Luchses were produced by MAN from September 1942 to January 1944.
It carried an MG and a 20mm rapid fire cannon. A planned production
variant with a 50mm gun never materialized. While a number of small
variations appeared on this vehicle during the production run, the
most noticeable one (and a feature that was not changed during retrofitting)
is the size of the rear turret hatch. Early vehicles had a small hatch
at the rear of the turret, later this was enlarged
Note that the very first deliveries of the Luchs were to 9.Pz.Div.
sprues. (More pictures can be found in the preview.)
Yes, there are 8 ridges on the roadwheels, not 7 as seen in the first
images that appeared on the CAD drawings before the actual release.
It's comforting to know that Flyhawk reacted to this mistake, which
had vexed many modelers.
parts, hull and turret.
Sprue I (on the left) is somewhat of a mystery, as only two of the
three jerrycans are needed, yet it contains some specific parts that
aren't yet found in other Flyhawk kits.
Clearly meant for both this kit and the forthcoming second boxing
of the Luchs.
Again different colors are used to ease interpretation. Modelers familiar
with previous releases from Flyhawk will immediately feel at home.
small cardboard base. Unfortunately this also doubles as a packaging
support for the PE and decals and gets punctured by a staple for that
additional resin figure in its own small box. This is apparently from
"Rabbit Club". I haven't found much info about them, except
that the packaging that we have been used to from Flyhawk (sturdy
box, with foam padding to keep all the sprues in place, has been replaced
by a typical top opening box with individual plastic bags for each
sprue. Perhaps that was the reason some parts were broken off the
sprue (but not lost, thanks to the bags).
In this step we assemble the main hull parts. Fit is exquisite and
many parts will stay in position even without glue, even though
using some might be safer. The only place where I needed to intervene
mechanically was the front plate (the one that holds the drivers'
visors). Here I beveled the inner edges of the receiving end (the
upper hull) a bit to allow for an easier fit as I had decided to
glue the upper hull to the lower hull before adding the front plate.
Following another sequence might give different results, however.
One of the axles for the roadwheels was broken off in my sample,
possibly a consequence of the slightly lower packaging standards
Flyhawk has turned to.
The modeler is required to shave off two small squares on the nose.
I am not quite sure why they were there in the first place.
Eight PE lifting hooks can be prepared in this step (watch for the
green "1" in various steps), but I think I will go for
the plastic parts that are cast on the hull and turret or otherwise
I will need to spend a fortune on tranquilizers afterwards. The
mere idea of replacing the handles on the hull hatches with the
PE parts already gave me cold sweat, but I am sure some of you will
get their kicks out of this. Whatever your fetish, Flyhawk must
be recommended for at least offering the possibilities.
Something that I applaud without hesitation, however, is the possibility
to have functioning driver's visors. This is the first time I've
seen this in 1/72 scale and I am very much impressed. If only all
manufacturers took a leaf out of this book ! To avoid losing them,
I left them off at this stage.
I decided to only fit the rear hull plate and leave the muffler,
towing pintle and PE for later for the same reason.
1. Before adding the rear hull plate you would probably like to
dab some paint on the interior of the hull.
2. I only discovered very late in my construction sequence that
the two small notches on the upper corners of the front plate need
to be filled in. Perhaps these are meant for a forthcoming version.
Here the suspension is done. The instructions are clear, but due
to the built-in asymmetry of the vehicle it is easy to err. Note
that it is best to fit the bump stops (O-5) before the shock absorber
guards (M-1), especially on the port side. The shock absorbers themselves
should attach to the swing arms. For parts O-12 this is obvious,
for parts O-11 a slight amount of extra attention needs to be paid.
Note that the angle of the bump stops is not the same as that of
the shock absorbers. (They should have an angle between the vertical
and that of the shock absorbers.)
I left off the idler arms, as I believe this will give me a bit
more margin to play with when I fit the link and length tracks.
I also left the jack, spare tracks and headlights for later. Note
that a PE part is given for the electrical cable going to the headlights
It is at this stage that I realized that the plastic in the kit
reacts very well to my favorite glue, MEK. Perhaps better than I
had anticipated, as I managed to damage some detail on the shock
We now get to the sprocket, wheels and idler, plus some stowage.
Contrary to a recent trend in kits with interleaved suspension,
the wheels are all individual. This has the advantage that you can
position them as you like. Kits with an arch connecting the wheels
invariable suffer from having all the wheels at exactly the same
position. The way the suspension arms are engineered, it is also
fairly easy to set them in a different position in order to have
the suspension conform to the terrain. The disadvantage, of course,
is that individual wheels are more tedious to install and require
extra attention to ensure perfect alignment.
Regarding the suspension, I have not found any particular reason
why parts that look identical to me are labeled differently (e.g.
parts L-9 and L-10).
The outer halves of the idlers are very difficult to clean up after
removal from the sprue, with multiple sprue gates very close to
Before fitting the toolboxes, I sprayed some dark brown over most
of the tank, to be sure I got a coat of paint between the hull and
other parts, like the boxes.
I did not fit the box on the right front fender (M-4) as it is not
seen in pictures of the vehicle in the marking options. It can be
seen on other vehicles though.
Looking at pictures, it also seems that some units replaced the
long box on the right fender (M-11) by another arrangement. As a
matter of fact, exterior stowage of the Luchs varied quite a bit,
even though only 100 vehicles were built.
Looking at the tools, I noticed that  shows the presence of a
starter crank (part N-12), while  doesn't. As I have the impression
that the crank is given in mirror image (with respect to its latches),
I left it off. The axe (part N-13) also seemingly suffers from this
defect, which can be solved by cutting off the clamps and turning
them around. The wrecking bar (O-9) won't easily fit over the small
fender support. I decided to shorten the part slightly and make
it fit between the fender support and toolbox M-10. Not entirely
correct, but much more convincing than a semi-floating crowbar.
Did I tell you that it might be a good idea not the glue the drive
sprocket together just yet ? No, I don't think so. Well, if you
can't resists, use as little glue as possible. When installing the
tracks it might become clear why.
1 and 2 revisited
Feeling a bit more comfortable that smaller pieces now had a chance
of staying on the kit during handling, I added more of the details
that I had left off previously. PE parts 2, 3 and 16 were added
using varnish. This is not as sturdy as (super)glue, but (I hope)
it will do the trick. These parts normally do not need to withstand
any stress and I was afraid that I never would be able to apply
superglue sparingly enough. A bar from PE-3 broke off during handling,
which is not surprising given the size of these things. As pictures
of this particular vehicle show it in a sorry state, I guessed it
went with the theme.
I also decided to fill in the three holes in the rear plate that
need filling. I should probably have done that before installing
the plate in the first place, but the whole deal left me puzzled
as to why these holes are there in the first place. First of all,
they serve no particular purpose and if ever they are needed for
another variant of this kit, then drilling out holes that you need
(from the inside) is a much easier solution than filling in holes
that you don't.
The spare tracks on the nose were also fitted at this point. I managed
to destroy some bolts on the frame (O-8) as I mistook them for sprue
gates. In my opinion it is best to clean up said part after adding
the tracks to it, as this will add rigidity to an otherwise very
delicate part. I noticed too late that there is a front and a back
to part O-8. The back has minute slots that will fit onto brackets
on the nose.
I noticed that some links in the track section (G-3) are slightly
out of line, in particular those where the sprue gates give out
Having added these parts to the kit, I decided to keep others for
later yet again.
The rear mudflaps (parts M-8 and M-9) were added to the kit (without
some of the tools and other detail). Note that Flyhawk caught a
tiny detail of the Luchs: the stiffeners (PE-14 and 15) are installed
slightly different between left and right side. It is very easy
to miss this in the instructions if your brain is primed for symmetry.
I found it rather difficult to judge the angle at which these mudflaps
needed to be installed, as there is nothing in the kit that would
stop you from adding a few degrees more in either direction. I eyeballed
them based on drawings in .
Note that the front fenders were easily lost in combat. Pictures
of the vehicle in the marking options show it in a particularly
battered state, without front mudflaps, headlights, mufflers, etc.
I decided not to fit the fire extinguisher (K-5) to the right mudflap
as it is not shown in any of the pictures of Luchses that I have,
or in the drawings of  and .
Luchs used Kgs 63/360/90 tracks, which were 360mm wide (as the
name suggests). In this case, we do not need to worry about the
difference between the width of a link and that of the track pin,
as the pins were recessed. A link was 123mm wide, but what is
more useful to us modelers is the pitch (distance between two
track pins), which is 90mm, as again indicated by the name of
the track. Guide horns were solid.
The tracks in the kit are 5mm wide (exactly 360 scale mm) and
have a pitch of 91 scale mm, which seems to be well within measuring
Detail matches the real thing, but not perfectly. The ribs on
the track "tabs" were slightly angled on the real vehicle
(appearing as "V"s), while they are parallel in the
kit, but that's a minor gripe. Unfortunately, quite a bit of this
detail might be lost during assembly (of which more in an instant)
as the plastic reacts extremely well to glue, with all the accompanying
risk of melting detail.
The pictures of the Luchs that I had available for this review
show two different ways to install the tracks. (It's not uncommon
for German tanks to have the tracks installed "backwards";
it was even sometimes done at the factory.) The most common way
corresponds to the instructions in the kit, which, incidentally,
is different from that in the drawings in .
it comes to installing the tracks, a good deal of patience and/or
tranquilizers (and/or powerful expletives) might be needed. The
installation of the individual links on the idler only requires
the removal of the small tabs from each link, which is tedious.
I had hoped that the links would fit together in an almost working
fashion, as they did in the PzKpfw
I Ausf.F from Flyhawk, but they didn't. When it came to getting
them to fit the drive sprocket other issues appeared:
the sprockets are too narrow, or they shrank a bit due to the
action of the glue between the two halves. Whatever the cause,
I ended up separating the two sprocket halves again, which,
with care, was ok as I had used little glue. I then spaced them
apart based on the actual width of a track link.
if you don't encounter the problem mentioned above, it is very
easy to very slightly misalign both sprocket halves as there
is just enough play in the locating pegs (which soften due to
the glue) to do this. If you don't align the teeth of both halves
absolutely perfectly, you will end up with a crooked track,
in a place where it really shows.
the track tabs need to be removed.
am still pleased with the end result, but it took mare time, care
and perseverance than I had anticipated. A nice touch is that
Flyhawk prepared the longer track sections for bending, by leaving
a small gap where the fold needs to go.
Note that you end up with a few spare tracks (which is not a luxury
as the small individual track links are easily damaged) and even
sections of track, which is more surprising and would confirm
my suspicion that these tracks (together with sprue I) will, in
the future, also be used for another kit that has yet to be announced.
The last remaining bits were added. I only experienced trouble
with the visors. The movable sections seemed too narrow, so I
sliced 0.1mm off from the sides of the visor parts that were on
the front plate. Even then, I could make them to fit without using
glue. It's also advisable to install the center (fake) visor after
the outer (real) visors.
The width indicators were rebuilt from scratch (stretched sprue
and blobs of white glue). The kit parts (N-3) are very fine, but
also very delicate. There is also a tiny seam line, which proved
nigh impossible to remove.
The handle on the towing pintle (PE-12) is provided twice, which
allowed me to lose it twice. It was replaced with some stretched
sprue in the end.
though the commander's hatch really is too detailed on the inside
to stay shut (apart from the rather large ejector hole), I wanted
to use the figure supplied in the kit. This figure has a pose
that requires it to be put in on open rear hatch (which also has
detail on the inside). As the commander's hatch would thus allow
anyone to peek into the turret and as I didn't want to add any
scratchbuilt interior, I glued the hatch shut, much to my dismay.
Probably due to the tears that were welling up in my eyes, I didn't
notice two minor sink marks on the outside of the hatch. Not being
sure how I could best get rid of them after installation, I left
The plastic lifting hooks (N-2) are among the tiniest parts I
ever installed. I am quite sure one of my fellow reviewers would
call them "right puny". A high quality pair of tweezers
is definitely needed when installing them, but it can be done.
I am not sure how I would have handled the PE alternatives, however.
I managed to break one off when manipulating the turret later.
Fortunately, the carpet monster was fast asleep, so I found it
back, which is a feat in itself given the size of these things.
In hindsight, I wouldn't have minded if Flyhawk had given us some
While the kit 2cm barrel (N-8) is nicely rendered and comes with
a hollow muzzle, it was replaced. Again the seam line bothered
me; with a part this thin, even the slightest deviation from circular
symmetry would show. (I can't remember where the replacement brass
barrel came from, though.) I could have replaced the coax MG with
one of the brass offerings from Aber,
but I decided to just drill out the muzzle of the plastic kit
Note that an antenna needs to be attached to the left rear corner
of the turret, which is not mentioned in the instructions. No
part for it is provided, which is not really an issue as any attemp
would probably be far too clunky. (I already find the hull antenna
a bit oversized.) Stretched sprue, piano wire or any other alternative
will do fine, you just have to not forget about it (unless you
assume it wasn't fitted for the occasion on the vehicle you are
representing, of course).
As a last step, I added tiny blocks of clear sprue, cut to shape,
to the inside of the turret periscopes.
the planned version with sloped armor and 5cm gun, there were two
minor variations in the design of the Luchs during production:
42: narrow rear hatch of turret, no smoke dischargers on the turret,
different periscope guards for gunner (right) and commander (left),
no Orterskompass on turret roof, two Bosch headlights
September 42: smoke dischargers on turret
42: wider rear hatch of turret, same periscope guards for
gunner and commander
43: driver's periscopes dropped
43: smoke dischargers on turret dropped
43: base for Orterskompass on turret roof
43: right Bosch headlight dropped
feature, that I was unable to put a date on, is a base for an antenna
on the left of the turret that appeared at some time, possibly together
with the larger hatch. It is present in the kit.
marked the kit features in bold. As can be seen, there are some inconsistencies
if the kit is built according to the instructions. The easiest way
to get a consistent vehicle would be to plug the driver's periscopes
and get a July 1943 vehicle. As can be seen above, other options would
be equally simple if one stays in the post December 1942 time-frame.
It is worth pointing out that the vehicle given as the sole decal
option is actually a hybrid vehicle that has some inconsistent features
itself. More about that below.
point I measured the basic dimensions of the hull and came out with
(according to ) in mm
hull overall (without fenders and exhaust)
hull bottom plate
front of fighting compartment
to rear of engine deck (at top)
hull over fenders
fighting compartment (widest point)
fighting compartment (narrowest point)
height (without periscopes, etc.)
length (without gun)
of rear hatch
be seen, dimensions are generally within tolerance, except for
bottom plate, which is overscale. This is hardly noticeable given
its position, but the length which is closer to 1/70.5 might attract
attention to the well trained eye. I cannot say I would have noticed
without measuring the kit.
drive sprocket, idler and roadwheels, which are underscale.
turret which is slightly long and narrow
looked at the accuracy of the details. All the features of the lower
hull exactly match drawings in . The protectors of the shock absorbers
are a very nice feature, which most manufacturers would probably just
render as a raised box, instead of the stand-off panel. Admittedly,
unless you build the vehicle with missing pieces or in an unorthodox
position, it is impossible to tell that there is space behind the
The same can be said of the upper hull, which is again an almost perfect
match with  (unless I am missing something). A feature of the Luchs
that is easily overlooked is the difference in size between the left
and right vent (to the sides of the engine deck). The left one is
slightly (but noticeably) smaller than the right one, and Flyhawk
is to be recommended for not being fooled.
Camouflage and markings
gives only one marking options this time, in typical three-color camo.
The instructions don't tell you what unit it belongs to, but the side
of the box tells us that this type with "wide rear escape
hatch, and no smoke grenade launchers [...] is the type used by the
German 9th Armored Reconnaissance Battalion during the Normandy Campaign
This would be somewhat strange, as my sources would make me believe
that the wide hatch would be a late type, while the boxtop says "initial".
some research, mainly using  it became clear that the boxtop designation
"initial" wasn't perhaps the best choice, but that Flyhawk
isn't far off the mark when it comes to the kit itself.
Vehicle 4121 is well-photographed, but this doesn't mean it is any
less enigmatic. All known photographs are taken after capture. 
claims it was issued to 1.Kp./Pz.Aufkl.Abt.9, i.e. 9 Pz.Div, while
 claims it was used by 116 Pz.Div. This internet
thread claims that it was from 116 Pz.Div, but that the turret
number was changed from 4114 into 4121 after it was captured and repainted.
So, while we may be unsure who the vehicle belonged to, or who applied
the paint, it is clear which vehicle Flyhawk is showing us in the
manual. (Perhaps that is also why Flyhawk doesn't tell us which unit
the vehicle belonged to.) This vehicle (FgstNr 200164, Turm Nr 200143)
is a hybrid, in the sense that it was built in July/August 1943 and
rebuilt afterwards. It has the late, wider turret rear hatch (so this
is correct), but the early commander's hatch and no base for the Orterskompass.
It also lacks the smoke dischargers on the turret, which is again
a similarity between the real vehicle and the kit.
Flyhawk gives the late commander's hatch (small difference, but difficult
to remedy) and a PE base for the Kompass. Leaving the latter off is
far as I have found, the Luchs in Normandy were only from the 9.
The four digit number was typical of the 9. PzDiv: the first number
indicated the Battalion within the Division (the Panzer Aufklarung
Abteilung was the fourth). The next three numbers followed the normal
numbering system (Company-Platoon-Individual vehicle).
The Luchs were in the 1. Panzerspähkompanie (26 tanks in July,
18 in September).
Pz. Aufkl. Abt. 9 was based on the 1944 model, so it had only four
companies (the second was equipped with the SdKfz 250, the third
and fourth with Sdkfz 251).
Vehicle 4121 would thus almost certainly be a vehicle of the first
company of Pz. Aufkl. Abt. 9, first vehicle of the second platoon.
Pz. Aufkl. Abt. 116 was based on the 1944 model too, but its 1.
Kompanie was equipped with Sdkfz 250/9. Both Abteilungen received
the Sdkfz 234/1 and /3 for their Stab Späh section in July
to be added to the usual Stab vehicles.
is very nicely scuplted with convincing anatomy and one of the best
facial details I've seen so far. On the downside, it requires quite
a bit of clean-up due to a rough molding seem. Apart from the boxtop,
the figure is nowhere mentioned. The boxtop gives the modeler the
idea of where to put the figure, but is not a very good help when
it comes to painting the figure. First of all, the type of tunic that
the figure wears, was not produced in black. It should be painted
in reed green, or in camouflage colors. (For more detail, see my article
on German uniforms.) I also have the impression that the boxtop
shows pink Waffenfarbe, while reconnaissance troops mostly wore yellow.
an outstanding kit from Flyhawk. Due to the high amount of detail,
it does take some skill to assemble. Even though some of the dimensions
are off by a few percentage points, the result is undoubtedly the
best rendition of this iconic Baby Tiger in 1/72 that is available
on the market.
Panzer No7, Pz.Kpfw.I / Pz.Kpfw.II series and variants, M. Bitoh,
Dai Nippon Kaiga, 2002
 Panzer Tracts No 2-2, Panzerkampfwagen II Ausf. G,H,J,L and M,
T.L. Jentz & H.L. Doyle, Panzer Tracts 2007
II Vol.2, J. Ledwoch, Wydawnictwo Militaria N° 182
sample provided by Flyhawk
model can be purchased from