Sunday, October 16, 2011

W.I.P & Review of JTFM Panzer II for Totenkinder Force

I don't know why exactly, but it seems just about everyone loves tanks.  I'm no exception.  Modern tanks don't capture my imagination much, but WWII & earlier do... and sci-fi. So as some in our group begin to expand their Weird WWII armies and Frau Totenkinder's Ahnenerbe force has just 1 vehicle, I knew which direction I needed to expand in. I like to have a balance, so I knew I'd want a couple light tanks: something fast to distract, draw fire, maybe get a lucky shot in.

Brigade Games have a large variety of WWII tanks.  I settled upon the Panzer II, Luchs (Lynx) as my choice.  Why? Because it's the cutest.  I just really like the look of it.  And it's small, so I might use it as a Panzer I in some games to save some points.. put the actual Panzer I? Not nearly as nice looking as the Luchs, so that's settled.  When I think about it, for pure fun of game play based on mechanics, there are many board games that are just flat out better and more fun than miniatures games.  What puts miniatures above them as my greatest gaming joy however is aesthetics.  When the game *looks* good then I find it more fun.
I'm an aesthetics junky.  So the Panzer II was it.

On arrival, the tank is very well packed.  Great care was taken to insure it's safety in transit which I appreciated. The main gun even had a section of plastic drinking straw cut to size to go around the gun to protect it.  Good thing, because the barrel is resin.  This is my biggest disappointment.  Many resin vehicles will have a few metal parts, but not this one. The whole thing is resin and the gun barrel is very, very thin. I started thinking about ways I would protect it in traveling between games, but in early stages of assembly, despite being very careful, the turret slipped from my fingers, landed on the nose of the gun and snapped off.

Well, better now than later.

Just as well.  Drill, brass rod, bit of plastic tube and a new gun was rigged up. I then cut the barrel off the 2nd one and did this again. The drill went a bit askew, so I had to make the barrel base as well.  But I'm happy with the results.

Overall, the detail is very crisp with a minimum of bubbles.  One tank had a hole in a fender, which I filled with green stuff- you can see it on the right.  The turrets have separate hatches and commanders- I'll leave them unglued so i can pop a guy in sometimes.

Here it is to scale with some of the models:
One of those fellows doesn't look too healthy... we may find out more later...
The turret fits to the chassis very well.. easy to turn. I had some problems with my Hotchkiss 39 from Army Group North, it needed a lot of carving, but no such problems here.

There is also a lot of stowage bits:
This is for 2 vehicles.  The thing is, I think I like the look of the tank without the extras. For me, my goal is less about historical details than just an overall liking how the miniature looks.  Yes, yes, fluffy gamer.
The only one I am considering using is the smoke launchers, but unfortunately I was sent 3 left & 1 right (or reversed.. just depends if you look at or with the gun) I haven't decided if I'll contact Brigade Games and request a replacement part yet or not.  If I decide not to use them there isn't much point, but it's still a bit annoying.  Have to love all the extras though.
-The offending thin resin gun barrels are shown center. For a display piece it'd probably be fine, but for gaming? I can only assume they assume people will make their own. So I'd say the kit is not for beginners.

So for the Panzer II from JTFM:


Casting: 9/10
Cleverness of Design: 6/10
Aesthetics: 10/10

Recommendation: Highly recommended, provided you have & know how to use a pin vice and some brass rod & plastic tubing. 


Dunc said...

Ah-ha! Painting tanks is something I can do, so I'm bound to enquire as to the camo Sir will be using on the Luchs?

My last JTFM Axis armour was painted earlier in the year - click on the January section of my blog to see a fully weathered Panther Ausf.G

I hate Dunkelgelb... hate it. It never ever looks right to me - which is silly because due to the manufacturing process, application, weathering, etc there is no such thing as the right shade.

Laughing Ferret said...

Thanks Dunc! I just checked out your tank, looks nice. I know what you mean about doing camo though.. something that never feels quite right when you do it, but the look of it is right, probably to everyone but the person who paints it ;)

My problem with camo is its goal is to break up & confuse the eye, so if done well it should mean the miniature isn't sharp and easy to look at... which goes against my intention for my miniatures ;)

The vehicles in this army I'll be doing a solid grey, for that reason... the 'Militarized Ahnenerbe' gives me some latitude from historical accuracy.

Alfrik said...

OOooohhh dibs on the bits.... ;)

Michael Awdry said...

Can't wait to see these painted up!

Dunc said...

Well, if you use 'commission painting' on my tag cloud, you'll see the early war British A13 Cruiser which is two-tone. I've figured out how to mute the camo on the green-schemes sufficiently so it doesn't swamp the model.

My trick - which works less well on the brighter German schemes - is what I call wrong colour drybrushing. Airbrush tank with desired scheme, then drybrush with something unrelated. In the case of the British scheme (VMC Bronze Green and Russian Uniform Green) I drybrushed with Foundry Buff Leather (IIRC) in the direction that rain water would run. Then I very lightly drybrushed the very edges of the turret etc with a light grey.

This has the effect of muting the colours to the vehicle, rather than highlighting them - which is what happened if you drybrushed with the respective camo colours.

Paint chipping the edges I just use an HB pencil. Barrel and exhaust oil smudges were oil paint.

Word of warning with the JTFM stuff - wash it, wash it, and wash it again. I dunno what Jeff uses as his mold release agent, but it is a swine to remove.

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