Monday, November 28

Build Review: 1/72nd scale Pz.Kpfw II Ausf L LUCHS with Zusatzpanzerung from Flyhawk Model

Having already made one of these lovely little Luchs in 72nd scale from Flyhawk Model, who better to send the second kit in the series – the “Pz..Kpfw II Ausf.L Luchs with Zusatzpanzerung” in the same scale? If you want to see this kit built up – or just don't know what the tarnation Zusatzpanzerung is, then maybe you should see his review...

Build Review: Pz.Kpfw II Ausf.L LUCHS with Zusatzpanzerung
Manufacturer: Flyhawk Model
1/72nd scale
Product # FH3003
Product Link.

A number of months ago, I had the pleasure of being introduced to the Flyhawk range of 1/72 armour. I was lucky enough to review, assemble and paint the initial release of the Flyhawk Models, Panzer II Luchs. I was really impressed with the level of detail and I, in many ways, really underestimated the workload involved in a little kit like that.
When the opportunity arose to review their next release, the Panzer II Ausf. L with zusatzpanzerung, I happily took on the task with the view of comparing the two models. Would there be enough variation in the Luchs to warrant someone to buy a variation on the initial release? Well, let's take a look…
The word, ‘Zusatzpanzerung’, literally translates to mean ‘add-on armour’. which is one of the key differences from previous variants of this model. This release sees a large armour plate added to the front of the tank as well as spare tracks and a slatted style of armour to protect the driver. The other main differences that I could detect was the Jerry cans were fitted at the rear of the tank rather than the turret and there was the addition of smoke grenade launchers in their place. A couple of additional storage bins protrude off the back guards of the vehicle as well as a couple hanging off the back of the turret. Other than that, the model is pretty much the same as the previous release.

Again, the box is packed full of tiny sprues. The initial release included a figure, which isn’t present in this release. Other than that, the kit looks very familiar.
The suspension arms are moulded onto the chassis of the tank. The upside of this is everything will be perfectly aligned…the downside is your tank will be displayed on a flat surface. That said, more often that not that will suit most modellers. The picture also shows the engine deck in place on the lower section. The fit is so good you could be mistaken for thinking it was moulded in one piece.
As you can see. The model is tiny, measuring only 60mm long.

Although this model is tiny, Flyhawk has still paid attention to details on the underside of the model

The turret, top deck and rails and the mount are all beautifully moulded with a very high level of precision and detail.

Sprues J and I contains the Jerry cans, toolboxes as well as the spaced armour. There are a couple of options with that amour depending on how you want to pose the model. I believe these sprues are the additional sprues included in this release in order to represent this version of the tank.

Sprue M contains the guards and more storage boxes

Sprue N is the tools and the moulded antenna. I will be using the PE supplied one for this piece, as this looks very bulky.

Sprue O has the suspension as well as the mantlet, exhaust and commanders’ hatch. Detail is very fine and well moulded.

Sprue L contains the running gear that will later build into the recognisable wheel set of the Luchs.

Sprue K contains the drive wheels, covers and hatches. The teeth in these drive wheels were a little heavy for my liking, and would later go on to give me some trouble.

Two trees of sprue F give us our link and length tracks.

Decal sheet is predictably small but is in perfect register. There are six supplied decal options for this model.

The etch supplied with the kit is quite extensive, and very fine. Realistically, 90% of the people that build this model won’t use a couple of those parts, because quite frankly, they are too small to make a difference. The remaining 10% can go for it, but to me, parts 4, 5 11 and 12 is more work than I could bare.

The fuel can racks, mesh grills, aerial and brackets are lovely additions in scale thickness to enhance your model.

Unfortunately, as you can see in this picture, the etch was so fine, that it was starting to disintegrate just through handling it. It is a shame this one slipped through quality control because there are a few key pieces there that would make a big difference to the finished model. I always give my etch a light sand prior to using it, but that completely destroyed a couple of the pieces. Unfortunately, I lost one of the engine grills as well as one of part 3. They literally disintegrated in my fingers.

The instructions are a single page folded in half. Construction is completed over 6 steps, with multiple tasks at each stage. It is a little odd that the instruction suggests the running gear and tracks are applied prior to completing step 1. Wouldn’t it have been better to just show that in the instructions ?

And as a little value add, you receive the small, 100mm x 130mm, printed cobblestone base to display your model on.

It is a funny thing, because essentially I had built this model before, but it felt like a different model in parts.

The link and length tracks gave me no trouble in the initial build, but during this current build, I had a really hard time getting them to sit cleanly around the drive wheels. It was a real struggle and I had to resort to using a file to open up the teeth a little to try and persuade the tracks to settle cleanly. This part of the model is far from perfect, but given the scale, it will be hard to notice in the cabinet.

The other real downer with this build was the issues with the PE fret. I lost one of the grills and one of the hatch covers. They literally disintegrated in my fingers. The engine grill was the biggest disappointment as it is such a feature on the model. I will put it down to battle damage, or hide it with some stowage perhaps. Gee I love armour modelling.

Other than the tracks and the issues with the photo etch, everything else from a construction point of view ran well. As mentioned earlier, I did choose not to use some of the tiny PE parts, but I honestly believe, at this scale, the amount of time that would go into using them would be lost, and would make the model extremely difficult to handle during the painting and weathering process.

Be warned. Don’t underestimate this model. There is a lot of detail and a lot of construction time required on it. I estimate I spent about 4 to 5 hours on the build alone… so don’t think you will throw this little 1/72nd tank together in an hour or two.

I do wonder though, how successful a release like this will be for Flyhawk Model. It is such a niche subject and scale, and given the complexity of the build, it really narrows the market down for a model like this. Also, consider they have only just released another Luchs not so long ago. So it would be essentially be competing against that model for the builders’ attention.
That said, I found the model enjoyable, and there were enough differences between this and the initial Luchs release to keep me interested. On top of all that, the price point for these models is amazing. Here in Australia, they are selling for around $25 AUD (last time I looked), which represents very good value for money.

So if you are prepared to invest some time in a lovely little Luchs, this could be the model for you. Be patient and use soft hands, and you will reap the rewards of this delicate little model.

Clayton Ockerby

For more on this kit, Distributors and all of their other releases, check out the Flyhawk Model Website.
See more of Clayton’s work at his (all new) website “Workbench Hobbies” or join him on his Facebook page