The build preview is sort of an in-box review as well as a glimpse at the upcoming project. You can see the detail of the kit and I'll tell you what I plan on doing with it. Enjoy!
Developed by Krauss-Maffei Wegmann - the same manufacturer of such vehicles as the Leopard I and II as well as the aforementioned Fennek - and Rheinmetall, this howitzer is capable of firing three rounds in nine seconds, and ten rounds in fifty-six. The PzH 2000 is also capable of landing up to five rounds on target at the same time in whats known as Multiple Rounds Simultaneous Impact.
Though built for the German Army, this 155 mm L52 artillery gun is also employed by Italy, the Netherlands, and Greece and is likely to be picked up by several other NATO countries to replace the older M109s. Since 2006, it has been used quite frequently in Afghanistan where it first saw combat with the Dutch Army against the Taliban in Kandahar Province.
More on the Panzerhaubitze 2000
For being the most powerful conventional artillery system deployed within the last several years, its somewhat surprising the PzH 2000 is not better represented in scale. To my knowledge, it has only been manufactured in kit form by Revell and Ace, albeit in the ever popular 1/72 and 1/35 scales. Revell also provides a three piece combo set in 1/72 scale that includes the PzH 2000, an SLT50-3 to transport it, and a Fennek scout car. A virtual diorama in a box which by all means is more interesting than the lone model that I will be working on here.
The kit comes with only four sprues, and the parts are molded in dark green plastic. I personally am not a fan of kits colored anything but light gray, but that is just me.
The first sprue tree contains the upper hull and side skirts, along with some bits and pieces like the mantlet and MG3 machine gun.
The molded detail looks pretty good and they seem to have included every bolt and rivet that adorns the PzH 2000. Here is a closer look...
Interesting to note that the pioneer tools are also part of the mold. Whether or not that is a positive characteristic has yet to be seen, but it certainly provides less opportunity for me to lose a small piece.
The second sprue tree holds the lower hull and turret, as well as a few more fiddly bits, hatches, and vents...
Again, the molded on detail is pretty clean...
The final two sprues contain all the running gear and tracks for this beast. Normally, I am not a fan of assembling all the road wheels but each individual bogie is made up of two parts, making that process less of a hassle. However, the suspension is another detail that has been molded on which severely limits the kits display potential...
And of course, the link and length track. While this is preferable to me than entirely individual track assemblies, on a kit this small they can still be quite fiddly and not fit as well as its larger scale counterpart.
Revell's decision to mold on a lot of the little detail has kept the part count down, as well as the amount of tiny pieces I'll be dealing with. Even the vision blocks are molded to the kit.
I do not see any sink marks or flash so overall, the molds look good.
I would expect to find anything unusual here as Revell is generally straightforward. However, the instruction booklet is made up of several pamphlets, folded together as one, not book style like we see most often. Thus reading the instructions will not flow as nicely throughout the build, as I'll be having to unfold and refold the instructions, and flip them around just to find the next step.
But really, that is the only complaint there.
There are only two options available - both of which bear the same camo scheme. No surprise, considering the markings pre-date the war in Afghanistan. But it looks as though I'll be using a different scheme than what is included here...
The decals come printed on a small sheet that I'm certain I will lose at some point during the build. There are not a lot of decals necessary, which is fine by me, even so they look pretty good.
For the braille scale fans, there is really no other option on the market for this modern day artillery piece. Never the less, given what I've seen so far I am certain it will build into a decent little model. With the part count being so small, I have no doubt I can complete the build process in a short amount of time.
This kit would be an ideal kit for those who are not used to building in 1/72 or those who avoid it simply because of all the tiny parts.
Questions for this build:
Will the amount of molded detail lend itself positively to the kit, or will it give it a flat toy-like appearance?
Though I appreciate not having to trouble myself over fiddly bits, I am curious what the end result will look like. Time will tell.
Will the link and length tracks drive me to drink?
Its a distinct possibility.
Will I actually be inspired for this?
Lets face it. There is nothing flashy about the PzH 2000. Its a lumbering beast that sits behind the lines firing at targets that are miles away. Putting this onto a base that I will find interesting may be difficult.
That said, in researching this subject, I haven't found a lot of pictures that have really inspired much creativity. All I know for certain at this point is that I will be painting the model in a scheme used by the German Army in Afghanistan. Using that as a starting point, I found some images of PzH's in country that I may use for inspiration as far as creating a proper setting for the completed model...
If I do this, of course it means I'll have to scratch build some Hesco barriers, which isn't difficult, but rather time consuming. Other than that, I could do a simple urban setting like this one...Either way, it may wind up being an impressive little vignette when all is said and done.
It isn't as dramatic as the photos above it, but it does allow for the model to be seen from all sides, rather than encasing it in some walls. But, I'm far from reaching this point so I have time to decide and change my mind.
Hope you will follow along! I'll kick off the build soon so be sure to follow along on Facebook or Twitter!
Thanks for reading!