With the introduction of newly tooled kits by both DML and Tamiya covering the Pzkpfw II, it was inevitable that the after-market suppliers would jump into the game. One of the stand-out details on the Pz II of course is the 2.0cm KwK 30 armament and its unique style of flash suppressor. Even with all of the advances in styrene molding, this is an area that itís just not possible to replicate properly with the slots in the collar and the perforated suppressor at the end. LionMarc provides just the solution for this problem with their latest item designed for use in any of the available 1/35 kits on the market today.
The upgrade set consists of three pieces in the form of a turned brass barrel, separate muzzle flash suppressor, and a tiny formed brass piece for the locking nut. All three pieces are packaged together inside a sealed plastic sleeve inside the normal LionMarc blister pack. The small locking nut is inside its own small sealed plastic sleeve inside the larger sleeve to further protect it, a good thing because it is extremely tiny! The blister pack has a solid cardboard backing that is secured in place with tape along three sides to provide an all-around secure package.
No instructions on using the set are provided, but close examination of the photo provided on the packaging front of an assembled barrel is really all you need to get everything assembled. Since this is a ďuniversalĒ upgrade and not designed for any specific kit, how it is ultimately incorporated in your build will depend on the kit youíre using it on.
The turned brass barrel is equipped with a 3mm long mount pin which will require surgery and drilling of the kit donor parts to allow it to be fitted, but this should be a straightforward procedure depending on the kit you are fitting it to. The barrel matches the length dimensions on the 1/35 scale plans in Achtung Panzer No. 7 perfectly and includes some fine detail in the form of the machined-in grip surfaces to allow for changing out the barrel, a feature that is missing on the DML Pz II barrel for example. The barrel also has the correct taper towards the muzzle and the end of the barrel is drilled out to perfectly simulate the barrel end once the suppressor is fitted.
The suppressor itself is a beautifully machined piece of work. A single brass piece, it replicates the 4-hole rows in the suppressor itself accurately as well as the oval slots in the collar portion. The fit to the brass barrel is like a glove, sliding easily in place and staying put as a friction fit although a small touch of CA glue couldnít hurt to make sure it doesnít go missing down the road. A small mount notch is machined into the collar to take the locking nut, so itís easy to get everything in the right place and I recommend assembling the barrel fully before installation to insure alignments work out properly. The locking nut provided is a separate piece of 3-dimensional brass complete with raised detail and is an extremely small piece. To avoid losing it, I refrained from removing it from its packaging as the set only includes the one piece with no spares.
The set is a very well executed upgrade package and achieves a very high standard of detail by using the multi-piece approach vs. trying to machine a single piece barrel. The end result is far superior to anything currently achieved in styrene and will add greatly to any of the Pz II kits on the market today. The only slight drawback is the absence of any sort of guide or instructions but itís not hard to figure out in the end what goes where. It should be noted that this barrel is for use on the Pzkpfw II only and is not suitable as a replacement barrel for a Flak 30 since the KwK 30 barrel was modified and shorter in length as a result.
Highs: Machined-in grips on the barrel, correct taper, incredible detail on the flash suppressor. Should be usable on any of the Pzkpfw II kits on the market. Lows: No instructions or guide provided on final installation beyond the black-and-white photos of the assembled barrel on the packaging. Verdict: An excellent upgrade option that will significantly up the detail level on your next Pzkpfw II kit. Very affordably priced and highly recommended.
About Bill Plunk (wbill76) FROM: TEXAS, UNITED STATES
Like many, I started out in the hobby as a kid building airplanes to hang from my bedroom cieling. I took a long break from the hobby, returning in 2001 with an interest in armor inspired mostly by online gaming. WW2 armor, 1/35 scale, is my preferred genre with a special taste for the stranger vehi...