Tamiya 1/48 Panzer II A/B/C
|PRICE:||$27.05 from GreatModels|
|REVIEWER:||Scott Van Aken|
|NOTES:||New tool kit with chassis weights.|
The Panzer II was the common name for a family of German tanks used in World War II. The official German designation was Panzerkampfwagen II (abbreviated PzKpfw II). Although the vehicle had originally been designed as a stopgap while more advanced tanks were developed, it nonetheless went on to play an important role in the early years of World War II, during the Polish and French campaigns. By the end of 1942 it had been largely removed from front line service, and production of the tank itself ceased by 1943. Its chassis remained in use as the basis of several other armored vehicles.
The first true production model, the Ausf. A included an armor upgrade to 14.5 mm on all sides, as well as a 14.5 mm floor plate, and an improved transmission. The Ausf. A entered production in July 1937.
Introducing only minimal changes to the Ausf. A, the Ausf. B superseded it in production from December 1937.
Few minor changes were made in the Ausf. C version, which became the standard production model from June 1938 through April 1940. A total of 1,113 examples of Ausf. c, A, B, and C tanks were built from March 1937 through April 1940 by Alkett, FAMO, Daimler-Benz, Henschel, MAN, MIAG, and Wegmann. These models were almost identical and were used in service interchangeably. This was the most widespread tank version of the Panzer II and performed the majority of the tank's service in the Panzer units during the war. Earlier versions of Ausf. C have rounded hull front, but many vehicles of Ausf. C were up-armored to fight in France. These have extra armor bolted on the turret front and super structure front. Also up-armored versions have angled front hull like that of Ausf.F. Some were also retro-fitted with commander's cupolas.
It seems like kits just keep getting more and more expensive as time goes on and I have to admit I didn't think a 1/48 Panzer II would cost this much but it does. Fortunately, you do get a quality kit for your money. There are four sprues and two long weights provided. Unlike some other of Tamiya's 1/48 kits, you can leave out the weights if you wish as they are not an integral part of the kit. The four sprues are packaged in three bags as two of them, for the road wheels and tracks, are the same. Speaking of which, the tracks are link and length. The length sections are molded with track sag for the upper pieces, which is a very nice touch and something I like to see in armor kits.
There are the usual mass of road wheels and return rollers with rubber facing that will need to be painted, but nothing really major. I like that Tamiya now provides blanking plates for the underside of the fenders, something not done in all their early 1/48 kits. As usual, the tools are molded onto the outside of the hull, helping to lessen the number of fiddly bits.
One can build the kit with the commander's hatch open if one wishes. This will allow those who like to add figures the opportunity to place the figure that comes with the kit. Apparently there is little external difference between the variants, but one seems to be the vision/pistol ports and alternate ones are given depending on the markings option used.
The kit provides three markings options, all in overall panzer grey and all from France in 1940. The box art tank is from HQ, 4th Panzer Division while the other options are yellow 312 with 35 Panzer Regiment and Yellow 216 with the 36th Panzer Regiment, these two with the 4th Panzer Division. Decals are nicely done and should provide no problems. Instructions are typical Tamiya in that they are well drawn and quite explicit. Also typical are the lone use of Tamiya paints, but at least none of the colors require mixing.
Yet another very nice medium scale armor kit from Tamiya. This line seems to be doing well for them as this is kit #70. Other companies are also producing to this scale, which should appeal to those who just don't have the room (or the funds) for the larger 1/35 and think that 1/72 is too small.
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