have long had a historical and technical captivation with the
German Panzerjäger series of AFVs. Perhaps it is the respect
for the ingenuity of taking an obsolete vehicle and repurposing
it by mounting a new gun on it. The subject of this article is
the conversion of a Pz. 35(t) tank to a Romanian Tacam R-2 tank
destroyer, one of Romania’s attempts at a self-propelled
anti-tank gun, a Panzerjäger, tank hunter. R-2 is from the
Romanian designation for the Czech Pz. 35(t) tank.
The artwork above-right represents the planned kit 72835 of the
Tacam R-2 by Attack
Models company. At this time, this smallscale model has not
been released by Attack, nor by anyone else to my knowledge. Well,
in truth I understand that Attack 1/72 Resin Model Kits did release
a Tacam R-2 model years ago but I have never seen this available.
I understand that this series of cast resin models were more quick-build
gaming kits and predate the plastic Attack Models kits and the
higher quality recent Attack resin kits. Looking at the artwork
for the two kits above and below we can see the similarity in
the artwork for the planned plastic kit and the older resin kit.
In the boxart above we see the largely unchanged Pz. 35(t) chassis
with the tank turret and upper hull roof removed and replaced
by a boxlike superstructure with an open rear. The main gun is
a captured Soviet Zis-3 76-mm field gun. The AFV still sports
the bow machine gun and radio antenna. I understand that there
were 21 produced by the Romanians and served against the Soviets
and then against the Germans. If fitted with a 75-mm Resita gun
it would look largely the same except for a longer barrel and
German style muzzle brake.
Images off the internet above and below will help with detailing.
The photo below shows the single remaining Tacam R-2, a museum
display in Romania. The Soviet Zis-3 gun appears to have the original
muzzle brake and is unchanged other than the new gun shield in
front of the superstructure opening. The superstructure covers
the driver’s roof hatch. On the rear deck behind the superstructure,
we can make out the vague image of a mesh platform I presume held
kit, ammunition and spent shell casings. Around the superstructure
is a blue color band.
None of my references have the dimensions of the superstructure
though there are enough interior photos to build a reasonable
As I cannot afford to visit Bucharest and measure this fascinating
vehicle myself my next best option is to use the very nice 1/35-scale
R-2 TACAM Model Kit #T35022 from CMK and convert the 1/35 scale
parts up to 1/1 scale and then down to 1/72-scale. This boxart
appears pretty accurate based on my references. Inside the superstructure
we see a little of the Pz. 35(t) interior, the 76-mm ammunition
stowage, and the ladder-like travel lock affixed to the gun breach.
On the engine deck are two vertical rods I believe are supports
for the missing platform.
Choices in smallscale kits for this conversion include the two
First to Fight Pz. 35(t) kits, the veteran ESCI/Italeri Pz. 35(t),
and the Attack Models Pz. 35(t) kits. The FtF kit is well detailed
and proportioned but offers a simple quick-build suspension. The
ESCI, now Italeri model, is well detailed and molded and recently
re-released by Italeri. The Attack Models kit is well detailed
but the molding is soft and the kit may be hard to find at this
time. I would get rid of the Attack Model and ESCI kit track and
replace them with superb cast resin Pz. 35(t) track set S72286
made by OKB
Below are my measurements in 1/35 and 1/72 scales and diagrams
of the needed superstructure parts, and pages of the CMK assembly
instructions that may also help. At far right are scratchbuilt
superstructure and gun mount parts. The new superstructure is
fabricated with clear .010 styrene sheet which is stiffer than
the white styrene sheet. The sheet being clear allows us to overlay
it on the parts diagram and double check angles and shape.
right are my three choices of 1/72-scale guns to use for the Panzerjäger
conversion: at bottom is the injection-molded styrene Zis-3
from Skif Models kit 208, a good plastic kit. In center is
the 20-year-old tan color resin kit 72A03
by LEVA Productions, a very good model especially for its
age. At top is the dark green resin Resita 75-mm anti-tank gun
made by Ostmodels
(Ed.note: which according to our information is 1/76 and thus
not listed on OTW). The Resita gun is a Romanian copy of
the Zis-3 that was chambered for the Pak 40 ammunition and planned
to be mounted in Tacam R-2 but that never came to pass. Additional
options for a smallscale Zis-3 gun are the Zvezda
kit 6253 and Italeri
kit 6097. (More info on the different kits can also be found here.)
Above at upper center are the CMK 1/35 kit parts for the superstructure
and gun platform. At upper right are the scratchbuilt 1/72-scale
based on the CMK parts. Once assembled with plastic solvent it
was sufficiently strong to handle.
The assembly instructions for the 1/35 CMK kit for the Tacam R-2
were invaluable in getting this conversion as accurate as reasonably
possible, such as the ammunition ready racks on the interior of
the new superstructure. Notice I said accurate as “reasonably
possible”, and reasonable is subjective. I have so many
models I wish to build and experience I have decided I cannot
invest a month or three on perfection in one model kit.
The quick-build suspension of the FtF Pz. 35(t) kit is done well
for what it is but the significant weakness in this type of suspension
is that the pairs of roadwheels and return rollers are molded
as one thick wheel. There is a little flash around some of the
track teeth in need of cleaning. To simulate pairs of wheels with
a space for the track guide teeth, the lower section of track
was cut off with a sharp blade and a groove cut into the wheels
with files. The leaf springs were also squared off and a groove
cut into them to simulate two sets of leaf springs. When assembling
the model, the track sections are reassembled with little evidence
they were cut apart.
The resin interior from the Attack Models Pz. 35(t) kit can be
made to fit into the FtF kit hull with careful sanding. The Attack
Models resin engine and turret interior parts were not used. Being
an open top AFV the Pz. 35(t) interior would be partially visible.
Scratchbuilding the visible interior should not be difficult,
with the right reference photos.
Scratchbuilding the gun shield was study and trial and error.
Measure twice and cut once.
The complex gun shield is the most difficult part to resize to
1/72, scratchbuild, and make sure it is the correct proportion
and fit with the gun and the scratchbuilt superstructure. The
gun also needed some detailing. Accuracy of the model is dependent
on the accuracy of the 1/35-scale CMK model and limited photos.
We are also at the mercy of the quality and proportions of the
Zis-3 gun and the Pz. 35(t) models we choose. The photos below
peek in to the ready rounds installed into the interior of the
superstructure based on photos and trusting the CMK model kit.
A tow cable was fashioned with teabag string and mounted around
hooks on the rear. The gun muzzle is drilled out and the gun detailed
with a gunsight, and with traverse and elevation wheels. The white
rows of chips on the rear sprocket wheels are supposed to represent
the drive sprocket teeth sticking through the track; these should
actually be smaller.
The tank interior was painted white like the Pz. 35(t) would be,
but with a primer red floor.
The ladder-like device atop the superstructure is a gun travel
lock that would fold down and attach to the breach of the Zis-3
gun. The typical color for Romanian AFVs is olive drab.
The tow cable is fabricated from teabag string coated in white
glue. The 1/72 scale Romanian crew figures are from Zvezda
and from Retrokit (now RetroTracks).
Overall, I am happy with the model, I’ve long wished to
add one of these to my collection of Marder Panzerjägers
but there were no smallscale models available. A rule of thumb,
or Murphy’s Law, is that if you have to scratchbuild a smallscale
AFV, soon after you are done someone will issue a model of one!
This irony has proven itself with several models I’ve built,
so I predict we will have a smallscale Tacam R-2 within the year!
Overall, I am happy with my model, while not a contest winner
due to the parts and my effort, it is more than adequate for a
wargaming piece and historical display model, and takes up much
less shelf space than the 1/35-scale CMK model.
models were purchased by the reviewer.
Panzers 35(t) and 38(t) And Their Variants 1920-1945, Walter J
Spielberger, Schiffer Military History Book (2008)
kits listed in this article can be purchased from