Wednesday, June 22

In-Boxed: Pz. Kpfw II Ausf L Luchs in 72nd scale from Flyhawk Model

A while ago we saw some cute little 1/72 Renault Ft-17 tanks of WWI era from Flyhawk Model. Now this range of quality dinky tanks is continued with the WWII Pz. Kpfw II Ausf L Luchs tank in the same scale. Is it any good? Clayton has built it up to show you just what working with a little one is all about…


In-Boxed: Pz. Kpfw II Ausf L Luchs
From: Flyhawk Model
1/72nd scale
Product number: FH3002S
Includes: Plastic sprues (213pcs) Resin x I , Photoetch (44pcs), Waterslide decals
Price: ¥3,420/ USD $32.73/ €28.96 from Hobbylink Japan

Whilst I generally find myself building 35th and 48th scale armour, the fact of the matter is, a tank is a tank, and I love them in all scales. When the opportunity arose to have a look at this new release from Flyhawk, I was pretty excited. I had seen one of their previous releases, the FT17 - and was extremely impressed at the detail and general fit of that kit. My hope was that this new release would be of the same high level as the FT17’s. First a little about the Luchs…
History of the Luchs
Designed by the MAN Corporation and produced by the MAN and Henschel factories, the ‘Luchs’ or Lynx was the last version of the Panzer II.
The obvious difference with the Ausf L, or Luchs, when compared with earlier versions of the Panzer II, was the introduction of the interleaved wheels. The Panzer II had always suffered, with mobility and range issues in its role of reconnaissance, so some of these shortcomings were addressed in this version of the tank.
The Ausf L also saw additional armour on the sides and the front (30mm) which elevated its’ weight to 11.8 T. It was fitted with a more powerful Maybach HL66P engine and with the ZF Aphon SSG48 Gearbox. The new engine and gearbox pairing saw the vehicle reach speeds of 60km/h on road and 42 km/h cross country.
The rearranged hull configuration also allowed for larger fuel tanks, extending the range of the vehicle to 290 km.
The vehicle now had a crew of 4, meaning the Commander could now focus on his own role. The Luchs also saw upgrades in the radio system giving it a greater range. The gun remained as the 20mm see in earlier vehicles, however, it now carried 320 rounds, including many Armour Piercing rounds.
104 units were produced in total, the first of which saw action in September 1943. The Luchs fought up to the end of the war and saw action on both the Eastern and Western fronts.
The Luchs became known as the ‘Ultimate Scout Tank’.
THE KIT
The box art, and packaging in general is of a high standard and very attractive in the scheme of things.  I guess they say, you can’t judge a book by its’ cover, so let’s take a closer look.
 The kit contains 213 plastic parts. It also contains 1 x photo-etch fret (44 pcs), instructions and decal sheet as well as a small printed card display base.
As an added bonus, there is a small tank commander figure included.
The instruction sheet is small but adequate. It is a single page with a fold, essentially giving Two and a Half pages of construction and one page for the colour scheme.   There are multiple constructions in each step, however the drawings seem well proportioned and clear to follow.
The decal sheet is again very small, but it is a 1/72 scale model….and for that matter, the Luchs was a very small tank!
All looks in good register with an exceptional level of crisp detail.

The noted colour scheme and decals have no reference to the details of the actual vehicle, so perhaps a little research is in order here?
To be honest, the bonus figure supplied with the set looked a little unremarkable out of the box.  The pose was nice enough and looked to be in scale, but the details looked very soft out of the box.  I did try to put a quick wash on the figure to bring out some detail, but that wasn’t overly successful.
I must now confess, though, once I primed the little guy, he absolutely came to life (as you see in later pics). The details are actually very good, and the facial sculpting is excellent, so be sure you prime, or at least reserve judgment before you paint him.  He is actually a really nice inclusion in this kit.
The chassis and engine deck are actually supplied in two pieces. They actually came out of the box together, hence they were photographed that way. The fit is so good they sat perfectly together without glue. It was only once I started the construction I figured out they were two pieces.

Tiny tank, but the details are lovely. The upper hull, phto etch will cover these engine vents.
The underside of the hull and the alternate torsion bars on display
The running rails and top, section of the tank, as well as the rise and the turret, are all supplied as individual pieces.  The grab handles on the drivers hatches have been moulded into the model, however, there are PE pieces supplied for these details for the brave of heart….they are miniscule… too small for me. At this scale, I'll stick with the moulded ones.
The top of the hull box and the turret - Small again, but full of detail. Notice the weld seams ont he turret edges?
Sprue I contains the Jerry Cans and toolboxes. Some of which will not be required for this build. Obviously for other Panzer II releases.
Sprue O contains some tools, the exhaust and the parts of the gun mantlet.
Some of these parts are very fine and will take some car to remove.
Sprues M and N – Tools and tool boxes, antenna mast and bits and pieces including the barrel. Again there are some very fine parts here that will require care to remove and then clean up. The moulded piece for the ‘Stern’ or star antenna is found here also. A P/E alternative is supplied for this piece which I would strongly encourage the modeller use.
The width indicators (part 3) are also cast on sprue N, but I have no idea how anyone would have the patience to try and use them successfully. Far too fragile for my taste in this scale.
2 sets of Sprue L contain the running gear for the model. Details all looks to be crisp and the layered wheels should build up well.
Sprue K contains the drive sprockets, turret base and other small details including the jack and the commanders’ hatch.
2 frets of the track sprues. I can feel this is going to be a grind. At least it is just the individual tracks to run around the drive sprocket and idler wheel. The links are tiny and will require a great deal of patience to assemble cleanly.
Don’t let this picture fool you. This fret and the pieces on it are very, very small. The detail in the engine grills and the mesh covers is very fine. The Star antenna will be a nice touch also. I have to say, in reality, I don’t know who would use those handles (part 11) and hooks (part 4). Even if you were to get them on the model, it would be only a matter of time before they flicked off, never to be seen. I love that they are included and there if someone was game, but in reality, at this scale, I just can’t imagine many people would even attempt them.

The jerry can racks will add some fine lines and detail to the side of the turret and look to be shaped and prepared nicely for the folding.
Finally, the printed card display base in all its’ glory. Could come in handy down the track.
Construction was challenging at times due to the fine nature and size of a lot of the parts. That said, the general fit and pieces all were great. The individual tracks weren’t as time-consuming as I was thinking they might be. They will deter some, but once it is over you forget about the process pretty quickly.

Building the kit:
Although the kit pretty much falls together in a few steps unfortunately, a couple of pieces broke when trying to clean them up. One being the barrel and the antenna mast. The barrel was glued back together, but I substituted steel wire for the antenna mast.
I attempted most of the PE parts, but the grab handles and the tiny hooks around the tank were just too small for this modeller. To be honest, I didn’t think there would be an advantage in using them. The detail on the moulded parts was excellent to start with.
I also made an error with the placement of the grills over the engine hatches, and due to their fine nature and the superglue, that is where they will stay. So don’t tell anyone! Just thought I should point it out so others don’t make the same mistake.
As mentioned earlier, the width indicators on the sprues were pretty useless, so I used fine wire to simulate those on the model. A drop of PVA glue was used to try and replicate the ball on the end.

Conclusion
When I had a look online, I saw this model selling for only around the $25 AUD mark. For a model with this level of detail and inclusion that is essentially giving it away.
This is a beautiful example of a high end, 1/72 model. It has all the bells and whistles. There will be absolutely no need for additional etch or resin parts to this. The only thing I would have loved would have been an aluminium barrel, but really, the one in the kit is supplied in one piece and really is adequate.
I will say this, be prepared. This kit is a far cry from the old Matchbox, ‘Diorama in a box’ 1/72 tank, this is a serious model and should be treated as such. Don’t let the small scale fool you. You will need a folding tool, super glue, tweezers, good eyesight and a fine touch.

The figure and the tank undercoated - ready for top-coat sometime soon.
There is a great deal of skill required to assemble this, and hence, I would only recommend it to the skilled modeller. It will take time and patience to build this.
All in all, this kit presents outstanding value for money and is beautiful representation of the Pz.Kpfw II Ausf L  Luchs in 1/72 scale. Another beautiful Flyhawk release.

The tank put together in its base to show you the size and some more features of this tiny kit
Clayton Ockerby

See more of Clayton’s work at his (all new) website “Workbench Hobbies” or join him on his Facebook page
To see more of Flyhawk Models’s kits, take a look at their Website…