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Panzerkampfwagen 38(T). 1:35

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Panzerkampfwagen 38(T)
Hobbyboss 1:35


The CKD (Praga) LT vz.38 design was straightforward and only based on well-proven solutions. The most distinctive features was its suspension, consisting of two-pairs of cold sprung bogies with massive road wheels. The size of these was seen as a benefit for protection, ease of maintenance and cost, compared to the over-complicated wheel train and suspensions system of the LT vz.35. It was an inspiration for the German designers of the Panzer II. However, they used a torsion arm system instead.

The hull was mostly riveted, compartmentalized with the engine at the rear, and a transmission tunnel running to the front drive sprockets. The THN late export versions had three return rollers, but the LT vz.38 had two instead, the rear one being dropped and the relatively narrow tracks, lightly tightened. Armament comprised the fast-firing Skoda A7 37 mm (1.46 in) gun with 90 rounds, both HE and AP. It was flanked by an independent ball-mounted compact Skoda vz.38 machine gun, a second one being mounted in the bow. Total provision for these was around 3000 rounds. The TNHPS, or LT vz.38, thus designed was poised to enter service with the Czech army. On July, 1, 1938, 150 were ordered, but failed to be delivered because of the German invasion. Many vz.38s of the first original batch were later given to the Slovakian army.

Although the Germans were impressed by the design, the Praga-Skoda lines were reorganized under their control, and the design of the new LTM 38 was revised while production was running. Modifications included a rearranged and roomier turret, holding a third crew-member, the commander being spared of any other tasks. Also added were an intercom system, a new German radio set, a revised commander cupola, modified sights, and new external fixations. These vehicles were renamed Panzerkampfwagen 38(t) in January 1940.

Despite the fact that no less than eight main versions (Ausführung) of the Panzer 38(t) existed, not including the Ausf. S intended for the Swedish market, there are few differences between them, even to an exerted eye. The first Ausf. A (entirely riveted construction) was produced to an extent of 150 machines from May to November 1939, and the next batch of Ausf. B (110), C(110) and D (105) were produced from January to November 1940. They were very similar, except for some detail modifications, like external fittings, improved commander cupola, sights, a new headlight and a half-riveted, half-welded construction. But all had in common the main Czech Skoda KwK 38(t) L\48 gun and two vz.38 machine guns. Protection was slightly improved but was limited to 30 mm (1.18 in). The Ausf. E(275) and F(250), built between November 1940 and October 1941, were up-armoured to 50 mm (1.97 in), with an extra bolted-on 25 mm (0.98 in) appliqué armour on the frontal glacis. The turret mantlet and front were also thickened. New larger storage boxes and fixation points were added on the mudguards. The Ausf. S (May-December 1941) was an offshoot initially built for Sweden, but confiscated and incorporated in the Wehrmacht. The Ausf. G was the last “regular” version, with the same armour but better protection distribution and a nearly all-welded hull. This was the most prolific series, 321 being delivered by CKD-Praga from October 1941 to June 1942. 179 more were delivered as chassis and later transformed into SPGs.

The Model
This is another ex-Tristar kit, originally released in 2006, that Hobbyboss have re-boxed and released under their own branding. The kit keeps the same box art as the original, with just the Hobbyboss name replacing that of Tristar which makes them somewhat familiar. Now moulded in the now standard HB beige styrene the parts are well moulded, showing that the moulds are still in good shape, with no sign of flash of other imperfections, just a numerous moulding pips to worry about. In all there are seven sprues of beige styrene, three of dark grey and one of clear, with a smallish decal sheet completing the contents.

The kit looks like it will quite a simple build, with only individual track links causing any bother. Construction begins with the assembly of the eight road wheels which come with separate tyres. The wheels are then attached to the four suspension units, each of which are made up from three parts. The wheels are kept on the axles by a large bolt head and cover plate. The sprockets and idlers are each made from five parts, whilst the return rollers are assembled from three parts. The lower hull is constructed is made from separate panels, consisting of floor, sides, rear bulkhead plus the upper and lower glacis plates, the upper section of which is fitted with a separate access panel.




The wheel assemblies are now attached to the lower hull assembly along with the machine gun panel, which has the three piece machine gun, and two four piece outer vision blocks and five piece inner drivers block fitted. The two fenders are then attached to the lower hull, each fitted with the various pioneer tools, jack, jack block, aerial base and headlight. The turret and engine panels are then glued into position, along with the drivers hatches. A length of track needs to be assembled and fitted to the front lower glacis plate via the tie rod. The engine hatches are fitted with their respective PE grilles before being fitted to the engine decking. On the rear bulkhead, the large round access panel is assembled and glued into place, followed by the three piece exhaust which has a five piece stowage bin attached over it. Below the exhaust the two towing hitches are fitted and the reflectors are fitted to the rear of the fenders. The small grille to the rear of the engine decking is fitted with a PE grille before being glued into place.




Assembly of the turret begins with the fitting of the three piece breech to the rear of the gun barrel and the mantel to the front of the breech section. The front plate of the turret is then fitted with the four piece co-axial machine gun and its ball socket, along with the three piece gun sight/vision block. The main gun is further detailed with the breech side pieces and trigger, followed by the trunnion mounts to which the gun is fixed to the front plate. The build then moves to the turret roof to which the commanders cupola, which is built up from ten parts, is attached, along with the aerial and grab handles. The turret itself is built up from the base, side and rear plates, plus a small plate at the front. To this the roof assembly is attached, along with the front plate, to which two additional side plate are fitted, one on each side of the mantle. Inside the turret two seats and the respective supports are fitted. The completed turret is then fitted to the hull completing the main part of the build. The kit does come with a couple of figures, although only one is used, that of the tank commander which comes as a single piece torso and legs, but with separate arms, personal equipment and a selection of three heads. The is also a pair of headphones which can be made up using the plastic and etched parts provided.



The decal sheet provides crosses, identification numbers and unit emblems for six vehicles, four in an overall panzer grey scheme, one in panzer grey and dark yellow and one in panzer grey with white distemper.

  • Vehicle 833 of the 204th Panzer Regiment, 22nd Panzer Division, Crimea 1941/42
  • Vehicle 714 of the 204th Panzer Regiment, 22nd Panzer Division, Crimea 1942
  • Vehicle 525 of the 25th Panzer Regiment, 7th Panzer Division, Russia 1942
  • Vehicle 522 of the 204th Panzer Regiment, 22nd Panzer Division, Crimea 1942
  • Vehicle 243 of the 19th Panzer Division, Russia 1942
  • Vehicle 11 of the 10th Panzer Regiment, 8th Panzer Division, Russia 1941


The decals are nicely printed, with good opacity and in register. Since there are some awkward areas for the decals to sit the thin carrier film should settle down well with an appropriate softening and setting solution.

The Tristar kit garnered much critical acclaim when it was released and the change of ownership shouldn’t mean a change in quality. Not a difficult build, although the track links may cause some modellers a challenge, it should be fine for all but the newest of modellers, and a good introduction to 1:35 scale military vehicles. Very highly recommended.

Review sample courtesy of

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