by: Sal [ ]
This is a review of Dragons newly released kit # 6812, Pz. BeoB.Wg.II Ausf.C 2 in 1 kit. This tank is an artillery observation vehicle that was based on the Pz. II Tank chassis. The Panzer II was widely used in early campaigns of WWII and featured as its main armament the 2cm Kw.K30 L/55 cannon and a coaxial MG34, although the main gun was ineffective in the anti-tank role, but the chassis continued to be used for specialized vehicles such as the Marder tank destroyerv and Bison SPG. For this artillery observation vehicle (Beobachtungswagen) the armament was retained, and its most obvious external recognition feature was the fitting of a frame antenna on the rear deck. These Pz.Beob.Wg vehicles were successfully used in the target acquisition and artillery fire observation roles primarily with self-propelled gun units. Information on these vehicles is rare but I was able to find 3 photos of this tank 2 that were among some self-propelled artillery such as Hummelís and Marders.
This kit comes in a box that is shorter in height then the typical Dragon kit and features the new Dragon style of box art on the cover, and several computer graphic images of the details on the bottom. Once you open the box you immediately notice that there is no Dragon Card, the piece of cardboard with all the PE, decals, clear sprues and Magic Tracks attached to it. The instruction sheet is the typical 3 page, Dragon black, white and blue fold out instructions. The front page shows the sprues and their letter designation while the inner pages have a paint color chart followed by 21 assembly steps and the Paint and Markings guide on the back page. The box if filled with assorted gray plastic sprues of all different sizes that have all sorts of markings on them, Pz II B, Pz II B/C, Pz II F, Marder II, and Bison II. So it appears that Dragon has included many of their older sprues in with this kit. Also included are 3 clear sprues, 2 bags of Magic Tracks, 2 small PE brass frets, 2 turrets, a one-piece lower hull and a small bag containing 3 metal U shaped wires. There are also 2 small decal sheets with assorted markings. The smaller one is marked 6812 and the larger sheet is marked 6687 which is Dragons Pz.Kpfw.II Ausf.A Smart kit.
As previously noted this Kit contains several sprues that were marked for different kits. Normally Dragons diagram of sprues with their letter designation is pretty good, showing the pieces that wonít be used shaded in blue. However, with this kit using this chart will be difficult as the letters and shapes of the sprues are incorrectly represented. For instance, the instruction sheet shows sprue Dx2, Ex2, Fx2, G, Hx2, but 1 sprue of each of them are attached together making up 1 large sprue which could cause some confusion to the builder. The last page of the Instruction sheet shows 2 paint and marking schemes, both from unidentified units. In Dragons normal fashion they list the color codes to be used, however one color code listed, H80/54 is not listed on the color chart of page 2 of the instruction booklet.
The first 2 steps of the instructions are the construction of the lower hull. Here Dragon did a great job reproducing the control arms and even the rubber part of the road wheels has small lettering on them. Flipping through the instruction booklet shows that this kit comes with a complete interior, engine, radios, driverís seat and controls which affords the builder the option of leaving the hatches open or not gluing down the upper hull so that the attractively detailed interior can be seen. The instructions also call for using the turret that has a nicely detailed weld marks and a round, commanderís copula so Iím not too sure why Dragon chose to include one with a square opening as well. The turret that the instruction sheet tells you to use has 4 very detailed side openings that are each made up of 5 pieces. Here again, the interior of the turret is filled with a comprehensively displayed armament of the main gun, which has the barrel hollowed out, and the MG 34, so building the kit with the view hatches in the open position is recommended.
The upper hull is appealingly equipped with all the tools, storage boxes, lights and a good looking diamond pattern molded into the fender tops. Then we come to what makes this Pz II the Beob version, the box shaped antenna thatís gets mounted onto the rear upper hull. Sprue K has the 12 pieces that make up this portion of the kit. Here they give 2 different options one for an antenna that is level or one that slopes downwards to the back of the tank.
As mentioned the kit is supplied with what I preferred, a set of Magic Tracks and the instruction booklet even tells you to use 99 links for each side.
Also as previously mentioned the instruction booklet contains a paint guide for three brands of paint, GSI Creos Corp. Aqueous Hobby Color, GSI Creos Corp. Mr. Color and Model Master Color. The paint guide diagram offers only 3 views of the tank, the left side, front and back view of the tank.
This kit looks like it will build up into a highly detailed version of a specialized Pz.II Ausf. C. The parts are plentiful, detailed and do not display any punch marks or excessive flash that would require extra clean up. If you are a fan of the Pz. II or if you are looking for an Observation vehicle to go along with your Self-propelled Artillery unit, then this kit is a must have to round out your collection. The kit has the respectable quality that one would expect from a Dragon kit.