ARM: Review - DML 1/35 scale s.IG 33 15 cm auf Pzkw. II

Kit Review: Dragon Models Limited 1/35 scale =9139-=9145 Series Kit No.
6440; Bison II - 15 cm s.IG 33 (Sfl.) auf Pz.Kpfw. II - Smart Kit
(2011); 885 parts (571 in grey styrene, 224 =93Magic Track=94 single
links, 64 etched brass, 25 clear styrene, 1 turned aluminum); pre-
order price US$49.95 via Dragon USA Online
Advantages: nice, new injection kit of one of the more popular Pzkw.
II conversions; plentiful new parts to meld two older kits into a new
Disadvantages: single link tracks tedious to assemble
Rating: Highly Recommended
Recommendation: for all German WWI and Africa fans
The Germans were very quick to adapt obsolete tank chassis to new
purposes as the carriages for self-propelled guns, but the early ones
built on the Pzkw. I chassis were usually too fragile to carry much in
the way of weaponry =96 or protection. It was only when the Pzkw. II was
felt to be obsolete and taken out of tank production that a good light
chassis became available for use as an antitank gun (Marder II series)
or a self-propelled 10.5 cm (Wespe) or 15 cm artillery (Bison II)
While the Pzkw. I variant of this latter weapon was considered
nominally successful, it was top-heavy and really too much for the
slightly modified chassis. For the second model the Pzkw. II chassis
was lengthened by one road wheel station and a purpose-built mount
added for the s.IG 33 howitzer; while the howitzer kept its basic
carriage the entire lower section was removed which basically meant it
was no longer =93convertible=94 back to its towed version.
Like late 1950s US automobiles the new weapon was longer, lower and
wider, and much more durable, entering production in December 1941.
But only 12 of these weapons were produced before it was decided that
the Pzkw. 38(t) chassis was even better suited and did not need as
many modifications. Those guns produced were allocated to two heavy
infantry gun companies with the Afrika Korps and served until the last
gun was knocked out in December 1942.
Of all of the Panzer II conversions this one, appearing sleek and
purposeful, has always been much more popular with modelers than its
tiny production run would otherwise dicate. Most of those attending
the 2009 IPMS/USA Nationals in Columbus saw the magnificent 1/72 scale
15 cm by Harvey Low that even disassembled to show the interior. Now
DML has taken the parts from their Panzer II F and B/C kits and their
s.IG 33 kit and, adding nearly another 200 new mold parts, has created
the 15 cm s.IG 33 auf Pz.Kpfw II to their stable.
The kit is nicely done and many of the parts from the earlier kits,
even though included on the sprues, are replaced by new mold parts.
Modelers who have picked up the Panzer I and Panzer 38(t) conversions
will notice some parts look familiar (such as the projectiles and fuse
boxes) but have been =93tweaked=94 for this kit.
As usual the DML instructions are fussy and combine a lot of bits in
each step. The suspension uses a wide variety of parts from the old
and new trees so be careful in selecting the items needed for
assembly. Also note in Step 5 the twin casemate sections (one for the
driver) for the forward hull are linked together; that is not a
section of sprue between the two parts.
Most of the rest of the kit is pretty straightforward to assemble.
Keep in mind that a large number of parts such as tools, MP40s,
radios, fire extinguishers et al mount inside the sides of the
casemate and should be attached before mounting the sides. The
directions are not real clear but you have two options for the rear
air intakes =96 either close them with two doors (parts P29) or cover
them with brass grilles (MA1 and MA2) and leave the doors in the open
position. There is no engine, but as there are =93solid=94 radiator cores
under the grilles (C17 and C18) ensure you paint them first.
Since the trail of the s.IG 33 stick into the engine bay with gaps on
either side and above it, this will be a tough model to get a good
finish to the rear of the hull so be forewarned.
Technical consultants are Tom Cockle and Gary Edmundson.
Seven finishing options are provided, mostly covering the two units:
s.IG.Kp. (mot.S) 707, Afrika Korps, Libya 1942 (two different paint
schemes, green over sand brown); s.IG.Kp. 708, Afrika Korps, Libya
1942 (three different paint schemes, green over sand brown); and two
schemes of gray vehicles in Germany with either shipping stencils or
generic white crosses. A targeted sheet of Cartograf decals is
Overall this should be a very popular Panzer II conversion model.
Thanks to Freddie Leung for the review sample.
Cookie Sewell
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