Bronco Models
German Panzerkampfwagen II Ausf.D 1 (Sd.Kfz.121)
Bronco Models 1:35 Scale Kit No. CB35061
Kit review by Terry Ashley

Bronco Models
Introduction: (Instruction notes by Phil Greenwood)
The Panzerkampfwagen ll was a small reconnaissance tank, built as a result of delays with larger PzKpfw III and IV in the mid-1930's, First produced in 1935, by 1939 it was the most numerous tank in service with the German Army. The PzKpfw IID was built by MAN from May 1939 to August 1939 and had a completely re-designed hull with American Christie suspension.

It was built as a cavalry tank with better speed and agility than the earlier models. A more powerful Maybach HL62TRM engine and 7-speed transmission was used, the hull was shorter, but wider and taller. Only the turret remained the same as earlier models, and was armed with a 20mm Cannon and 7.92mm machine gun. It was instantly recognisable because of its large wheels and hidden suspension springs.

A second model, the Ausf E, was similar but had minor internal improvements. Though a top speed of 55 km/h was attained, cross-country performance proved to be poor and only 143 Ausf D/E tanks were built. The tanks saw service in Poland, but did not perform well. In March 1940 all Ausf D/E tanks were withdrawn from service for conversion to specialist vehicles.
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The Kit:
The kit has 270 parts in light beige plastic, a further 220 individual track links in the same plastic, 6 in clear plastic, 25 etched brass parts plus the small decal sheet and 12 page instruction booklet with the standard of moulding being very good overall with crisply moulded detail and finely rendered bolt/rivets and weld seams.

Etched parts
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Clear parts
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There are no discernable pin marks but there is a bit of fine flash on some parts most notably the road wheels parts that will need trimming before assembly as well as the usual mould seams and moulding lugs that will also need care removing from the many fine parts.

Dimensionally the kit measures out very well to the 1:35 plans and data in the Panzer Tracts book No.2-3 listed below but things are made a little confusing due to some conflicting dimensions in the 1:35 plans found in the respective Nuts & Bolts and Panzer Tracts books; these include the turret, engine deck and wheel ride height plus some small items.

Accompanying period photos and details in both books confirm the Panzer Tracts plan data to be more accurate but it does highlight the confusion that can arise if only one set of plans is available that are not totally accurate and “second opinions” should always be consulted where possible?

Lower Hull:
This is made up of four basic parts, the floor, both sides and rear panel but the fit is excellent resulting in a perfectly square assembly without the need for any trimming to form a good basis for the rest of the kit. The side panels have the suspension mountings with all other suspension parts being separate for good detail definition, the sides of the upper superstructure are also included which ensures the top hull/superstructure parts are aligned correctly during assembly.

The final drive housings have three small bolt head to be added as well as an inner bushing (part B22) designed to be glued to the drive sprocket axle allowing the sprocket to rotate but due to the small size of the bushing and small axle pin actually gluing this as intended will be quite a task. Added to the this the small axle pin doesn’t give a solid attachment for the sprocket and I actually replaced the small pin with a more substantial pin with brass tubing inserted into the housing for a more robust assembly. You could just glue the sprocket in place to save time if you didn’t want the sprocket to rotate after assembly if you wished?

The drive sprockets are in two halves and are very well done with excellent definition of the correct 11 ribs, the outer rims as well as the correct offset hub bolts (four groups of three bolts) which are not evenly spread around the hub, nice attention to detail. There is a little flash to be trimmed off a few of the ribs but nothing excessive with the fit of the two sprocket halves being very good, note there are three small locating pins on the ribs that are not evenly spread so make sure these are aligned correctly before gluing.

The four bump stops (part B38, B40) are added to the hull sides along with the small curved axle guides (parts B36) without any problems prior to the torsion bar axles being fitted. Added to the back of each axle stub is a small L shaped bracket (parts B39) that keeps the axles aligned on the real vehicle but to fit the axles with these brackets attached is a little tricky. You should first slip the bracket under the guide and then fit the axle locating pins into their respective holes, trying to fit parts B39 over the guides after fitting the axle pins just won’t work. You could of course just leave off the B39 parts for easier assembly as these can’t be seen after fitting the road wheels in any case.

The road wheels (two per station) are very well done with excellent rim/hub details and separate outer “rubber” tyres sections that will make painting easy along with a separate hub cap designed to trap another small bushing (part B21) under the cap designed to be glued to the axle allowing the wheel to rotate. Again gluing this bushing without getting glue on the wheel itself is rather difficult due to the small size of the parts and just gluing the wheel to the axle would be an easier option.

The rear idler wheel is again in two halves with a separate hub cap designed to trap a small bushing for securing to the axle, the same comments apply where it’s probably better to glue the idler to the axle. Detail on the idler is again very well done with the outer ribbed disk having excellent detail definition when attached to the solid inner disk. You shouldn’t glue the idler axle in place at this time as some minor movement may be required when fitting the tracks later during assembly.

On the rear plate is the curved ducting with etched panels with the one piece exhaust muffler which includes separate small outlet and top inlet pipes, the outlet pipe could be drilled out further for a better appearance while the top pipe leads to the empty engine bay. One item missing from the exhaust muffler is the perforated heat shield mesh but the four attachment pins are included so it would make it easy to add this mesh should it become available in after market update sets?

The upper rear panel (part C19) fits neatly to the hull sides with bevelled edges to eliminate any join and added to this panel are the two tail lights with separate small mounting brackets, there is an issue here in that both taillights should be the early round type (as per part A22) on the D1 with the later rectangular light fitted to the D1 Flamm and D2 types. The three part tow hitch fits without any problems as does two small etched brackets on the idler tensioning bolt heads.

Added to the insides of the upper superstructure sections are three part vision port assemblies that will allow the outer visor block to open or close but you do need to be very careful with the glue during assembly to make this operable as there isn’t much clearance between the moving and non-moving parts. The outer vision blocks have open vision slits for a very good appearance in either the open or closed position.

These are provided as individual links that are not workable after assemble being designed to simply glue together to form the track runs. Each link is nicely detailed but has four sprue attachments which results in an inordinate amount of clean-up needed on each link prior to assembly. The instructions indicate 92 links per track run but I only needed 91 links on the review model, obviously test fitting will determine the exact number of links needed.

Another issue is while the guide horns are moulded open they are the incorrect shape for D1 track guide horns, the actual D1 track had a squarer profile guide horn not the pointed profile as provided. This pointed profile guide horn is that used on the D2 track along with other changes to the link detail which leaves the track as the weakest point of the kit and makes the assembly needed all the more exasperating as you get incorrect non-working track for your troubles.

Assembled tracks and reference images of the guide horns as per the text.
Also note the excellent details on the drive sprockets and road wheels.

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The upper superstructure is made up of four main parts, the glacis, driver’s plate, top plate with turret ring and the rear engine compartment with all glacis and engine deck hatches as separate parts. The fit of all these parts is excellent with bevelled edges where required for seamless joins and includes very fine weld seams and other surface details.

All the hatches are moulded quite thin and feature outer rims as well as thin overlapping strips on the glacis hatches for an excellent appearance should an interior become available for the kit and you show the hatches open, there is also interior latch detail included with the fit of the hatches spot on not requiring any trimming.

On the driver’s plate the four armoured vision block covers are separate and can be fitted open or closed as required and again the fit of the visor blocks and the plate to the superstructure is excellent, note the fine weather strip added above the visors (part A46) wasn’t fitted to all D1 types seen in period photos.

The rear engine deck has inserts added for the side intakes along with thin etched brass bars that fit into small indents in the intake ribs and care is needed while fitting these with the separate top hatches having separate hinges and as there is no interior these are best glued closed but are ready should an aftermarket engine become available. The fit of the engine deck to the lower hull is again spot on without any trimming needed.

Just a note on the engine deck hatches as the sizes varies between the respective Nuts & Bolts and Panzer Tracts 1:35 plans making things a little confusing. Available period photos show the Panzer Tracts plan and kit hatches to be the correct depth but the width of the kit hatches is that of the wider Nuts & Bolts plans and as I don’t have any clear shots of the hatch widths I can’t verify this at this time. If more info becomes available I’ll update this review further.

The two fenders are separate full length apart from the hinged front section and feature fine tread plate texturing on the top surface only with small fillets on the insides front and rear plus etched fender support brackets.

The fit of the fenders to the hull sides is very good with a groove along the sides for the locating strip on the fenders resulting in a robust fit. The front L shaped etched supports are a little short and don’t mate with the glacis all that well but other than that there were no fit problems. All the pioneer tools have the clips moulded integrally with the six part jack and wooden jack block having extremely fine attachment brackets that can be fitted open or closed as required?

The large storage box on the left fender has a separate lip and etched clips allowing this to be shown open or closed plus the head lights with clear plastic lenses and the long aerial trough on the right fender, the aerial itself is extremely finely moulded and can be rotated between the stowed and deployed position as you wish.

The main turret shell is a single moulding with separate lower turret ring and front plate with all the hatches as separate parts. The four vision blocks can be shown open or closed as they have three part inner visor assemblies that again will need care when gluing the movable brackets (parts B13, B14) to not glue the whole assembly together.

Surface detail on the turret is excellent with the flush screws and weld seams nicely done and the two door top hatch has the signal port in the right as another separate part allowing this to be shown open along with the two hatches if you wish to show off the interior details. The hatches have internal detail inside both to add further detail with the hatches open plus the roof telescopic sight and three small lifting hooks.

The weapons include the full 2cm KwK cannon and 7.92mm MG 34 both with nicely done details on the receiver and barrels, the 2cm barrel tube includes the textured barrel changing handgrips and the perforations on the flash suppressor done as small indentations and drilling these out would improve the appearance, the muzzle is also slightly hollowed out. The only minor issue here is the flash suppressor is slightly undersized and if preferred the barrel can be easily replaced with the excellent metal barrel from LionMarc (kit #LM10027) for a better still appearance.

Details added the receiver include the large shell ejection chute, 10 round magazine and two smaller brackets for a very nicely done gun that can easily be seen through the open top hatches after assembly. The only problem with the assembly is attaching the small retaining brackets (parts C2) to the gun mounting if you want the guns to elevate as there is not a lot of clearance between the parts and it’s very easy to get glue on the mounting in the process.

The MG 34 is another well done moulding with the receiver and barrel details well done with again the barrel perforations as small indents as well as the muzzle slightly hollowed out and twin ammo drums added to the gun. While the barrel is well done for a plastic part replacing with one of the available metal barrels will improve the appearance further and I used the ABER barrel (set #35L-70) on the kit gun.

Fitting the weapons to the mounting along with the central telescopic sight is straightforward and the fit of the front turret plate is very snug to the turret without any gaps as is the lower turret ring. Added to the ring is a three part Commander’s seat for a nicely populated turret interior. The assembled turret simply sits in the hull turret ring so you should take care not to turn the model upside down after assembly unless you glue the turret in place to avoid little disasters?

The 12 page instruction booklet has the usual exploded view drawing of the assembly sequences and as there is nothing complex about this kit they are very straightforward and easy to follow in most instances, as always you should study the sequences carefully before gluing to avoid any problems.

The small decal sheet is well printed with markings for four vehicles shown in three view illustrations in the colour painting guide. The markings include the white Balkenkreuz plus vehicle numbers and tac insignia with all vehicles shown in overall German Grey.
Option 1: Unit Unknown, Radom, Poland 1939
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Option 2: Unit Unknown, Poland 1939
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Option 3:Unit Unknown, Poland 1939
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Option 4: Pre-War exercise, Germany 1938-39

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This is an excellent kit of the early Panzer II Ausf.D1 from Bronco Models that is dimensionally accurate overall with very well done details with the running gear notably the drive sprockets as well as the hull/turret surface details and the full 2cm KwK and MG 34. The overall fit of the parts is superb without any trimming required making for fairly straightforward assembly on what is not a very complex kit.

The only real concern is the shape of the track guide horns and the amount of work needed for non-working track but otherwise a superbly done kit that adds to the stable of Panzer II versions following the Tasca Luchs of a few years back and the more recent Ausf.Cs from DML and Tamiya.

Rating 8.75

Overall views of the assembled kit
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The Sprues:

Click on thumbnails for larger view
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Sprue detail images
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Detail and assembly images
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Panzerkampfwagen II
Ausf.D, E & F
Dev & Prod 1937-1942

Panzer Tracks No.2-3
and Variants
(Flamm-Pz.II, Marder II)

Nuts & Bolts Vol.24
Panzers I and II and Their Variants:
From Reichswehr to Wehrmacht
Walter J. Spielberger
Schiffer Military History
Thanks to my credit card and Hobbyeasy for the review kit.

Page created August 8, 2010

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