Flyhawk Pz.Kpfw.II Ausf J Review
Although the Panzer II had originally been designed as a stopgap while larger, 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. The Panzer II was the most numerous tank in the German Panzer divisions beginning with the invasion of France. It was used in both North Africa against the British and on the Eastern Front against the Soviet Union.
Continued development of the reconnaissance tank concept led to the much up-armored Panzer II Ausf. J, which used the same concept as the Pz.Kpfw. IF of the same period. Heavier armor was added, bringing protection up to 80 mm on the front and 50 mm to the sides and rear, with 25 mm roof and floor plates, increasing total weight to 18 tonnes. Equipped with the same Maybach HL45P as the Pz.Kpfw. IF, top speed was reduced to 31 km/h (19 mph). Primary armament was the 2 cm KwK 38 L/55 gun. 22 were produced by MAN between April and December 1942, and seven were issued to the 12th Panzer Division on the Eastern Front.
The packaging is top of the range and f there was a score out of 10 for the packaging, I would give 11/10 for the packaging Flyhawk have provided. There is a thin cardboard outer, and the parts are inside a sturdy inner cardboard box and slot into recesses in foam packaging. I’ve never seen such robust packaging for a model before and this has become the new standard to judge against.
The box contains:
- 11 sprues (44 track parts, 92 other parts)
- 2 part hull
- PE fret (29 parts)
- Decal sheet
- Nylon wire
- Instruction sheet
The instructions are on one colour glossy sheet of approx. A4/letter sized paper, folded in half to make 4 pages. The first page shows the various parts on the frets, basic instructions and the first construction step. The remaining 7 construction steps are on pages 2 and 3 and the back sheet shows the 2 decal options and colour references. The construction steps are clear and colour coded in places to eliminate confusion.
The level of detail is very impressive, especially for this scale, as you can see from the attached photographs of the sprues. The kit starts with assembling the hull, the exhaust and the front of the tank hull. Step 2 details the left and right sides of the hull and the rear in 2 diagrams with 3 part views to show close ups. Step 3 shows a diagram of how the running gear is attached. Step 4 shows 2 diagrams, one colour coded, showing how the link and length tracks go together. You have a longer top and bottom length that you bend at each and then individual links to go around the idler and drive sprockets. I’m interested to see how that works. Step 5 adds the mudguards to both sides and Step 6 adds the small parts to the top of the mudguards in 4 diagrams. Step 7 puts the turret together with 2 diagrams and part views to show close ups of the PE. The final step, step 8, simply puts the completed turret on the hull. The only real issue I can see anyone having is with the small size of some of the PE and some of the fine plastic parts will need delicate removal from the sprues. Assembly seems pretty straightforward.
The paints are referenced in Mr. Hobby and Tamiya and are also named and colour chips are given. There are 2 decal options:
- Pz. Abt. z. b. V66 Autumn 1942 (3 colour camouflage)
- 13. verstaerkte Polizei-Panzer Kompanie 1943 (German Grey)
This kit is very much like Flyhawk’s Panzer I Ausf F and there is much similarity in the builds since the hulls are almost identical. This is a very nice little kit with fine detail and will build into a good example of this unusual subject.
You should be able to get this kit for around US$24.00 depending where you are in the world.
Many thanks to Flyhawk for the review sample.