Pz. 38(t) Ausf. E/F with Full Interior
Bottom Line Up Front: This reboot of the well-received Panda Hobby Pz38(t) kit in 1/16 scale provides what many large-scale armor modelers have been hankering for: a an tank kit with a full interior. This in-box initial look shows promise for a fitting upgrade of an already solid kit.
The Panzerkampfwagen 38(t) was developed in Czechoslovakia by ČKD during the 1930s and saw extensive service with the German Army where is saw action in the invasions of Poland, France and the Soviet Union. Production ended in 1942, when its main armament, the 37 mm KwK 38(t) L/47.8, was deemed inadequate against current Allied tanks. The Panzer 38(t) continued to serve as a reconnaissance vehicle and in anti-partisan units through the end of the war. In all, over 1,400 Pz. 38(t)s were manufactured. The Ausf. E & F were built between late 1940 and late 1941 with improvements to armor thickness (to 50mm) with an extra 25mm of bolted-on applique armor to the front glacis and improvements to the mantlet. Other improvements to storage and hardpoints were added to the mudguards.
This kit began life as Panda Hobby’s PH-16001 in 2013. We now have it from Hobby Boss in its evolved form with a full interior and a much bigger box to hold the additional sprues (five of them!) as well as a new photo etch fret.
At first look, the level of detail is not overwhelming, but definitely acceptable for a kit in this scale, but not up to what you could call “state of the art.” The molding is sharp and any sink marks, seam lines or other imperfections appear to be strategically located so they will present minimal problems during clean up or will be hidden when the kit is assembled. Modelers who want eye-popping super-detail have a great starting point here. Additional wires and various details can be added to make a first-class interior build.
As far as fit goes, I test-fit the major assemblies and there don’t seem to be any problems, although the lack of locator tabs or pins on the major hull pieces and fenders does not bode well for a stress-free build.
Sprues A through H are the same ones found in the 2013 Panda Hobby kit. Sprues K(x2) through M contain the interior parts for seats, ammo storage, bulkheads, batteries, radiator, engine, transmission, radio, and a plethora of miscellaneous handles, switches, and other parts.
There are two photoetch frets. Fret A is from the 2013 kit and Fret B has sections for the ammo bins and brake mechanism.
The decals from the 2013 kit are present with two additional sets of markings for vehicles which served on the Eastern Front in 1941-42.
I looks like we might have a winner here. There don’t seem to be any red flags like sink marks or excessive ejector pin marks. The molding and detail appear to be sufficient to provide a decent interior as-is but still leave room for a modeler to let his AMS go wild. The proof will be in the pudding though. Let’s see if the kit falls together or if it fights us on the way to an enjoyable building experience. I plan to do the next review as a “naked build.” I won’t be filling gaps, sanding seams, priming, painting, or doing anything that mam hide imperfections. Hopefully the photos will give consumers a good idea of what they can expect with this kit.
Thanks for MRC and HobbyBoss for the review sample.