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In-Box Review
135
Pz.Kpfw.II Ausf. A
Pz.Kpfw.II Ausf.A w/Interior
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by: Todd Michalak [ TRM5150 ]


Originally published on:
Armorama

Introduction

By now many may know the basic heredity behind the Panzerkampfwagen II Sd.Kfz.121 (Pz.Kpfw.II Sd.Kfz.121) but a brief synopsis of this early main battle tank that played a pivotal role in helping thrust Nazi Germany in its attempt of conquering Europe and arguably the rest of the world in the early stages of WWII.

Albeit the smaller, lighter and often underequipped Pz.Kpfw.II would not be thought of typically as a main battle tank; however, when this is the only game in town, you have to go with what you have. Primarily, a Stopgap between the less effective Pz.Kpfw.I and the soon to be delivered Pz.KPfw.III’s and Iv’s, the Panzerkampfwagen II was able to bridge that gap starting in 1938 with the annexation of Austria through the Polish Campaign. The Panzer II quickly became a crucial pawn in the early stages of WWII. The Panzer II would begin to fade from its roll on the frontlines with the advent of the bigger, more powerful Pz.Kpfw III and IV Main Battle Tanks rolled to the front line; however would remain on the field of battle in reconnaissance and Panzertruppen support throughout the entire war. The Panzerkampfwagen II platform would also be effectively used in various conversions throughout the war.

The kit

Dragon Models attempts to fill a gap in their family of the Panzer II’ as part of the ’39 – ’45 Series with the Pz.Kpfw.II Ausf.A w/Interior Kit No. 6687 Smart Kit. True to the Dragon Models form of model kit production, this kit is bloated with parts all for the modeler to be able to create an early version of the Panzerkampfwagen II; The Pz.Kpfw.II Ausf.A .

Spread out over Thirty-one sprues, one separate lower hull section, two bas of Magic Tracks and one sheet of photo etch parts the box boasts “over 860 parts” whereas a number of 323 parts are listed as “not used” by the parts legend located in the instruction manual, putting the more accurate count of plastic parts used from this kit come in at the hefty 557 parts. So there are plenty more additions to the spare parts-box we all have.

Contents

  • 1 – Lower one-piece styrene hull section
  • 29 – Light grey styrene sprue trees
  • 2 – Clear styrene sprue trees
  • 3 – Pre-bent steel wire pieces
  • 216 - Individual Magic Track links (left and right handed)
  • 1 – Sheet of photo etch parts
  • 1 - Decal Sheet
  • 1 – Instruction Manual

The product

First off the Pz.Kpfw.II Ausf.A w/Interior Kit No. 6687 Smart Kit is not a retooled kit with newly molded parts but, as seen with numerous other kits, this is rather a consortium of previously released parts from various other Panzer II, Bison II, Marder II kits and a pile of generic parts all to help create this Pz.Kpfw.II Ausf.A variant.

Multi-cannibalized kits come together to make the foundation for a solid rendering of the Pz.Kpfw.II Ausf.A. The hull and suspension are more accurately represented here as are the road wheels and rolled front glacis plate which was originally presented in Dragon Models earlier Pz.Kpfw.II Ausf. F kit, particularly the springs which unlike in the previously released Ausf. B from a few years back is the correct spring configuration. Dragon Models brings the side mounted AA swing arm MG-34 bracket as seen on the original Ausf. A variant. The is finely molded which of course usually means a delicate approach will be needed when removing these parts from the sprue tree.

This kit ends up with two options of on-board tools; molded on tool clamps as well as clamp free molds; however the large track pinch bar is the only tool that has a kit supplied photo etch tool clamp. I would surmise that splurging for a small, cheap aftermarket set of German tool clamps is a viable option to put that extra step of bling into the kit.

This kit, as stated on the front of the box, comes with a full interior. Dragon Models has combined the interior swag offered up previously in the earlier Pz.Kpfw.II Ausf. B, C and F kits with the generic offering of the German Radio sprues, ammo boxes and magazines as well as the Marder II kit with engine components. The turret is packed with detail with a crisp molding of the ZF-4 Scope and a decently rendered interior MG-34 and 2cm Kw.K30 main gun. Although both guns have excellent molded features these can be spruced up a bit with the addition of maybe some aftermarket turned brass barrels.

This kit is supplied with the run-of-the-mill Magic Track links to construct both a left and right-handed track for the Pz.Kpfw.II Ausf.A. Please note this will prove to be no small feat whereas these links are extremely tiny in a 1:1 scale, which translates into almost microscopic representation of the links. The molds are nicely done as most Magic Tracks are but the scale is nothing less than constructing 1/72 Pz. IV individual links. For many modelers this might make for a bit of challenging fun to assemble but for the Braille Scale faint at heart there should have been a DS option thrown in.

The decals supplied with this kit are up to Cartograf’s consistently high standards allowing for any one of six different configurations outlined on the back page of the instruction manual.

The Instructions…well, they are what they are, a decent outline of the construction of this kit and are laid out in the standard exploded view of all styrene parts and the installation of all photo etch and metal parts in an emblematically highlighted blue color. On the back of the page of the instruction manual is the painting and decal placement guide. Unfortunately all are presented with only 1941 unit placements resulting in the unvarying dark grey coloring format; five choices from service in Russia and one from Greece.

Six Different Unit Designations to Choose From:
  • Pz.Rgt. 3, 3rd Panzer Division, Greece
  • Pz.Abt. 101 Central Russia 1941
  • Pz.Rgt. 18, 18th Panzer Division, Central Russia 1941
  • Pz.Rgt. 15, 11th Panzer Division, South Russia 1941
  • Pz.Rgt. 10, 8th Panzer Regiment, Russia 1941
  • Pz.Rgt. 25, 7th Panzer Division, Russia 1941

Conclusion

I feel that Dragon Models has done well in providing the Pz.Kpfw.II Ausf.A w/Interior to fill a small gap in the line of Pz.II’s offered. Even though we have seen all the parts previously in a few other kits, the combination of the right parts makes for a solid base for a close to accurately represented model of the early workhorse. The parts included in this kit are nicely detailed and the molds are clean and crisp. I would venture to add some words of caution in regards to the size of the Magic Tracks as they are really tiny and can serve to be problematic for some when building. The addition of maybe DS Tracks would have been the better choice. The full interior is always a welcomed feature to any kit and this is nothing different. Even with the small size of the Pz.Kpfw.II Ausf.A much of the interior goodies will show through the open hatches if chosen to do so. In regards to the coloring and unit placement I do wish there was at least one or two “other” options when depicting this little Panzer; maybe a camouflage or even a whitewash scheme. I suppose this can be left in the hands of the individual builder.

References

Achtungpanzer.com - http://www.achtungpanzer.com/panzerkampfwagen-ii.htm
Military Factory - http://www.militaryfactory.com/armor/detail.asp?armor_id=245
Tank Encyclopedia - http://www.tanks-encyclopedia.com/ww2/nazi_germany/Panzer_IV.php
SUMMARY
Highs: Although we have seen all the parts before in other kits, they all come together to make for a finely detailed model, inside and out.
Lows: Magic Tracks might have not been the best choice for providing track/links with this kit as the parts are extremely small and tedious to assemble.
Verdict: All in all I feel this is a great little kit that should not only please the Pz.II enthusiast but anyone who might enjoy the subject matter.
Percentage Rating
92%
  Scale: 1:35
  Mfg. ID: 6687
  Suggested Retail: $52.00
  Related Link: 
  PUBLISHED: Feb 10, 2014
  NATIONALITY: Germany
NETWORK-WIDE AVERAGE RATINGS
  THIS REVIEWER: 95.48%
  MAKER/PUBLISHER: 86.19%

Our Thanks to Dragon USA!
This item was provided by them for the purpose of having it reviewed on this KitMaker Network site. If you would like your kit, book, or product reviewed, please contact us.
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About Todd Michalak (TRM5150)
FROM: MASSACHUSETTS, UNITED STATES

I am building what I like, when I like and how I like it; having fun doing it. I have been building and finishing models on and off my whole life but the past ten years things really exploded. Just about anything goes when it comes to hitting the bench, but wrecked armor, rusted hulks, ships or ...

Copyright ©2017 text by Todd Michalak [ TRM5150 ]. 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

Glad to see no "unknown unit" in the paint schemes. Good review, Todd.
FEB 10, 2014 - 10:13 AM
Did Dragon fix the tracks to fit the 26 tooth sprocket? Nice looking kit. Roy
FEB 10, 2014 - 01:01 PM
Thanks Bill!! Nice to see the "unknown" missingmaking way for an additional configuration! Hi Roy, the sprockets do have the correct 26 tooth layout and the tracks should fit without an issue. The kit is pretty decent! There are a ton of SMALL interior parts to deal with and of course the tracks I mentioned but with patience everything works out!
FEB 10, 2014 - 01:22 PM
O.K., I ask because Dragon fixed the sprocket for their Bison II kit but didn't fix the tracks which were designed to fit the earlier inaccurate 25 tooth sprockets they had in their Panzer II Ausf F and Marder II kit. The result was the tracks didn't fit on the Bison II kit. I see in your review that the sprocket has the 26 teeth but I cant tell if the tracks have been fixed to fit or not. Thanks for the reply. Roy
FEB 10, 2014 - 01:47 PM
Hi Roy, If I look back to the past Ausf. B review from Bill Plunk, the "B" consisted of the sproket repair with the correct links. The links in this kit certainly appears to be the right Pz. II tracks (there was only the two unmarked bags of track links)knowing that DML had largly based this kit on the "B" I would think this to be a corrected issue.
FEB 10, 2014 - 03:10 PM
Great. I forgot about the B kit. It's good to hear they fixed that issue. Roy
FEB 11, 2014 - 12:27 AM
I know this topic is a little old but I was wondering if there was a way to make this kit into the ausf.b or ausf.c version given that it is a mishap mash of several kits? Are there any visual differences between them? I have done my research but struggled given that only 75 a's were ever made.
APR 20, 2017 - 05:49 PM
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