by: Darren Baker [ ]
With the first Panzerhaubitze 2000 being issued to the German forces in 1998 armed with its 155mm 52 calibre main gun the Panzerhaubitze 2000 is Germanys answer to the need for an SPG, which with the ability to lob a shell up to 40 km with special ammunition at the rate of up to 3 rounds in 10 seconds and a 7.62 MG for close protection the Panzerhaubitze 2000 is a very capable SPG.
Revell released a model of this impressive SPG in, I believe, 1999. I hope here to give you an overview of the model Revell has provided to answer any concerns you may have, and in the near future I hope to follow this up with a build review.
Opening the box you’ll find:
• Three sprues of dark green plastic in two poly bags.
• The tub and hull.
• Packed with one of the sprues is the turret and its base plate.
• Two vinyl rubber tracks attached to their moulding tree.
• Thirty two poly caps.
• An aluminium turned metal barrel.
• A small set of waterslide decals.
• A set of safety instructions in twenty one languages!
• A set of instructions.
The 16 pages of instructions are covered in an A4 sized loose page booklet. The instruction booklet has a short introduction to the vehicle in both German and English, followed by two advice pages covering things such as definition of symbols used during construction. This is followed by a paint guide substituting letters for colours, and then a sprue layout with part numbers. I don’t see the need for the sprue layout as the sprues are numbered, but it will help people whose eyesight is poor.
Seven pages are then utilised with the construction of the model, spanning thirty three steps using a line drawing layout. The steps are clearly laid out with no step being cluttered which could lead to mistakes being made. The instructions finish with a four page painting guide, with each possible vehicle shown in a tri-colour paint scheme. All the guides show the Panzerhaubitze 2000 in German service using a five angle display method, with each vehicle having a close up of the rear identification plate showing detail painting to that item.
The decals are minimal with a good colour balance and thin so as to not leave raised areas where they are applied, it should be said that the decals in my model do not have a protective film over them which could result in damage. It is worth mentioning here that Revell have packed this model in a very large end opening box this makes working from the box impossible (which I like to do), and which could result in a loss of parts, especially the decals which are loose inside the box.
The sprues contain 175 plastic parts which in my example are all cleanly moulded and free of flash, the detail appears to be a little on the exaggerated side, but as I have never seen one of these vehicles in the flesh I can only go by the detail on other vehicles. The anti slip coating has been replicated where applicable, but may be a little on the light side when paint is applied which may obscure this detail. Some of the anti slip panels are incorrectly placed and/or have too many in some locations judging from reference pictures.
The road and drive wheels look to be accurately rendered and have the correct number of bolts in the correct positions. The suspension arms are moulded separate from the tub, which with a little work allows the modeller to display the model accurately on uneven surfaces or ground. This will involve drilling out the location holes on the tub as there is a flat edge to allow all of the suspension arms to be located in the same orientation.
The tub itself is a little disappointing as there is no detail on the bottom of the tub at all, and the detail on the side walls is all moulded on, these details would have looked better if provided as separate parts. The upper hull is well detailed on the top and sides, but as mentioned earlier there are some problems with the anti slip coating. The turret is also covered in a considerable amount of moulded detail which looks good except for again, what I believe, is a very light anti slip coating.
With this model you are given the choice of a two piece moulded plastic barrel or a turned aluminium one, both are equally well detailed and so I would recommend the use of the aluminium one. Neither barrel has any rifling and the aluminium barrel has not even been drilled out (those with a lath may wish to do some work on it), but as the plastic muzzle has to be added to either barrel when used I do not see this as a weakness, and the aluminium one is a nice addition to the model. What surprised me about this model is just how big the main weapon is, with the barrel being 9 1/16 inches long before the breach and muzzle are even added, and so this model will make a sizable addition to your collection.
The vinyl tracks have long been discussed, mostly reference them breaking down when various chemical treatments are applied, and in some cases over a period of time. I have never suffered this issue but have no reason to doubt that in some cases depending on what is applied this will happen. I usually use Tamiya paint as a base coat and will be trying the track colour from DOA. I do not expect any issue with the tracks breaking down on this model as these paints are not oil based.
The track detail is poor with shallow intents on the inner face of every other track link. The tracks do look like the real thing, but the detail is very soft with no side detail for the track pins, the rubber road pads are only loosely mimicking the real thing. I would recommend that after market tracks are used if the finished model is going to be clean, however if the model is going to be shown heavily weathered and have a mud coating you could get away with using the included tracks.
Revell provides a reasonable model of the Panzerhaubitze 2000, which when finished will make a large and impressive model. To the best of my knowledge no other manufacturer makes a model of this SPG and it will be a must for anyone with an interest in self propelled artillery, or for that matter anyone who just wants to add a very large AFV to their collection.