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In-Box Review
135
Pz.Kpfw. II Ausf. C
Pz.Kpfw. II Ausf. C mit Zusatzpanzer
  • 000150

by: Scott Espin [ SPIFF ]


Originally published on:
Armorama

Introduction
Due to development delays with both the Pz.Kpfw. III and Pz.Kpfw. IV, the Pz.Kpfw II was developed as an interim vehicle to equip the German panzer forces and went on to play an important role during the early years of the war. The basic design and layout was based on the Pz.Kpfw. I, but it was larger and armed with a 20mm rapid fire cannon which was a great improvement over the dual machine gun armed Pz.Kpfw. I. Its use as a battle tank was limited however as the armored protection was designed to protect against shrapnel and small arms fire and not potent anti-tank weapons such as those fielded by the French. Many Pz.Kpfw. II Ausf. c, A, B and C were upgraded with the addition of extra 20mm armored plates to the front of the hull and turret to beef up the armored protection and increase the tanks survivability. The Pz.Kpfw. II Ausf. C was the most produced variant of the Pz.Kpfw. II.
Understanding the variants of the Pz.Kpfw. II can be a little confusing at times so here is a quick rundown of the early model:



* Except for “zusatzpanzer” which involved the fitting of additional armor to the front of the hull and turret, which changed the look so that it was angular instead of curved.

For many years, the Pz.Kpfw. II received little attention from model manufacturers. Since the seventies the venerable Tamiya kit of the Pz.Kpfw. II Ausf. F has been the only major kit of this vehicle until DML released their Pz. Kpfw. II Ausf. F in 2007. The DML kit was light years ahead in terms of accuracy, detail and engineering, but it has received a lot of criticism due to the inaccuracy of the suspension and incorrect number of bars in the leaf springs. The spring configuration provided is the later, stronger setup used on the Marder II (based on the Pz. Kpfw. II) which featured a beefed up suspension to handle the heavier weight of the Marder. It appears those problems have been corrected with this newly introduced Pz.Kpfw. II Ausf. C mit Zusatspanzer.

contents
The Pz.Kpfw. II Ausf. C mit zusatzpanzer is the second version of the Pz.Kpfw. II produced by Dragon, the first being the Ausf. F which came out in 2007. This kit represents an Ausf. C mit zusatspanzer (with additional armor). The Germans discovered during the Polish campaign in 1939 that the thin armor of the Pz. Kpfw. II was easily penetrated by anti-tank rifles, therefore additional 20mm plates were bolted to the front of the turret, superstructure and hull. This changed the appearance of the front hull from that of the curved hull plate to a straight angle at the top of the front hull plate which then angled back with a slight curve at the bottom where it then joins the bottom plate. As of May 1940 approximately 70% of the existing Pz.Kpfw. II Ausf. c, A, B and C had the supplemental armor installed. By Operation Barbarossa, all the remaining Pz. Kpfw. IIs had been retrofitted with the zusatspanzer (according to the "Encyclopedia of German Tanks of World War Two" by Peter Chamberlain, Hilary Doyle and Thomas L. Jentz).

• The kit features 820 parts (although 194 aren’t used, many of which are exclusive to the Ausf. F)
• 485 Plastic parts (189 not used)
• 200 Individual “Magic Tracks” track links
• 45 Clear Plastic (5 not used)
• 86 PE parts
• 3 steel wires
• 1 metal

As you would expect this kit has many parts in common with the previously released Dragon/Cyber-hobby Pz. Kpfw. II Ausf. F. Several new sprues are included in this kit consisting of sprue N – Ausf. C upper hull parts and two L sprues with the correct suspension arms with leaf springs.

Instructions
The kit instructions consist of a large, folded sheet printed in the black, white and blue line drawing style that most of you should be familiar with. The front page includes a black and white photo of the box art and a complete parts breakdown of all the plastic sprues, photo etch and metal parts. The parts shaded in blue are not used for this build, and there are a fair number of them. Be sure to carefully check to make sure you’re using the correct parts as called out in the instructions and not an unused part that goes to the Marder or Pz.Kpfw. II Ausf. F. Assembly begins with the lower hull and running gear, then the interior, fenders and upper hull, engine deck and tools, armament, turret and finally the tracks.
review
Lower Hull/Running Gear
Constructions begins with the lower hull to include the suspension components, final drive housing, drive sprockets, road wheels, idlers, exhaust and tow hook. The leaf spring suspension is crisply molded and appears to have been corrected (the leaf spring components in the Dragon Pz.Kpfw. II Ausf. F were the incorrect, beefed up leaf springs featured on the later, heavier Marder II which was based on the Pz.Kpfw. II). The detail on the parts is excellent and includes such nice touches as the stampings of the manufacturer name Continentau on the rubber wheels.

New idler wheel components are included to correctly model the Ausf. C idlers. I’m glad to see no shortcuts were taken and they didn’t just use the ones from the Ausf. F kit which are different. There are two different sets of drive sprockets included in the kit and the instructions list them both as “optional” however this is completely wrong as the reinforced drive sprockets (E3) from the Marder kit (the Dragon Pz. Kpfw. II Ausf. F also erroneously lists parts E2 and E3 as optional) are completely wrong for the Ausf. C. Be sure to use part number E2 as this is the correct sprocket for this variant. The exhaust features a beautiful PE heat shield that really adds a lot to the look of the rear hull. The heat shield needs to be bent into the proper curved shape so be careful here. The tow hook is comprised of four parts including a PE chain to keep the locking pin from being lost.

Interior – Lower Hull
An interior is included with the kit which, for what is provided, certainly looks the part and compares well to my references. It wouldn’t require too much extra work to super detail the interior of this kit. For most of us the interior is detailed enough to provide a lot of interest when viewed through open hatches. Included are most of the interior components, driver position with seat, levers and instrument panel, gearbox/transmission, drive shaft, armored fuel tanks, fuel filler pipes, air filter, radio, radio antenna raising mechanism, break housings, stowage bins, radiator intake grill and most of the rest of the fighting compartment. I’m surprised that no engine is included, but most of the rest of the interior is. The improved Pz. Kpfw. II transmission (introduced in the Ausf. A) is accurately represented, including the brake housings.

Upper Hull/Fenders
Separate parts are provided for the fender supports, hatches, grills, fender mud flaps, and many of the other detailed bits. Having recently completed the ancient Tamiya Pz.Kpfw. II Ausf. F I can easily say the Dragon kits are far superior in detail and accuracy. The pattern on the fenders looks exquisite, as do the fender support brackets. Several internal components are added during this assembly. The aerial lever for raising and lowering the external radio antenna is molded in one piece and looks exceptionally well done when compared to the real thing. It’s amazing how slide molding technology allows molding of parts like these as a single piece. There is excellent detail both internally and externally on the vision ports. The tools all look great and PE brackets are provided to hold them in place. There is a pre-bent PE bracket/housing for the business end of the shovel which is a really nice touch. The Notek light and bracket are comprised of 3 plastic and 2 PE parts with excellent detail. There are three well detailed gas cans, each comprised of 5 parts (4 plastic, 1PE) in addition to PE mounting straps which hold them all together and onto the engine deck. The jack is extremely detailed and options are provided to use either plastic brackets or PE brackets for mounting it to the rear left fender.

Turret
The commanders hatch on the Ausf. c, A, B and C originally featured a two piece, split hatch. A new commanders cupola was introduced October 1940 as a result of many complaints received from tank commanders in the field during the Polish (Fall Weisse) and French (Fall Gelb) campaigns. It featured eight periscopes and was provided as a kit to be retrofitted to the Ausf. c, A, B and C in the field. The kit faithfully reproduces the commanders cupola, which is comprised of 5 gray plastic parts and 8 clear plastic periscope parts. The instructions indicate x7 for the clear plastic parts cupola periscope parts which must be a typo because but there are actually 8 periscopes (which is correct).

The 2cm KwK30 L/55 main armament had a high rate of fire and was very effective against soft targets but had limited or no effect against armored targets. The gun assembly is comprised of 12 unbelievably well detailed parts and accurately represents the 2cm KwK30 L/55 main armament including the breech, elevation gear, gun site, mount etc. The MG34, site and mount are accurately represented as well and look fantastic!

Tracks
The kit includes individual like Magic Tracks which are very small but very well molded. Be careful when assembling as the links are “handed”. The P links are for the left side tracks and Q for the right side. No optional “rubber band” or DS single length tracks are provided.

Painting and Markings
A lot of different schemes are featured in the painting and markings guide, so most people should be able to find a scheme to their liking. Refer to the markings scan included in the pictures for more information. The paint guide (as usual with DML) lists the paint numbers for the Gunze Aqueous, Mr. Color and Model Master Colors. Curiously, 7 color profiles of schemes are shown on the side of the box, but only 6 schemes mapped out in the instructions.

The kit includes schemes for the following:

• Pz.Rgt. 8, 15th Pz.Div., Libya, 1941 Dunkel Gelb (Dark Yellow)
• 3/Pz.Abt.z.b.V40, Norway 1940 Field Gray (1)
• Unidentified Unit, Caucasus 1941 Winter scheme, upper surfaces Flat White, lower Field Gray
• Pz.Rgt. 31, 5th Pz.Div., Eastern Front 1941 Whitewash scheme over Field Gray (1)
• Unidentified Unit, Libya 1942 Dark Yellow with Khaki Green soft edged splotches
• Pz.Rgt. 7, 10th Pz.Div, Tunisia 1943 Field Gray lower surfaces, Dunkel Gelb upper surfaces with white stripe around turret.
Conclusion
This is an excellent, extremely well detailed kit. The interior components are excellent and even the most rabid detailers will find little to modify or add to it. With all the interior detail including the transmission it’s a shame that an engine wasn’t included. The exterior detail is excellent and seems well engineered. This kit will be a real stunner even if built straight out of the box. I’m glad to see that Dragon didn’t repeat some of the mistakes/shortcuts they made with their Pz.Kpfw. II Ausf. F and corrected the errors. I can highly recommend this kit.

References:

Pz.Kpfw. II Ausf. F
AFV Super Detail Photo Book Vol. 7
Model Art ASDP-007

Encyclopedia of German Tanks of World War Two
Arms & Armor
By Peter Chamberlain and Hilary Doyle
Technical Editor Thomas L. Jentz

Panzerwaffe Volume One - The Evolution of the Panzerwaffe to the Fall of Poland 1939
By Rainer Strasheim, John Prigent, Carlos Caballero Jurado, Lucas Molina Franco, William Russ
Ian Allen Publishing

Panzerwaffe Volume Two - The Campaigns in the West 1940
By Mark Healy
Ian Allen Publishing


SUMMARY
Highs: Excellent detail, very accurate representation of this important version of the Pz.Kpfw. II.
Lows: Individual track links not for everyone. No engine.
Verdict: Excellent rendition of the Pz. Kpfw. II Ausf. C mit zusatspanzer.
Percentage Rating
95%
  Scale: 1:35
  Mfg. ID: 6432
  Suggested Retail: $44.95
  Related Link: 
  PUBLISHED: Jan 03, 2009
  NATIONALITY: Germany
NETWORK-WIDE AVERAGE RATINGS
  THIS REVIEWER: 90.31%
  MAKER/PUBLISHER: 86.23%

About Scott Espin (Spiff)
FROM: NEVADA, UNITED STATES

I have been an avid student of military history for over 35 years, especially World War II with my focus mostly on German military equipment (tanks and aircraft). I'm especially interested in anything relating to the Eastern Front and North Africa. My Dad ignited my passion for modeling when I...

Copyright ©2017 text by Scott Espin [ SPIFF ]. Images also by copyright holder unless otherwise noted. Opinions expressed are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of TankRat's. All rights reserved.


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Comments

Hello, thanks to Scott for your helpful review and especially to list the different types with the specific features. Maybe I would have add it to "Low" as a good instruction also belongs to a good kit and in particular DML FINALLY has managed it with their recent Tiger I to clearly indicate which parts have to be used.
JAN 03, 2009 - 12:58 PM
Thanks for pulling this one together Scott, it's good to see that DML at least corrected the problems with the springs from the II-F and that AM parts aren't required on this version to address that area.
JAN 03, 2009 - 01:21 PM
It's a nice review Scott. It looks better than the Ausf.F which is basically the only kit that I've had for more than a year which hasn't been built yet. I might just sell it and buy this one instead, I find the front hull more appealing anyway. -Mike-
JAN 03, 2009 - 02:53 PM
There sure are a lot of parts you don't use! Too bad there isn't enough to build a second tank! The Panzer II is a great little tanks though, and I will get around to it eventually. Great review, keep'em coming. Mark Lopiccola
JAN 03, 2009 - 04:08 PM
Hi- for those wishing more insight into this kit I have a vBench going over at planetArmor. Hope I'm not stepping on any toes providing this link. http://www.planetarmor.com/forums/showthread.php?t=5270
JAN 03, 2009 - 06:42 PM
Thanks guys, as always I really appreciate the comments, interest and support.
JAN 08, 2009 - 11:18 AM
The kit does have a gaffe, unfortunately. The large cooling grill at the left rear of the engine deck is a specific modification for North Africa, and Dragon chose to mold it as part of the superstructure, making correction difficult if you want to do a vehicle in Russia. If you do a North Africa vehicle, use the radio operator's hatch with the large cooling vents, not the small ones, as that was also part of the tropical upgrade. The initial batch sent to North Africa appear to have all had a rack for smoke candles bolted behind the muffler, but photos show some delivered later in the campaign without them (Dragon doesn't include the rack, while Tamiya's Panzer II C kit offers you a choice, though their kit has no cupola, so you are limited to the 1940 campaign). If you want to depict the Dragon Panzer II C in the Russian campaign, you can either saw out the large left rear grill and replace it with a recessed rectangular hatch with rounded corners and a single hinge (a fussy job), or you can just cover the area with stowage, as photos show that crews typically used that spot to lash down tents, bedrolls and such. And of course, use the radio operator's hatch with the smaller vents.
JAN 23, 2009 - 10:56 AM
Excellent review as always, Dude!
JAN 23, 2009 - 02:43 PM
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