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Building the Pzkpfw III Ausf E

Dragon’s venerable Imperial Series also has some interesting subjects to offer, among them in particular being the Pzkpw III series. Classed as an early war medium tank, the Ausf E represented the first production variant of this type. The base kit is #9040 and provides options and markings for vehicles serving in the Battle of France, the Balkans, and Greece. For this build I chose to represent a vehicle serving with the 2nd Panzer Division in Greece in 1941.

In addition to the base kit, materials used for this build include a replacement 3.7cm turned aluminum barrel from Jordi Rubio, Armorscale MG34 brass barrel for the hull MG, and Aber engine deck screens to replace the kit supplied PE screens.

lower hull and suspension
The parts sprues included in the box have a mixed heritage coming from various StuG and Panzer III kits as well as some that are specially provided for the E. As a result, there are a large number of parts marked as “Not for Use” as well as some duplication of many parts as a healthy spares bin contribution.

The lower hull and suspension assemblies follow a standard pattern along with some surgical adjustments to move the first return roller to a parallel position instead of the pre-molded slightly lower position and to remove the molded starter crank cover with a correct replacement. Given the age of the kit the parts are well molded with one exception being the idler wheel halves which were molded slightly out of alignment, requiring some careful sanding and adjustment to be usable.

Some careful sanding is also required to remove the molded in location outlines for the escape hatches and the instructions require filling of some unused holes near the 2nd fender support bracket. The return rollers and road wheels were assembled and temporarily secured with some poster blue-tack putty to be removed later for painting.

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About the Author

About Bill Plunk (wbill76)

Like many, I started out in the hobby as a kid building airplanes to hang from my bedroom cieling. I took a long break from the hobby, returning in 2001 with an interest in armor inspired mostly by online gaming. WW2 armor, 1/35 scale, is my preferred genre with a special taste for the stranger vehi...


I actually have that kit in the on deck circle so it was really welcome. Thanks Bill, Shaun
DEC 10, 2006 - 06:59 PM
Nice Feature, very well put together! Thanks for sharing, mate. ~Gunny
DEC 10, 2006 - 07:53 PM
Fine looking model. You did well.
DEC 10, 2006 - 09:46 PM
Great feature. Thanks for taking the time to write it.
DEC 10, 2006 - 10:55 PM
Bill I said it before when you were posting in the forums and I will say it again simply a superb article. Thanks for all your time and effort. Regards Sean
DEC 10, 2006 - 11:11 PM
Thanks to all for the comments.
DEC 11, 2006 - 12:27 AM
Bill, was the semi matte finish on your PzKW III E meant to convey a tank in the rain?
JUL 03, 2008 - 07:18 PM
Hi Jack, Not sure what you mean by semi-matte? The finish on this one is dead-flat including the dust coat, it depicts a vehicle in the Balkans in early summer 1941.
JUL 03, 2008 - 07:29 PM
Great review and build...some great ideas and points to bear in mind when undertaking this kit. I usually avoid "older" kits but ,at the right price and with some judicious editing ,as you have shown, they can be made into fine looking kits.
MAY 15, 2015 - 09:17 PM
Thanks Bill, You have shown, once again, the benefits of paying attention to detail in this build. It is a reminder that well honed skills can turn an older kit into a work of art. Thanks again for the feature. Cheers, Rick
MAY 15, 2015 - 11:30 PM