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Tamiya Panzer 38(t) Ausf E/F


With the occupation of Czechoslovakia, the German army pressed a large number of locally built military vehicles into service. Among those was the LT vz. 38 light tank, which became the PzKpfw 38(t), with t standing for tschechisch (Czechoslovak).

Tamiya's newly tooled 38(t) consists of 144 dark gray plastic parts with four poly caps and two metal plates. Two marking options are for overall gray Eastern Front tanks in 1942, one from the 22nd Panzer Division, the other from an unknown unit.

Fit of the lower hull's five parts is excellent, and everything ends up square without much effort. I left out the metal ballast until just before closing the hull. It was easier to assemble the tracks without the extra weight.

I temporarily attached the road wheels to build the link-and-length tracks. Be careful cutting the tracks off the sprues, especially the individual links that wrap around the drive sprockets and idlers; they are easily broken and no spares are provided.

I deviated from the instructions' track assembly order. I found it easier to start with the individual links around the sprocket and idlers. Once they were dry, I aligned them with the upper run using the molded sag over the return rollers to ensure proper placement. Then it was easy to assemble the bottom runs.

Suspension detail is simplified, but little of it is visible with the road wheels attached. I glued a piece of screen from my spares box inside the engine vent to hide the barren interior.

I filled holes and ejector-pin marks under the fenders, then installed the ballast and upper hull. The fit was perfect. I added details to the hull, leaving off the spare track links and tools for painting. Only the wire cutters are molded in place. The driver's hatch is molded shut.

The five-part turret needed just a little filler around the rear plate (part H8). The fiddly, multipart commander's cupola required filler around most of its joints. The separate commander's hatch has minimal interior detail, but a commander is fitted to fill the space.

The cannon features a hollow muzzle, but the coaxial and hull machine gun could be carefully drilled out for a better appearance.

I painted the tiny model with Tamiya German gray (XF-63), breaking up the monochromatic finish with AK Interactive's Dunkelgrau Modulation Set (AK 160). I marked it for the 22nd Panzer Division — the more dramatic option — and the decals settled over the prominent detail with a little Solvaset.

I spent 20 hours on my 38(t), much of it painting and weathering. Tamiya's 1/48 scale armor kits are perfect for a weekend build or as a break from complex projects. Beginners looking to gain experience and advanced modelers wanting to add detail and stowage will enjoy this model.

Note: A version of this review appeared in the September 2015 FineScale Modeler.

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