Tamiya 1/48 Panzer II

KIT #: 32570
PRICE: $31.00 SRP
DECALS: Three options
REVIEWER: Jonathan Prestidge


 From the kit instructions: “In the mid 1930s, the German military pushed the production of tanks. The Panzer I, designed as a training tank, did not have adequate performance so a light tank was needed to fill the gap until the Panzer III could be introduced. Therefore, the German Ordnance Department issued a request for a new training tank that could be used for combat. In the end, MAN was chosen in 1934 to produce the Panzer II, a compact 4.8cm long, 2.2m wide design with a three man crew. The 8.9 ton tank featured a 2cm Kwk 30 L/55 cannon and 7.92mm machine gun in the turret, 15mm armor protection for turret and hull front, leaf spring suspension, and a 140hp Maybach HL 62 TRM engine matched with a ZF SSG46 transmission, which gave in a 40km/h top speed. The Ausf. A was produced from 1937, followed by the Ausf. B and C, which were difficult to distinguish from each other visually. About 1,100 Panzer II tanks were produced by April 1940, and due to delays with the Panzer III, they were immediately issued as the Panzer divisions’ main tank for the invasion of Poland in September 1939. Based on lessons learned on the battlefields of Poland and, in May 1940, France, improvements such as extra armor and a turret cupola were added, and the Panzer II went on to serve in North Africa and Russia in frontline liaison and reconnaissance duties until the end of 1943. Afterwards, they were used to police occupied territories and the chassis was also adapted for use as the basis for various self-propelled gun designs.”

 It is hard to imagine that the feared “Blitzkrieg” type of armored warfare originally had this diminutive tank at its spearhead. Good tactics, radio communication, and the overwhelming air superiority of the Luftwaffe contributed greatly to its early success in the face of superior French armor.


Tamiya’s 1/48th Panzerkampfwagen II is kit No. 70 in their Military Miniatures series. The instructions are well printed and easy to follow. The engineering of the Panzer II is superb, resulting in beautiful detail without difficult construction or an excessive parts count. The kit is crisply molded in dark gray plastic and there is almost no flash on the kit parts. Compared with other kits in Tamiya’s 1/48th scale armor line, this one is delicate. There are many petite parts that are easily lost or broken. One commander figure is included. The molding of the figure is very good. The kit decals are thin, in register, and provide markings for three Panzer IIs - all wearing Panzer Gray and serving during the battle of France. There are metal chassis weights and nice link and length tracks with the longer portions pre-formed, minimizing assembly time.


I started by carefully reviewing the kit instructions. Using them as a loose reference, I built the kit in three major sub-assemblies: the chassis, the upper hull, and the turret. I also left the tracks off until after painting for easier weathering. The excellent fit of the parts, minimal cleanup and excellent engineering really made for a rewarding and painless build. However, many small parts required extra care during clean up and assembly. I broke several of the track links while cutting them from the sprue and had to repair them prior to assembly. After about five hours of building, I had the three main components (chassis, upper hull and turret) ready for paint.


 All of the kit markings were for Panzer Gray tanks. I went with the first of the kit markings - option “A”, a Panzer II with the 6th Panzer Division, France, 1940. First, everything was airbrushed PolyScale acrylic RLM66 thinned with Future. Thinning with Future helped the paints spray better and the satin finish was better suited to washes/filters. The tracks were brush-painted dark gray next. They were dry-brushed with Testors oil-based silver prior to weathering.

 Next came weathering. I started the weathering process by applying a thin, black, soapy water filter/wash. I went section by section, using a Q-tip to remove some of the wash and to streak it unevenly. I then dry-brushed some thinned RLM66 to accent detail and further vary tone. Once the tracks were installed, the tracks and chassis were strategically dry brushed with several layers of differing shades of brown and tan paint to approximate dusty, muddy European conditions in which these tanks operated. Good pictures of actual Panzer IIs proved invaluable during the weathering process.

 The upper hull was glued to the chassis and the turret was then added prior to decaling. I brush-painted several coats of Future in the areas where decals were to be applied. After letting the Future dry overnight, I applied the kit decals. They were very thin and went into position nicely. Once the decals were in place they settled down with no silvering and responded well to an application of MicroSol.

   I added the commander figure at this time. I then air-brushed Poly Scale Flat Clear mixed with a few drops of Hazel Tan over the entire tank. I used pastels to further dirty the Panzer II. Finally, I added thickened brown paint scraped from the lids of my paint containers with a toothpick to depict mud on the tracks & fenders. I added a stretched sprue antenna and final detailing was then completed.


From start to finish, Tamiya’s Panzer II took me less than 15 hours over the course of a week! Construction of the Panzer II was enjoyable and relaxing with no insurmountable trouble spots. Tamiya’s smart engineering, terrific fit, beautiful moldings and nice decals, resulted in a great looking finished product. Weathering a monotone paint scheme was a fun challenge. I really enjoyed Tamiya’s 1/48th scale Panzer II. The finished tank is small and due to the delicate nature of this kit I would recommend it to modelers with some experience. Highly recommended!

Jonathan Prestidge

April 2014

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