by: Vinnie Branigan [ ]
introduction The 38(t) was probably the most successful chassis to have been 'acquired' by the Germans during WWII. It was originally a Czechoslovakian designed and built tank, but when Germany occupied Czechoslovakia, instead of ceasing production, it continued and the resultant vehicles were pressed into German service. Aside from the 38(t) light tank itself, the chassis was successfully used for many other variants including the Marder III series, and the very successful Hetzers. This conversion set from Mig Productions is for converting Tamiya's Marder III into the 38(t) Light Tank Sd.Kfz.140.
contents Inside the end-opening box you'll find two ziploc bags containing cream coloured resin, a small dry transfer sheet, and an instruction sheet consisting of photographs with very little text.
The resin parts include a nearly complete upper hull, consisting of a solid block of resin that replaces the Tamiya Marder III upper hull, a solid turret, separate cupola and other small parts which I'll mention later. Fitting the resin upper hull couldn't be easier.... it just requires you to remove carefully the top section of each of the Tamiya supplied hull walls. Tamiya have thoughfully produced a nice line along the separation point, which make it very easy indeed, a quick sand and it's done! As you can see from the pictures, the Mig replacement fit perfectly. The detail on the upper hull is sharp and no flash whatsoever could be seen. It didn't even need any pouring block removed. The turret is the same......no flash, no pouring block, perfect detail. The only thing I didn't like was the fact that other than a lot of work with a dril and chisel, there was no option to solid vision blocks on the superstructure sides.
details In the review sample, many of the smaller parts suffered from poor moulding and air bubbles. The front Notek convoy light for example, was totalu unuseable. Now this was fine, since I have plenty in the spares box, but if you've paid for this conversion set, and you don't have a spares box..............? The end of the 37mm barrel also suffered from a major bubble I thought, but Terry Ashley over at PMMS has pointed out that it's actually part of the mould flash and just needs to be removed to attain the correct length. Thanks Terry! The co-axial ZB vz.35 machine gun barrel was nicely cast, and yet on the box illustration it clearly shows the Tamiya one being used, and there is a spare in the Tamiya kit. Mig include a resin toolbox for the fender, with the jack moulded to the top of it. The kit one is superior in my view, being constructed of separate parts, and a separate jack.
The cupola in the set consists of the cupola itself with separate two-part hatch, and 3 separate vision block housings to apply to the inside, so if you fill up the space with a figure then it should look busy enough.
A resin antennae base is included, but suffered again from air bubbles, as did the Rear Notek convoy light and reflector, which rendered them unusable, but in any case the kit ones are perfectly adaquate. Lastly, on the Mig instructions the tools are shown, correctly in new positions.......... fitted quite clearly with photo etched clamps. There is no photo etch included in this conversion set. Nor is there in the Tamiya donor kit. Maybe it's tacitally understood that we're supposed to source them ourselves?
A nice inclusion is the sheet of dry transfers, offering us the number 432 and five crosses. It's not dificult to work out, but an illustration showing where to apply them should have been included.
in conclusion It does what it says it will on the box! With some work and a spares box! With the superiority of the Tamiya 38(t) suspension, running gear and lower hull, this set still offers a viable alternative to the Maquette offering, but with another major player set to release their own version soon................ get it if you absolutely must have a Panzerkampfwagen 38(t) now!
My thanks to MIG Productions for the review sample.