As ever, I begin by drilling out the main gun and, in this case, the MG34 as well. Then I assemble the turret. Everything fits well with no need for filler. There is some nice detail here including the weld where the gun-mount is fixed to the mantlet and welds on the upper edges of the turret. This really doesn’t feel like a fifty-year-old kit.
I glue plastic card inside the lower hull and fill the holes from the outside with Tamiya white putty – which is good stuff generally, but it does shrink badly so it always takes at least three passes to get a completely smooth finish.
Then it’s on to the roadwheels. I want to create a battered looking finished kit with chipped and discoloured paint. I haven’t tried this before as it is very difficult to achieve on small-scale kits. I know what I have in mind, but I’ll be using the roadwheels as a test area to see how it works. First, I spray the roadwheels with the base colour using Tamiya TS-68 in an aerosol can.
Then I add chipped areas using a very light sand.
Then I add darker areas in the centre of the largest chipped areas using Panzer Grey.
Then I paint on the tyres using a fairly light grey and give everything a coat of clear varnish.
Then I use Abteilung Oils Brown Shadow to emphasize shadows and suggest dirt and grime and finally I add a wash of acrylic light brown to represent dust on the tyres. Here are the finished wheels, sprockets and idlers. I’m happy with the result and I’ll use the same approach on the rest of the model.
The turret gets the same treatment, with decals added using Vallejo Decal Fix and Decal Softener before the chipping, varnish and oil highlighting.
I add the various lights, boxes and other parts on the upper hull. Everything fits very well and no filler is needed.
The upper hull then gets a coat of the base colour with TS-68. I’m impressed with this Tamiya spray can – it gives good, consistent, dense coverage and, even though the can is small, there is plenty of paint left when I’m done – I would guess that I have used less than half the can. One odd thing – the AK clear acrylic varnish I use doesn’t like this paint. It takes at least two coats to get a consistent finish and the Tamiya spray paint seems to repel the varnish – I haven’t found the same issue with Tamiya brush paints.
I add decals and chipping to the hull upper half and then give it a coat of clear varnish before doing more oil highlighting with the same colour used on the wheels.
I assemble the parts of the lower hull and then paint it in exactly the same way, though I add more staining and dirt on the sides. Once everything is dry, I join the upper and lower hull halves and add the roadwheels, idlers and sprockets.
Then, it’s on to the tracks. These are painted with a dark gunmetal base and lighter gunmetal highlights on the treads. Then everything gets a brown acrylic wash to represent rust and dirt.
Finally, the tools, exhaust and spare track links are added to the hull. And here’s the finished model.
After Action Report
I found this an enjoyable and stress-free build. There are no tiny parts and everything fits accurately and well. It really is hard to believe this kit is very nearly fifty years old. Other than the need to fill in holes in the hull bottom, the fact that this was originally created as a motorised kit doesn’t cause any problems. I built it completely OOB with the exception of drilling the gun barrels and exhaust and using some Tamiya white putty to add rusty texture to the exhaust.
This builds to a pretty reasonable and fairly accurate depiction of a Panzer II Ausf. F. OK, I know, there are all sort of extras like metal gun barrels, items stowed on the hull and PE kits that could be used to improve it further, but even straight out of the box this is a very reasonable kit for not a great deal of money. The figures provided with the kit look perfectly acceptable, and I haven’t used them simply because my figure-painting sills are very rusty indeed.
I really enjoyed working in 1/35 as opposed to 1/76 or 1/72. The scope for showing weathering and wear during painting is much greater, and I’ll probably try another couple of 1/35 kits. Overall, this is highly recommended and, because the Panzer II was such a small tank, display space shouldn’t be a problem – this is not much larger than a 1/72 Tiger, for example.