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Academy German Panzer II Ausf. F 'North Africa' Full Build

Kit Number:
13535
Scale:
1:35
Published:
Tuesday, October 19, 2021
Manufacturer:
Academy
Retail Price:
$44.00
Reviewed By:
Michael Reeves

Academy German Panzer II Ausf. F 'North Africa' Full Build

For the First Look review of this kit, head here: https://www.amps-armor.org/SiteReviews/ShowReview.aspx?id=14835

The Build

The instructions begin with a separate sheet showing the bending and placement of all of the PE in the kit. I'm not sure how I feel about this set up...I mean I am grateful to have the instructions on bending, but having them out of context like this makes it so the builder may forget altogether this page as they progress through the build. The build took me a few weeks, and as I moved past the first page and onwards, I certainly forgot they were on the first page until coming back to write this review much later. I prefer to have these right in the appropriate step for ease of use, but maybe that's just me?

Construction begins with the assembly of the lower hull which is in seven separate pieces...fit was excellent and I like Academy's coloration for where to apply glue for the joins. Details on the underside are also quite nice.

From there we move to the suspension arms, and final drive and rear idler parts. The road wheels are added next, as well as the sprocket, two-piece rear idler, and return rollers. Step 5 has you add the link and length tracks- but I went ahead and painted the lower assembly completely first. The tracks went together well and the top length has the sag molded in, but it is very subtle so care is needed for proper alignment.

The upper hull assembly begins in step 6 and it is here that you need to start paying attention to which version of the available schemes you are building as the parts assembly varies based on what you choose. I chose version 4 which was the U.S. captured version so followed assembly for that specifically. Holes need to be drilled out, but the location of them varies by scheme versions. All of the armor sections for the hull and mantlet are attached separately to the top hull before it is added to the lower hull in step 8. From there, we get to all the fiddly bits- tow cable and it's brackets, horn, fenders, spare tracks, spare road wheel, hatches, rear deck, muffler, and tool box. I annealed the PE screen for the muffler and wrapped it around with no issues.

Steps 15 and 16 were only pertaining to version scheme 1, so I moved on to step 17 through 19-- pioneer tools, stowage boxes on the sides, blackout lights, and the like. Steps 21 through 26 were only for version scheme 6, so I moved ahead to 27. These last few steps, 27-30, involve assembly of the turret and it being added to the hull. Fit throughout the kit was beautiful with no issues. The mantlet and its hatches, cupola, and the main gun and mantlet machine gun were added. The main gun barrel was slide molded so it is hollow, but the machine gun was not. There is a turret bustle rack for version 4 to add.

Painting and Weathering

As mentioned before there are six schemes to choose from- three from Libya, a captured African scheme from 1943, a scheme from Heliopolis Egypt, and one from Tunisia. I chose the captured scheme to be a bit different. I base coated the entire tank with Tamiya German Grey and then added a layer of hairspray. I then used a custom Tamiya mix for the dark yellow and added some chipping here and there. I then added a bit more German Grey to the top and bottom edges of the turret and top of the hull. Weathering was done with AMMO by Mig products. I added a couple pieces from Value Gear to give it a bit of character.

The decals for the scheme were wonderful to work with. The seal for the Afrika Korps is present on the decal sheet but there is no reference to them in the schemes in the instruction manual...maybe because of the swastika that is part of it? I found plenty of color and black & white reference photos for the captured scheme I was doing however, and they weren't present there, so I left them off. Although there is no interior to speak of, I left the cupola hatch open to place an American GI into- just still painting the figure so no pictures here.

Conclusion

It's always good to get a newly tooled kit- from Academy or really any kit manufacturer. In the case of this Panzer II, I know there are some older kits out there by different companies, but this is the newest and greatest for the F out there at present. The fit was phenomenal and I thoroughly enjoyed every aspect of the build. The tracks worked out splendidly and the decals were also great to work with. I am very pleased with the results and hope to see other variants of the type out soon.

Highly Recommended for Beginner to Advanced builders.

Thanks goes out to Model Rectifier Corporation for this review kit.

Reviewed by Michael Reeves

 

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