by: Darren Baker [ ]
The Panzer 2 went into front line service in the opening of World War 2, but it was outclassed in all respects and so was easy prey for other armour and anti-tank weapons. The result of this was that the Panzer 2 was withdrawn from service; however as with captured enemy vehicles the Panzer 2 was not going to finish their lives there. The German military converted the number of Panzer IIs to flame thrower tanks. The E version on the Panzer II had two remote flame thrower stations and had a different lubricated track. Only 7 Panzer IIf were converted to flame thrower tanks and these saw service during Operation Barborosa. A total of a hundred 155 Panzer II were converted, but even as flame throwers they proved to be a failure, due to their light armour, so again were quickly withdrawn, and the hulls used for Marder 2 tank destroyers.
This offering from Bronco Models is packaged in the usual cardboard box with card lid, and the box was unfortunately damaged despite having been packed inside a further cardboard box, fortunately the contents were not damaged due to there being space inside the box. The contents inside are all packaged in either sealed plastic bags or Ziploc plastic bags, with the contents being individual or dual sprues in each bag. There is a small quantity of photo etch, some of which is unfortunately very small. Plus a nice, small decal sheet has been provided by Bronco Models.
The lower hull of the model, is a multi-part affair, that will require care during assembly, to ensure that it is square when completed. There are some very small butterfly bolts to be added to the rear lower hull, these have been beautifully moulded, but would be easily lost or damaged during construction, so I would avoid adding them at the start.
The suspension of the tank has been well represented, being constructed of a good number of parts, unfortunately it will not be possible to articulate the suspension without significant surgery by the modeller, with this said, I do believe that this will be a visually pleasing aspect of the model. The wheels of the tank have separate rubber tyres that are made of injection moulded plastic and so are potentially are easier to paint. The wheel pattern is an area of the model I am unable to verify as accurate, but Bronco Models usually do a good job in this respect.
The rear of the model, where the intakes and exhaust are has been tackled with a combination of plastic and photo etch and so may test some modellers. The result however should be pleasing and provide a nice visual aspect to the model.
The tracks of the vehicle have been provided as individual plastic track links, these however are indicated I believe to be workable, due to the small size of the pins and the track links I believe it would be far better to cement each track link together. I could not find any reference data on this specific track and so I am reliant on Bronco Models having got it right.
The upper hull has been provided with separate access hatches in all respects, this will please the modeller who wishes to provide any further internal detail, which is not provided in the kit. Anything as simple as a driver figure, to an engine and transmission could be added and easily seen. The small details on the upper surfaces have all been provided as separate parts, and this may make the model harder than it needed to be to build, but the modeller who likes these small details will be very pleased with the results.
The mudguards of the tank, are well detailed on the upper surface, but there are some nasty ejector marks on the underside at the front of each track guard. A large quantity of the photo etch, is used in these areas and may prove difficult to apply. The remote flame throwing stations, mounted on each mudguard have been well tackled allowing the modeller to elevate the flame spouts as they wish. The storage tanks for the flame propellant have been well replicated and sit just behind the flame projectors on the outside of the vehicle. Separate armour plates have been provided, which Bronco Models, which can be displayed open or closed as indicate in the instructions. A particularly nice inclusion is the smoke grenade dischargers, which have been very well tackled.
The small turret, has again been provided with a lot of details by Bronco Models, both inside and out. Again the hatch or vision ports can be open or closed. The machine gun present in the turret, has been provided with a spent ammunition bag, and breach. The periscopes have all been provided in clear plastic, which is good to see. The result of all this will be a very pleasing turret despite its small size.
Two finishing options have been provided by Bronco Models:
101st Panzer (Flamm) Abteilung, Russia, June 1941.
3 Kompanie Panzer Ersatz Abteilung 1
This small model, has been intricately detailed by Bronco Models and has a huge quantity of small details provided. These small details will in some cases prove difficult to apply due to their small size, and this may deter some modellers. For the modeller who is not concerned about this, it should provide you with a very pleasing and detailed model of a German tank, that saw little service, but is an interesting design concept.