Wiesel 1 MK20

Kit #: PS720116 Preview by Bill Scriven
Edited by Al Magnus

This is my first experience of an S-Model kit, and overall I'm generally impressed by its quality (particularly as it's described as a "quick build", by the fact that a manufacturer should choose to model a Wiesel in 1:72, and by the low price), and for the two identical kits that come in the box.

The model itself is tiny - approximately 4.5cm long by 2.5 cm wide. The parts come on a single identical sprue for each kit, with a separate sheet of photo etched parts. You can see some shots of the sprue, and of the draft instructions on Henk of Holland's site. (the Wiesel is towards the bottom of the page).

The plastic that the kit is made out of is relatively soft, and the attachment points between the kit parts and the sprue are fairly thick which means that you have to be careful when removing and cleaning up some of the smaller parts. Getting the gun barrel off the sprue without damaging it was particularly challenging. That said, the casting of the parts and the level of detail is generally very good.

On the basis of the dimensions given in Tankograd's book on the Wiesel 1 (see below) the kit appears to me to scale out well to 1:72.

The tracks and drive sprockets appear to be those fitted to the Wiesel when it was first manufactured, the former being of the continuous rubber band type. They are fine for the Wiesels in the early 1990s, including those deployed to Somalia, but not for later deployments in Kosovo and Afghanistan. However, given the scale, the difference between continuous rubber band tracks and the Diehl double pin track that replaced them is not going to be very noticeable, particularly if you change the shape of the track teeth from square to triangular.

One thing to note is that if the tracks are meant to be of the rubber band type then they should be painted dark grey or black with steel coloured track teeth rather than metallic grey overall as suggested in the instructions.

The main reference sources that I've been using when building the kit are:
[1] the Tankograd book (mentioned above).
[2] photos of the Wiesel on Panzer-modell's excellent Original Fahrzeuge in detail site.
[3] photos on Prime Portal here and here.

From the above sources it is apparent that the kit is lacking in a few details:

  • the rear plate should be indented above the fuel tank rather than flat as represented by the kit part, something that I only noticed after I had built the hull, by which it was too late to correct
  • the fuel tank lacks the two filler caps which can be seen clearly in the photos
  • the crowbar is missing from the back plate, as are it's holders (it should be positioned just above the fuel tank
  • the periscope on the right hand side of the turret is poorly represented, and the one to the left of the turret is missing completely
  • surprisingly, the kit omits the sight that should be mounted on the plate on the front of the turret the right of the gun and in front of the commanders hatch. The correct sight for the Wiesel 1A0 (which I believe the kit is meant to represent) is the one shown in the first of the two Prime Portal links above. The sight shown in the second link is a later type that I think would only have been fitted to Wiesel 1A2's and 1A4's, both of which would have been fitted with the later Diehl tracks
  • there should be three tie down/lifting rings on each side of the hull, two on the sloping rear section at the rear of the hull, and two at the bottom of the glacis plate
  • there should be a pair of dampers/recuperators(?) from the gun to the turret base
Apart form the tie down rings (which I'm still trying to figure out how to make) all of these shortcomings are easy to correct. If you are so inclined, there are other details that could be added, for example the two small grab handles on the glacis plate, the straps that secure the camo net to the glacis plate when it is stowed, and the brackets that secure the right hand ammo box to the turret side.

To my eye, the greatest shortcoming of the kit (though not a major one) is the poor representation of the ammo belts. These are moulded as part of a single unit with the ammo boxes (see the photo of the sprue on Henk's site) and lack the characteristic sag of the real thing. I've removed the ammo boxes from the end of the belts and am trying to attach them directly to the turret as they should be. I then want to replace the belts with something more realistic looking, though whether I will succeed remains to be seen.

The kit comes with a set of transfers/decals including (for each of the two kits) two German crosses, one large German flag and (for some reason) four small ones, and one large and three small "UN" markings. Unfortunately there are no registration plates or unit markings.

The only paint scheme suggested is the standard Bundeswehr three colour scheme, for which only the German crosses would be needed from the decal sheet. The lack of number plates can be overcome by depicting the kit with these covered up with olive green cloth as happens on exercises.

Alternatively you could paint the model overall matt white to represent a Wiesel in UN service in Somalia. In this case you could position one of the small UN markings on each the ammo boxes where the German crosses would otherwise be, one on the fuel tank, and the large one on the glacis plate. Two of the small German flags could also be applied, one on each of the hull sides.

There are three other Wiesel 1 variants that I am aware of - the Wiesel 1 Tow, the Wiesel 1 Reconnaissance Vehicle and the Wiesel 1 driver training vehicle. These share a common hull, but one that is slightly different to the that used for the MK Armoured Weapon Carrier that is the subject of the S-Model kit. Whilst it would be possible to use the S-Model kit as a basis for these (as can be seen on Henk's site, where someone has converted the kit into the TOW variant) I'm hoping that S-Model will bring out a TOW armed variant in the not too distant future. This could then also be used as the basis for relatively easy conversion into the reconnaissance and driver training vehicles.

Preview sample purchased by the author.

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Article Last Updated: 23 November 2014