Early Panzers in Poland 1939 – MiniArt Pz. Kpfw. III Ausf. D + Diorama
This article is part of a series:
I started off with this project in July of last year while in Vienna. It involves MiniArt's #35169 model of the early Panzer III, the D-model. Figures are kit #35191 from the same manufacturer. The chassis of the tank was finished by August 2018 and I continued this project in February of this year. A long build, about nine months but with a few projects in between...
The Panzer III was conceived by Feldmarshall Heinz Guderian as the first MBT in history (an armored vehicle intended for the tank-vs-tank combat role). Other than the lightly armored Panzer I and II series, the Panzer III was developed in the mid 1930'ies as a dedicated fighting panzer, fitted with the - then state-of-the-art - 37mm KwK 36 L/45 antitank gun also used as single towed piece by the early panzer troops.
The early D model was the last series to have a leaf-based suspension, giving the vehicle its distinct look. From the E-model onward, Panzer III models (and the later Stug III variants) had a much simpler torsion bar suspension fitted. To do honor to this early Panzer, I decided to build MiniArt's version. The diorama was inspired by a set of B/W pictures I could find online dating back to the Polish campaign from September 1st 1939 onward. About 80 vehicles of this type saw action in this conflict which finally triggered WWII...
The kit is of superb quality and detail. It builds into a fine model even OOB because of the file molding, clear parts and PE set included with the kit. I did not fit a metal barrel as the plastic one was side molded in one piece. The kit has a high part count also because of the complexity of the chassis and suspension. A nice plus is the partial interior: The kit is featured of a turret basket with seats, gun recoil mechanism and levers. The plastic is rather brittle but otherwise: A job well done @miniart!
This project was built over several months because of lack of time "at the bench". I reported regularly on the advance in the build report you can find here:
Painting and Weathering:
I first gave the finished vehicle a shot of brown acrylic primer from the rattle can. The brown resembles red oxide primer used to add some corrosion resistance to the steel armor plating. I applied white Revell enamels as a pre-shading, followed by a Revell German Grey main coat. Tools and wheels were hand-painted and added only at the last step (my way of doing things). The weathering step was initiated by a shot of satin acrylic varnish from the can, to make the Panzer bulletproof :).
The figurines were first assembled, sanded, adjusted with putty and then primed with grey acrylic. The paint job was completed based on a basic set of acrylics which were then mixed. I used some references for the uniforms but -that early in the war - they were standard black and helmets were also garment-lined. Check this great entry by Dr. Thomas @davidathomas on how not to paint figures and place them next to an otherwise OK vehicle or airplane... 😉
The dio features a Panzer III in the Polish campaign. As part of the first panzer division, these tanks were the main thrust to the Polish capital Warsaw around September 13th. The dio fitures a road marker "45" as for 45km to Warsaw. The setting is that the tank waits in the marching line somewhere in the vicinity of the industrial city of Lodz on a dust road. The roads in central Poland were not the best, so tanks and other vehicles often ended up spending hours in traffic jams up until engineers enabled the passing of large units, reinforcing bridges and widening roads and turns. This is not an "action" dio, but I like to focus on the every day life of tankers, which often consists of waiting rather than action-related adrenaline sprees... @lgardner and @mikegolf can surely comment here 🙂
I hope you like this entry! Special thanks to @lgardner, @dirtylittlefokker and @jamesb for the moral support in pulling this one off. Next on the bench is my entry to David L/S At The Movies GB. Stay tuned!
This build is dedicated to my son Laurent, born April 5th 2019. Find the little bird in the dio!