Tamiya's new kit of the Panzer II Ausf A/B/C is molded in dark gray plastic and features excellent detail. A small fret of photoetched metal provides parts for the muffler guard and number plates. The link-and-length tracks are injection-molded with sag for the upper run.
Tamiya's excellent instruction booklet has clear diagrams and identifies many parts by name as well as number. Alternate parts for specific vehicles are clearly indicated. All four decal options are for vehicles used in France in 1940. A single commander figure is provided.
Like most Tamiya kits, the running gear installs with polycaps. This makes it easy to install them after painting. The lower hull is molded in one piece, ensuring good alignment. I assembled most of the upper hull, leaving off only the pioneer tools and the front fenders (parts B7 and B8). I did not join the upper and lower hulls together until they were painted with Tamiya's German gray and the running gear was installed. The fit was excellent with no need for filler.
The tracks also fit perfectly. They are easier to install than individual links, and they capture the look of the real thing. One disappointment is that the prominent headlights do not have clear lenses but are molded solid in gray plastic.
The turret includes both gun breeches and the commander's seat, but otherwise the kit is devoid of interior detail. I should have spent a little more time test-fitting the upper and lower turret halves; I wound up with some small gaps, so I filled them with epoxy putty.
The decals went on without problems with a little Solvaset to settle them perfectly over the vision ports on the rear and right side of the turret. A three-piece decal is supplied for the national insignia on the left hull side where it goes over the antenna rail.
It was no surprise that the finished model matched exactly the dimensions in the Standard Catalog of German Military Vehicles
, by David Doyle (Krause). Building my Panzer II took only about 14 hours, with good fit and a simple one-color paint scheme making the job go quickly. While there are a few small parts, this kit would be an excellent choice for a beginning modeler.
It will be interesting to see if Tamiya expands on this kit, producing other vehicles based on the Panzer II chassis.
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