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1:72 Pz.Kpfw II Ausf. J (VK16.01)


Jim H
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1:72 Pz.Kpfw II Ausf. J (VK16.01)
Flyhawk Models
Catalogue # FH3005-001
Available from Hobby Link Japan for ¥3,300 (approx. £24)

 

 

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Ok, so what is a large scale aircraft guy doing reviewing a tiny 1:72 kit, especially when it’s armour. The answer is simple. If a kit is beautifully made and presented, and the subject appeals, then I will happily take a closer look. Hell, I might even build it! Imagine that! The thing that particularly attracts me to Flyhawk is that these seem to be the DML kits of the 1:72 world, and they are so sweet, it’s like tasting candy, or cuddling up with a nice hot, malted milk drink. Have I lost the plot? Probably…..

 

Flyhawk’s armour range comes in the most attractive little boxes, with simple yet effective artwork. The back of the box shows the finished subject, complete with PE (yes, in this scale, supplied as standard), and the box sides show other releases in this range. Actually, the box isn’t strictly that. This is an outside box sleeve, and when you remove this, there is a very rigid corrugated box within, and this has a flap you lift, then reveals the contents of this top-opening package.

 

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Underneath the instructions sheet, the box is lined with a grey foam liner that is specifically cut to fit the shape of the sprues within. Removing the top layer, and then a photo etch sheet, then reveals more sprues that are packed into shaped foam, and boy, are you in for a treat. No sprues are bagged. This simply isn’t necessary when you see how the foam protects the parts. The kit itself contains the following:

 

  • 11 grey plastic sprues
  • 2 black plastic sprues
  • 1 sheet of photo etch parts
  • 1 decal sheet
  • 1 piece of nylon cord

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For a small kit, the Pz.Kpfw II certainly packs a parts-number punch. In fact, it actually looks like a 1:35 kit that has been miniaturised. Whilst not all tank tracks, for example, are individual, those that roll around the drive and idler wheels are separate parts. The main lengths are single pieces though. Flayhawk’s instructions for this are specific, with coloured ink showing where you need to bend the straight lengths, and also add the individual links into the chain. I really think there’s nothing to fear here, and that’s coming from a large-scale guy. The moulding of these tracks is also remarkable, with them giving the larger scale a serious run for their money.

 

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You’ll notice just how fine, in fact, filigree, these parts are, and not a single sign of flash anywhere. Sprue gates are also amazingly fine, meaning minimal clean up before assembly. There are two of these black sprues included (one for each side). Just make sure you pop the removed parts in a small tub for safety, as I don’t know if any spare links are included. Of course, there are a small number that will be fitted to the hull, as the tanks actual spare track parts.

 

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If we’re looking at tracks, then we may as well take a peek at the drive and idler, as well as the running gear. The latter parts are moulded onto a single sprue, and they are just as gorgeous as the tracks themselves, incorporating intricate spokes and exceptional bolt and rim detail. Notice how these parts are engineered too. A number of these wheels are moulded with connection arms and aren’t separate. These connections won’t be visible when assembled, and they add to the simplification of the wheel arrangement, as well as ensuring they all look even when fitted.

 

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Drive and idler wheels are included on the turret sprue, along with the drive transmission housing parts. I really hope my photos here do these justice. 

 

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Now let’s look at that turret. This is moulded in four main parts; base, turret, front and mantlet. I sincerely hope you can see the weld detail on the main turret part here. This is just amazing. Sprue gate attachments are also on the lower face of the turret and not the detail surface. This is a trend I’m seeing more often these days, and it’s one I like.

 

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The hull is just amazing. I’d love to share with you far more than my photographs allow, so I hope you can see what I do here. This is a two-part assembly, with the upper and lower hulls making up that remit.  The only sprue attachment here is a small length of plastic that sits in the turret ring. That’s it…..simples! External detail looks thorough and complete with fine rear louvres/hinged panels over the engine bay, plate and port detail, and the finest aerial whip mount you’ve ever seen. Moulded as a separate part is the forward plate onto which the vision ports are mounted.

 

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Detail is as thorough on the lower hull, including the rivet and port detail on the underside. Note that this part is moulded with the torsion arms for fitting the wheels. Both upper and lower hull parts fit together with precision that I can only class as scary! No gaps to be seen, and you could even believe that they were integrally moulded when seen. Both of thee parts are dry assembled and then fitted into the foam insert for protection within the box.

 

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The split forward and rear fenders of the Pz.I are supplied as separate parts that are again, very highly detailed with strake rib, and hinge detail where appropriate. Some PE detail will need to be added to these, in the form of stiffening fillets. The undersides of the fenders won’t be seen, and as such, this is where the minimal ejector pin marks are hidden. In fact, there is no issue with such marks anywhere on this kit, with all ejection points generally being ‘off part’, and carried on the sprue itself.

 

Interlocking sprues!!!!
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The remainder of parts include the fragile-looking tools, gun and muzzle etc. Again, the detail is as good as most large-scale counterpart kits. I really would use a razor saw to remove the majority of parts, so as not to load them with any uneven pressure that using cutters, could apply.

 

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In between the foam layers, lays a piece of stiffening card, inside a clear sleeve. Inserted in here is a single photo-etch metal fret, a single decal sheet, and a length of nylon cord for the towing cable. The PE contains grilles for the engine louvres, stiffening ribs for the fenders, clamps for securing the spare track links,  and a small number of lugs for lifting the turret into position. Quality is excellent, with small tags to aid clean removal.

 

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The single decal sheet contains the markings for TWO options. These are:

 

  1. 13. Verstaerkte Polizei – Panzer – Kompanie
  2. Pz.Abt.z.b.V.66, Autumn 1942

Decal production is nice and thin, with true colours and everything in perfect register.

 

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Instructions

 

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These take the form of a small, glossy sheet of paper that is folded in half. Construction is completed over 8 simple stages, PE parts being easily deciphered from the plastic ones. Colours are given for the scheme, with Mr Hobby and Tamiya codes supplied. The schemes themselves are printed in full colour to aid the modeller.

 

Conclusion
This, simply put, is an amazing little kit that is bursting with both buldability and wow factor. It’s also perfectly engineered and the detail really is outstanding. You might pay a little more for this than a contemporary kit of the same scale, but you really do get what you pay for, and these appear to be the Gold Standard of 1:72 armour kits. I know I’ve seen nothing as good as these, ever. Watch out for a magazine build as soon as I can clear out my workshop!

 

VERY highly recommended

 

My sincere thanks to Flyhawk for the review sample. To purchase directly, click HERE.

 

 

 

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That's just extraordinary Jim - beautifully manufactured and presented AND interlocking sprues! What a way to prevent transit damage - brilliant. I may be converted !!

I'd never have thought of 1/72 for a project in the recent past so reviews like yours just go to show how useful new product write ups are. Cosmic!!

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