1:35 kit comparison
Kit #35A003 - Kit #6690 - Kit #05529
by Terry Ashley
This comparison will look at the Nr.3-5 kits produced by Amusing Hobby, DML and Trumpeter to give some insight into what you actually get but I would have to say this has probably been the most frustrating comparison I have undertaken. Mainly due to the lack of available references which made checking some details quite difficult but also the time taken for the review as a result as you may have noticed?
The review will therefore just have brief comments on the main differences with the images doing most of the talking, one problem was the conflicting data and 1:35 plans between the references listed below. The DML kit mostly matches the plans in the Panzer Tracts book with the Trumpeter mostly matching the Tank Power plans and the Amusing Hobby a bit of each, there were period photos available to substantiate some detail but not others, leaving some to educated assumptions which is not ideal.
I have hopefully covered all the main issues but if you see a glaring error/omission please let me know so this can be amended and as usual I simply present the info for modellers to take or leave as they see fit.
Amusing kit #35A003
The kit consists of:
592 parts in dark grey plastic
648 track parts in brown plastic (links and pins)
18 clear plastic
183 brass etched parts
1 decal sheet
1 instruction booklet
DML kit #6690
Kit consists of:
297 parts in light grey plastic
280 individual track links in light grey plastic
28 clear parts
13 brass etched parts
1 decal sheet
1 instruction sheet
Trumpeter kit #05529
Kit consists of:
319 parts in light grey plastic
701 track parts in light brown plastic (links and pins)
2 metal barrel parts
17 brass etched parts
1 decal sheet
1 instruction booklet
The kit has 592 parts mostly in a dark grey plastic but a few alternate parts are in a brown plastic plus another 648 parts for the individual working track links, 18 in clear plastic and 183 etched brass parts plus the decal sheet and instruction booklet in colour. The standard of moulding is excellent with just the odd bit of fine flash here and there and virtually no pin marks in places that will be seen after assembly. The moulding seams are very fine on most parts making for easy cleanup as well as the usual plastic nodes used to keep pin marks on the parts to a minimum with the etched parts cleanly done with engraved bending lines and embossing on some parts. The kit provides additional bolt heads on the sprues that can be cut off and used to replace the moulded on bolt heads for added detail should you wish to do this?
You do have to take care as the dark grey plastic is a little softer than "standard" and while it has excellent detail definition it is easy to damage the parts themselves while removing from the sprues and when sanding which can inflict more damage than you are trying to eliminate. The brown plastic is the same harder plastic we are used to and just the usual handling practices are needed, both types of plastic glued perfectly well without problems.
One thing that needs mentioning are the instructions, while well printed in colour with mostly clear illustrations there is an odd tendency especially with the running gear to have part of the assembly on one page (e.g. page 5) and rest later on (e.g. page 13). this can lead to some rather annoying problems if you don't see an important assembly step because you missed the little note about referring to page 13. So make sure you read the instructions ALL the way through before starting to be aware of these little traps.
The kit has 297 parts in light grey plastic plus another 280 parts for the individual track links, 28 parts in clear plastic and 13 etched frets plus a small decal sheet and the usual foldout instruction sheet. The standard of moulding is very good without any noticeable flash and just the occasional pin mark with well done surface details on the hull and turret although the mould seams follow the hull welds and need care in removing to not damage the welds.
The assembly is quite simplified in some areas such as the hull which is moulded in one large piece but the finer details are compromised a little due to this approach as with the suspension.
The kit has 319 parts in light grey plastic plus another 700 parts for the individual working track links, 2 metal barrel parts and 17 etched frets plus a small decal sheet and instruction booklet. The standard of moulding is quite good with some minor flash and just the occasional pin mark but the level of detail is below that of the other kits when compared directly.
Assembly is fairly straightforward without any real traps although the track pins can cause some issues with the track links coming apart if not careful with the track assembly.
The only concerns with the kit is the softer grey plastic used that needs some care when cleaning up the sprue attachment burs and the turret cupola appears a little too small in diameter, other than that the level of detail is streets ahead not only in there being more detail included but it correctly depicts detail that is just wrong or missing in the other two kits. Of the other two, the DML has some nice surface detail on the main hull but is over simplified in some areas and the level of detail is not there, it is though the quickest and easiest build of the three kits if that is your main criteria?
With the Trumpeter kit it's just not in the ball park with the overall level of detail rather poor in comparison with many errors and omissions, for example the suspension bogie spring units are fixed at an angle and should be vertical like in the other two kits. Assembly is fairly straightforward but it's the lack of detail on the parts and detail errors that leaves it at the bottom of the pile.
So at the end of the day if you want a fundamentally more accurate and better detailed kit that does require a little more assembly then the clear choice is the Amusing Hobby kit. If you are not that fussed with the accuracy/detail thing and just want a kit that builds quickly and easily then go for the DML kit. Unfortunately the Trumpeter kit missed most of the check marks for accuracy, detail and assembly in places and demonstrably is the least attractive of the three kits.
and Its Variants 1935-1945
Spielberger, Doyle, Jentz
Panzer Tracts No.4
Wydawnictwo Militaria No.361