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Tamiya 1/35 Panzerkampfwagen II Ausf. F/G (MM109) Build Review

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.

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Tamiya 1/35 Panzerkampfwagen II Ausf. F/G (MM109) In-Box Review and History

Tamiya 1/35 Panzerkampfwagen II Ausf. F/G (MM109) In-Box Review and History


OK, so this a little different, if only because it’s 1/35 scale and I generally build smaller scales. But hey, this was on sale at my on-line stockist for considerably less than a decent 1/72 tank kit and, even more importantly, it’s one I remember well from my youth.

I can recall seeing the early Tamiya Military Miniatures kits back in the early seventies. At that time, my model-making was pocket-money-funded and these kits were out of reach except, maybe, on Birthdays or Christmas. I do remember looking very closely at them and being impressed with what I saw. For me, kit-building is also a source of nostalgia for my youth and I was amazed to discover that this kit first appeared in 1971 – it’s almost fifty years old!

Tamiya started out as a lumber company but in 1960 it began making plastic model kits. In 1962 the company was re-named Tamiya Plastic Kogyo Co. and began to focus exclusively on plastic moulding. In 1962 they produced their first plastic tank it, a motorised Panther. This wasn’t created to a particular scale – it was built to be just large enough to accommodate batteries and an electric motor inside the hull. In his book ”Master Modeler: Creating the Tamiya Style” Shunsaku Tamiya noted:

“After the success of the Panther, I thought it would be a good idea for us to produce other tanks from different countries in the same scale. I measured the Panther and it turned out to be about 1/35 of the size of the original. This size had been chosen simply because it would accommodate a couple of B-type batteries. Tamiya’s 1/35 series tanks eventually got to be known around the world, but this is the slightly haphazard origin of their rather awkward scale.”

Having inadvertently invented the most popular scale for military modelling, in 1969 the company was re-launched once again as Tamiya Plastic Model Co and in the same year it began work on the Military Miniatures series of 1/35 scale figures and vehicles. In 1971 the first tank in the Military Miniatures series was launched; the Panzerkampfwagen II Ausf. F/G.


The Panzerkampfwagen II began as a stop-gap solution to a short-term problem, but it remained in service for far longer than anyone could have anticipated. In 1934 the only German tank in service was the tiny Panzer I. The designs of both the Panzer III and IV were well advanced, but production delays meant that it was clear that these tanks would not enter service as quickly as hoped. As a temporary measure, it was decided to accelerate the production of a new light tank which was originally intended as a training tank and which was expected to be phased-out when the Panzer III and IV finally entered service.

The outcome was the Panzer II, a ten-ton tank with a revolving turret housing a Rheinmetall KwK30 L55 20 mm quick-firing main gun, a weapon derived from the 2 cm FlaK 30 anti-aircraft gun. This gun was capable of firing both high explosive and armour-piercing rounds and had an astonishing capability of firing up to six hundred rounds per minute. Motive power came from a six-cylinder Maybach petrol engine developing 140hp. Five roadwheels on each side were each controlled by separate leaf-spring suspension units.

A Panzer II in May 1940, during the invasion of France. The tank in the background is a Panzer I but I have no idea why the commander of the Panzer II seems to be lacking a head!

Image; Bundesarchiv via WikiMedia Commons.

The Panzer II represented a distinct advance on the Panzer I; it allowed for a three-man crew (compared to two for the Panzer I) though the commander was also the gunner and loader. The extra crewman was a radio-operator with a position inside the hull, below the turret. The initial production variant, the Ausf. A, entered service in 1936 and by the time of the invasion of Poland in September 1939, this was the most common tank in German service.

The first major upgrade took place in late 1940 with the Ausf. F, which featured upgraded suspension, larger roadwheels, thicker armour and, for the first time, a commander’s cupola with periscopes. The Ausf. F was the final production version with over five hundred being produced. In 1942 a completely re-designed version, the Panzerspähwagen II Ausf. L Luchs (Lynx) was introduced. This was larger with different suspension and space for a four-man crew.

A column of Panzer II in North Africa, May 1941.

Image; Bundesarchiv via WikiMedia Commons.

Panzer IIs served on all fronts during World War Two and were used generally as scout vehicles – this was formally recognised when the later Luchs version was designated as an armoured scout vehicle rather than a tank. Attempts to up-gun and up-armour the Panzer II were frustrated by the engine which simply was not powerful enough to give adequate speed and range in a heavier tank. Production of the original Panzer II ended in December 1942 though examples continued in service for the remainder of the war. The Panzer II also provided the basis for, amongst many other things, the tank-hunting Marder and the Wespe self-propelled howitzer.

What’s in the Box?

This kit claims to be a Panzerkampfwagen II Ausf. F/G, but that is a little problematic. The Ausf. G was a planned new version of the Panzer II with improved suspension and a different configuration of roadwheels. This version did not make it into large scale production, being superceded by the Ausf. L Luchs, and this certainly doesn’t look like an Ausf. G. So, despite what it says on the box, it’s an Ausf. F.

Opening the box reveals four sprues moulded in light brown plastic as well as the upper and lower hull halves. I note that this kit is now manufactured in the Philippines, but I assume it uses the original moulds from 1971? Considering their age, first impressions are very good. There is no flash at all, detail is sharp, especially on the upper hull and turret and I can’t see any visible sink-marks.

One thing that is obvious is that this was originally offered as a motorised kit – the lower hull includes a battery compartment and there are holes for various switches. No motors or other electric parts are included and these holes will have to be filled.

There are just four sprues plus the upper and lower hull halves. However, two of the sprues contain only parts for four of the five figures that come with this kit – the fifth, the commander, is on one of the tank-part sprues. The suggested colour schemes and decals include tanks operating in North Africa and the figures come with appropriate Deutsches Afrikakorps (DAK) uniforms and equipment.

There are also a set of soft plastic tracks, though these have reasonable detail and they look more to scale than the rubber band type tracks provided with many 1/72 kits. There is also a small bag of black, soft nylon collars. These are used when affixing the roadwheels and sprockets and are another legacy from this kit’s motorised origin.  

The instructions are provided in both English and Japanese versions and include a brief history of DAK operations and some information about the Panzer II. They note that the principal difference between the Ausf. F and G was the fitment of a turret stowage bin, but that is certainly not my understanding.

The decal and colour scheme information is provided in Japanese only and in black and white, and the box-top illustration doesn’t help much either – it shows markings suggested for an Ausf. F but it also shows a stowage bin on the turret.

The decals are certainly appropriate for a Panzer II Ausf. F in North Africa as these were used by the DAK as part of the 15th and 21st Panzer Divisions from December 1941. Markings are also provided for 10th Panzer Division, which was involved in combat in Tunisia.

This looks like a simple kit to build – excluding the figures and their accessories, there are just seventy-five parts here.  But then, the Panzer II was a small and simple tank. Despite the age of the moulds, everything looks sharp and the level of detail is more than reasonable. Overall, I’m really looking forward to building this one.

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Tamiya 1/35 Panzerkampfwagen II Ausf. F/G (MM109) Build Review