IntroductionI have heard a lot of positive comments about MENG’s new PzH2000 after it was released in 2014. While browsing through the world wide web I found some pictures of a Panzerhaubitze during ISAF-exercise in Afghanistan with a sort of add-on-armor mounted. Seeing this, I thought how nice it would look to build such a vehicle… but at this time there was just MENG’s "normal" PzH available and I didn’t want to scratch this extra armor. So with the release of the PzH2000 with the extra armor in 2015 it was clear that this kit was mine.
The kit itself is simply overwhelming. I’ve built Revell’s PzH2000 a couple of times before and therefore I was very happy to see the improvement in every area of the model. Nice single-track-links, a nice-looking towing cable, very fine clear parts, fine photo-etched parts and of course a great aluminium gun barrel inside the box. For me the only thing which is missing are some nice-looking metal antennas. And maybe some chains for the smoke launchers.
The kit of the PzH with the add-on-armor is basically the same as the “standard” kit. Meng added an extra sprue with the parts for the add-on armor.
A “box review” with some pictures, showing what’s in the box could be found on my website www.replastika.de (the text is in German, so sorry for that).
While studying some pictures on the www I decided very early that my PzH should look like a real workhorse with tons of hours in service.
Regarding the camo I also defined very early that my PzH would become a desert-green-monster with a lot of dust on it. I must admit that I’m a huge fan of desert-camo-vehicles, dusted with pigments all over.
First I started with the suspension and the running gear as described in the instructions. I damaged the wheels, using a Dremel, to give them a used and damaged look. The Afghan-sand is not a very nice friend to those military vehicles out there.
I went on, adding some details to the vehicle and of course the suspension is also movable on this kit, like on nearly every MENG kit. Really well done, guys!
A feature I also love is the barrel-mount of the kit, which can be built in operating- or firing-position. You can’t decide which position you like more? Never mind – those MENG Guys made it fully movable – applause!
After finishing the general steps of the lower hull I mounted the add-on-armor to it. I then went on with the steps for the turret. There are some small areas where I needed a bit of Tamiya putty, but hey, look at the anti-skid surface on the top of the turret. Really nice what MENG brought to us.
I added some photo-etch parts to the turret and the lower hull and that’s basically it.
One thing I want to comment: When the add-on-armor is added to the lower hull it´s really hard, if not, impossible to rotate the mounted turret. I don’t know the material of this armor in 1:1, but in 1:35 it’s not elastic, so turning the turret around is not the best idea. For painting the PzH I had to remove the extra armor anyway.
Regarding the tracks, I decided to assemble them at a later stage, because I assembled some for some other kits some days before. Yes, yes, they look great, but yes, they are so horrible and time-consuming to assemble…
To give the whole vehicle a smooth and homogeneous base-coat, I chose Tamiya XF-1 Matt Black. This step became more and more important, because handling with different sorts of materials (plastic, photo-etched parts, aluminium gun) doesn’t create a very uniform overall picture.
The second layer of paint was Tamiya XF-59 Dessert Yellow.
As I knew already that I wanted to achieve a sort of modulation look (thanks for inspiring us with this technique!), there were some more layers of paint following. The colour I love most when painting desert-camo-vehicles is Tamiya XF-55 Desert Tan mixed with Tamiya XF-57 Buff. So this was the next layer.
While studying the real vehicle I noticed the very sharp-edged colour change between green and sand. Trying to replicate this effect as best possible, I started to draw fine lines of the camo with a pencil on the model. After that I made a mixture of Tamiya XF-58 and XF-59 (around 9:1 or 8:2) to get this – let me call it – “ISAF green”. Starting the compressor, adding the thinned colour to the airbrush and holding the gun very close to the model with very low pressure is mainly the secret if you want to get this sharp-edge style. I know, on the original tank, these edges are much sharper, but for this 1:35-replica I’m pretty pleased with the results.
I added some more paints to other areas and it’s done.
I think the weathering is the part which is loved the most by a lot of modellers. Why? Because you can achieve a totally different look for your model with very little effort. And every time it’s a bit of a surprise because you actually don’t know how the effect will change the look of your model!
First step – before weathering the model – is to apply the decals to the model, to give them also the chance to get a weathered look. Always keep in mind how the original looks. This helps a lot, to answer the question, which step should done before another. Yes… every modeller tends to be impatient, but sometimes you have to be patient…
Adding some scratches with a fine brush (I think it was a 10/0) is the first step. Where would the crew run around on the tank? Which areas tend to become scratched by whatever? Which not? And how much is too much? Answer yourself these questions and you should know when enough is enough.
Next is to add some brown and dark wash to the whole model, blending it with enough spirits and the model already looks totally “deeper”. At this time I started to collect several sorts of filters, which were applied next - also blending them with spirits and helping them dry with a bit of air out of my airbrush is a very efficient way to achieve nice-looking results in a short time.
Now it’s time to add the add-on-plates to the whole model, before applying some pigments. The same rule here: Sometimes less could be more, but don’t worry: Most of the pigments can be washed away with some nitro thinner (e.g. Tamiya’s is very good for that).
But, wait, something is missing… yes… the tracks… I know. Okay, assemble them, paint them and give them also the pigments they deserve. And please don’t forget the area around the tracks and the road-wheels.
If we talk about road-wheels: Please MENG, can you tell me how is it possible to mount the front driving wheel without ruining it? The only way I found was to break it and glue it after assembly… not a very nice solution, but I don’t know a better one…
Add the track, place the side-skirts, maybe add some chains to the smoke launchers and don’t forget the antennas on the top – Ladies and gentlemen, that’s it. Enjoy the pictures and happy modelling.
A wonderful Kit by MENG! I see the market for modern military kits growing very strong in the last few years. This is a really pleasant trend. How’s about a M88A2, some MRAPs or more HEMMTT-versions? Feel free to surprise us!