Academy 1/35 Pz.Bef.Wg.35(t) Command Tank Build Review
By Larry Horyna
|Date of Review||November 2015||Manufacturer||Academy|
|Subject||Pz.Bef.Wg.35(t) Command Tank||Scale||1/35|
|Kit Number||13313||Primary Media||Styrene|
|Pros||Nice details, easy build||Cons||No anti-slip texture|
|Skill Level||Experienced||MSRP (USD)||$39.00|
When Nazi Germany occupied Bohemia-Moravia in 1939 they acquired the Skoda tank works among other Czech armament firms. One of the principle Czech tank designs used by the Germans was the light tank Model 35. The letter t designation is for the German work for Czech, or tschechisch. Of the four hundred thirty-four Model 35 light tanks built, the Germans seized two hundred and forty-four. Academy's new 1/35 scale kit is a command tank variant (Panzer Befehlswagen). These were used by the Germans in the early stages of the war, primarily the invasion of Poland, France and the initial invasion of the Soviet Union. By 1942 they were sold off or retired. The tank was armed with two MG 37(t) machine guns and the main armament of one KwK 34(t) gun. This fired a 1.8 lb armor piercing shell.
Academy's kit is molded in dark grey plastic. The tracks are injection molded and come as a combination of individual links and sections. The single links are for going around the drive sprockets while the solid sections are for under the road wheels and top of the return rollers. A very nice touch is the built-in "sag" of the track along the return rollers.
Assembly of the box construction hull is straight forward and posed no problems at all. There are lots of little wheels though! The only thing I found a little odd in the assembly sequence was that the instructions had you put the driver half figure in before putting the upper hull on! That's really strange to me. I ended up shaving the bottom edges of the driver figure to I could place him in the tank AFTER it was painted. That makes much more sense to me.
The kit supplies two photo etch parts for the mud guards on the front fenders. This is the only real construction problem I ran into. Now I have worked with photo etch parts for a long time and I have to tell you, you cannot bend them the way the instructions wanted you to. When you are looking at a flat photo etch piece of metal, you can bend it toward or away from you. You cannot bend it "up" or "down" along the flat axis, which is what the instructions were asking me to magically do. If you know of a way you can bend flat metal this way, you're a better man than I (not to mention someone who can manipulate metal with your mind!). The only solution was to cut the piece and fill in the corner with epoxy putty. It did not help that the photo etch parts had no bending lines for reference either! You have to measure the distance for the bend. Fortunately, this is not a very complex shape and in the end, it's optional as I am sure the heavy rubber mud guards were torn off or removed on some tanks.
The rest of construction posed no problems. This was a fun armor build in that being all panzer grey, I could build the entire vehicle, track and all, then paint. I started by primering the entire model with Tamiya XF-1 Flat Black. This was followed by successive highlights of XF-69 Nato Black, XF-63 German Grey and a final highlight of XF-63 lightened with a little XF-2 Flat White. I lightly spray the center of a given area, leaving the darker color on the edges. This was followed by Future Floor Polish for the kit decals.
Aside from the physically impossible bend for the photo etch mud guards, the decals were the only bad part of this kit. My recommendation; don't use them. Use dry transfers or aftermarket decals. The kit decals did not respond to setting solution (both Micro Sol and Solveset) and silvered. I ended up touching them up around the edges to minimize the silvering.
Following the decals, I used a dark brown MIG enamel wash followed by Pane's Grey artist oils. I then dry brushed the entire tank with a light grey oil paint. The track was painted by first giving it a heavy acrylic wash of red brown followed by dry brushing with Tamiya XF-56 Metallic Grey. Next all of the details were painted such as the pioneer tools, jack, storage box and exhaust. Lastly the tow cable was attached. This was kit supplied and consisted of white wound thread that you glue the plastic ends to. After attaching the cable I painted it with Tamiya XF-56 Metallic Grey.
The last thing I added were the kit supplied figures. These were actually quite nice for injection molded figures. The faces were especially well cast. I hollowed out the head phone braces and added wires for the them made from fine solder wire. The kit supplied decals for some of the uniform markings. This is a neat idea and with good decals would work quite well. As it was, I had to fight the decals and in the end, I think it would have been easier to just paint the shoulder boards and collar insignia. You still have to paint the piping that goes around the collar anyway! The last detail was the radio antenna which I made for fine wire.
The end result is a very nice little model with no aftermarket required to make a good looking replica. Again, avoid using the kit decals and you will find this to be a most pleasing and simple build. Highly recommended for fans of early war German armor.
Thanks to MRC for this review sample.