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Attack Hobby 1/72 PzKpfw 38(t) Ausf. C and Ausf. G

By Chris Banyai-Riepl

 

HISTORY

The PzKpfw 38(t) started life in Czechoslovakia in the mid-1930's as the TNH tank. This tank was developed privately by CKD (Ceskomoravska-Kolben-Danek) to compete on the foreign market against the Skoda LT vz.35, which had captured the home market. The TNH tank featured a 3.7cm Skoda gun, two ZB vz.35 machine guns, and a Praga 6-cylinder engine capable of propelling the TNH to 50km/h. The TNH tank turned out to be a much better tank than the LT vz.35 and Iran, Peru, Switzerland and Sweden all purchased the TNH tank. Czech rearmament in 1937 opened the local market up to the TNH tank, and after comparison tests, the TNH was selected as a standard light tank of the army, designating it the LT vz.38.

Before the LT vz.38 could enter service with Czechoslovakia, though, Germany occupied the country and took over production. The LT vz.38 was superior in every way to the PzKpfw I, and was more in line with the PzKpfw III. Since CKD already had the production capability in place, Germany ordered them to increase production of the LT vz.38, with the new tanks becoming the PzKpfw 38(t). The initial order of 150 tanks was completed, and an additional 328 were ordered. During the invasion of Poland, 59 PzKpfw 38(t)s were used, along with 112 PzKpfw 35(t)s. Of these tanks, 77 PzKpfw 35(t)s and 7 PzKpfw 38(t)s were destroyed, proving the inadequacies of the PzKpfw 35(t) and the usefulness of the 38(t). After this campaign, another 275 PzKpfw 38(t)s were ordered.

The next combat action seen by the PzKpfw 38(t) was the invasion of Norway, where 15 took place with no losses. These were quickly returned to take part in the invasion of France. During "Fall Gelb", 229 PzKpfw 38(t)s took part, with 54 being damaged and only 6 damaged enough to be scrapped. Following on this exemplary service, the PzKpfw 38(t) took part in the invasion Yugoslavia and Greece, where again it performed flawlessly. But its usefulness was running out, and the invasion of Russia quickly proved that it was obsolete.

In the face of much better quality and more powerful Soviet armor, the PzKpfw 38(t) quickly fell out of front line service, with nearly 800 PzKpfw 38(t)s being lost in this action. Germany quickly started replacing the PzKpfw 38(t) with other designs, and passing off the remaining tanks to its allies, such as Rumania, Hungary, and Slovakia. The German Wehrmacht still kept many on active duty, though, and by 1944 there were still 229 PzKpfw 38(t)s available, being used mainly for anti-partisan duties and armored train protection.

In all, over 6400 vehicles based on the PzKpfw 38(t) chassis were produced, and its performance in the early years of the war should list it amongst the best tanks of the Second World War.

THE KITS

Attack Hobby has come out with two kits of the PzKpfw 38(t), the Ausf C and the Ausf G. The basic kits are the same, with the only difference being the front of the upper hull. The Ausf C version has a curved front, while the Ausf G is straight. While this is a small change, the construction of the kit results in there being many replacement parts. The hull sides and upper hull parts are different between the two kits, with the turret, roadwheels, and rear hull parts being the same.

The parts have crisp detail, but there is some flash. The sprue gates are a bit large, and the plastic somewhat soft, but with some careful trimming and care, this shouldn't be any problem. The fit of the parts is excellent, and all that is needed is some light sanding to achieve a perfect fit. The tracks are plastic, but aren't separate links. You'll have to bend the track pieces around the wheels, and you'll have to try some trial and error bending to get that sagging track look.

The marking choices for both the Ausf C and Ausf G are one panzer grey option and one dark yellow/red brown/dark green/rust camouflaged option. The decal sheet provides two number styles, two cross styles, and a set of stencilling. The decals look to be thin and have a flat coat over them.

If you're into 1/72 armor modeling, these two kits will be a great addition to any collection. Compared to the old 1/76 Fujimi PzKpfw 38(t), this kit is leaps and bounds above that attempt, and it's done to 1/72 to boot. The potential for dioramas with these kits is enormous, as the PzKpfw 38(t) was used on every front. Don't hesitate to pick one of these gems up.

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Air Intelligence
1999 Modelers'
Reference Guides

1/32 Scale Guide $18.00
1/48 Scale Guide $25.00
1/72 Scale Guide $25.00
HH-43 Huskie Color
Reference Guide $15.00

Please add $3.20 Postage in the US.

TacAir Publications

PO Box 90933
Albuquerque NM
87199-0933
USA
(505) 881-9621

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