1:72 PzKpfw 38(t) Ausf. A

UM / Uni Models 340

It took me a long time to build this model. The reason behind this wasn't the poor quality of selected kit- I was just unhappy with effects of my work couple of times and consider this model as a “fail”. Well, it even ended up in “box of shame” for over a year. Then I treated it as a testing ground for some techniques and to my surprise- finished it. I was told that the result looks kinda O.K., so I decided to publish it here anyway.

The kit

Panzerkampfwagen 38(t) is a well known vehicle and need no special introduction to one interested in World War II armour. Designed in Czechoslovakia as LT vz. 38, was later adopted and widely used by German Army. When it's armament became obsolete, the chassis was used as a base for tank destroyers (Marder III, Hetzer) and various other designs. In another words- quite important piece of WWII history.

Despite that, Panzer 38 is not a very popular 1:72 topic for scale models manufacturers. The best coverage of “38” and its derivatives is probably offered by Uni Models. That's no surprise for anyone familiar with this Ukrainian manufacturer- UM is well known for squeezing as much version as possible from its moulds.

From my overgrown stash I pulled out a characteristic blue box, which suppose to contain parts for “C” version of PzKpfw 38. However in my opinion it's a mix of A and C details. But I'm not an expert in this topic, so I can be wrong. Nonetheless I'm quite sure that Uni Models traditionally messed up the decals research. Instruction clearly states that you can build Panzer 38 ausf. C from Invasion of Poland in September 1939. Well, the catch is that this version of “38” was manufactured between May and August of... 1940. That means that second paint option from France, dated May 1940, is most probably also wrong in term of vehicle version.

Personally I was interested in „Polish” option and the conclusion was simple- in “Fall Weiss” there were „A” models used. Thankfully the differences between A, B and C aren't serious and you can easy build any of them from the same kit, with only minor modifications.

The kit itself is quite average. Not as bad as I heard, but also I wouldn't call it good. Some simplifications are quite irritating (e.g., lack of any details on interior side of drive wheels). Other than that, some parts aren't very crisp and there are some interesting consequences of multi-version design of the moulds. Plastic plate with bunch of rivets to cut off and glue on appropriate to version places isn't the most common practice. Quite fun idea however.

Oh, sharp eye probably noticed that I have older boxing of this kit, labelled as UM. Now the kit is available as Uni Models product- besides the name, there is no difference.

Assembly

No surprises here. Kit need some attention, but certainly isn't a pain to build. I used mini photo-etched set added in the box, which has small, but reasonable selection of details. Couple minor modifications were made, some to build “A” model (e.g., antennas from wire), other just to improve the general look of the miniature (e.g., driver's gun sight, drilled exhaust and gun barrel).

Painting

First I thoroughly covered the whole miniature with black enamel. Then I applied the main colours- Panzer Schwarzgrau from Model Master (2094) and Rust from the same manufacturer.

Grey colour was then lightened with a drop of random light grey and some lightening was done. Couple of details, i.e., exhaust, machine guns and jack, were painted by brush with Model Master Rust enamel and Gunmetal metalizer from Agama.

Coat of gloss varnish and it was time for decals. I used the kit markings, which were quite nice and reacted well with Microscale decals solutions. Bear in mind that I used only simple crosses and numbers- the more complicated and colourful markings from the sheet, provided for other paint options, had some unfortunate white colour displacement.

Decals were then protected with thin coat of gloss varnish and wash was applied. I used artist oil paint diluted with White Spirit. After giving the mixture enough time to dry, the model was covered with matt varnish from Gunze.

Weathering

Weathering time. Artist oils were used again. Brown and orange paints to differentiate the exhaust colour and greys to make some streaking effects. Tracks were also heavy treated with oils at this point. Other that that, I've try a new technique- watercolour pencils. Tried to make some soft (not to the bare metal) scratches and discolourations of camouflage with them.

Next I tried to simulate dust on lower surfaces and fenders. Tamiya Buff (XF-57) paint was used for that. Also I applied metallic pigment on the tracks, and enhanced their edges with pencil.

Last step- adding some heavier dust/mud effects on wheels and the back of the vehicle. I used Tamiya Weathering Master Set A, applied with brush and water. Mix of tapping, rubbing applied pigment with damp brush and flicking the mixture from the brush with finger.

The work was over, or I just think it was. Then it hit me- there should be a wooden block on the fender, about which I totally forgot. Well, some masking, painting and pigments did the job.

The remained unanswered question is: “how many times this thin barrel was broken?”. Well... couple.

Finished model

Miniature represents Panzerkampfwagen 38(t) Ausf. A from German 3rd Light Division. Invasion of Poland, September 1939.

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