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Built Review
172
TKS 20mm Tank Destroyer
Wrzesień 1939 - TKS 20mm (Polish tank destroyer)
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by: Todd Michalak [ TRM5150 ]

Introduction

First To Fight is a new company on the modelling scene and is offering up a series of models to commemorate the rapidly approaching 75th anniversary of the beginning of WWII, whereas in September of 1939 the country of Poland was first to feel the sting of the advancing German Army. The story of the Polish people and their plight against Hitlerís forces is often a forgotten one in history eclipsed by stories of the Blitzkrieg, the bombardment of Britain and the horror set forth by the Nazi machine.

First To Fight pays tribute to Poland and her fight in in the late days of 1939 with their Wrzesień 1939 (September 1939) Series of models. The TKS 20mm (Polish Tank Destroyer) is the first in a lengthening line of models on this subject.

The TK, first known as the TK3 began production in 1931 and although there were 575 of these little tankettes produced, there were only 24 of the TKS version by the outbreak of WWII. The TKS came equipped with a thicker 10mm armor protection and the Nkm wz.38 FK 20mm gun.

The TK3ís and TKS tankettes were the only option of defense against the onslaught of the German Army; as a result there were heavy losses due to the undersized and underequipped tankettes meeting head to head with heavier battle tanks in the invasion.

The Kit

The TKS 20mm (Polish Tank Destroyer) from First To Fight, model number 001 is a 1/72 mold injected plastic model kit. The kit comes in a small vibrantly designed box with w depiction of this tankette in action on the front and construction details and color chart on the back. Inside the box you will find one dark green styrene sprue containing all the parts to construct one TKS tankette. This kit also comes with a small container of adhesive for assembling the model and a booklet outlining the TKS and its operational history. The booklet is printed solely printed in Polish with a few black and white photos of the tankette and a color scheme layout in the center of the booklet.

There are only 12 parts to this tankette kit; however, all of the parts are molded crisply with plenty of detail throughout. The lower hull and casemate make up the bulk of this model. Fine panel lines and accompanying rivets add plenty of detail to the overall surface. The two supplied track assemblies are pre-molded with the drive sprockets, idler, return rollers and road wheels all together. These two pieces have some very nice detail added to them from the bolt pattern on the drive sprockets to the bogie suspension.

There is one track bar and one shovel included with this set. These are to be attached to the front vertical face of the casemate. The 20mm main gun armament has three pieces to the construction; a two-piece mantlet and a scaled 38 FK 20mm gun. There is a spare road wheel/bracket assembly, radio antenna and finally the muffler all included on the sprue tree.

Construction

These small war gaming type braille kits are designed for quick and easy construction. Most of the parts are fairly indicative of what you would see on most 1/72nd scale models whereas the larger parts are easy to remove but many of the smaller parts can be problematic depending on the methods used and of course your patience in removing them. The one issue I found with this kit at this point was the gate attachments for the track assemblies. There are ten attachment points that need to be separated and cleaned up. This would not be a problem but due to the tiny delicate nature of the tracks, some care and patience will certainly be needed when getting to this part of the construction.

Other than the slower clean-up of the tracks on this kit, the entire model falls together basically in about under an hour. All that is left to do is to paint up the little TKS. The color chart on the back of the box, and on the inside of the accompanying booklet, show a three tone camouflage scheme. Whether you paint by hand or with an airbrush this can be done rather easily. The listing of color paints on the box reference only Vallejo paint but with a quick search for a paint conversion chart, any of distributed paint should suffice.

I chose to use an airbrush to paint this one. Once the base coat was applied, I simply used poster tack to mask out the base color sections in preparation for the first of the three colors. Since I used Model Air paints from Vallejo, they paint dried quickly and I was able to apply the second mask to cover the second color of the camouflage allowing the third color to be applied right away.

Once things dried sufficiently and a clear coat applied, I was able to sponge on some of the base color followed by some German camouflage Black Brown from Vallejo to make for some chipping effects. This was all followed with another quick clear coat and finally several light washes were applied to make things pop.

Conclusion

I really like what First To Fight has brought to the table. The subject matter is refreshing as much of the invasion Poland and the Polish peoples fight for independence goes overlooked. The kit is very well made and with the exception of the cleaning of all the gate attachment points on the tracks this was a pleasure to build. The booklet supplied with this kit showing the history behind this tankette should probably be printed in more than one language if judged from the recent demand for kits from outside Poland, it more than warrants it.

I feel there might be room for the inclusion of a figure or two with this kit as due to the overall size of this kit, would certainly spruce things up as well as give a sense of scale to the piece. I feel the £7.99 (#13.17) is fair as you do get a decently made model and the booklet on the operational history, even if itís printed only in Polish.
SUMMARY
Highs: A nicely detailed 1/72 scale kit. Construction is simple and straightforward; the final result is satisfactory.
Lows: Some problematic attachment points on the track assembly and the historical storyline booklet supplied with the kit is printed in only one language.
Verdict: I feel this is a small, but well-made model kit that is sure to bring enjoyment to the wargaming fan and many braille scale builders alike.
Percentage Rating
89%
  Scale: 1:72
  Mfg. ID: 001
  Suggested Retail: £7.99
  PUBLISHED: Jan 29, 2014
  NATIONALITY: Poland
NETWORK-WIDE AVERAGE RATINGS
  THIS REVIEWER: 95.52%
  MAKER/PUBLISHER: 83.50%

Our Thanks to First to Fight!
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 Todd Michalak (TRM5150)
FROM: MASSACHUSETTS, UNITED STATES

I am building what I like, when I like and how I like it; having fun doing it. I have been building and finishing models on and off my whole life but the past ten years things really exploded. Just about anything goes when it comes to hitting the bench, but wrecked armor, rusted hulks, ships or ...

Copyright ©2019 text by Todd Michalak [ TRM5150 ]. All rights reserved.



Comments

LOL...one good thing for the internet when it comes to the stroies...copy and paste translation!!!
JAN 29, 2014 - 08:24 AM
Wow, what a "cute" little critter and I thought the Fujimi 1/76 Panzer I was small! Nice job on this one Todd. From the size of the dime in the one picture I can only guess that it's about two-thirds the size of my Pz I! Did you have any problems with removing the gun barrel from the sprue? I've read a couple of build articles on this thing and in each the barrel broke. Nice to see some unique vehicles coming out in Braille before those for the LEGO scalers. Regards, AJ
JAN 29, 2014 - 09:56 AM
Thank you AJ! The gun barrel was not a problem with removal...I snipped the tabs off long and then snipped them closer after. Sanding was, well as you would expect...tiny and carefully but not too bad taking my time. Definitely nice to see the new subject matter, all the more fun!!
JAN 29, 2014 - 03:35 PM
With the cost of the packaging taking almost half the total cost, they could have included two tankettes for $20.
JAN 29, 2014 - 06:12 PM
Nice review, I especially like painting and weathering you did! There are a couple of accuracy isues with this model stemming from the fact that the base for this model was a hull for TKS tankette (as in the realality) but in real TK 20mm periscope for the gunner was slightly offset to the left, near left edge of the casemate, also the gun should be offset a bit to left in its mantlet. Hatches layout was different on the right side of the vehicle (again it is correct for TKS version armed with MG) there should be two flaps instead of three (the pece with periscope is fixed part of superstructure. For the TK 20mm AA Machine Gun mount on the right sponson should not be fitted, as it was used to place the MG taken out from the casemate for AA purposes. As TK 20mm is not equipped with MG, this was deleted from this version and the part should be omitted on this model. Couple of things to clarify from the general side of things: This series is intended for wargaming, for September 1939 system that authors of the series are still developing. At the beginning those kits were published every 2 weeks, since no.5 it will be one model every 3 weeks. The models are published alternately, meaning after Polish vechicle (or figures) there is a German vehicle and then again Polish. As this was the first in the series it was half the regular price (probably because of low number of vehicles converted to 20mm FK gun its use will be restricted in the possible wargaming scenarios ) which is about 3 $ (10 PLN in Poland) with about 6 $ for every subsequant issue of the series. So far the released models are: 1. TKS 20mm 2. Pz.Kpfw. 1A 3. C2p Artillery Tractor 4. Sd.KFz 265 5. TK3 tankette 6. due for release next week: Sd.Kfz13 armored car My personal remark would be that I find models of Polish vehicles from this series better detailed. This may be only because they are so far smaller than German examples (yes the tankettes are half the size of Pz.kpfw. IA) and of predominantely riveted construction which offers plenty of eye candy on a model this small. Below is my assembled no.5 TK 3 Tankette: Cheers, Greg
FEB 02, 2014 - 06:49 AM
Hello Greg, Thank you for the in depth after-review. Nice to know a bit more about this vehicle. The level of detail on this is actually really nice for the scale...superb as the size of the 1:1 tankette is so tiny making its scale alter ego all the more impressive. Nice looking "No. 5"!! Have fun painting yours...I had some fun laying mine out. I will take your word on the detailing of the Polish releases being more detailed as I have not seen the German ones yet. Now if First to Fight could master the tracks without all of the attachment points these little tankettes would be must haves for anyone loving this scale and the subject matter. Thanks for chiming in...looking forward to that paint job!!
FEB 02, 2014 - 10:54 AM
Hi Todd, no problem. I will probably paint no. 5 over the weekend, but the earlier ones are still pending, here is a little family photo: Cheers, Greg
FEB 03, 2014 - 09:08 AM
That is fantastic Greg! Love the camo on the PZ.!! Pretty sweet!!
FEB 03, 2014 - 03:51 PM
Thx Todd, you are too kind! Cheers, Greg
FEB 08, 2014 - 11:20 AM
   

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