Kit Preview : 1/76 MMS Panzer III E/F
About the manufacturer
MMS is the leading 1/76 white metal model brand. The quality of casting and level of detail are comparable to traditional plastic kits, albeit without etched metal detailing. Smaller details such as mirrors are often omitted , and the running gear of tracked vehicles is usually a simplified one piece casting where the guide teeth are backed by a solid metal strengthening strip.
Due to the tight packaging in unprotected plastic bags, parts often come bent or one might say, with pre-built battle damage. Care must be taken to straighten things out lest parts be broken. Most MMS models I have seen are accurate, the only exception being the Shermans which have too short tracks, too much ground clearance and a too short transmission cover.
About the vehicle
This is the early Panzer III E with a short 3.7cm gun and the narrow track. It was the first version to undergo mass production and was used in the Polish and Western campaigns.
The Wikipedia entry on the Panzer III is a good place to start if you want to learn more.
About the kit
This is a typical MMS tank kit. The track/wheel assembly is one piece with the guide teeth backed by a continuous strip of metal. I find this to be acceptable as it is hardly seen behind a dark wash. The sprocket wheels need to be glued on. On all Panzer III and Stug III kits, there is no molded suspension detail on the hull. The hull is for an F model. To convert to an E just remove the two bulged intakes on the front glacis plate.
I bought 3 of these tanks as built-up wargame models. Most of the small parts were missing. MMS's AFV detail set provides all of them except the springs and antenna assembly.
The following two pictures are from the MMS Panzer H page. They show the missing parts:
hull MG, antenna gutter, antenna plug, suspension springs, headlights, extinguisher and jack.
The MMS Panzer IIIH has an unmistakable air of resemblance. On closer inspection, the tool stowage and engine deck are different.
The Panzer IIIE track has the appropriately set back front return roller, in addition to the earler pattern sprocket and idler wheels.