Pz.Kpfw.II Ausf.L "Luchs"
Kit # MT72074 Construction Review by Rob Haelterman - heman_148(at)hotmail(dot)com

Preliminary note: the preview of this kit can be found here.


While Braille Scale modelers are still waiting for a plastic kit of this highly popular vehicle, at least some resin manufacturers have come to our aid. Modell Trans is one of them.


1. Casting quality

Casting quality of a resin kit varies with the age of the molds. I bought my kit the same week as it was released, and as such I found that most parts were very finely cast. I say most, as this assessment holds for the hull and turret, but less so for the running gear. The tracks, idler and drive sprocket had quite some flash, some tracks were imperfectly molded and some detail was marred on the roadwheels. The masters for the tracks are clearly made by assembling individual track links, but these are not always 100% straight. I guess that's why the Russians invented mud in the second world war.
The top of the hull also had some pinholes, but most were hidden by the turret and the others easily filled. I also noticed that the top plate is slightly concave, but once again the turret goes a long way in hiding this.

2. Detail and accuracy

I am not claiming my research to be PhD quality, but I found some minor errors in this kit:

    • The lateral air intakes (or are they exhausts ?) are equal in size in the kit. In reality they differed slightly from one another.
    • The mesh on these same intakes seems to be flush on the real vehicle. In the kit they are recessed.
    • While you might have heard that the rear air exhaust (or is it an intake ?) had a mesh, which the kit lacks, wise men have apparently come to the conclusion that this mesh was a field modification which was sporadically observed. Ergo, the kit is right.
    • The muffler needs to be lowered a bit.
    • The lift hooks on the turret are underdefined.
    • The tracks are of the wrong type. It seems Modell Trans used Panzer IV tracks.
    • The running gear runs too close to the fenders (too little vertical spacing). The rear mudflaps are angled too much downward (and are asymmetrical in the kit), and the idler is positioned too high, which means that the idler comes even closer to the fender/mudflap. All this alters the "look" of the vehicle.
    • The front mudflaps are missing, but these might have been lost in combat.
    • The driver's and radio operator's visor are both open. The periscope holes are there, but they are not properly aligned.
    • As mentioned in my preview, this kit most likely represents a vehicle produced in September-November 1942 depicted in the spring of 1943, after the disappearance of the Nebelkerzen and before the removal of the second Bosch headlight. Removing the small Orterkompas mounting will then be necessary. Optionally, one could opt for adding home-made Nebelkerzen.
      As according to [2] there were only about 16 vehicles built with the small hatch, and 9 Pz.Div. was the first division to be equipped (with 18 vehicles), it seems a fair assumption that all the small hatch vehicles went to that unit.
    • According to my references the vehicle scales out between 1/71 and 1/73, depending on the location of the measurement.


3. Construction, additions and modifications

Construction of this kit is not difficult, mainly because of the limited number of parts, but it might have helped if Modell Trans had given us just a tad more than a four view drawing. Nothing in the way of a construction assembly or paint schemes are given, nor are decals.

In my example the rear radiator was slightly damaged, but the broken part was still there and was easily glued back in place. One of the corners of the gun mantlet was broken off too, but as I did not find that fragment, I repaired it with a small piece of styrene (see pictures above).
The running gear is a single piece, except for the outer roadwheels and outer halves of the idler and drive sprocket (the parts not primed grey in the pictures above). Quite a bit of flash was present, especially on the idler and drive sprocket; cleaning all this up took about half of the assembly time.

During construction, I added the following items:

  • Tow coupling (from scratch);
  • Starter crank cover on the rear hull plate (from scratch);
  • Jerrycans on the turret (from the spare's bin with tin foil supports);
  • Width indicators (scratch);
  • Grab handle for the rear turret hatch and above it (copper wire);
  • Antenna mount to the side of the turret (styrene);
  • Notek (from BP resin, I believe);
  • S-hooks (from MR Models);
  • Hinges and rotating handle to the turret hatch;

I modified the following:

  • periscope holes for the driver; I filled them out and drilled new ones as the ones in the kit are not perfectly aligned

I removed the following:

  • Orterkompas on the turret roof, to make the turret roof consistent with other features of the kit

I replaced the following:

  • MG. Not that the kit part is bad, but it's too long and of the non armored variety. I used one of the sublime Aber barrels.

I goofed up the following.

  • I installed the turret hatch inside out, and only discovered this after I had added all the extra detail and painted the kit. Fixing it took me quite some time. This is one example of where a decent manual would come in handy.


Above: turret hatch installed inside out

4. Painting and markings

Painting was done using Humbrol and Revell enamels over an automotive primer. Very few markings were added. The Balkenkreuze are Archer's. No unit insignia were applied.
A figure was added from the spare's box, as the simple cylindrical recess in the turret for the commander really needs to be filled in with a figure if you leave the hatch open.


5. Conclusion

A fine kit as resin kits go, marred by non accurate tracks and a suspension that makes the vehicle sit too low. Nevertheless it is the best kit of this vehicle in 1/72 I have seen so far.

The base is an HQ72 item, slightly modified with extra obstacles made from an old Esci set.

6. References

[1] Achtung Panzer No7, Pz.Kpfw.I / Pz.Kpfw.II series and variants, M. Bitoh, Dai Nippon Kaiga, 2002
[2] Panzer Tracts No 2-2, Panzerkampfwagen II Ausf. G,H,J,L and M, T.L. Jentz & H.L. Doyle, Panzer Tracts 2007

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Article Last Updated: 24 March 2011 Back to Kit Reviews