Tamiya first released their Panzer II Ausf.F/G (kit #35009) back when Adam was a boy and is really not up to today’s standards and now after all these years we now have this new Panzer II Ausf.c.A.B.C from Tamiya which doesn’t share any parts with the older Marder II (kit #35060) or Wespe (kit#35200).
The designations of the early Panzer II series is a little confusing and hopefully Panzer Tracts will release volume No.2-1 Panzer II Pz.Kpfw.II Ausf.a/1 to F soon to take some of the mystery out of things. But basically there are the initial Ausf.a and b series with notable different hull features as well as the early style bogie suspension and running gear followed by the Ausf.c,A,B,C with the larger road wheels and later hull features which forms the basis for this kit new kit from Tamiya.
More specifically the kit represents the earlier Ausf.c,A,B,C configuration with the twin turret hatch as well as including the additional front hull armour panels fitted over the initial rounded nose plate and the additional armour added to the front of the superstructure and turret is also included as is the rear mounted smoke dischargers commonly seen on these vehicles.
The kit captures the overall features of the Panzer II Ausf. c,A,B,C very nicely and while there are some issues along the way the overall kit dimensions measuring up well to available data with just a few discrepancies. There were some differences between the 1:35 plans in the books listed below which made things tricky and again shows again you can’t bet your house (or kit) on a single set of commercial plans.
With Cyberhobby/Dragon having just released their version of the Panzer II Ausf.C (kit #6432) comparisons are inevitable but thankfully both are not the same version so avoid the direct duplication of effort we see all too often unfortunately. The Cyberhobby/Dragon kit represents that later modified Ausf.C with turret commander’s cupola, additional hull and turret armour and revised rear deck details while the Tamiya kit here is the early Ausf.c,A,B,C as above.
As such I won’t make a full comparison but just compare images of some key areas common to both types along the way to give and idea of how each shapes up but as mentioned being different version you can happily buy both.
The kit consists of 228 parts in dark grey plastic that includes link and length track segments, plus a small etched stainless steel fret for the exhaust heat shields as well a dozen or so vinyl poly caps and the single decal and instruction sheet.Standard of moulding is again excellent with virtually no pin marks or flash to contend with although there are some minor instances of both to easily deal with. There is the usual fine moulding seams on the parts to remove but nothing really out of the ordinary for plastic kits but you should watch as some of these mould seams double as actual seams on the real parts such as the road wheels and suspension arms.
This is a conventional plastic tub without internal details but includes raised detail on the outsides for the suspension mountings and access plates on the bottom with separate front and rear panels to make up the full tub.
The four return roller mounting posts on the Panzer II are not level but on a downward angle with the rear post being lower than the first and the kit captures this feature precisely for good attention to detail.
Each axle/spring assembly is made up of a single part each with the bogie arm, axle and upper spring all in one with the bogie being the correct type for the earlier Ausf.c,A,B,C. You have to take care as the forth bogie assembly is different from the first three as indicated in the instructions plus there are additional small arm bump stops added to each side. Each bogie are is hollow at the back but this is all but hidden by the hull when fitted so is not an issue really
The mould seam lines down the centre of the springs will need care during removal to ensure the definition of the springs is maintained but the springs face downwards after assembly and the seams may not be that noticeable if not cleaned up.
On the other hand the mould seams on the axle arms can be left in place to simulate with central casting seam of the actual arm with care needed when cleaning up the sprue attachment bur to preserve the seam at this point.
At the front is an inner rounded panel as originally fitted with two additional armour panels that fit over the top of these to represent the later squared off front profile and these parts fit perfectly without any trimming needed. The inner rounded panel has no details such as the access hatch and steel rope brackets and if you wanted to use this to backdate the kit these details would have to be added.
The final drive housings are separate parts and are the correct rounded housing of the earlier Ausf.c,A,B,C and this has a poly cap trapped inside when gluing to the hull side for fitting of the drive sprockets. The reinforcing brackets are also included on the inside of the final drives and these fit over the rounded front plate without any problems.
The drive sprockets have the correct 26 drive teeth and feature well defined bolt details around the rims and also have the bolts around the inside of the sprockets although there are some shallow pin marks on the insides which are very easy to remove as they can be seen after assembly with a separate inner axle pin to fit the sprockets to the final drive housings.
The road wheels have the outer wheel and tyre with a separate insert for the back to eliminate the hollow look and the wheels feature nice details but there is no “Continentau” tyre embossing on the rubber sections. Also included is the raised seam around the middle of the rubber section which is evident on newer wheels but the attachment points to the sprues means there will be two scars in the seam line, one of which can be hidden at ground contact but the other is evident. If you take extreme care and some nifty knife work when removing the excess plastic from the sprue attachment you can preserve the raised seam line so the scar is less evident.
The return rollers again have nice details with the raised tyre seam and the same comments apply here as with the road wheel but both types of wheels are very well done and look very good with careful painting bringing out the detail.
At the back is the initial Ausf.c,A,B,C style idler wheel made up of two parts, the inner wheel disc and outer thinner rim lip but doesn’t include the two small holes seen on some idlers. There is a small issue with the idlers in that all the 1:35 plans available show the diameter of the idler as 18mm in 1:35 scale but the kit idlers are 17mm in diameter but I don’t have the actual diameter measurement for the idlers to confirm this. For some reason all the references list the diameters of the road wheels and return rollers but not the idlers?
The separate idler mounting brackets has the axles offset but fixed in one position and it may be best to leave this off until fitting the track to get the idler in the correct position with the assembled track. And yes the road wheels and idler wheels align correctly without any alterations required with both slipping easily in place by the use of the poly caps.
The rear hull panel has separate detail for the tow pintle, tail light and four part exhaust with a separate etched heat guard which you have to bend to shape to fit and annealing the part beforehand will help with this. There are actually two etched covers provided, one if you don’t use the smoke launcher rack and the other with cut-outs for the smoke launcher rack supports to fit through with the launcher mounted directly to the exhaust mounting brackets as they should.
The racks themselves are made up of five parts for a nicely detailed assembly that matches photos of the early racks very well with about the only addition required would be the fine chain attached to each of the five smoke grenades.
The kit includes link and length track which is cleanly moulded and includes the indentations in the side of each guide tooth as well as nice link detail although not as well defined as you will get with individual link track.
There are long sections for the ground contact run and along the top of the return rollers with the track sag also included which will take the pain out of getting this in the right position with shorter 9 and 3 link segments as well as some individual links for around the drive sprockets and idler wheels and this makes assembling the track quite straightforward.
The upper hull is in one piece including the fenders with cut-outs for the engine access hatches and turret ring as well as the separate glacis plate with separate access hatch as well as the front and side superstructure panels also as separate parts with alternate visor covers depending on the version being built.
Detail on the hull top includes nice tread plate pattern on the fender top sections but with the rear right fender smooth which we now know is how it should look with the undersides of the fenders being plain. There are nicely depicted weld seams and engraved panel lines around the hull with both the front and rear bullet splash guards as separate parts which make it easy to leave off if backdating the kit.
There are a number of locating holes to be opened up from the inside of the hull and through the fenders for things like the bullet splash guards and tools and this should be done before assembling any parts to avoid problems later.
At the front the hull has the early short glacis included with the hull moulding with the separate longer glacis plate and lower panel for the later types as mentioned above.
The extended glacis has nice flush screw detail at the back and weld seam along the front edge as well as a separate glacis access hatch has nice inside details but there is a question on the actual size of the hatch with some plans showing it the size as in the kit while others show it slightly smaller. Actual photos of the hatch seem to indicate the larger size is more appropriate and that the hatch also extends further back into the recess between the plate and flush screw strip as it does on the kit hatch.
The fit of the glacis and lower plate fit perfectly as mentioned above with other front details include the two fender mounted head lights with solid lenses plus the Notek light and hatch rest post with just the light wiring needed to finish off.
The front superstructure plate has the driver’s visor as a separate part that can be shown open or closed while the right side angled plate visor as a single part but there is no inner visor detail on any of the kit visors or any other interior detail for that matter.
There are alternate front panels, the un-armoured and additional armour panels to be added to the superstructure and when adding the armoured panels some detail from the underlying panels has to be removed so you had best decide which you prefer to use for the vehicle you are building beforehand.
There is no spare road wheel included that is often carried on the glacis of some Ausf.c,A,B,Cs so this will have to be sourced elsewhere if you wish to add this, again depending on the vehicle you are building.
The forward left side panel has a choice of visor covers with the fit of the side panels to the superstructure being spot on without any gaps or trimming needed.
Added to the fenders are the various storage boxes and pioneer tools which have their tool clips moulded on and could be enhanced by replacing with any available etched clips while the four part jack is the early type with plastic mounting brackets and there is the long aerial trough in two halves with subtle wood grain effect mounted on the left fender.
Each fender has the front and rear extensions as separate parts allowing you to leave off if required or depict folded up and these also have tread plate pattern on the outside only like the main fenders.
The engine deck has open intake grills with separate engine access doors and you may want to blank these off to eliminate the see-through look as there is no detail under the rear deck.
There are separate grills added inside the right engine intake but there is also wire guards fitted over this opening and adding this from thin wire will give more detail to this area.
The full upper shell has a separate lower ring and front panels with the gun mounting and has excellent panel weld seams as well as all the vision port covers as separate parts. These too have the correct features with only two having vision slits but again they have no internal visor detail included.
There is the initial turret front panel as well as the additional armour fitted to the front of the turret as well as very small lifting hooks for the front corners and rear of the turret that really will need care in fitting as they are very small.
The Commander’s hatch is the earlier split hatch with nice detail on the inside if you wish to have the hatches open to pose the Commander figure included with the kit and on the inside is the Commander’s seat come stand to rest the figure on if used?
There is also the hatch protector plate added in front of the hatch as well as the dummy periscope fitted to these earlier vehicles for again good attention to detail.
The main 2cm KwK30 L/50 gun is in one piece with the flash suppressor hollowed out using slide moulds although the small suppressor holes are not open but just indentations and you may want to drill these out for a better look. The barrel itself is about 1mm too long when comparing to the available plans but appears to be the correct diameter when compared to available plans and photos. If you wanted to correct the length and add a little more details there is the metal 2cm KwK30 L/50 gun from armorscale (set #B35-027) already available or simply shorten the kit barrel by 1mm.
The co-axial MG34 is also in one piece and very well done for a plastic gun and is the correct design for the in-turret gun without the barrel fittings and importantly without the shoulder stock which isn’t fitted to co-axial MG34s. While the kit barrel is nicely done you can again improve the look of the MG34 by using the excellent metal barrels/cooling jacket from ABER if you wish as it’s a simple matter of cutting off the plastic barrel to add the metal one.
Both the 2cm and MG34 fit to basic gun mountings inside the turret that allows the mantlet/gun mounting to elevate with the use of two poly caps holding the mounting in place and there is also the long sight telescope added between the two guns as the only other detail on the gun mounting.
The two small port covers on the mantlet can be positioned open of closed and the outer front plate fits neatly in place once the mantlet has been positioned.
These are the standard Tamiya exploded view drawings which in the main are very clear and easy to follow and if studied carefully before assembly there shouldn’t be any problems.
The well printed decal sheet has markings for four Panzer II Ausf.c,A,B,Cs with all markings coming from the French campaign in 1940 as the kit name suggests and all vehicles are finished in the overall German Panzer Grey scheme.The markings included are:
This is another well executed yet fairly simple kit from Tamiya of the earlier Panzer II Ausf.c,A,B,C that captures the features of the type very well with only a few issues along the way such as the idler size and barrel length.
Like most Tamiya kits it concentrates on the exterior with very basic turret interior only but has the usual excellent engineering and corresponding good fit of the parts for a trouble free assembly.
As with any kit there is room for improvement and adding the extra details to lift the kit to a new level but a very nice workman like kit will result for the box without any major hassles.
|Panzer Tracts No.2-1
Panzerkampwagen II Ausf.A-C
|Panzers I and II and their Variants:
From Reichswehr to Wehrmacht
by Walter J. Spielberger
Covers show original German Language edition and
re-issued English Schiffer Publications edition
Achtung Panzer No.7
Dainippon Kaiga Co.,Ltd..