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Built Review
135
Pz.Kpfw 35(t)
German Pz.Kpfw 35(t)
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by: Russ Amott [ RUSSAMOTTO ]

Introduction

In the 1930s Czechoslovakia possessed a very capable armaments industry and manufactured weapons for domestic and export use. One of these was the light tank 35(t). Built with armor plate of between 8 and 35mm thick riveted to an internal steel frame and armed with a 37mm main gun and two 7.92mm MG37 machine guns, the tank weighed 10.5 tons and was comparable to many contemporary designs. Initially unreliable, by the time it's replacement, the 38(t) was introduced, most of the problems had been worked out and the 35(t) was a reliable vehicle. A total of 434 tanks were built. When Germany occupied Czechoslovakia, they seized 244 of the 35(t) and put them into service. Others were used by Bulgaria, Romania and the Slovaks when they separated after the occupation.

In German service they were given the designation of panzerkampfwagen 35(t), or pz.kpfw 35(t). They were comparable to the pz. III in armament and served as a valuable supplement to the German armored forces. Unfortunately, production of the 35(t) had ceased by that time so there were no spare parts available for repair or replacement. Used by the 6th panzer division in the invasions of Poland, France and the Soviet Union, they were finally phased out of service by 1942.

Academy has now released a new tool kit of the 35(t) in 1/35th scale as it looked in German service during the early war years.

Contents

Arriving in a standard top opening box with artwork depicting a tank in service during the invasion of France, the contents are all neatly packaged in separate plastic sleeves.

The sprues are molded in dark gray plastic and I did not see any sink marks or other molding issues. There are some seam lines visible and a bit of flash present on the figures. Detail appears to be very good on the surface, with good rivet and screw heads present on all joining parts. There are some ejector pin marks present that will have to be dealt with, such as on the inner surface of the turret hatch, inner surfaces of the tow hooks and on some surfaces of items like the muffler that will be hidden from view. There is some simplification of detail, such as with the jack and jack stand and on the main gun, although the muzzle of the main gun is hollowed out.

Sprue layout is as follows;
  • A sprue, upper hull and main hull, with the sides as separate parts.
  • B sprue, turret and turret parts, figures, with two heads and separate headgear each.
  • C sprue, jerry can racks.
  • E sprue, lower hull fittings and track guards.
  • F sprue, X2, running gear.
  • G sprue, X2, link and length tracks.
  • H sprue, X2, attached to the G sprue, jerry cans.

There is a piece of string included as a tow cable and a small decal sheet. The decals look to be of good quality, printed clearly and thin, and much better than those used by Academy years ago.

The instructions are in typical fold out style, with line drawings showing assembly and special drop boxes for sub assemblies. Painting of specific parts is called out during the assembly process. The first page of the instructions has a paint guide with numbers called out in Humbrol Enamel and Acrylic colors, GSI Creos Aqueous and Mr Color lines, Life Color, Testors Model Master enamel and acrylic, Revell enamel and acrylic, Vallejo color and model air colors. This list basically covers most everything but Tamiya.

Two vehicles can be built from the box, the one on the box top in France, and one from the Soviet Union. Both tanks are from the 6th panzer division and are painted overall dark gray.

Build

I followed the instructions for this build, keeping everything out of the box. Construction starts with the lower hull assembly. There is a firewall included to serve as an inner brace to help hold the sides in place. The front and rear hull sections are in two parts to create the angles involved. Parts line-up was generally good although most of the mold seam lines run along the edges, so light cleanup is needed to get things to fit cleanly. This tank featured road wheels in an elevated position below the front idler to aid in climbing over obstacles and these are placed on the hull in step 1.

Step 2 covers assembly of the road wheel sections, return rollers, drive sprocket and idlers. The return rollers will be a bit wobbly after assembly, so care is needed to make sure they are straight. Light pressure must be used as the plastic is very thin and too much will force the axle through the hub of the other wheel. The running gear is the most time consuming part of most armor builds, and the bogie sections, with four pairs of road wheels does take some time to get through. It is easiest to assemble the bogie section and once it has set the road wheels slip in easily. They must be stored or glued in place as they are not secure and will otherwise be quickly lost.

Step 3 places the running gear on the hull, and adds a mud scraper to the rear drive sprocket. Positioning this is a little tricky and must be done with the drive sprocket in place.

Step 4 is the installation of the link and length tracks. They are well detailed and the sag provided for is appropriate in appearance. Note the direction of the tracks during assembly. The single length top run will fit best in the proper direction, but could be turned around without proper attention. It is also easiest to assembly the individual link sections and get things to line up best if the idler and drive sprocket are not glued it place yet. Once you have completed this step there are two links left over to be used as spares on the hull.

With the track links in place, the upper hull can be set on the lower hull and the track guards installed. I placed the upper hull before doing the track. Make a note of the two small rear plates, parts E39 and 40, in the corner box that are placed at this time, and the fender supports, parts E48,49,50 and 51 that should be placed before the track guards are installed. It is possible to squeeze them in after the track guard is in place, but much easier to do so before. (trust me, I know.) Also, if you choose to use the driver figure, it is again easier if he is in place before the upper hull is attached. His dynamic pose is largely hidden by the tank, with only his head and shoulders visible in the opening.

Step 6 is attachment of all parts to the forward hull. The machine gun has a hollowed muzzle but is not moveable. The two width indicators, parts F11, are basic in molding, but are present.

Step 7 adds the parts to the rear left hull. The hull top jerry can rack is shown placed just behind the turret. I placed it where it appeared to go, and discovered that the rack will not allow three jerry cans and the turret to fit. I will have to move it back. The tools are not bad in general, and have a decent strap attachment represented.

Step 8 adds details to the right side, including muffler with hollowed out opening (it will need to be opened more for better appearance) and the jack, as well as rear lights and the placement of the spare track link on the right rear fender. Photos I have seen show four links here, in two sets of two. There is no type of clip or lock on the tracks so that will be up to the modeler to supply.

Oddly, although the box artwork shows the antenna clearly in place, nowhere in the instructions does it show placement of an antenna or how to stretch a sprue piece to make one, normally commonplace in Academy kits.

Step 11 is two parts. For the first tank, France 1940, the tow cable is placed on the rear upper deck.

For the second tank, Russia 1941, the tow cable is moved to the front and a third jerry can rack is added to the rear deck. The cable is also longer by 20mm.

The jerry cans themselves are decent, with separate spout but no representation of the center weld. The figures are better than those found in many kits of years ago, but not up to competitive standard. Fit of the commander figure was not great.

I did note though during construction that the plastic was a bit soft and did not take to sanding well, but did cut easily. Also, sprue attachment points were quite small.

CONCLUSION

My overall impression of this kit is that it is a good, basic model for the average builder. I did not check to see if the dimensions are all accurate against known measurements, but it looks like what I have seen in photos. Other manufacturers make kits with far more detail than what is present in this box, but at far higher prices. Frankly, I like Academy kits because they offer good value and a good build experience, clean and clear instructions and plenty of room if you want to add more detail. There are a few things to fix with this, such as the ejector pin marks and some of the softer detail, but no major issues. If you want more detail, aftermarket companies are already issuing upgrades for the armament, track guards and most everything else you may want.
For fans of early war armor, this kit is a great option.
SUMMARY
Highs: Great rivet and screw head detail, good, clear instructions and a good price for a model kit.
Lows: Some soft detail and ejector pin marks on visible surfaces.
Verdict: I think this is a good deal for the price and will build up to a very nice model.
Percentage Rating
85%
  Scale: 1:35
  Mfg. ID: 13280
  Suggested Retail: $30.00 US
  PUBLISHED: Sep 05, 2013
  NATIONALITY: Germany
NETWORK-WIDE AVERAGE RATINGS
  THIS REVIEWER: 84.47%
  MAKER/PUBLISHER: 82.72%

Our Thanks to MRC!
This item was provided by them for the purpose of having it reviewed on this KitMaker Network site. If you would like your kit, book, or product reviewed, please contact us.

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About Russ Amott (russamotto)
FROM: UTAH, UNITED STATES

I got back into the hobby a few years back, and wanted to find ways to improve, which is how I found this site. Since joining Armorama I have improved tremendously by learning from others here, and have actually finished a couple of kits. I model to relax and have fun, but always look to improve. ...

Copyright 2019 text by Russ Amott [ RUSSAMOTTO ]. All rights reserved.



Comments

Good review Darren. I struggled through the CMK version and will be building another one eventually, but not by CMK!! I will await a build review of the forth coming Bronco kit before I decide which way to go. Cheers Warren
SEP 04, 2013 - 08:04 PM
Good review and pretty clear as to what you get and what some of the issues are or will be. A comment about color schemes for 35(t): Remember that this tank was produced before the Germans took over Czechoslovakia (noted in the review as the reason that there were in fact no spare parts available for tanks seconded to the Wehrmacht in 1939). The 35(t), unlike its fellow ex-Czech, the 38(t), did not continue in production under the Germans, and all German 35(t) were in fact originally issued to the Czech Army. These ex-Czech tanks were repainted upon adoption and experienced very small external equipment detail changes - swapping on Notek lights, moving tow-cables around, maybe changing one or 2 tool positions, and eventually adding on jerry-can racks and cans over time in service. So (of course checking a couple of pictures for the paint scheme details and one or 2 fittings details) this kit and this subject are prime candidates for doing up as a pre-1939 Czech tank and paint scheme. Other viable non-German options include those which went to serve in the Slovak Army and examples seconded to some German allies. In German use... as this vehicle was taken into Wehrmacht service and repainted in 1939 before the invasion of Poland, it seems very likely that most 35(t) went to Poland wearing the regulation brown over gray scheme, and marked with the solid white (or maybe solid yellow) crosses. As the survivors from Poland went on to the Blitz in 1940, I would expect that they remained mostly in that brown over gray livery, albeit markings and fittings-details changed. Many tanks used in the 1940 Blitz wore white air-recog panels across the rear decks, for example. And a scheme feature continued into 1941. The all-dunkelgrau RAL 7021 scheme called for in the box-art and instructions-schemes only went into reg as of Aug 01 1940 - and, as these had been in service for over 2 years by then, I suspect that very few brown over gray 35(t) were repainted to all-gray until orders were passed directing units to do so, and the oft-cited "shortage of paint in 1940" would only apply to those repainted during the Blitz. Of course, by 1941 and the Balkans and Barbarossa, all of the Blitz survivors were repainted to all-gray. And I, too, am waiting to see what the announced Bronco effort will look like and cost. This Academy item sounds to be substantially better than the old CMK edition and is certainly proced right - thus it could be a candidate. Thanks for doing and posting this review! Bob
SEP 05, 2013 - 02:17 AM
Darren, thanks for getting this up. Warren and Bob, thanks for the comments. It would have been really nice if a paint guide had been included for the pre-war Czech tanks, and even better if masks had been included as was done with the Hetzer. As for the Bronco kit, I am sure it will be great kit with loads of detail and parts, and I am also looking forward to the release. I think this kit is perfect for those who don't have the skill, patience or budget to fit Bronco's offering. For what I expect the price to be, you could still add an aftermarket detail set and pay less.
SEP 05, 2013 - 06:12 AM
For those interested, J's Work has announced a mask set for the complex multi-color Czech camo scheme. LINK
SEP 17, 2013 - 12:33 AM
Thanks for posting that! Seems just the ticket to helping gen up the Czech scheme for this beastie! Bob
SEP 17, 2013 - 02:45 AM
Based on Darren's review, I picked this kit up at my LHS. What a pleasure it's been to build. I only wish Academy offered a finishing scheme in something other than panzer grau. Considering the possible Czech, Slovak, Romanian and Bulgarian markings they missed out on a great opportunity. Perhaps it will also be issued as the Romanian R-2, with its angled turret back plate (vs the curved one in German service)?
NOV 13, 2013 - 04:36 AM
Hi Folks; first, Russ built and reviewed this model; Darren does great work, too, yet in this case he added Russ' review into the network. As for the model, I've waited 20 years for a good 35(t) and want one of these, esp. since learning of the other countries that used it.
JUL 07, 2014 - 01:20 AM
   

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