Kit Preview : 1/76 Fujimi Panzer 38(t)

About the manufacturer
Fujimi is the only remaining active major 1/76 plastic injection molded kit manufacturer. They took on the Nitto range about a decade ago and have been re-releasing their catalog gradually. Their latest kits include link and length hard plastic tracks. Be sure to check if the kit you are buying has the old rubbery tracks or the new ones. Just a hint: the cheaper ones have the vinyl tracks.
Henk of Holland has a very useful list of all the serial numbers of Fujimi and Nitto kits.

About the vehicle
. Here is the Wikipedia article on the Panzer 38(t). It links to other sites as well.
There is actually surprisingly little information about this tank on the web.

About the kit

I donít know much about this tank. A quick bit of research yields that this is the earlier version (Ausf A to D) with the recessed hull gunner position. It was famously used by Rommelís 7th Panzer division in 1940. It accounted for 10% of the tanks engaged in France that year.
Photos show that the cupola is also studded with rivets. They are missing on the kit.

Update: As I start to build this kit, ostensibly out of the boxto try out the rivet decals from Archer onthe cupola, I find myself researching this tank and finding multiple faults with it. Th kit represents either a B or C model. The A model had a pipe antenna running along the left side. The D model has a gutter on the hull around the turret. In any case the stowage is wrong for either version.
The B model has two short rectangular boxes along the left side and various tools on the right side. The C model has one box on the right side. All models have an smaller box with sloped top and drilled panes on the right side just forward of the engine cover. I have no idea about what it contains but it's always there. The sloped boxes in the kit seem to be more appropriate for later versions. Milicast just released some resin models of the early versions of the Praga. Their tracks look awfully similar to the Fujimi ones. Click on the following links for pictures of the Milicast kits (all prebuilt in the Battlefield range): Ausf A Ausf B, Ausf C, Ausf D,

Also missing is the smoke discharger box on the rear hull and the tooling assortment on the sides (apart from the shovel provided by Fujimi).

The rear lights are too large. It is better to save them in the spares box and scrounge some taillights from scrap sprue or rods.

The cupola require more than just rivets. It is missing all 4 vision slots, 1 large in front and 3 small ones. I built them out of plastic strip.

Here are some photos of the model after basic assembly has been completed with a wash of liquid putty and the cupola upgraded with Archer rivets and scratch vision slots.

I have since scratched the stowage box and the whatever box with holes on the right side. Stowage will arranged to represent a B version. Contrary to Milicast's description of the B, none of the period pictures from my Militaria Hors Serie collection relating to the 1940 campaign show any smoke candle box on the rear so I'll leave it off. Here is the completed model before painting:

Here is the completed model. I still need to find a tank commander with a beret. In hindsight the rivets I used on the cupola are smaller than the originals and don't show up as well.

Reviewed on May 28, 2008, updated on August 12, 2009, August 28, 2009, Sep. 8 2009, Sep. 25 2009