Takom 1/35 Skoda PA-II 'Turtle'
Scott Van Aken
New tool kit.
Although the chassis was roughly identical to the experimental PA-I, the armored
body of the PA-II was entirely new. It had unusually curved shapes, which seemed
like an Art Deco essay, but were dictated by cold considerations of maximal
protection effectiveness. Instead of casting the armor, only possible for large
thicknesses, the plates were hammer-shaped, 5.5 mm (0.22 in) at the thickest.
This was the same process by which the bodywork artists tailored cars for the
rich and famous, these skills being present at Skoda as well, descended from a
long tradition going back to the master craftsmen shaping knight armor by hand.
All the parts were then riveted on a steel frame built above the chassis. The
latter was perfectly symmetrical, with the double drive pioneered by the PA-I.
The two drivers sat in centrally at either end, and had a twin-fold armored
shutter and lateral armored shutters. Access was granted by central doors in the
fighting compartment. There was also a provision for four machine guns. These
were of the heavy liquid-cooled Schwarzlose MG.08 type, having 6250 rounds. They
were mounted in ball-mounts, having some limited elevation/depression and
traverse. They were served by the two gunners.
A small cupola could be opened for the commander to direct fire from the roof.
The engine was a Skoda, 4 cylinder, 9730 cc, 70 hp, placed in the center, right
below the fighting compartment. It gave a maximum top speed, on road, of 70 km/h
(44 mph), which was acceptable given the weight of the vehicle. Field
performance showed it could ford 1.50 m deep of water, a 30 cm vertical obstacle
or cross a trench 45 cm wide. The suspensions and tires were not ideal for
cross-country rides, but at least there was a four wheel drive. The chassis had
the serial numbers from NIX58 to NIX69.
When the vehicles were presented to the Czechoslovak army, which had ordered
them in 1925, they were tested and eventually refused. They were bulky, heavy
and not very agile, with poor ground clearance that forbade off-road rides and
an internal fighting compartment that was too cramped. Instead, Skoda sold three
of them to Vienna's police forces in 1927, as a compensation for a batch of OA
vz.27 that were never delivered. The remaining nine were purchased by the Czech
police ten years after, actively showcased in parades and exercises in the
Another Skoda armored car, the Obrněnư Automobil vz. 27, was instead chosen by
the Army for active service. The Austrian vehicles saw action in the repression
of the Nazi coup in 1934. At some point, two vehicles were incorporated in the
Austrian-Croatian border police force, notably the 16th Company, when the riots
erupted. A number of Czech vehicles were seized and incorporated into the
Wehrmacht after 1939, modified to use a radio, as radio relay vehicles. Their
operational capabilities were rather limited, but they seem to have been used
on the positive experience I had with their Siege Gun kit, I picked up this
interesting and unsuccessful armored car kit at the local hobby shop. The
molding is really first rate with a one piece body. Thanks to the symmetry
of the vehicle, there are basically two sprues of everything aside from the
body and the light lenses. The chassis is made up of two sections, each with
a differential/suspension assembly that in itself is a mini-model. There is
an option to make the wheels steerable, though you can model it fixed if you
wish and this is shown in the instructions. The two chassis sections
interlock and are partially held together with horizontal straps. Takom has
provided rubber tires for this one and these have short axle shafts trapped
in the wheel halves to allow them to rotate.
Like the chassis, the upper body section is molded in halves and each side
gets a crew entry hatch and a pair of machine guns (though these can be cut
off for the unarmed variant. Light assemblies are attached to both ends of
the body and the gun section is then attached to the body. Turning the body
over, there are inner fender wells to glue in place. Then the completed body
is simply glued to the ready chassis. If building the German radio car, the
large antenna array is then attached to the upper body. I did not see any
engine exhaust nor any specific item on the underside that looked like an
engine oil pan. I have to assume that the 9.7 liter six cylinder engine was
in the middle of the vehicle. One can see the small exhaust pipe behind the right wheel.
are provided in a nice thick paper booklet that provides CAD style assembly
instructions. Separate from this is another thick paper foldout that
provided five markings options. Four of these are the multi-color camouflage
used by various Czech units and one panzer grey version used early in the
war by the Germans. Five views are provided for all of this and color
information is done using Mig paints (not very useful for most of us). The
decal sheet provided is nicely printed and includes what few markings these
For those of you into either armored cars, 1920s/30s
military vehicles or those who just like something a bit different, this is one
you should seriously consider. If it builds like other TAKOM kits, it will be a
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