ICM 1/35 Pz.Kpfw.II Ausf.L 'Luchs' Kit First Look
By Ray Mehlberger
|Date of Review||April 2008||Manufacturer||ICM|
|Subject||Pz.Kpfw.II Ausf.L 'Luchs'||Scale||1/35|
|Kit Number||35121||Primary Media||Styrene|
|Pros||Neat German light recon tank. Neat commander figure. Generous marking options||Cons||None noticeable|
|Skill Level||Basic||MSRP (USD)||$8.40 on up to $64.00 (depending on where you shop)|
The light tank, Pz.Kpfw.II Ausf.L “Luchs” (Lynx) represented the final German effort at light tank production and also the logical completeness of the Pz.Kpfw.II family.
On September 15th, 1939, the German Army Weapons Branch of the Nazi Reich called for a new general reconnaissance vehicle. According to the contract, Man built the chassis and hull and Daimler Benz constructed the turret. The prototype of the tank appeared in mild steel in mid-1942, under the development number VK 1303 and successfully completed trials at the proving ground. However, some modifications were necessary in order to equip the vehicle for the rough terrain of the Eastern Front. The tank was equipped with a powerful long and short wave wireless for communication. It’s 20mm automatic gun and 7.92 mm machine-gun was standard equipment for German light tanks. A tank commander, gunner, driver and wireless operator formed the crew.
The powerful engine and comparatively low combat weight was a positive feature of the tank. The chassis (designed by Kniekampf) had good cross-country capability, which was especially important in the lack of road conditions on the Eastern Front.
Because of certain similarity between the Pz.Kpfw. V “Panther” and the Pz.Kpfw. II Ausf. L, the light tank was named after a smaller natural predator “Luchs” (Lynx). The serial-built tanks were given the designation Pz.Kpfw. II Ausf. L “Luchs” (Sd.Kfz. 123).
Serial production lasted from the end of 1942 to the beginning of 1944, with 133 tanks being produced in total. 116 tanks were assembled by MAN and the remaining 18 by Henschel.
The “Luchs” was commissioned into the armored reconnaissance units of 3, 4, 6 and 116 Wehrmacht Tank Divisions (Pz. Div.) and the 3rd SS Tank Division (3rd Pz.Div. SS “Totenkopf”). The “Luchs” first went into action on October 25th, 1943 in the Ukraine. On that day, Pz.Kpfw. II Ausf. L tanks, commanded by Hauptmann Kelsch of 2nd Company 4th Tank Reconnaissance Battalion, 4th Tank Division, were deployed against soviet partisans in the Kiev region, near Chernobyl. In May 1945, the 4th Tank Division possessed seven Pz.kpfw. II Ausf. L’s in combat condition.
The “Luchs” was deployed on the Eastern Front, Italy, Normandy and in Germany during the final months of the Nazi Reich, gaining positive ratings from their crews.
ICM is a prolific model company based in the Ukraine.
This kit comes in a tray and lid type box. The boxart shows a “Luchs” going down a road through a woods. There is a sign post that says “Chernobil 5 km” and below it is another sign that says “Actung! Partisanen!”. In the background is a village that appears to have its buildings on fire. The “Luchs” is in overall earth yellow with a red number 215 on the turret sides outlined in white. It carries the German black and white cross on a storage bin on the fender. The commander of the tank is sitting on top of the turret with his legs dangling in the hatch. He wears a winter white smock, a soft peaked cap and is holding a pair of binoculars.
A side panel of the box has the color boxarts of 4 other AFV kits that ICM markets. Strangely, no kit numbers are with these, just their names: A Soviet T-25, a Soviet T-35. a Soviet IT-28 bridge layer, and a British Cromwell IV. The other side-panel has one-paragraph histories of the “Luchs” in 4 languages, that are labeled with the flags of the countries that speak those languages (including English) and ICM’s address in the Ukraine.
Inside the box are two large light tan parts trees (that fill the tray in all 4 directions tightly), 2 identical steel colored, medium sized trees, a small light gray tree, all in large sealed cello bag. The loose decal sheet and the instructions complete the kit’s contents.
The instructions consist of a single sheet that accordion folds out into 6 pages of 8” x 11 ¾” format. Page 1 begins with a black and white repeat of the boxart, followed by the history of the “Luchs” in Ukrainian and English.
Page 2 begins with the parts trees illustrations, followed by international assembly symbol explanations.
Pages 3 and 4 give a total of 8 exploded assembly drawings. Step 7 is for the commander figure and painting him. He is posed exactly like the boxart illustration. However, you are supposed to scratchbuild a strap to put on the binoculars.
Page 5 has no less than 5 painting and marking schemes, shown as 3-views.
- A “Luchs” of the 4th Pz. Div., Ukraine, Chernobyl, October 1943. It is in matt desert yellow (sandbraun, matt), with the red turret number outlined in white of 215 on the turret sides. The black and white German national cross on the side of storage bins on the fender. The white division marking of a white upside-down letter “Y” next to two white dots on the front and rear hull and a white tactical symbol for a reconnaissance vehicle of a tank unit. (the boxart subject)
- A “Luchs” of the 3rd Pz.Div., Western Ukraine, Winter 1943-1944. Also in matt desert Yellow. It carries the turret number 41 in black, the black and white German cross on the bins on the fender. The division insignia of a black upside-down letter “Y” with 2 dots next to it on the passenger side rear fender and driver’s side front plate. It has the same tactical sign as the first scheme but in black
- A “Luchs” of the 4th Pz. Div., Poland, Summer 1944. This one is in a base of matt Desert yellow with a camouflage of matt dark green blotches over it. It carries the turret Number 201 in red with white outline, black and white German cross on the storage bins on the fenders. The white tactical insignia on the front and rear. And the white division marking that the first scheme also carries
- A “Luchs” of the 116th Pz. Div., Normandy, 1944. This one is in a base of matt desert Yellow with a camouflage of red-brown blotchs over it. It carries the turret number 1121 in red with white outline, the black and white German cross on the storage bins on the fenders and the division insignia of an oval with a galloping horse on it, in white on the front and rear
- A “Luchs” of the 3rd Pz. Div. SS “Totenkopf”, Poland 1944. This one is in a base of Desert yellow with a camouflage of dark green and red-brown blotches over it. It carries the turret number 101 in white. The black and white German cross on the storage bins on the fenders and the white “Death’s head” divisional insignia front and rear
Page 10 of the instructions begins with “Cautions” in 4 languages (including English), followed by a listing of Humbol and Testors brand paints, suggested to use to finish the model. The bottom of the page has decal application instructions in the same four languages. ICM’s address and phone number are at the bottom of the page.
Large light tan letter A part tree holds all the hull and turret parts.(12 parts)
Large light tan letter B part tree holds: road wheels, drive sprockets, idler wheels, suspension arms, muffler, jack, storage bins, antenna, spare tracks, tools, jerry cans etc. (112 parts)
There are two identical letter C part trees. They hold the individual track links. (104 parts per tree)
Small light gray letter D part tree holds all the parts for the commander figure. He is divided into separate torso, arms, legs, head, cap, pistol holster, ear phones, and a pair of binoculars (12 parts)
The decal sheet (already described above) completes the kit’s contents.
This is a neat little light German tank kit. I have always like the look of the “Luchs”.