Three Amigos: Takom, Tamiya & Dragon Neo - Panzer IIIN build log

With two week’s & two days before the Forgotten Wars Campaign & T-34-85 campaigns start, I hadn’t planned to do another build thread.

Reorganized my work space, hopefully it will help improve my very slow build times.

My fill in the dead time project, the new Tamiya #35372 KV-1 practically built itself in less than nineteen hours. It has to wait for warm weather for paint.

Considered returning to Shelf of Shame project Dragon #6164 Kursk Panther. Dragon called it a Kursk Panther. Their faulty research included many details that appeared after Kursk. Didn’t realize how badly Dragon missed the mark with it until after hollowing out all the guide teeth in the tracks and assembling the hull. Pitched it straight in the trash bin in 2003.

For some reason, my wife dug the kit out of the trash can and slipped it back on the shelf, where its sat since.

Opened the box and lots of PE tool clamps to complete. Not quite ready for that after the Italeri Panzer IV G build.

The Three Amigos
Goals are Takom as a Kursk Pz IIIM probably 2nd Panzer Division, maybe 11th Panzer Division, Tamiya as a Leningrad Pz IIIM attached to 502 Tiger battalion and DML as a Tunisian Pz III M probably of 21st or 15th Panzer etc.

Decided the Takom Blitz Panzer IIIN should be a good first project. It will be my first Takom kit. What’s in the box looks impressive. Excited to try one of the New Wave manufacturers kits.

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I recently picked up that Takom Blitz kit also, it looks like a great buy at the price point. Just trying to figure out where to slot in the “to build pile”. I’m like a dog chasing squirrels, think I settled on the next project, drop by the hobby store, come out with new kits then go “what was the plan again”?

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It’ll be better than their earliest kits. The 12.8cm Twin Flak gun had alignment issues but looked good when done.

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M, N, whatever…

I understand you can build an M from the N kit, is that your plan? :smiling_imp:

My Achtung slipped. My plan is to edit and fix my typo :slight_smile:

Thank you.

Later, I hope to build the Tamiya Pz III N & the Dragon Neo Pz III N for compare purposes

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Looks like a fun build! I’m following along for this!

Warning a lot of criticism of Takom’s kit follows.

I’m unpleasantly surprised by Takom’s Pz III M Blitz kit having sloppy imprecise fit with the suspension parts. Checking repeatedly with a straight edge is critical to get the suspension arms aligned. After noticing I discovered the same issues mentioned in an online review posted last month.

My copy has an abundance of flash that required cleaning up. The plastic is softer than I like. The bifocal aged modeler like myself will probably use a year’s worth of profanity when looking at the small instruction sheet.

Started cleaning up road wheels and test fitted one. Thought it was 1977 for a few minutes when I discovered Takom’s road wheels don’t actually fit together. The inner wheel A16 needs the pegs sanded down to allow the wheel to fit together! Once fixed the wheels have the same sloppy imprecise fit as the suspension.

On the bright side wheel detail is superb. Welds seams on A16 & A11, the inner six supports, word “Continental” & rear fitting are exquisite.

I’ve built between 150 to 200 armor kits since like 1975 and never seen as poorly fitting road wheel as these Pz III wheels by Takom’s - what a joke!

If the molded detail was a bit less impressive I’d pitch this kit directly in the trash bin due to it’s sloppy imprecise fit with parts in the first three steps. I’m ruthless in my expectations of precision engineering for a 2020’s era kit.

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I’m sad to hear this. I had high hopes…

Im hoping it gets better after the wheels.

This may be of interest…

Build Review Takom PZ III Ausf M

Sorry to hear about the fit issues with the kit, although, I’m sure you will power through!

I’ll be following along. Looking forward to more updates.

Marty

I was going to buy this kit locally, but I had seen reviews stating that the running gear was a PITA. So I decided against it.

It’s curious because I have recently built their M47 and it was an excellent kit, being much older than this…

Steps 1-3, total time 7 hours

The first three steps built like it was rushed through development skipping test shots. Where the return rollers mount to the lower hull, the flash needs to removed. Feels like a flash back (pun intended) to building a late 1980’s MiniCraft kit so far.

Shockingly the road wheels had the luxurious feel of precision engineering as they slid into place on the suspension arms. Perfect fit - No slop The fit is superb better than any Tamiya polycap wheel I’ve assembled. This is absolutely baffling given how poorly the road wheel half fit before sanding. Clearly Takom knows how to achieve precision fit.

Happily the lower hull sits flat with all wheels touching the glass desk top :slight_smile:

Skipped to the muffler to slap the halves together. It snaps tight with again precision fit. The picture below is the snap tight fit.

Really it’s a shame Takom did a 1970’s style two half muffler given how easily it could have been slide molded as one part. Tamiya cuts the same corner in their new Panzer IV F kit #35374. Tamiya has been ridiculed in some online reviews for keeping the vintage two halves muffler design.

< impression & opinion at this point >
After seven hours working on the kit my pet theory is “Blitz Kit” means fast track development cutting the corners to save Takom’s time and money.

Just in case anyone is wondering the Takom upper hull fits pretty well on the Tamiya lower hull…

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Don’t forget: if a kit fits perfet anyone can build it, only a “professional” can turn an ill fitting kit into something nice… and yours starts to look nice… :+1:

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That’s not to mention the frickin’ money that we pay for this kind of “precision engineering”. lol. I’m not an armor builder but I am looking at alot of these reviews and builds to gain more knowledge should I decide to take an armor project on.

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@mustang1989 & @bwilt Joseph & Bert,

Thank you for taking time to check out the build thread and welcome aboard for the ride!

Steps 4-7 <3 hours 40 mintues> total time 10 hours 40 minutes.

Step 4 was a lot of fun with adding spare track links to the front. The links are excellent, punch mark free and only have three attachment points. With a good set of nippers there’s very little clean up required. The links are hollow guide tooth and excellent. They also fit together well. Glue the links together and slid them into place.

Step 5 requires very thorough clean up of the lower rear plate. Six raised punch marks on the back of the plate need to be cut and sanded flush to avoid fit issues. Various mold seams removed. The tow pinnacles only fit fair and require ~.010 sheet stock to shim or a bit of thinned putty. Issue fixed with a glaze of Testor’s Liquid Cement & Molak Stucco putty. The lowe hull needs a few mold seams scrapped to get a good fit. Sliding the plate over the idler adjusters is a required a giggle or two but overall it fit very well.

Step 6 installs the fiddly muffler. It’s well detailed and molded. With meticulous parts clean up everything fit very well in this step except for exhaust tubes A33 which requie gentle tweaking and a little thinned Molak. Stucco.

Added texture to the muffler. Choose to close the inlets that are on the underside. If the tank’s engine is running they should be open from what I understand.

Given how enjoyable and smooth steps 4-6 went it was hard to believe this was the same kit as steps 1-3.

Step 7
Building the sprockets and idler go very well with minimal mold seam to remove. I marveled at how well Talom did with minimum mold seams on the sprocket teeth. They are faint and easy to remove A+ work by Takom.

Next I slid the idler & sprocket in place.
The fit is horribly loose! :laughing::rofl::joy:

Impossible to do link & length tracks without tacking the parts in place with Micro LiquiTape or similar. I don’t wantxto glue in place as this will all need to come apart for painting later.

The build experience greatly improved during steps 4-7.

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The kit does look really nice at this stage you are at.

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Marc, thank you! I like the detail & crisp molding Takom provides.

Step 8

Started on the tracks. Really wish this kit was individual link tracks as Takom’s Indy links are very sweet and without punch marks. With a set of GodHand nippers one can flush cut and have virtually no part clean up to do…

The Takom length runs have a fair number of punch marks and attachment points on the sides of the track. More intensity in part clean is required.

Takom kindly leaves lots of flash in the guide teeth for modelers to address :pray: and typical mold seams on the edges.

Return of the Panzer Dentist for a good teeth cleaning is prescribed. No cavities to fill so overall a good report!

After the track is assembled the faint side mold seams will be addressed with Testor’s Liquid Cement to melt the seams into obscurity.

Takom did very well molding the outer edge of the track open. Very happy about that as Tamiya didn’t bother to mold that area open on their new Pz IV F kit. Major points for Takom and perhaps a little forgiveness for steps 1-3.

Overall impression of the tracks :footprints: is A-

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Step 8 Tracks <3 hours 10 minutes> total time 13 hours 50 minutes

Straight forward with lot of part clean up. With link and length tracks, I like to mark the single at the first and last road wheel. This helps me center the strand of tracks accurately on the first try.

The lower B1 links marked in red, marked on the track run.

I also do L&L tracks same as Indy Link, one big run assembled with Testor’s Liquid Cement because its slow and allows ample adjustment time. I like to align the ends on the sprocket when possible. The sprocket teeth laterxhelp as a guide when the ends are cemented together after painting. I also like to have a couple of extra links cleaned up and ready in case the run comes up short.

Installed track runs with rubber bands to hold.

The kit instructions were spot on with the number of track links. This step went smoothly.

Well done Takom :clap:

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Step 9 goes to the upper hull but I think jumping to Step 16 to check upper & lower hull fit is worth while. My goal is to ensure fit is acceptable before proceeding with Step 9. Better to tweak the fit with,the upper hull before adding fragile parts to it.

Fit is Tamiya quality in the front! Starting to think we might just have something special :smiley:

Fit is Lindbergh quality in the rear!

Noticed two culprits that cause some of the issue D41 & D42. Slight filing of the face hitting the fenders improved the fit and reduced the gap.

Likewise the jungle of raised punch marks and plugs could do with some basic attention to sand them flush. While I didn’t think they were raised enough to cause fit issues, the fit improved slightly on the side where they were made flush.

Plan to clean up the other side and return to step 9. With careful clean up the fit becomes acceptable in the rear.

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