6752, Pz.Kpfw.II Ausf.C w/Mine Roller DAK Smart Kit. 1/35th-scale styrene/multimedia kit containing 524 styrene parts (including 34 clear), two bags of Magic Track, three photo-etched brass frets, one stamped/etched brass part, three formed metal wire parts, one water-slide decal marking scheme and eight pages of instructions in 24 steps, plus addendum.
Vast mine fields were laid in the deserts of North Africa from 1940-1943. In the fluid conditions then existing, mine fields were used to deny access to certain areas, for instance a fixed fortification. Mines could also serve to channel enemy forces in to pre-set killing fields. AFVs immobilized by mines became easy fodder for an enemys anti-tank guns.
Standard practice was to employ sappers (a.k.a. Combat Engineers or Pioniertruppen) to clear a path by hand. In the heat of battle, this was a problematic and casualty-prone operation. Both sides in the conflict began to develop in-theater mechanized mine-clearing devices based on in-use tank chassis. This is typified by two different roller-type mine exploding devices mounted on the Matilda Infantry Tank, the Fowler, and the AMRA, by the British. Apparently, photos have recently been found that show a German mine roller system, mounted on a modernized Pz.Kpfw.II Ausf.C.
This is a one-off item, and so it is perfectly in tune with the Cyberhobby Limited Edition approach. The kit is based on DMLs Pz.Kpfw.II Ausf.C, which has been up-graded with all features authorized based on experience gained in the Polish Campaign of September 1939. To this has been added parts to make a mine roller device. The assembly is based on etched brass girder sections along with styrene rollers and fittings.
The instructions have thus been re-worked to include the assembly of the mine rollers, color notes for painting, and application guidance for the single set of included water-slide decals.
From the ground, up, these are individual-link Magic Tracks, which press-fit together. They come in two separate bags since they are handed, meaning that each bag is for use on a specific side of the vehicle (they are also in two different shades of grey). So, dont open the bags, pour the links out and begin to assemble them; youll get yourself into trouble. The fit of the links is relatively positive, but they will not take rough handling and will most certainly need to be fixed with cement after the fit is finalized. They all have a tiny pip at one edge from the mold, which is all-but-invisible and there are no knock-out pin marks at all. The idler wheel axle is separate and can be positioned to adjust the final fit; do not glue it in place until you are satisfied with the tracks final appearance.
Most recent user data has it that the tracks do not fit the newly-re-worked drive sprockets all that well. I am passing this kit on to another modeler so I have not gutted it to check the fit of the tracks. The modeler has been warned!
The road-wheels are very nicely-rendered and include weld details around their rims and manufacturers logo on the rubber tires; the return rollers are similarly detailed. There are four variations in idler wheels, all of which include a separate rim ring for the proper appearance; only one type is marked for use, so be careful. Additionally, there are two variations in drive sprockets each with differing rim bolt pattern details. The final drive housings are laid-out somewhat like those in DMLs Pz.Kpfw.IV kits in that there are some tiny bolt heads that must be cut from a sprue and added separately by the modeler; this is due to mold limits, not for the sake of adding unnecessary parts. The onepiece spring bundles are all separate parts, each of which has a tiny bracket added to them; the bump-stops are also separate. DML now provides spring bundles with narrower leaf springs, as is proper, instead of using the parts from the Marder II.
The lower hull pan is a one-piece affair that incorporates the side plates; the belly is detailed with access panels and bolts. It is finished with separate bow and stern plate assemblies. The stern plate is finished with a multi-part exhaust muffler that includes a pre-bored pipe and an etched brass perforated heat shield; it is the long, thin, cylindrical style. The trailer hitch is also a multi-part affair complete with etched brass retaining chain. The area is finished off with a brake-lamp and tow rings.
The bow end is now rounded-off and is finished off with separate bolted plates for the inner segments of the final drive housings. This is topped with a glacis plate and a separate hatch lid, a three-part lower bow plate and separate tow hooks. All of this represents the overlaid Vorpanzer assembly which is correct for this type. The mine roller gets attached here somewhere, but the instructions are rather imprecise regarding the specific location of any attachment points.
Working from front-to-back, the glacis plate features a separate access hatch lid as mentioned above and tow hooks. The front superstructure plate has a two-position drivers visor; his visors on the port and starboard side superstructure plates are also separate, and include internal details with clear parts for the glass blocks. The two front plates are covered with additional Zusatzpanzerung plates, as well as a visor for the angled starboard side plate; all of these parts feature fine conical bolt details. The various side plates are separate parts that feature weld beads and bolt details; they all get attached to the main superstructure/engine deck part, which also includes the main sections of the track-guards in situ. Separate lift hooks as well as molded-on and separate splash plates finish off the roof plate. The access hatch lids for the engine compartment, as well as the fighting compartment, are separate parts and there is a separate grill for one section of the engine deck; it has a choice of internal baffles. The radio antenna can be raised or lowered and it fits into a multi-part etched brass and styrene storage trough; internally, the cranking mechanism is provided as a separate two-part assembly.
The track-guards feature tread-plate details on certain surfaces, but not on others. Saul Garcia has called my attention to this, and the word he got from Tom Jentz is that its correct. Head-lamps (oddly, without clear lenses) and Notek black-out driving head-lamp (with etched brass base and lens element) are mounted to the track-guards, while there are separate mud-flaps front and rear; the front flaps are new. These can be posed raised or lowered, or left off entirely. Various tool boxes are included as well as the large retro-fitted Gepäckkasten (baggage bin) seen on the starboard side track-guard; both it and one of the tool boxes features separate lids and each comes from a slide-mold for enhanced detail. A multi-part jack, a jack block with etched brass details and a fire extinguisher finish off the OVM. All tools are separate and come in two versions. One version has molded-on clamps and brackets, while the other is bare and requires the included etched brass clamps and brackets; the shovel has a stamped, etched brass head protector. Three 20-liter jerry cans with etched brass centers are provided; these are accompanied by etched brass tie-down straps. It should be noted that the etched centers fit much better than on previous offerings.
Fighting Compartment Interior.
This area begins with a part for the floor to which a nicely-done multi-part transmission/final drive unit is mounted, along with separate mounts and drive shaft. Also up front, there is a station for the driver, complete with seat, his hand (but no foot) controls, instrument panel, internal details for his view-ports, and various racks and stowage containers. Further aft, the main item is the air cleaner and fuel tank; two fuel filler caps sit atop the tank, while a drive shaft and cover, as well as many smaller detail parts finish the area. The whole is backed by excellently-detailed compartment bulkhead sections. The radio operators seat, as well as his transceiver set is provided.
The radio is mounted flush against the hull side wall, and although the usual shock-mounts are provided, they are marked as not for use. Regardless, the radio is in the wrong place; it should be elevated from its position in the instructions and then tucked inside the sponson on the same side. There are no other accessories for the transceiver, such as transformers and junction boxes, etc. No ammunition stowage and none of the crews personal items are provided. The crew stowage can be got from a well-stocked spares bin. The ammunition stowage must be sourced through scratch-building the racks and gathering available material from which to make enough ten-round magazines.
Turret and Interior.
The turret is based on that seen in the Ausf.F kit. It is fitted with a commanders cupola with a circular hatch lid and seven periscopes arrayed around the rim. The core of the turret is slide-molded and it has separate view-port covers all round; weld beads and screw head details are also present. Separate and delicately-molded lift hooks are then added to the assembly. The commanders cupola is a multi-part assembly with separate hatch lid and clear parts for the periscope heads. There are new parts for the gun mantle and turret front plate, as well as the Zusatzpanzerung plate that was fitted over the front.
Multi-part internal details to include frames, hinges and clear styrene for the glass blocks are given to detail the inner surfaces of the view-port flaps. The gun mantle is not movable and has separate view-port flaps, while the tiny opening for the gunners sight is also included. The 2cm Kwk30 is from a slide-mold, so it is pre-bored and includes perforations on the flash suppressor; the two knurled areas (often mistaken for differences in paint finish) on the tube are not represented (see below). Internally, the main gun as well as the Gen2 co-axial MG34 are very well-detailed. There are trunnions, a multi-part gun sight and travel lock. The MG34 has two nicely-detailed snail-drum magazines, parts A44, but they are not shown anywhere in the instructions. Ammo magazines for the 2cm KwK are not provided. There is a commanders seat and mount as well as a turret traverse hand-wheel; the turret race has gear-tooth detail; it simply drops into place and is held there by friction without the non-scale feature of a bayonet mount to hold it in place. Personally, I prefer this method.
The main girders are made up from etched brass that must be bent into a C-section. Due to their length, about 4-inches/100mm, a specialized etched brass bending tool will prove most useful when shaping these guys. Four of these sections make a pair of long struts that separated the rollers from the tank; three more etched brass parts are used to brace each pair of struts. These two assemblies fit into s robust styrene bracket which gets backed by an etched brass part and four styrene mounting pads. The latter rest on the lower bow plate of the Pz.Kpfw.IIs hull. The apex of each strut unit faces forward; it is capped by styrene parts and detailed with styrene retainer pins.
The rollers consist of two groups of four wheels; one of each lines up with the tracks. Each roller wheel has six open spokes and hard rubber rims. The framing is more C-section etched brass which attaches simply to the roller axles. A styrene vertical post attaches the entire roller assembly to each pair of struts.
Molding, Fit and Engineering.
Overall, I found the fit of the main components to be very good, if a bit tricky in parts. This is because there are loads of nooks and crannies where detail is present. In essence it is up to the modeler to use his basic skills in order to get the most out of this kit. There were no sink marks of any consequence, and in all cases ejector pin marks were eliminated from any visible surface. Naturally, the tiny nodes used to eliminate the need for detail-marring ejector pins on the parts themselves are present in large quantities. This means extra clean-up, but Id rather do that then fill pin marks on parts. No flash is present and mold seams are as subtle as current technology will permit.
The modeler must be very careful while fixing the bow Vorpanzer section onto the hulls front end, in order that all properly aligns itself. On my kit, I found that by first mounting the final drive covers to the hull side walls, the process was eased. While the above comments are based on previous experience with earlier versions of this kit, I am passing this kit along to another modeler. Therefore I did not test the track-to-sprocket fit and I did not construct the mine roller.
As always with DML, the instructions are extremely busy but very well-rendered as traditional line art. Many sub-steps are called out in each of the 22 main steps; the modeler should proceed with caution and not glue anything down until he is sure of its place.
I noted a couple of glitches early in step 1, sub-assembly C/D, which is a suspension spring bundle, shows part L7 fitted to the port side of the hull and L6 to starboard; they should be reversed. In step 21, use two parts N21 (these are the tow hooks). Other than telling the modeler to paint certain parts of the transmission housing in a metal color, there are no other colors called out for the interior anywhere on the instruction sheet.
According to drawings in the Panzer Tracts books (references 1 and 2), the kit appears to be accurate as far as can be seen. For the turret, I referred to reference number 1; for the hull length and suspension details, to reference number 2. Scale plans in reference number 4, 6 and 9 do not agree with the Panzer Tracts drawings (or the kit parts!), especially regarding overall hull length and turret size. In any such contest, I usually go by what Mr. Doyle has presented. The few photos of this specific AFV seen on the Internet seem to verify the main features of the mine roller as provided in the kit.
According to photos, the drivers instrument panel, part C20, should be mounted on a bracket atop the transmission housing. As is often the case, there are some omissions, all related to the interior. It is certain that a number of internal items are missing such as ammunition stowage and crewmens personal items.
Decals and Markings Information.
Water-slide decals from Italys Cartograf are provided to mark six vehicles. The designs are very crisply printed on thin carrier film and feature excellent registration and color saturation; this is a hallmark of this printers products. Markings for this unique Panzer are all that is provided.
Black R, unidentified unit, Libya 1941.
It would seem that DML has done yet another outstanding (but not perfect) job on the latest iteration of this diminutive leichte Panzer. Not withstanding some of the small glitches noted throughout this review, die-hard fans of the DAK and the Pz.Kpfw.II, or of engineering AFVs of any type, may wish to consider this kit.
Frank V. De Sisto
References consulted for this review included, but were not limited to:
1. Encyclopedia of German Tanks of World War Two, Revised Edition, by P. Chamberlain, H. Doyle & T. Jentz.
2. Panzerkampfwagen II, Ausf.a/1 to C; Panzer Tracts No.2-1, by T. Jentz & H. Doyle.
3. Leichte Panzers; Squadron Armor in Action No.10, by U. Feist & M. Dario.
4. Pz.Kpfw.I and II; Achtung Panzer No.7, by M. Bitoh, H. Kitamura & T. Namie.
5. Panzerkampfwagen I & II; AFV Profile No.15, by Maj.-Gen. N.W. Duncan.
6. German Light Panzers; Osprey Vanguard 33, by B. Perrett & T. Hadler.
Note: Since May of 2005, I have been working on books for Concord Publications, a sister company to Cyberhobby. The reader may wish to take this into consideration. For my part, I will attempt to maintain an objective viewpoint when writing these reports.
Cyberhobby kits are available from retail and mail-order sources. For information and images see their web-site at: www.cyber-hobby.com
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