Hi Guys, with the Tiger I now finished and access to a clean workshop I have started my next build which will be this DML Panzer II ausf.B kit.
After a complex all scratch build model like the last tiger, I choose this vehicle as a simple quick build. I had this kit in storage for about a year now and I can finally dive into it. After reviewing lots of the other builds on several forums I saw some areas that can be improved with the stock kit.
For those who don't have the kit, or who have opened theirs yet I made a youtube video showing the model's unboxing and kit's contents.
The kit itself is very easy to put together, and assembles very quickly. The Hull went together in no time, I did have to fight with the lower plate fitting to the sides somewhat, but with the help of some clamps it was over in no time.
Where the panels meet there is a seam line, to cover up the seams I added weld beads, which both cover up the seams and add detail.
The tank's suspension bump stops were added to the lower hull. The bump stops either have their rubber bump pad upside down, the pad was going to be a separate part to be glued on, that was left out by DML to save on costs, or there is a mistake with the instruction numbers?
Either way I reversed the parts so that the pad would be on the bottom portion of the hull. The molded in "pad" itself is a bit on the small side so to make them more pronounced I added a small segment of PVC pip to the molded in pads. After some detail mounting hex bolts the bump stops were complete. These pads will be painted flat black after the hull is painted and weathered.
When I assembled the hull I also mounted the tanks side fenders. The fenders themselves mount easily, and have two small front supports that get glued the fenders and the hull. The fenders have small mounting bolt details, that are represented as small round nub.
The fenders on this model are easily snagged and are used to support the upper hull. Because of this I didn't feel that glue alone for the supports was very strong. So I drilled out the molded in numbs, replacing them with small brass hex bolts.
The three bolts are then secured to the tank via small nuts that IMHO give a better more secure hold than glue alone, and the small hex bolt detail looks better than the molded in nub.
On the tank's rear plate there is a small rod which conects the two sides of the hull together. The kit supplies you with a plastic rod for this. Rather than using the rod I replaced it with a brass rod. From looking at reference images the kit supplied rod looked too thick in appearance.
I just finished assembling the tank's rear idler wheels. The kit supplied idlers come in three parts. the idler itself is nicely detailed. The only mods that I made to them was the removal of the rear knock out marks, and I drilled out the small hole in the wheel all the way through.
From what I have read and seen the biggest problem with the model was the way the wheels mount to the suspension. The kit is designed so that the return rollers that they must be glued into their roller mounts. The road wheels, sprockets and idlers are designed to spin, but are only to be slipped onto the vehicle, and can pop off.
When I first saw this I decided to design a retention system. So that the wheels will not fall off the model, but will all still be able to spin freely.
Starting with the return roller,
the wheel itself is molded hollow. A resin doughnut insert was tooled up to p[lug up the hole.
The system also utilizes the kit roller mount. The plastic roller tip is cut off and a resin insert is mounted into the roller wheel and the roller mount.
Hidden within the resin inserts is a metal bolt and a nut. Once tightened the roller will spin freely and will not fall out.
As what was mentioned above the road wheels were deigned to spin, but are not designed to be secured to the model. To fix this I tooled up a small fastener mount that bolts the wheel assembly to the swing arm from inside the wheel. This connection is hidden once the outer half of the wheel is added.
The tank's drive sprockets have a similar design with the way they are designed to mount / spin. For this component to spin and be secured I destined a resin insert for the final drive.
The kit final drive has a hollow mounting shaft that I saw as being a weak point. The insert fills in the shaft, and moves the load stress from the spindle shaft to the final drive bell. This makes it much stronger.
For the drive sprocket I replaced the kit supplied plastic disc with a mounting brace.
The brace conceals the mounting bolt
From the exterior the sprocket looks no different from the way the kit is designed to be mounted.
Once I complete the suspension I will have add the new retention system to the listings.
After the addition of the sprocket retention system they were added to the model, but not before I added a cast texture to them.
Before I will add the suspension I painted the lower hull and suspension parts with primer, and it's base coat of panzer grey.
The lower hull will get some basic weathering. Once complete the suspension will be added and the model will be ready for the superstructure. More to come!