed.
[Ed. Note: According to Panzer Facts, this scheme was actually the official one until 31 July 1940.]

Overall, I think this is a nice simple kit of an obscure vehicle for which there is no alternative model in this scale. Collectors and fans of Polish campaign dioramas may want one, but hard core detailers may want to wait to see if IBG or any other manufacturers will offer the Pz.Kpfw. III Ausf. B in a more detailed kit.



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Article Last Updated:
17 January 2019

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