Kit Preview : 1/76 MMS Panzer III K Command Tank
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 Panzer III K command tank based on a Panzer III M. Unlike earlier command tanks, this version retained a real main gun. It was used primarily on the Eastern Front.
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.
This a modified Panzer III M so you get a late model hull without hull escape hatches and the characteristic raised exhaust allowing deep wading. The specific features of the command tank are the modified turret with a vision slit replacing the coax MG and the extra antenna gutter and plug on the left side. The tank should have a star antenna on the rear deck, which is not provided by MMS.