Kit Preview : 1/76 Matchbox Panzer III L

About the manufacturer
Matchbox released several ranges 1/76 armor kits in the seventies and eighties. They were characterized by their interesting choice of subject and use of two color plastic. Much of the range is being re-released by Revell (in single color plastic) and this kit is currently on the market (2007).

About the vehicle
The Panzer III was Germany's main tank until 1942 when it was supplanted by the Panzer IV mounting a long 75mm gun.
Here is the Wikipedia article on the Panzer III. It links to other sites as well.

About the kit
This was for decades the only small scale model of the Panzer III. Though dimensionally correct it suffered from oversimplified details. The turret was also set too far forward.

This particular kit was recently acquired on Ebay and looks like a first series Matchbox release. The box is quite literally falling apart and the decals are unusable. I soaked them for 30 minutes and they remained stuck to the backing paper. The plastic is fine though. I plan to kitbash it with a Revell 1/72 Panzer III M to build a M or N version (using a spare 7.5cm gun from an Airfix Panzer IV).

Box art and intructions

Kit parts

In summary, the kit built as is is a passable wargame model but for display modeling can only qulaifiy as a basis for scratch detailing project.

Click on the picture for photos of such a detailed Panzer IIIL.

Reviewed on May 16, 2011.