Pz.Kpfw.II Ausf.L "Luchs"
Kit # MT72074 Preview by Rob Haelterman - heman_148(at)hotmail(dot)com


The "Luchs" is one of the few vehicles Germany fielded during WW2 that has been neglected by the major manufacturers. As far as I know, it has not been done in injection plastic in our scale.
Modell Trans now brings us a nice resin example of this cute "mini-Tiger".

For those that are unfamiliar with this vehicle: a little bit of history. 100 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. This one is the small hatch version representative of the very early vehicles as seen in the museum specimen at Saumur. Note that the very first deliveries of the Luchs were to 9.Pz.Div.
Modell Trans has announced the release of the later version with large hatch and additional armor and is contemplating the release of the turret separately to use as a conversion for the "Puma with Luchs turret" (See Panzerwrecks Volume 4 for pictures of this rare beast.).

Modell Trans gives us crisp resin parts in a plastic blister for their first production run. Newer kits are packaged in sturdy cardboard boxes. A four view drawing is provided, but nothing in the way of a construction assembly or paint schemes. Decals are not provided.
In my example the rear radiator was slightly damaged, but the broken part was still there and will easily be glued back in place.

The parts

The tracks and rear road wheels are a single piece. The way these are to be mounted to the hull will provide for a very sturdy arrangement, even though little detail is present to represent the suspension arms. A large resin carrot is to be found on the bottom run. While it will require some work to remove, it is the best place to put it to avoid damaging detail. Some flash is present on the tracks, some minor casting deficiencies were found and a slight warping observed. Nothing average modeling skills can't remedy.
It seems the track shoes better resemble Panzer IV tracks than those actually installed on the Luchs. Spare tracks are provided which can optionally be mounted on the lower hull front.
Removing the molding carrots from the real idler, and especially the drive sprocket will require some tenderness.

The hull shows no warping and is very nicely done, with sharp mesh detail on the engine air intakes. In these intakes lies a mistake that will be very difficult to correct. On the real thing the left intake was smaller than the right one. The kit has them both the same size.
The mesh for the outlet at the very rear is missing. The armored covers for the other louvers have a nice undercut.
The driver's and radio operator's visor are both open. The periscope holes are there, but they are not properly aligned. Filling in one and drilling a new hole with a pin vise will get this straight. Note that the middle "visor" is a dummy.

The turret is very nicely done and will fit on a small locating peg on the top of the hull. The commander's hatch is open, and a void is provided to mount a "half figure" in the turret. The inside of the hatch shows details of the periscope and the model looks correct for the early production Luchs. One might want to add hinge details to the hatch, though.
The gun barrel is resin, and looks straight in my eyes. The end is hollowed out. You get a very long MG barrel, while you actually need a short armored MG barrel.
According to [2] you should add a small handrail above the rear hatch.

S-shape tow shackles (on the left rear fender) and rear convoy (Notek) light are missing, as are the longer curved frontal sections for the fenders. The latter were not always fitted though.

Some tools are separate, while others are molded on the fenders. You also get an extinguisher, which is not shown on the provided drawing. If you want to to add it, it should go above the wooden block on the right rear mudflap. Note that this extinguisher is not shown in [2] and not seen in some pictures.

No antenna rods are given and the pole mount on the left side of the turret seen on many vehicles is missing too. The latter is easily represented by some sprue.


About the historical accuracy:

1. The large rear hatch was standardized in December 1942. At the same time the commander's hatch was redesigned.

2. You get two Bosch headlights. The right one was deleted in August 1943.

3. No Nebelkerzen smoke dischargers are provided for the turret. These were fitted between September 1942 and February 1943, except for the very first vehicles in September 1942.

4. The Orterkompas mounting appeared in July 1943 [2]. One is cast on the turret of the kit.


Based on this data, I would opt for the following time-setting: a vehicle produced in September-November 1942 depicted in the spring of 1943, after the disappearance of the Nebelkerzen and before the removal of the second Bosch headlight. Removing the small Orterkompas mounting will then be necessary. Optionally, one could opt for adding home-made Nebelkerzen.
As according to [2] there were only about 16 vehicles built with the small hatch, and 9 Pz.Div. was the first division to be equipped (with 18 vehicles), it seems a fair assumption that all the small hatch vehicles went to that unit.

Note that many Luchses were rebuilt, additional stowage (like boxes and jerrycans) added and additional armor fitted. (If you ever wonder what the strange curved "bits" above the driver's & radio's visor are on 4.Pz.Div. Luchses, well, they appear to be sections of idler wheel (which came in six sections).)

Note that a construction review can be found here.


[1] Achtung Panzer No7, Pz.Kpfw.I / Pz.Kpfw.II series and variants, M. Bitoh, Dai Nippon Kaiga, 2002
[2] Panzer Tracts No 2-2, Panzerkampfwagen II Ausf. G,H,J,L and M, T.L. Jentz & H.L. Doyle, Panzer Tracts 2007

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Article Last Updated: 17 April 2010