Ace 1/72 Artillery Observation Vehicle PzBeoWg II
|PRICE:||$10.95 from http://www.scale-model-kits.com|
|REVIEWER:||Scott Van Aken|
|NOTES:||Short run with etched tracks|
In 1934, delays in the design and production of the Panzer III and Panzer IV tanks were becoming apparent. Designs for a stopgap tank were solicited from Krupp, MAN, Henschel, and Daimler-Benz. The final design was based on the Panzer I, but larger and with a turret mounting a 20 mm anti-tank gun. Production began in 1935, but it took another eighteen months for the first combat-ready tank to be delivered.
The Panzer II was the main battle tank of the German Panzer divisions beginning with the invasion of France, until it was replaced by the Panzer III and IV in 1940/41. Afterwards, it was used to great effect as a reconnaissance tank. The Panzer II was tested in the Spanish Civil War and used in the German campaigns in Poland, France, the Low Countries, Denmark, Norway, North Africa and the Eastern Front. After being removed from front-line duty, it was used for training, on secondary fronts and for patrolling occupied Europe.
One of the variants of the Panzer II was as an artillery observation vehicle. Often these vehicles had the armament removed when the additional radio equipment was installed, but in the case of this version of the Panzer II's light cannon and machine gun armament, this were left intact.
Ace is one of those companies that have been around for a while. Their initial offerings were, to put it mildly, crude though buildable. The newer kits found in Ace boxes are still short run, but the level of the quality of the kits have improved greatly. If you can build a standard short run kit, this one will be no different.
As seems to be the norm with 1/72 military vehicle kits, the main hull is built in sections. I was surprised to see that there is interior detailing with this one. Nothing major with just a transmission and bulkheads, but is does provide a basis for more detailing should one wish. The Panzer II was not a complex tank and so while there are considerable detail bits to add to the hull, it isn't overwhelming. Probably the most interesting part of this kit and something I'venot seen before are photo etch tracks. These are to be folded one atop the other and then the track guides are to be bent up (or down). It seems to have promise and it will be interesting to hear from those of you who have used this method for tracks. Since it is a specialty tank, it includes a large box-like structure for the rear deck (obviously for radios) and a U shaped antenna with mount.
Instructions are a single folded sheet with very well done construction steps and detail drawings. No color information is provided at all in the build process. For the outside, two options are provided. One is the box art vehicle from 116 Panzer Artillery Regiment, 5th Panzer Division on the Eastern Front in 1943. Dark Green over Panzer Grey. The other is Dark Yellow with a whitewash with the 75th Panzer Artillery Regiment, 3rd Panzer Division during the winter of 1943/44. The small decal sheet is nicely printed.
So, if you are looking for a less than usual subject for your small scale armor collection, this would be a good one. It appears that one can do a standard Panzer II with it if so inclined.
Thanks to http://www.scale-model-kits.com for the preview kit. Get yours from the link today and at a discount.
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