Pz.Kpfw. 35(t) Skoda Light Tank model

Kits used :
ESCI kit 8025 (Italeri kit 7084)
Part P72-107 Tracks for the T-26, Vickers 6t, and 7TP tanks [and Pz.Kpfw. 35(t)?]

Review by Stephen 'Tank Whisperer' Brezinski

Edited by Rob Haelterman

The light tank commonly known as the Pz 35(t) was developed by the Skoda Company for the Czech Army and was equivalent to other light tanks of the period such as the Polish 7TP, Soviet T-26, Italian M13/40, and US M3 Stuart. The Czech designation is the Skoda Lt.vz.35. At the time that the Germans invaded Czechoslovakia and absorbed many of the Pz 35(t) into the German army this tank was in the process of being replaced by the Czech Pz 38(t). The letter designation (t) in 35(t) stands for tschechisch, the German word for Czech. I understand that the Pz 35(t) was designed as a 3-person tank though the Germans squeezed in a loader as a 4th crew member and increasing the crew efficiency.

The kit’s box art is the first thing we see when shopping for a model and if accurate will help with assembly and with panting and markings. Notice the radio antenna at the bow, which was an advanced feature for a tank of this period. Up on the turret we see the commander’s cupola with large hatch. The main gun is the 3.7-cm with a large armored recoil cylinder above the barrel. Right of the main gun (our left) is the turret machine gun which is coaxial and can move free of the main gun. On the driver’s plate is a bow machine gun for the radio operator. These machine guns are essentially the same as the British BESA used in British tanks and both fire the same German 7.92-mm ammunition. This old kit may be found on eBay and in collections.

In 2021 this former ESCI kit was re-released by Italeri as kit 7084. The boxart I find particularly handsome and with detail of the track so good that I suspect this is a modified photograph. I understand that Italeri has released this model with the plastic band track which I would toss away and replace with the excellent OKB Grigorov cast resin track set S72286. Aftermarket tracks for the T-26 tank could also work.

Kit Parts
I counted 116 tan colored injection-molded styrene plastic parts on two sprues, and two crude, stiff, polyethylene plastic track that resists most glues. This is an old model kit before slide molding technology but is complex and one of ESCI’s best kits. One figure is included and no resin nor etched metal parts.

This sprue holds many roadwheels and hull parts. The kit’s suspension is similar to how the newer Attack Models does their Pz 35(t) kit suspension; this is no quick build suspension. I find it odd how the parts are numbered; for example, all the roadwheels are identical though they are numbered part-48 through part-86, rather than all being just part-48. Another example is that the cupola vision ports are labeled as parts 104G, 105H, E106, and F107 when these parts are all identical.

Be very careful to assemble the 5-part lower hull to minimize gaps and the need for filler putty. The hull assembly is similar to the newer 1/72 Attack Models Pz 35(t) kit.

The 2nd sprue includes the rest of the suspension and hull parts, and the turret parts. The cupola hatch (parts 29 & parts 104 thru 107) as well as the driver and radio operator’s hatches are molded closed. At lower right is a 3-part crew figure wearing the early German tanker’s beret.

DYMOK72 Company offers a turned metal replacement gun barrel for the 1/72 Pz 35(t) models (available here).

The kit instructions are the typical exploded-view type with a parts tree diagram, several historical photos of the Pz 35 in action and a 4-view drawing noting markings and painting. Study the assembly of the suspension bogies well: “dry fit twice and glue once” as they say, or something like that. At lower left are the water-slide decals released by ESCI for a German Pz 35(t) which includes several flags for draping on the engine deck for air identification.

The Pz 35(t) suspension bogies (at left) appear very complex and were essentially the same as those used in the French Somua 35 tank, the Hungarian Turan and Zrinyi tanks, and the British Matilda 1 tank, and the bogies bear a resemblance to that on the British Vickers 6-ton and Italian M13/40 tanks. Please be aware that the leaf springs on the ESCI kit bogie (far left) are mistakenly mounted upside-down and this slipup was rectified prior to final assembly of my model.

At the bottom is the stiff polyethylene plastic band track that came with the ESCI kit. I do not believe that this ESCI kit was ever released with hard styrene link & length track. This ESCI kit track is inaccurately detailed, too stiff to naturally wrap around the tank suspension, and resists most glues to affix the track down to the wheels. If you choose to use the ESCI band track I recommend it be warmed in hot water and bent into shape around the idler and sprocket wheels before it cools and holds its new shape. Some super glue comes with a special priming solvent which will help the cyanoacrylate glue affix the track to the plastic wheels.

At top is the Part Company 1/72-scale etched brass track set P72-107 for the T-26, Vickers 6t, and 7TP tanks though I believe this track is suitable for the 1/72 Pz 35(t) model and the track looks more accurate and in-scale than the ESCI kit track.

OKB Grigorov company offers aftermarket, replacement cast resin Pz.35(t) tracks (set S72286). My experience is that OKB makes excellent aftermarket tank tracks in 1/72. Pictured below is the darker gray OKB track alongside the crude ESCI kit track and the light gray styrene plastic track from an Attack Models Pz 35(t) kit. Attack Models also released a replacement track in cast resin which is also an improvement over the ESCI track but no longer available at this time in 2020-2021.

The picture above shows the Part etched brass track set P72-107 on an assembled ESCI Pz 35(t). Once folded over the surface, detail is good yet I find it still too thin to pass as accurate Pz.35(t) tracks but still a great improvement over the ESCI kit track.

My opinion is that this is a great smallscale model kit that I am pleased is back on the market. The Attack Models 1/72-scale Pz 35(t) kits are similar in design to this ESCI kit but with parts not as well injection molded as this old ESCI model. With the OKB track set S72286, both the ESCI and Attack smallscale models can build into fine display models.




Panzer 35(t) and 38(t) And Their Variants 1920-1945, Walter J Spielberger, Schiffer Military History (2008).

This is the Pz 35(t) at Aberdeen Proving Grounds. At the top we have the commander’s cupola with four vision devices and large pan-shaped cupola hatch. On the side of the tubular armored recoil cylinder note the flattened area on the side and then the 37-mm gun barrel and pepper-pot muzzle break below. Left of the gun (our right) is a small vision flap (perhaps for the gun sight?).

On the hull we have the starboard-side driver’s visor partly open and the driver’s hatch on the hull roof (no hatch for the radio operator). On the port side we have the radio operator’s hull machine gun mount (missing the machine gun) and the radio antenna mount. We can make out the 25-mm thickness of the front armor plate riveted together. On the port side of the superstructure are brackets for pioneer tools.

The photo below shows the leaf spring suspension bogie, the rear drive sprocket and several return rollers. On the sprocket wheel is a large rim and the sprockets have a mud scraper.

This photo shows the port side looking forward to the idler wheel. With another view of the turret and commander’s cupola.

I have read that the round plate over the turret machine gun location indicated that this may be a command vehicle. We have another view of the partially open driver’s flap, the machine gun mount, radio antenna pot, and the bracket for a headlight in the middle of the driver’s plate. Left of and below the radio pot is a vision slit for the radio operator.

Down on the nose are tow hooks. Here we also have a view of what the kit track is supposed to look like. At far left of the photo, the muffler is visible above the starboard-side fender.


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Article Last Updated: 03 April 2021

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