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Academy K2 "Black Panther"

FineScale Modeler reviews the 1/35 scale plastic model armored tank kit
South Korea’s latest armored fighting vehicle, the K2, is highly advanced, with locally produced main weapon and ammo, and passive and active defense measures. Academy’s release has many “extras,” such as posable hatches, armor upgrades, together tracks, polarized lens stickers for the vision blocks, and markings for two vehicles.

The instructions are separated into two sets, starting with the turret. You have a choice of standard or uparmored versions.

Building up the turret from many parts was easy enough. The breech is put between top and bottom halves so it can be moved up and down. I laid down the photo-etched (PE) mesh for the bustle basket with super glue but left the jerry cans off for painting.

The tow cables ended up a little long; I cut them to 79mm, but I think 77mm would be better. The cannon barrel comprises three pieces. The polarized stickers have a clear mask over the lens, so painting after installation is easier. I used a wooden toothpick to peel off the clear mask after painting. These stickers give a color shift from right to left to replicate modern optical coatings. The add-on armor was left off until after painting.

The hull and running gear assemblies are made up from many parts. The hull sides and bottom went together without issues. The tow hooks (parts E26 and E27) would not fit into the front and back without sanding off part of the locator tab. The running gear and suspension were trouble-free and the hull top went on without gaps. I painted the hull at this point.

Each track link is made up from six parts that snap together. It’s nice that they snap together, but it’s a lot of trouble considering not much of the track is visible.

I cut the edge connectors, leaving a little sprue to hang onto while pushing them into place. The instructions indicate track run of 78 links per side. But they were too long, so I adjusted each to 76 links. I masked the rubber parts and painted the tracks Tamiya earth. If I wanted to make this build easier, I would shop the aftermarket for simpler tracks.

I painted the model with Testors Model Master dark tan, Tamiya olive green, Tamiya NATO black, and Vallejo ivory, using Silly Putty for masks. For the hull add-on armor, I painted with a 3:2 mix of Tamiya olive green and white, respectively, to match a picture of the vehicle I saw online.

The decals were a bit problematic. The small markings were OK, but the larger ones were translucent and they silvered. Decal solvent settled them. After spraying Model Master flat clear I applied a wash over the model. I added the paper flags with white glue; I am not sure how the flags are used on the real thing.

I spent 60 hours building and painting Academy’s K2. Because of the complicated track build, I can only recommend this model to experienced modelers.

Note: A version of this review appeared in the April 2018 issue.
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