The Tauchpanzer was developed for a German planned amphibious invasion of Great Britain, code name Operation Sea Lion. A number of Panzer IIIs were converted into diving tanks and had the ability to drive along the seafloor. They were fitted with special breathing apparatuses and the plan was to lower them from ships onto the seafloor near the coast of Britain and have them drive onto the shore. This plan was eventually aborted and the Luftwaffe was used instead.
This kit portrays a Tauchpanzer III Ausf.G, which was the most common version of this tank.
This kit comes in a standard Dragon Models
size box. The sides and back of the box show the special features contained in the kit. The box indicates there are over 400 parts contained in the kit, however, a great deal of these parts are not used for this kit. Dragon Models
has used sprues from a variety of previously released kits such as; Pz.Kpfw.III, Stug III, and Tauchpanzer III Ausf. F.
Inside the box you will find;
- 21 sprues in light grey plastic
- 3 sprues in clear plastic
- 2 frets of photo etch
- a small sheet of decals, instructions
- 2 x one piece vinyl tracks
The instructions are like most Dragon Models
kit instructions, very busy and a little difficult to follow for a newer modeller, however, should be no problem to follow for people with some modelling experience.
Lower Hull Assembly
The construction begins with the drive sprocket, idler wheels, return rollers and the road wheels, all of which are nicely moulded and detailed. The road wheels have “CONTINENTAU” (should be an L instead of a U at the end) moulded on the rubber rims and photo etch parts are included for the idler wheels. Assembly continues with the rest of the suspension and running gear which are also nicely detailed. Each road axle is connected to a torsion bar that is slotted through an opening in the hull sidewall and fixes onto the inside of the opposite hull wall. The lower hull also features escape hatches which can be made open or closed.
Assembly continues with the fenders. They have the tread plate pattern on both upper and lower surfaces and the details are nicely moulded. The fenders are thinner at the outside edges which make them look to scale unlike a lot of other plastic fenders. The front mud flap is moulded in place; however the rear mud flap is a separate piece. It would have been nice to see both mud flaps as separate pieces. Some, but not all, of the locating holes for the tools are not all the way through which will save a great deal of hole filling if you decided to use photo etch for the tool clamps and if not, are very easy to finish the hole. I do wish Dragon Models
would have done this for all of the locating holes instead of just some. The tools and tool clamps are nicely done and very detailed for being in plastic. I was a little disappointed to see Dragon Models
did not provide tools without a moulded tool clamps as they have done in previous kits for people wanting to use photo etch.
Next is the assembly of the upper hull deck which starts with the engine cover. All the hatches on the engine deck can be glued in either open or closed position. Dragon Models
gives the option of fitting the tow cable or not. The cable itself is moulded in styrene, with all the holders/clamps moulded on to it. The cable and holders are cast very fine with nice detail. The other option is to just use the holders/clamps and not have the cable. This is a nice option to have. There are separate crew hatches on the front of the vehicle, both of which have detail on their internal surfaces. The front glacis and upper hull sides are well detailed as well. The vision blocks on the hull sides are designed so they can be made opened or closed. The instructions have you take a break from the upper hull to assemble the main gun and commander cupola. After constructing these portions of the turret the hull is fully assembled. During this phase the smoke grenade rack with smoke grenades is assembled. Photo etch chain is provided for the grenades.
The turret is the next part in the assembly. The commander’s cupola can be made opened or closed and is provided with transparent periscopes. Each half of the hatch is separate with internal detail as well. The barrel for the main 5cm Kw.K38 L/42 gun is a one piece part with some breech detail. All of the crew hatches can be modelled open or closed with some interior details.
The tracks are the final step in assembly and Dragon Models
did not save best for last. The one piece vinyl tracks are well detailed for vinyl tracks but are a far cry from the individual links people have come to expect in newer Dragon Models
Painting and Markings
The kit provides the standard water slide transfer decals with the option of three different vehicles; Two from 2./Pz/Rgt.35, 4.Pz.Div, 1941
one from Pz.Abt.D, 1940
All three tanks are to be painted in German grey.
This is a very nice kit and I recommend it for anyone wishing to build a great kit straight from the box. The moulding is fine and crisp and there is very little clean up required which could assist in making this a quick build. The instructions can be a bit busy which may be confusing for newer modellers, however anyone with some experience should have no problem. This will make a great model straight from the box and can easily be updated if one chooses. The only major flaw, in my opinion, is the tracks. I’m not sure why Dragon Models
has decided to switch back to “old school” type tracks, perhaps to draw in modellers who shy away from individual track links. If this is the case, I think it would be better to provide both one piece and individual links to give modellers the option.