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In-Box Review
135
German SPG Wespe
German Self-Propelled Howitzer Wespe
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by: Kevin Brant [ SGTRAM ]

Introduction

Based on the requirement for mobile artillery and the availability of Panzer II tank chassis no longer suitable for combat the German Army developed many self-propelled howitzers, including the Sd.Kfz.124 Wespe. The Wespe was based on the Panzer II chassis mounting the 10.5cm leFH 18 Howitzer. Proving successful after deployment on the Eastern Front, the vehicle then went on to serve on most fronts.

Tamiya has recently re-released the 1/35 scale kit with new markings, figures, and new track.

Contents

2 Plastic sprues
1 Clear plastic sprue
1 Decal Sheets
1 Instruction sheet

Review

Opening the box I was a little disappointed, as based on when I saw the kit shown at model show online, I was expecting a newly tooled kit. This kit from Tamiya is the older kit that includes new markings, figures, and replaces the old rubber tracks with new link and length plastic molded tracks.

Now with that said, it is not a bad kit for being a little over 20 years old. For the review sample, I did receive the "White Box" version, in which the plastic is molded in a very light grey. The "new" kit is still very well molded, with some nice details. The Panzer II suspension and running gear are well done. This new release from Tamiya now includes link and length track, a great upgrade from the original vinyl tracks that were include in the original kit. The track looks to be very well molded with some great looking details. Also include on the new track sprues is a new drive wheel, which visually I cannot differ from the original release, but both look good. I should note that Tamiya has molded the sag into the tracks, which should look good.

For the interior, while there is no driver compartment details, the fighting compartment is very well done. The gun is self does have some very nice details, including a well done gun sight. The barrel is a two piece "halfed" construction, but with careful gluing and a little bit of sanding should look good. The ammunition stowage is decently done, and can be built either open or closed. The original kit did not have extra ammunition, but with the release, Tamiya has included ammunition rounds on the new figure sprue, a nice addition.

As for the new figures in the kit they look to be decently well done. There are four figures included, all standing with the mostly the torso and legs moulded as one piece, with three figures having one leg separate each. I do find that some of the details to be a little soft, including the faces. I am a little concerned about how Tamiya has molded the collar details for the figures in that the collar details are a separate piece, and wonder how they will fit and show once assembled. One set of head phones are included on the sprue, which should add to the detail of the figure.

The decal sheet, while small, contains the marking for two Wespe's as served in the Italian Theatre. The decal do look to be well printed, but my recent experience with Tamiya decals have shown them to be a little on the thick side, and can be prone to silvering.

Marking options:
- 26th Panzer Division, Cisterna di Latina, near Anzio, Italy, 1944
- 29th Panzer Grenadier Division, near Anzio, Italy, 1944

The instructions are typical Tamiya, well laid out and should provide information for a great build.

As for the build, I have built the older Tamiya Wespe kit, and the kit does go together very well. What it lacks, is some photo-etched details, as some of the parts, especially the fighting compartment stowage it a little on the thick side, and some thin photo-etched details will definitely help improve the look. Another issue with the kit is the open cavity under the fenders, which Tamiya has not resolved in this newer release.

Overview

Overall this it great to see this older kit being released with some new parts from Tamiya. It is the same original kit and build, but now with added figures and link and length tracks. The new release also provides some additional ammunition rounds for stowage that were not included in the original release. While the new link and length track in this release looks great, the figures are a little weak with some soft details, including faces. For those who never got the original kit, I would definitely recommend this kit, especially for the upgrade to the track.
SUMMARY
Highs: Still a decent kit, new link and length track looks great, addition of figures and accessories
Lows: Found new figures a little soft on detail, large gap under fender after construction still there
Verdict: The new additions should make this an attractive kit, especially the track. Highly recommended.
  Scale: 1:35
  Mfg. ID: 358
  PUBLISHED: Jun 30, 2018
  NATIONALITY: Germany
NETWORK-WIDE AVERAGE RATINGS
  THIS REVIEWER: 88.35%
  MAKER/PUBLISHER: 82.84%

Our Thanks to Tamiya USA!
This item was provided by them for the purpose of having it reviewed on this KitMaker Network site. If you would like your kit, book, or product reviewed, please contact us.
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About Kevin Brant (SgtRam)
FROM: ONTARIO, CANADA

I am an IT Consultant and father, with a passion for plastic models. I mostly prefer 1/35 Armor and 1/48 Aircraft. My main interests are anything Canadian, as well as WW2 German and British Armor and Aircraft. I have been building models since I was a young kid, got away from it for awhile, but r...

Copyright 2018 text by Kevin Brant [ SGTRAM ]. All rights reserved.



Comments

Sorry about that, don't know how I missed those on the sprue. But also for my build, I used photo-etched parts for a lot of the interior, thus the ammo containers are there. Sorry.
JUN 30, 2018 - 11:40 AM
Yeah, that would be nice.
JUN 30, 2018 - 11:54 AM
Yeah, that would be nice. [/quote] The Wespe hull is a stretched version of the Pzkpfw II hull, therefore there should be more than the required overall length that might be adapted. However it had only three return rollers, so the track sags will be in the wrong places. Surely you wouldn't buy this kit in order to just use the tracks anyway?
JUN 30, 2018 - 09:10 PM
Yeah, that would be nice. [/quote] The Wespe hull is a stretched version of the Pzkpfw II hull, therefore there should be more than the required overall length that might be adapted. However it had only three return rollers, so the track sags will be in the wrong places. Surely you wouldn't buy this kit in order to just use the tracks anyway? [/quote] No-- but my thought is if they've done this for the Wespe, maybe they'll do it for their Panzer II. They seem be improving many of thier existing products lately. It really doesn't matter to me that much, as I have a Dragon Panzer II in the stash with the full interior and magic tracks, but I might be tempted on some of Tamiya's earlier kits if thier tracks were improved. VR, Russ
JUL 01, 2018 - 05:30 AM
Even though the improvements are only cosmetic, I'll be getting at least one anyway. For me, living in Japan, Tamiya is easily available and often much cheaper than any of the other companies (which are rapidly pricing themselves out of consideration for me, unless I win Loto soon). I was scratching the missing details for the one I bought back in Australia before I came here so I don't mind doing that again.
JUL 01, 2018 - 06:02 PM
Correct me if I'm wrong, but no one else at the moment does a Wespe? So this is the only game in town (no I don't include the horrid old Alan one). Dragon don't, I think, otherwise there would be one sitting in my stash! So, since it's such an important vehicle I'm a bit surprised by the reaction. I made this kit 20 years ago and at that time I thought it was a good kit, and I think it still stands up overall (I've succumbed and bought the new one). Yes, it does need some additions and a bit of tweaking, but nothing a competent modeller can't easily achieve. OK, fire extinguisher form the spares box, yes it's a pain that one isn't included, but that's not as bad as German staff cars with the swastikas blanked out on the flags - not an easy fix. The crew will fit any campaign, not just Italy, although I quite liked the original crew figures. This is a small vehicle, with four crew in it you aren't going to see much of the missing detail anyway! Many photos show locally made stowage boxes attached to the front armour, this would have been a worthwhile inclusion I think.
JUL 01, 2018 - 10:20 PM
The Tamiya Panzer II ausf A/B/C French campaign and Panzer II ausf c Polish campaign both have link and length track. The ancient ausf F/G really is not worth having except for nostalgia. But the track from the ausf A/B/C can be made to fit the ausf F/G as it's a standard Panzer II suspension not the stretched one of a Wespe. Both of the early Panzer II are totally new and have no parts in common with the ancient F/G.
JUL 02, 2018 - 02:29 AM
I built this a couple months ago for an IPMS review. The figures look very good and the extra interior details is fine. With the figures, most of the interior is filled up.
JUL 02, 2018 - 09:36 AM
The helmet swastika decals are questionable at this stage of the war (post '43), but very nice OOB build.
JUL 03, 2018 - 02:40 AM
We broke our quick reply box. Working on it. Until fixed go to topic to reply.
Thanks.
   

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