Pz.Kpfw. II Ausf. B - Smart Kit
Reviewed by Cookie Sewell
|Stock Number and Description||Dragon Models 1/35 Scale ‘39-‘45 Series Kit No. 6572; Pz.Kpfw. II Ausf. B - Smart Kit|
|Media and Contents:||883 parts (540 in grey styrene, 216 “Magic Track” links, 90 etched brass, 33 clear styrene, 3 pre-bent steel wire, 1 preformed etched brass)|
|Price:||Estimated to be USD$45.50|
|Review Type:||First Look|
|Advantages:||DML now has produced a first-rate early variant of the Pzkw. II family; new bits improve on earlier kits; full interior|
|Disadvantages:||Daunting number of parts for a relatively small vehicle; consideration should be giving to using DS Plastic tracks for smaller vehicles such as this one|
|Recommendation:|| Highly Recommended for all early war German fans
There is an old military saying on equipment – “you run what you brung.” This was certainly true of the Germans in 1939-1940 as they had not been able to create the armored force they had planned before combat operations commenced. Therefore they wound up with a large number of tanks being the light Pzkw. II models armed with a 2 cm gun and a 7.92mm machine gun, with a maximum of only around 15mm of armor protection at any one spot on the vehicle. At least even this lowly vehicle had a separate commander and gunner, which put them one step up on the Soviet tanks they would face in 1941.
While the vehicles were nimble and fast for their time, they were not the weapon of choice and even in the Polish campaign it was discovered they were easily knocked out by antitank rifles. Later most of the survivors underwent an up-armoring program, and serious changes were made in the final major production model, the Ausf. F. Still, over 1,000 of the evolutionary Ausf. c and the production A, B and C variants were built before production ended on these models early in 1940.
In 2008 DML released their Kit No. 6432, Pz.Kpfw. II Ausf. C mit Zusatzpanzer, which was one of the remanufactured vehicles with added armor protection. They have now gone back and produced a straight Ausf. B with the early thin armor protection and also some odd bits not usually seen, such as the short-lived antiaircraft machine gun for the commander. The kit now has another 63 parts over that release but adds 49 new parts to cover the major differences, mostly in the bow and upper hull and turret external details.
As previously noted with Kit 6432, DML has made use of their Marder II and Pzkw. II Ausf. F kits and made the necessary changes for this kit. First and foremost are a new hull with “rolled” lower glacis plate and new springs which more accurately represent the lighter tank ones and not the reinforced self-propelled gun springs which came with the Ausf. F. This vehicle with proper changes (and I am sure either DML or cyber-hobby.com will provide them!) can represent nearly any one of four variants (c, A, B or C) so anyone wanting the early Polish/French campaign Pzkw. II variants now has a “canvas” with which to work.
As before this kit comes with a full interior. Again it comes with a number of J sprues, with most of the interior parts. Bins and hatches all have separate lids so the interiors can be displayed, but no tools, rations or internal “chaff” is provided for the stowage bins. The model also offers tools with molded on straps and tools without, as well as all of the proper etched brass straps and mounts for affixing them.
The turret now sports the original split-flap hatches for the commander as well as the earlier viewer covers for the turret view blocks. The 2 cm is complete and the model uses a complete MG-34 from the generic German weapons sets. This comes with the ground mount for the bipod and ground sights, which should be removed prior to installation but may not be necessary (it uses flaps vice an aperture installation). Note that the AA MG mounts low on the right side of the casemate and not on the turret – I think I understand why this feature was dropped from the original vehicle’s “options” list!
As noted the running gear here does differ from the Marder II, and provides both new springs and mounts as well as new idlers. The kit again uses the “Magic Track” single link type, which may be the one area where the Tamiya kit – with its already ballyhooed link-and-length tracks, retains an advantage. With the links being no larger than a good sized medium tank’s tracks in 1/72 DML should give serious thought to making a set of DS tracks for these kits. As usual “Magic Tracks” links differ slightly by color (but the easier way is left side on the header card – left, right side – right.)
Technical assistance on this project was provided by Ed Kusiak, Tom Cockle and Gary Edmundson.
A total of seven finishing options are shown – however all are solid grey: 5./Pz.Rgt. 35, 4th Panzer Division, Eastern Front 1941 (white 521 with black crosses); Pz.Rgt. 15, 11th Panzer Division, South Russia 1941 (white 2 - red dot); Pz.Rgt. 18, 18th Panzer Division, Central Russia 1941 (white 704, white outline crosses); Pz.Rgt. 3, 2nd Panzer Division, Greece 1941 (white R02, white outline crosses); 1./Pz.Rgt. 24, 24th Panzer Division, South Russia 1941 (white 368 with snake on stick); Pz.Abt. 101 (Flamm), Central Russia 1941 (white 300, white outline crosses); and, 1./Pz.Abt.zBV40, Denmark. 1941 (red 622, black crosses). A very nice sheet of Cartograf decals covers these targeted markings.
Overall this is “Chapter 3" of the Pzkw. II family and should give the Tamiya kit a run for its money. But oddly enough, and as an aside, it has probably the worst box art of any recent DML kit. The artist has shown one German soldier in the foreground and - unless the Germans were using “Rupert” type rubber dummies and nobody ever found out – when scaled against the tank in the center of the painting it is about the size of a Tiger I. Perhaps the artist used a DML figure and a Tasca 1/24 scale model for this perspective.
A 57 Pzkw. II Ausf. F - upper hull and details
B 49 Pzkw. II Ausf. F - turret and armament
C 113 Marder II - interior parts and engine
D 14x2 Pzkw II - road wheels and springs
E 9x2 Pzkw II - drivers/idlers
F 14x2 Pzkw II - road wheel backing and details
G 20 Pzkw II - final drives and spare rivet heads
H 5x2 Pzkw II - bump stops
J 38 Generic German tools and lights
J 38 Pzkw. II - interior parts
K 22 Clear styrene
L 10/15 Pzkw. II Ausf. B/C springs and idler wheels
M 14 Clear Styrene
N 41 Pzkw. II Ausf. B/C upper hull and turret shell
P 21 Pzkw. II Interior - ammo boxes, magazines, spent casing bags
P 108 “Magic Track” links - left
Q 108 “Magic Track” links - right
S 19 Pzkw. II Ausf. B bow section, early details
S 4 Pzkw. II AA MG mount parts
Z 1 hull
MA 90 Etched brass
MC 1 preformed etched brass
MC 3 pre-bent steel wire
RB 9 German Generic Radio - mounting components
RD 14 German Generic Radio - radio sets
WC 4x2 German Generic Weapons - MG-34
Thanks to Freddie Leung for the review sample.