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Takom Bergepanzer 2

Build review of the 1/35 scale armor kit with easy-to-use PE

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Maintenance units of mechanized armies are not glamorous but are invaluable to the success of the day to day operation of any army. The use of Bergepanzer recovery vehicles by the German army goes back to World War II and continues to this day in the service of the Bundeswehr. Based on the Leopard 1 tank, the Bergepanzer 2 entered service in 1966 and 444 were built.

Takom’s kit comprises 909 light gray and clear plastic parts, a small photo-etched metal (PE) fret, nylon string, twisted brass cable, and track end connectors for the individual-link tracks. The crisp moldings are unmarred by ejector-pin marks, but there are some rather prominent seam lines to be removed. The decals supply six marking options, five German, of which three are in NATO three-color camo, and one in Chilean service. The instructions callout is for Ammo by Mig Jimenez colors.

Skipping to Step 5, I started building the spade and winch that mount on the front of the hull. The instructions are vague, but the wider opening on the spade arms (Part G18) should be at the bottom. Movement of the spade was impeded by the front tow hooks, so I left it off until assembly was complete and I determined its final position. Since I planned to pose the winch compartment doors closed, I omitted the winch.

Jumping ahead, I installed the vision blocks and hull machine gun as seen in Step 14. This needs to be done before the two hull halves can be glued together. The lower hull is molded with the glacis plate and rear hull plate mounted in place, so there are minimal seams to fill.

Now I felt comfortable detailing the hull. In Step 2, I deviated from the instructions and attached the road-wheel arms before the shock absorbers. The arms clicked into place without glue, so I could adjust them to help with track fit.

The tracks are individual plastic links that get joined together with vinyl end connectors and a guide tooth in between. The directions don’t specify the number of links needed, but I used 84 on each side. That doesn’t leave many extra links or end connectors. The vinyl end connectors hold the tracks together and stayed in place, several links broke during handling, especially if the runs were bent excessively.

I had to deepen the mounting holes for the mud flaps so they would sit properly.

Step 21 covers assembly of the rack to store an engine after removal from a tank; Step 23 features the hoist for removing said engine. Use caution removing one side of the hoist (Part E49) from the tree as one end, molded with the sprue attachment point, is actually part of the bracket. The clip that holds the spare road wheels in place is missing, but is easily made from styrene strip. I left off many small, fragile parts like the sideview mirrors, spotlight, and warning light for painting.

The base of the crane will rotate if you are careful with the glue, but the pins that hold it to the hull are small and easily broken. The crane can be posed erected or stowed, and optional cable ends are provided although the directions are vague. For reference, Part F12 is for the crane erected and Part F13 is used with the crane stowed. Paint the interior of the crane before you attach the upper panel (Part F6) as holes in the side leave the area visible.

I finished my Bergepanzer for Chilean service, painting it with Tamiya wooden deck tan, Vallejo Model Air sand yellow, and Ammo new Iraqi sand for the desert camo. To break up the monotony, the rack, hoist, and one set of tow bars were painted Tamiya NATO green.

The decals went down over a clear gloss without silvering and they were easy to move into place.

This was a relatively easy model to assemble, and I spent 54 hours on it. The lack of complicated PE and great fits make it a good kit for anyone with a couple of kits under their belt.

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Note: A version of this review appeared in the March 2020 issue.
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