First to Fight

PzKpfw II Ausf D

Kit #: PL1939-012
Preview by Peter van Kempen
- P(dot)Kempen5(at)chello(dot)nl

Edited by Marc MERCIER

This Panzer II version differs in having a different running gear of a Christie- type suspension and was seen also used as a tracked self-propelled platform for the 75 mm Pak or 76.2 mm Russian Pak guns, this type titled “ Marder II”. I was interested in the model for above reasons as there are not many models around and those I have are 1/76 scale. (The Flamingo model in 1/76 is on one of the pictures below for comparison) At the price of these kits, usage of the running gear to get a 1/72 version of the Marder II but also the Flammpanzer Flamingo is within reach , so let's have a look at this kit.

As all kits in this series, you get a box with nice box art, coupled to a magazine on Polish defensive battles at beginning of WWII and German units employing this tank during the conflict.

Also, as with other kits, you get only one sprue frame with light grey, semi hard polystyrene parts, containing the whole delivery, enabling assembly of one unit, the light tank version. The traditional plastic capsule with glue , a very basic set of decals with early white cross national emblems and a toothpick for glue application are also in the box. The magazine, besides the difficult to understand Polish narrative on the war and events, shows views of the vehicle , with paint schemes in Vallejo colours and descriptions that, even in Polish language, can be understood.

There are also some useful pictures of this type for modellers, as not so many pictures of the Ausf D are about for reference.

The parts in the sprue look OK and detail is clean, I cannot find moulding faults like sink marks etc. Panels and such are well rendered and confirm to my documentation on the type. The anti slip detail on the mudguards is very nice. Tools are moulded on, but that's to be expected for a fast assembly kit as this.

Guns ,jack, exhaust ,antennae tray and the like are separate and usage of a natural piece of wood or stem as a unditching help stowage is advised. The turret top , guns frontal armour plate and bottom ring together form a PzKpfw II type turret as used for the Ausf C, also in this series. This type was actually the same. Looking at the body, it's a one piece part, to which the two completely moulded track units are fixed. As explained, these units and the hull have my interest due to possible use for conversions.

I am not disappointed: the company has succeeded in moulding the guide horns of these one piece track units as a single row and even the holes in them are clearly visible in profile. If you are not satisfied highlighting them with paint only, you could open them up (if you are up to it!).

Outside track detail, due to moulding limitations, is minimal and consists of straight bars. Here, a modeller has to help by adding some profile detail and /or hiding the lack of detail through application of dirt and debris. There is an option to cut out all wheels and then apply the separation gap by a saw cut and take away the solid middle of the sprockets and drive wheels, even adding new tracks or reusing the "between wheels" pieces after correcting the middle details as in the past with old Esci M48 and M60 Patton kits, but that's a show model approach that not many will go for. Personally I believe clever painting can do the work in a diorama setting and representative model collection.

Then the scale issue: on the internet, several different dimensions are quoted for this Ausf D model, as it seems to have been changed during its evolution: the general dimensions given for Ausf D are 4.65m long, 2.3m wide and 2.06m height.

But for the Flamingo (the flame version) it suddenly becomes 4.9m long, width 2.4m meter and height 1.85. This seems to result from using another engine and adding parts and hull design changes specific for the Flame thrower. See on the picture right the 1/76 model next to it.

Generally all the C and F versions dimensions of the other PzKpfw II are given as 4.81m long, 2.1m width and 1.95m high. So we know now that the body of other PzKpfw II types differs from the D version, namely being longer and generally only the length and width for the D version needs to be considered. We also have to bear in mind that there are no survivors of the early and later versions of D chassis. The ultimate test of measuring an original can't be done. What's the findings on the FtF model?
Length comes to 6.2cm and width 3.33cm, measured over the top deck details including the trackguards and the same for the complete trackunits.

A review I read on the net, concluding that this kit is under scale in length, at first seemed true. However, after gluing on one track unit, I saw that it protrudes forward (see left) and adds another 2 millimetres in total to the length of the track unit or body to 6.4cm overall. Even this could be measured longer on a real vehicle when a protruding tow hook or such would have been there too! The photo tries to capture that protrusion to the front out of the hull mass.
Translated to our scale length over all should be between 6.4583cm and 6.80555cm given for the D and the Flamingo respectively.
Scale width of body would be 3.1944cm and 3.333cm.


Looking at my findings on the length completed coming to 6.4cm (or more with a towing pintle) and width 3.33cm, I think this First to Fight kit is an acceptable 1/72 scale rendition of a seldom seen vehicle, in a reasonable scale rendition and with the better, single row track guide horn details and at this price.
I can therefore recommend this kit.

Preview sample purchased by the author.

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Article Last Updated: 09 September 2014