by: Robert Blokker [ ]
After WWI and the arrival of the tank on the battlefield the tactics changed dramatically. And a lot of countries started to experiment and design new ways of putting the armored menace to a halt, which delivered to the world the landmine. Soon these new inventions would be used all over Europe. Some to prevent tanks going directly at their goal. To be used to slow down enemy advance or guide the enemy to a clear field of fire for AT guns. And they were often used to protect fortifications as it was a relatively cheap and easy method to secure a perimeter around your important bunker.
Now this in term proved to be a bit of a problem to solve for the forces encountering the landmines as they needed to be detected, cleared and or otherwise made inactive. A task that in the early days was put in the hands of the sapper who had the ungrateful and time consuming task of finding them by probing with a stick or knife, digging them out and making them inactive. A highly dangerous task as the mine could easily turn you into pink mist when something was not done correctly, but it also placed the sapper in a vulnerable position for the enemy to take potshots at. This meant that most countries started to experiment with a more mobile form of mine clearing and a whole range of specialized vehicles sprung to life, often used by the engineers to clear the path for the troops. WWII Germany had a whole range of these specialized vehicles. Some specially made for this task but more often than not the role ended up in the hands of the vehicles that were not suitable for the job they were officially designed for.
Which brings me neatly to the Panzer II C of this review.
At the time WWII rolled around the block the Panzer II C, which was officially designed for battle, was pretty much only useful for supporting the infantry and reconnaissance. Even up-armoring did not make them more suitable to go out with the big boys. Eventually it was one of the first chassis’ the Germans used in different roles as self propelled guns like the Wespe and the Marder II. And, as one picture proved, as a mine clearing tank in Africa.
The Panzer II base kit for this one of a kind version is exactly the same as the up-armored Panzer II DML released a few years back as kit# 6432. Minus the decals, and the jerry can rack with jerry cans seems to have disappeared too. As is usual with Cyberhobby’s white box releases the box is filled with several sprues from several different kits to make the designated vehicle. And the box is very full indeed for such a small vehicle. There are several sprues that come from their earlier released Panzer II kits like the B,C the F and the Marder II. Along with some new sprues, PE, tracks and clear parts.
In total you will find 516 parts in the typical grey styrene Cyberhobby/DML use, spread over 18 sprues. 2 bags with Magic track single track links, 101 PE parts divided over three frets. Three pre-bent pieces of metal wire. A preformed shovel blade holder and 45 clear parts on three sprues. One decal sheet with a selection of decals and the well known instruction booklet DML offers with all their kits, showing the assembly in 24 steps.
Suspension and hull:
The lower hull tub comes as a one piece mold with sidewalls molded onto the floor with holes in the bottom where the suspension fits into. The axles for the return rollers are also molded on the tub. On the bottom you will find 5 inspection /maintenance hatches which will only be seen when you place the vehicle upside down, but still a nice detail. The kit comes with brand new leaf springs for the suspension which are way more suitable for this vehicle then the reinforced leaf springs from their Marder kit. However the kit comes with two leaf spring sets so pay attention to which one you actually use. Also nice is that the kit comes with new idlers.
The tracks are the Magic Tracks which have no pushout marks and are ready to assemble. Watch out though and don’t open the bags at the same time as these are handed tracks, right and left. They are distinguishable by the fact that each bag holds a separate color of styrene with one being slightly darker, so pay attention here that you don’t mix them up as that could cause problems eventually.
The road wheels and return rollers each have really nice details such as very small weld lines and lettering on the tire sides. As is usual with DML kits the lettering says Continentau which of course needs to be Continental but due to copyright issues they changed it in such a way that if the modeler wants it the correct way he or she only needs to slice the right leg of the U to get the L. Keep in mind that the tires are not that big for a Panzer II so the work can be pretty finicky.
The back plate and frontal armor are added to finish the tub. The upper structure is, again, pretty much molded as one piece with the fenders. A lot of details like hatches, armor plates with vision ports, antenna with a nicely rendered antenna tray and stowage bins are to be added to it. The exhaust is really well executed and the PE mesh that goes over it really finishes it off.
Yes it does come with an interior, a lot of it comes from the Marder II C sprue (kit# 6262). The floor comes from the Panzer II F kit. Also included to kit out the interior are the RD sprue which holds two very nice radio sets, the J sprue which holds the firewall parts along with the air filter. All in all you will find that the kit supplies you with enough to fill the inside of the vehicle with a full interior, bar the engine. From the transmission to the driveshaft to the aforementioned air cleaner everything is there. There are a few pushout marks but the clever people at DML hid them where they won’t be visible after the build.
Another fine point to this kit is the turret. The turret is molded as one piece without the bottom plate with the ring. Again the kit provides a full interior for the turret, most of which can be found on the B Sprue and finished off with the clear parts that make up the vision ports. Also on sprue B is the retrofitted commanders cupola of the Up-armored Panzer IIC. The 2 cm gun is very nicely rendered and with the slide mold technology there is no need to drill out the barrel. However the small holes in the supressor are molded, but not through and through. So if you care for every detail you either have to drill them out or replace it with an AM barrel. The MG is one of their brilliant Gen2 offerings. All the workings of a Panzer II turret are there which makes for a pretty cramped turret. Almost unbelievable that a commander could be in there as well.
The Mine Rolling device:
Finally we ended up with what separates this panzer II from the rest; the mine rolling device. This is a mixed media affair where you have to combine styrene with photoetch. The styrene parts are to be found on 5 sprues labeled with “K” but one of them holds different parts. The stranger among the K-Sprues holds the bar that attaches to the tank onto which you add the arms of the roller and the housings, which the adjustment springs for the rollers themselves attach to. The other K Sprues have the wheels and axles and the height adjustment springs. The arms are completely made of photoetch.
The four biggest parts of the arms are to be folded in “C” irons which are held together by smaller PE parts that need to be bent as angle irons. A lot of the parts here are very large which will not be a problem for the more seasoned modeler that has access to a bending device like a Hold-n-Fold. But for those not in possession of such a tool may have a problem indeed, as it will be neigh on impossible to get clean folds by using flat nosed pliers. Also the instructions are rather vague with where exactly the whole contraption is to be attached to the front of the tank. There is exactly one arrow that points to the middle of the front plate and that’s about it. So some care with alignment and such is needed.
Instructions and Decals:
As I have not yet started building the kit I can’t comment much on the accuracy of the instructions more of that will come to light in the build log. The instructions provide you with one painting option when it comes to color…. Sand… from an unidentified unit in Africa in 1942. The only decal option featured here is in the form of 2 black “R’s” on the turret sides.
I checked it up with several references and 1:35 drawings I have of the Panzer II and, even though they do not agree fully with each other when it comes to dimensions and angles, the kit seems to match up pretty well. The interior of both hull and turret do match up very good as well with the reference I have available. The new leaf springs are very nice and do match what was on the II C.
All the pioneer tools are available double in the kit, one with the tool clamps molded on and one without where you spice them up with clamps from PE in the kit. The details are nice and crisp and in the places where they belong, along with weld lines and nice bolt detail. All is there to keep the detail painter happy. If you buy this kit in the hopes of making a standard Panzer II C you will be disappointed as the way this kit is engineered with all the up-armored parts almost integrally molded onto the kit the only version you can make with this kit is the up-armored (Zusatzpanzer) Panzer II C.
With only one vehicle like this to be known that existed this release fits right into the style of Cyber Hobby with their long line of “one off’s”, and they make the best of it. The amount of parts for this little vehicle is staggering. A very good interior (don’t know yet how much is visible of that in the end). Sadly you have to raid the spares box to fill the vehicle and it’s storage bins with personal stuff from the tank crew. Another fun point is that since the contents of the box comes from multiple other releases from Dragon it will also be a nice extra for the spares box, if you see the amount of parts not to be used in this kit you will know exactly what I mean.
Overall the kit is quite accurate, the details are very good as can be expected from this company. The only problem I can see from this point is with beginning modelers who buy this kit but are not in the possession of a bending device like an Etch Mate or a Hold-n-Fold as the PE parts for the mine roller device will prove to be a serious problem to get it right, straight and nice looking. Still looking at what you get and the quality of the kit I’d recommend this kit highly. And am looking forward to building it.