Pz.Kpfw.II Ausf. a2
IBG Models, 1/35 scale
Reviewed by Brett Green
The Panzer II is the common name used for a family of German tanks used in World War II. The official German designation was Panzerkampfwagen II (abbreviated PzKpfw II).
Although the vehicle had originally been designed as a stopgap while larger, more advanced tanks were developed, it nonetheless went on to play an important role in the early years of World War II, during the Polish and French campaigns.
The Panzer II was the most numerous tank in the German Panzer divisions at the beginning of the war. It was used both in North Africa against the Western Allies and on the Eastern Front against the Soviet Union.
The Panzer II was supplanted by the Panzer III and IV medium tanks by 1940/1941.
By the end of 1942, it had been largely removed from front line service and it was used for training and on secondary fronts. The turrets of the then-obsolete Panzer Is and Panzer IIs were reused as gun turrets on specially built defensive bunkers, particularly on the Atlantic Wall. Production of the tank itself ceased by January 1944, but its chassis remained in use as the basis of several other armoured vehicles, chiefly self-propelled artillery and tank destroyers such as the Wespe and Marder II respectively.
Not to be confused with the later Ausf. A (the sole difference being the capitalization of the letter A), the Ausf. a was the first version of the Panzer II to be built, albeit in limited numbers, and was subdivided into three sub-variants.
In general, the specifications for the Ausf. a models was similar, and a total of 75 were produced from May 1936 to February 1937 by Daimler-Benz and MAN.
The Ausf. a was considered the 1 Serie under the LaS 100 name.*
IBG has released a pair of initial Panzer II kits in 1/35 scale - the Pz.Kpfw.II Ausf. a2 and Pz.Kpfw.II Ausf. b.
This is the first time that tese initial versions of the Panzer II prototype series have been offered as a 1/35 scale injection moulded plastic kit.
Today we will examine the Ausf. a2.
IBG's 1/35 scale Pz.Kpfw.II Ausf. a2 comprises 485 parts in grey coloured injection moulded plastic (240 of these are individual track links), six parts in clear plastic, 20 photo-etched parts on two frets and markings for three vehicles.
The plastic is high quality and attachments to sprues are narrow.
Surface textures such as non-slip track guards, raised rivet heads, weld beads and the circular rear deck vent are really nicely done. I was impressed with the one-piece moulded stowed tow cable too.
The lower hull is moulded as a partial tub with floor and sides.
Chains for the smoke grenade dischargers are supplied as photo-etched parts. They depict the chains with the pins in place (i.e., the grenades not discharged). The photo-etched fret also supplies other fine details.
The unique running gear looks good. Each road wheel is made up from three pieces and these are then paired up into bogie trucks. These bogie trucks are simply glued to the lower hull sides and partially covered by a long photo-etched ba on each side. These in turn are held in place with three plastic pins each.
The individual track links are attached at three points each, so be prepared for a bit of clean-up.
The good news is that IBG has supplied 240 links but only 107 links are required for each side so you'll have plenty of leftovers.
The turret is made up from an upper shell, a lower turret part and interior details.
The turret visors are well detailed, being made up from three or four parts each plus the outer covers.
The 20mm main gun and the MG 34 machine gun are also nicely detailed.
A Commander's seat is included too.
You'll be able to see all that nice breech, seat and visor detail if you decide to pose the main turret hatch open.
Clear lenses are supplied for the headlights.
Markings are supplied for three vehicles, all seeing action in Poland in September 1939. All vehicles are finished in a base coat of Panzer Grey with a brown disruptive camouflage pattern.
Decals are printed perfectly by Techmod. Colours and registration look good.
IBG Models' new 1/35 scale Panzer II a2 and b kits are high quality, well detailed and perfectly moulded plastic kits of a variant that has not been available in this medium before.
Surface textures are authetically represented and the parts breakdown is conventional (that's a good thing).
The workable tracks and poseable hatches will make IBG's Panzer IIs ideal as the centrepiece of a vignette or diorama.
These kits will be warmly welcomed by early-WWII modellers.
* Historical background adapted from Wikipedia
Thanks to IBG Models for the sample
Text and Images by Brett Green