by: Kevin Brant [ ]
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.
2 Plastic sprues
1 Clear plastic sprue
1 Decal Sheets
1 Instruction sheet
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.
- 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.
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.