Joined: 17 Sep 2006
|Posted: Sat May 05, 2012 5:48 pm Post subject: DML #6432 Pz.Kpfw. II Ausf. C mit Zusatzpanzer
The Pz.Kpfw. II was part of the German army’s efforts pre-war to develop an effective panzer force and production capability and as such it underwent several modifications before the final production model was settled on with the Ausf. c (lower case) design. Between 1937 and 1940 approximately 1,113 of the Ausf c/A/B/C variants were produced in total. There are only minor variations between the different designations during the production run, making it difficult to distinguish one variant from another as a result. Thinly-armored (a maximum of 14.5mm), its combat experience in the Polish campaigns soon showed this was far from adequate, and an up-armoring program was initiated in 1940 to refit vehicles with increased armor protection. Referred to as “zusatzpanzer”, this effort added 20mm plates to the hull and turret fronts in order to improve the overall combat survivability of the vehicle. DML (Dragon) kit #6432 Pz.Kpfw. II Ausf. C mit Zusatzpanzer aims to replicate an Ausf. C in service after the up-armoring had been completed.
The kit is packaged in the standard slip top cardboard box with the sprues packaged in clear bags with multiple sprues per bag, so care is needed when removing them to avoid damaging some of the more delicate parts. The standard “Dragon card” is also included which has the separate bags of Magic Tracks, PE frets, decals, clear sprues, weapons and radio sprues, and a small bag containing the pre-formed brass shovel bracket and steel wires attached to it. The kit consists of over 500 parts with a large number of these marked as “Not for Use” arranged in the following:
• 14 sprues of light gray styrene
• 3 sprues of clear styrene
• 1 light gray styrene hull tub
• 1 light gray styrene turret
• 3 PE brass frets of 94 parts
• 3 pre-bent steel wires
• 1 pre-formed brass shovel bracket
• 2 bags each of handed Magic Tracks links
• 1 decal sheet
• Instruction booklet
In keeping with its Zusatzpanzer designation, this kit seeks to recreate the features seen on a Pz II-C after it had been retrofitted at some point in 1940. The kit includes the additional bolted-on 20mm plates for the hull and turret front and also features the squared-off hull nose that was the result of additional 20mm plates welded to the earlier rounded nose area. Also included for the C was the addition of a new circular commander’s cupola with all-around periscopes in place of the simple two-piece hatch that was the original design and the kit provides for this added feature as well. The style of the turret and hull view ports was also altered slightly vs. those on the Ausf. c/A/B and those new style ports are also included. The only small change that DML did not capture is in the form of the lifting hooks, those provided are the same as seen on earlier variants, a minor detail in the grand scheme of things. Otherwise, the kit has all the external features to be expected of an Ausf C in service post-up-armoring.
Suspension and Tracks:
The correct drive sprockets are provided for the Ausf. C but contain an error in terms of the number of teeth in the design, with the kit part having 25 teeth vs. the actual vehicle’s 26 teeth. This in turn influences the Magic track link pitch design, meaning that if the sprockets are replaced with AM parts featuring the correct 26 teeth, the kit links will be unusable, so you’re somewhat stuck with this error as a result unless you also replace the tracks with a type that is also designed for the 26 teeth sprocket pitch. Two different styles of sprocket are provided but the correct style is the “fancier” type E2 with the simpler type seen later on Ausf Fs. The correct idlers and suspension springs are provided, and the lower hull is beautifully detailed. The idler is not able to be tensioned, so bear that in mind when fitting the tracks in terms of desired sag. The road wheels and return rollers are highly detailed and the road wheels include back-side inserts to avoid the dreaded hollow wheel look.
The tracks as mentioned are of the Magic Track individual link variety and are handed with the different sides molded in different shades of gray to distinguish between left and right. 99 links are called for per side and plenty of extras are provided to allow flexibility in determining the amount of sag to model.
Hull and Fenders:
The lower hull is provided as a single tub with additional front and rear plates and has excellent detail on the underside including hatch and bolt detail where appropriate. The rear plate includes the option of fitting a PE retaining chain for the tow pin and also includes a PE shield for the muffler. The shield does not include cutouts for a smoke candle rack nor is a rack itself included in the kit, a feature that would normally be present on up-armored vehicles after 1940 as a rule. The glacis installs as a single piece and includes the option of posing the transmission access hatch in either the open or closed position.
The upper hull and fenders are integrated as a single part and the fenders have excellent tread plate detail on the upper surfaces. The instructions indicate use of tools and equipment without molded-on clamps that require the use of 3-part PE clamps provided in the kit and some openings in the fenders will need filling as a result. Alternatively, although not called out in the instructions, there are tools available on the small J sprue that do have clamps molded on if you decide to go that route. The option of fitting either PE or styrene mounts for the jack is also provided. 3 pre-bent lengths of wire are used to add the unique welded-on barrier/screen to the side hull air intake for the engine compartment. Three jerry cans with PE rib inserts and PE belt strap are provided to recreate the arrangement shown on the box art vehicle.
Separate panels are installed for the superstructure side, front, and rear plates and include fine weld detail along their top edges. Additional armor plates attach as their own assemblies and have the correct conical bolt detail as well. The option of posing the large side storage bin lids in either the open or closed position is available as well but no gear to go inside is included in the kit. All of the hull vision ports include multi-part detailed assemblies in clear styrene for their interior parts but can only be posed in the closed position. The radio operator’s hatch includes detail for the underside but can only be posed in the closed position. The engine access hatches are provided as separate parts and have detail on their interior surfaces but no detail is provided for the engine compartment itself in the kit.
The kit includes a nearly-complete interior for the hull and includes details for the driver’s compartment, transmission and brakes, fuel tanks, drive shaft tunnel, rear firewall, and radio operator’s seat and communication gear. However there are a couple of things missing such as a fire extinguisher and ready ammunition storage for the 2.0cm and MG34 turret weapons. The radio operator’s area is also not 100% accurate in terms of how the radios are mounted and the hull shelf in that area is nonexistent but otherwise the interior is as it should be. The floor includes excellent tread plate detail and PE parts are provided for the oil filter holder as well.
The kit provides the turret top as its own separately molded piece with excellent weld detail along the edges. The turret bottom and front plates install separately in a modular fashion. The commander’s cupola is a separate multi-part assembly that includes individual clear periscopes for each of the seven openings and the hatch includes excellent pad and signal port detail on the interior. The option is provided to fit part B44 for the hatch stop or leave it off depending on your references. The turret “zusatzpanzer” curved plate is installed as a single piece and includes the same conical bolt detail as the superstructure plates.
The turret interior is highly detailed with a fully detailed breech and gun sights provided for both the MG34 and 2.0cm main gun. The gun can remain movable with care and the open sight hatches in the mantlet can be posed in either the open or closed position if done carefully. Neither of the weapons is shown as loaded with clips or ammunition drums. The 2.0cm muzzle flash suppressor is slide-molded hollow but the signature small circular openings at the end are represented only as depressions. Rounding things out, a fully detailed commander’s seat and turret traverse mechanism are included in the interior along with the vision port interior details mentioned earlier.
Instructions and Finishing Guide:
The kit instructions follow the standard DML mode of fold-out black and white exploded diagrams and sub-diagrams and consists of 22 steps for full assembly. The decal markings are printed by Cartograf and are clear and in-register. The Painting and Markings guide provides for the following 6 possibilities:
• PzRgt8, 15PzDiv, Libya 1941 overall sand
• 3/PzAbt.z.b.V.40, Norway 1940 panzer gray
• Unidentified Unit, Caucasus 1941 whitewash over panzer gray
• PzRgt31, 5PzDiv, Eastern Front 1941 whitewash over panzer gray
• Unidentified Unit, Libya 1942 two-tone Tropen scheme
• PzRgt7, 10PzDiv, Tunisia 1942 two-tone Tropen scheme
The markings for vehicles in North Africa include the palm tree DAK insignia but with the swastika emblem included as separate parts that have to be added to create the full emblem. These are present on the decal sheet but not called out in the markings guide.
DML packs quite a bit of detail into this little kit and it provides a lot of value out of the box as a result however there are issues with the interior and other details that range from minor to more serious in the accuracy department. The majority of these were fixed in kit #6572 Pz.Kpfw. II Ausf B since that kit was released after this one, but that doesn’t do you much good on this particular kit unless you don’t care about the interior. Externally there’s the relatively minor issue of the inability to pose the view ports on the hull and turret open and the more serious issue of the missing smoke candle rack for the rear as well. For these reasons the kit is recommended with reservations.