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1/35 German PzKpfw.II Ausf.J (VK16.01)

Bruce Adam

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1/35 German PzKpfw.II Ausf.J (VK16.01)

Hobby Boss
Catalogue # 83803
Available from Creative Models for £24.99





The VK 1601 whilst designated as a PzKpfw II was almost a completely new design from what we know as the PzKpfw II. The initial development of this vehicle started in late 1939, and was joint venture between MAN and Daimler Benz. The key features of this vehicle were the heavy armour (up to 80mm think on the front) and the overlapping road wheels that would be a familiar feature on the later Tiger, Panther, and Tiger 2 families.

Primary armament was a 20mm cannon as well as a coaxial MG 34 machine gun. With an all up weight of 18 tonnes and power provided by a 150 hp Maybach engine, the top speed was a modest 31 kph, which seems far from ideal for a reconnaissance vehicle.

Initial production was delayed and in the end only 22 vehicles were produced under the designation PzKpfw II Ausf J, and some of these reportedly saw action on the Eastern front,



Hobby Boss has to be congratulated for continuing to fill the gaps in WWII armoured vehicles and this is no exception. The VK1601 is an interesting vehicle, and is very reminiscent of a small scale Tiger 1 with wide tracks and thick armour.

The kit comes in a sturdy two piece box with nice artwork of a VK 1601 ambling through eastern Europe. The kit itself is presented on 12 sprues plus a small photoetch fret, decals for a single vehicle, clear film for the periscopes, and a length of string for the tow cable.

The total styrene parts count is 260 of which 74 are the link and length tracks, so this should be a reasonably quick build.




SPRUE A (x2)




This sprue comprises the suspension, drive, idler, and road wheels as well as the housings for the front mounted drive wheels. Moulding is very clean with zero flash. There are quite large "knock off nodes" on some of the smaller parts but there are zero sink marks as a result. The inner and outer road wheels feature very nice fluted rims as shown below.







SPRUE B (x2)




Sprue B is a small duplicate sprue made up of 4 of the 8 suspension arms, the prominent circular hatches on the side of the hull, as well as the periscopes, lights, u-bolts, and the end for the tow cable. The latter are slide moulded and just require the supplied string to be slid into the open ends. The lenses for the front lights are simply discs of tan plastic and should be replaced with aftermarket clear lenses such as MV or the like.






The dominant feature of this sprue are the four fenders that seem far too large for such a small vehicle. As with the rest of this kit the moulding is very clean with zero flash.











This sprue comprises all of the parts that make up the turret. The turret itself is split horizontally and features very subtle weld details on the plate joints. There are two different one-piece slide moulded barrels for the 20mm main gun. There are some excellent photos of an operational vehicle in http://planetarmor.com/forums/showthread.php?t=6532 . These photos seem to suggest using the shorter barrel. The barrels in the kit are pretty nice and do not scream out for a metal replacement.









This small sprue is made up of the jack and hold down clamps, jack block, tool box and a track removing lever. The woodgrain on the jack block is a bit heavy, but will be fine under a coat of paint. The ends of the block are perfectly smooth so you might consider roughing these up a bit.






This comprises the remainder of the on vehicle tools. There are no hold-down clasps, but these could be easily raided from any number of aftermarket sets.







As with many other Hobby Boss armour kits, the upper and lower hulls are moulded separately and are packed in separate plastic bags. As can be seen from the following photos the fit of these two parts straight out of the box is very good. Please note however, the join of these two parts at the front must be eliminated as it does not correspond with any joint in the actual armour. My advice would be to glue, fill, and sand these two parts early on in the assembly process, and certainly before gluing parts C14 and C13 in Step 2.









SPRUE R (2x)




These two sprues contain the large link and length tracks. Whilst moulded very cleanly there are some accuracy issues when I compare them to published photos of the actual vehicle. The first of these is the pins that secure one track to another. In Spielberger's Motorbuch Verlag book on the Panzer 1 and 2 families, these pins are quite visible on the picture on page 109. The tracks in the kit however, do not have any representation of these pins whatsoever. The second issue I have is with the pattern on the face of the tracks, they look different to the photos I have seen. Lastly the surrounds of the hollow guide horns do not look quite as fine as those shown in reference photos however, they are 1000% better than having solid guide horns.






Apart from the aforementioned concerns with the tracks this all looks very nice and should look excellent once built up.



There is a single small photoetch fret with 49 parts. These are all very cleanly etched with nice fold lines for the fender supports. The sheet itself is quite thick which I prefer especially for structural elements like the fender supports.

There is also a length of string to represent the tow cable. This is fluffy and fat and no use whatsoever and should be replaced with some brass cable or decent "non-fluffy" string.

Two of the three clear parts are used to provide the glass for the two large armoured visors in the front of the upper hull.





The small white decal sheet provides a single marking option. The unit depicted is not mentioned in the marking and painting guide, but does match reference photos. I can only assume that the vehicle is part of the 12th Panzer Division as this is mentioned as the operational unit for this tank on the box.

The decals themselves are thin and glossy and look to be very usable. Do not be concerned that the decal sheet is labelled 1/72 this is a simply a "typo".





The instruction booklet provides the nine steps required to complete this model. The first page is a part map with numbers clearly visible. The assembly instructions are large and very clear.










Finally there is a separate full colour page with a five view illustration of the final colour scheme and decal placement. With only five decals to apply, this will be a quick process. The paint references are for Gunze, Vallejo, Model Master, Tamiya, and Humbrol.

Note if you want something a little more colourful, check the reference photos as there were certainly some camouflaged schemes as well as overall grey.




Despite the track issues I really like this model. The subject is an interesting vehicle that has a really unique look to it. The closest thing I can equate it to is a little Tiger 1. The moulding is excellent and it should be a quick build.

Very highly recommended.

Bruce A


Our sincere thanks to Creative Models Ltd for the review sample used here. To purchase directly, click link.



Once consequence of a relatively poor start to the New Zealand summer is that I have been able to assemble the bulk of this interesting little tank. The following photos show the results. In order to simplify painting I have left off the tracks and outer road wheels as well as the machine gun and a couple of the pioneer tools.










The fit of this kit is simply outstanding, with almost zero trimming and no filler. The road wheels require a bit of cleanup to get rid of the mould seam, but really that is it. This is right up there with the very best. What you see is around 10 hours work, for someone who not a fast modeller.


My initial impressions of this as being a very nice little model were right on the money and this deserves to be a popular subject for armour modellers.





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