Since I built the previous PST BZ-35 two years ago, all the papers and documents I gathered about them at the time was carefully put away into two different folders. The two folders’ purposes changed a year ago…and so during the Queen’s Birthday Holiday weekend in June this year, I had an “audit” of them. I located all the photographs and such that I needed for the assembly of these current two kits and the two folders have had their purposes clarified and their contents sorted and stored appropriately.

While doing so, I came across a printout I’d made of a cut-away photograph of a Sturmgeschütz III assault gun/tank destroyer. To my knowledge, this was an actual Sturmgeschütz III captured during the second half of World War II by the Allies, and then dissected by Allied engineers to find out more about these vehicles. You can see the cut-away photo here (scroll down 1/3 of the page) – the side armour and wall has been removed and some engineers are positioned inside, in the crew’s positions, so you can see what the crew space is like during operation.

I had some teething troubles getting the wheels, axles and so-on into place and nicely aligned on these two BZ-35s. This was a problem at first but as I was using brass rod for the axles, I could gently bend the axles into different positions so the wheels were aligned as straightly as was possible. I know I grizzled about this PST kit requiring you to supply extra materials but in this instance it has actually been a boon. If plastic axles had’ve been arranged, I’m not so sure I could have rescued these kits from this dilemma – but then the axles and transmissions might have been differently modelled for kit assembly and this problem might never arise in the first place!

When I’ve had time, things have progressed well with these kits. I didn’t keep written notes about colours used for painting when I assembled some Military Wheels 1:72 GAZ-AAs two years ago, so I’m playing safe and painting the interiors of these BZ-35s the same colour as the exterior (Catachan Green) because that seems to be what I did with those GAZ-AAs.

At a swap-meet this month, I was lucky enough to purchase a now out-of-print Panzer III M by Revell. The box art shows it with schurzen (armour skirts) and they are included with the sprues. I wasn’t aware of Panzer III’s having schurzen at all, so I decided to do some historical research to see how many did, if it was standard issues, etc.

Part of this research involved searching the web, since I spend much of my day online (for my work).

I decided to use a search engine I normally wouldn’t use, KartOO. My search string was as follows:                  panzer iii m schurzen

Fairly reasonable, I thought.

I encountered a number of problems using and navigating in KartOO. These were:

  1. If I move forward through the pages of results, then click on “Back” (in Firefox), I go right back to the start screen and have to execute the search again. Annoying.
  2. My search string of panzer iii m schurzen gets only 99 results in total. In using search engine Alltheweb, I get 1020.
  3. By default, KartOO is set to search pages from the United Kingdom first. This is not good practice, unless a search engine states that it is specifically set for a country/region (like ANZWERS, which is Australia & New Zealand–centric and clearly states this).
  4. “Topics” is a misleading or misnamed feature. Clicking on something listed there limits results further by what you clicked on. With only 99 results to start with, this is unhelpful.
  5. “Image Search” and “Video Search” are just naked Yahoo! search engine searches.

http://www.achtungpanzer.com/panzerkampfwagen-iii.htm has what I want, and it is on the first page of KartOO. This is good.
It’s also on the first page of results with Alltheweb, but on the second page of results for Google.

The visual mapping is too limiting to me. The results gained in a text-driven search engine like Alltheweb are far more meaningful to me, as I can examine all the URLs which offer plenty of guides as to a site being historical/descriptive or a vendor and also I can see other words and phrases on the result page, which again are useful guides.

Visual mapping – is it a passing fad? Time will tell.