Tamiya 1/35 Panzer II ausf F/G
|PRICE:||1200 yen SRP|
|REVIEWER:||Scott Van Aken|
|NOTES:||Upgraded boxing released in 1971|
Continuing the conventional design of the Ausf. C, the Ausf. F superstructure front was made from a single piece of armour plate with a redesigned visor. Also, a dummy visor was placed next to it to confuse enemy gunners. The hull was redesigned with a flat 35 mm (1.4 in) plate on its front, and the armour of the superstructure and turret were built up to 30 mm (1.2 in) on the front with 15 mm (0.59 in) to the sides and rear. There was some minor alteration of the suspension and a new commander's cupola as well. Weight increased to 9.5 tonnes. From March 1941 to December 1942, 524 were built; this was the final major tank version of the Panzer II series. Apparently the G was only done in prototype as the VK 901.
Tamiya chose to mold this one in a dark yellow, probably because several of the markings options are in that base color. One can see from the underside holes that this kit was designed from the start to be motorized, though this particular boxing is not. In fact, this one differs from the initial release by including five figures as shown on the box art. I'm glad one is mounted in the tank as the kit is a curbside with no interior detail.
A lot of parts this kit does not have and this is obvious by the long, vertical, map-like instructions sheet with only five construction steps. The suspension members are all molded onto the lower hull so all one really has to do is to add the idler, sprocket, return rollers and road wheels. The back of the hull is separate and one attaches a muffler to that.
The kit's turret is also fairly simplifies. There is no gun breech for either the 20mm or its coaxial MG 34. This variant does have a bustle and that is added to the upper turret piece. The gun mantlet is trapped between the upper and lower turret pieces. The commander's hatch can be modeled closed if you do not want to use the commander figure (which is standing so I guess you glue his feet to the inside of the hull.
There are a variety of pioneer tools to add the the upper hull as well as some storage boxes. From the look of it, the upper hull simply snaps into place, which would be logical as one would have to gain access to the batteries for the powered version. Tracks are the usual 'rubber band' type made of vinyl where one melts the tabs on the completed tracks.
This is obviously the version for the US as in addition to the Japanese instructions, a set in English is included. This does not extend to the painting and marking guide so I'm unaware of the units or actual colors on the five markings options. This kit obviously was developed prior to Tamiya having their own paint line as no numbers are provided. Another unusual offering is that there is a sprue parts guide, something modern Tamiya kits rarely offer. It is obvious that my kit is not 40 years old as the decal sheet is nicely done, just hidden in the sealed bags. However, here are the options.
Want to build a light tank but don't want the zillion parts that Dragon and others offer? Well, this is a kit for you. I don't know how accurate it is, but most building this will not be concerned with total fidelity anyway. A quick search of the web shows this can be found for around $10 or less prior to shipping so it won't set you back much and you'll have a nice model in the end.
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