On September 15th, 1939, the German Army Weapons Branch of the Nazi Reich called for a new general reconnaissance vehicle. According to the contract, Man built the chassis and hull and Daimler Benz constructed the turret. The prototype of the tank appeared in mild steel in mid-1942, under the development number VK 1303 and successfully completed trials at the proving ground. However, some modifications were necessary in order to equip the vehicle for the rough terrain of the Eastern Front. The tank was equipped with a powerful long and short wave wireless for communication. It’s 20mm automatic gun and 7.92 mm machine-gun was standard equipment for German light tanks. A tank commander, gunner, driver and wireless operator formed the crew.

The powerful engine and comparatively low combat weight was a positive feature of the tank. The chassis (designed by Kniekampf) had good cross-country capability, which was especially important in the lack of road conditions on the Eastern Front.

Because of certain similarity between the Pz.Kpfw. V “Panther” and the Pz.Kpfw. II Ausf. L, the light tank was named after a smaller natural predator “Luchs” (Lynx). The serial-built tanks were given the designation Pz.Kpfw. II Ausf. L “Luchs” (Sd.Kfz. 123).

Serial production lasted from the end of 1942 to the beginning of 1944, with 133 tanks being produced in total. 116 tanks were assembled by MAN and the remaining 18 by Henschel.

The “Luchs” was commissioned into the armored reconnaissance units of 3, 4, 6 and 116 Wehrmacht Tank Divisions (Pz. Div.) and the 3rd SS Tank Division (3rd Pz.Div. SS “Totenkopf”). The “Luchs” first went into action on October 25th, 1943 in the Ukraine. On that day, Pz.Kpfw. II Ausf. L tanks, commanded by Hauptmann Kelsch of 2nd Company 4th Tank Reconnaissance Battalion, 4th Tank Division, were deployed against soviet partisans in the Kiev region, near Chernobyl. In May 1945, the 4th Tank Division possessed seven Pz.kpfw. II Ausf. L’s in combat condition.

The “Luchs” was deployed on the Eastern Front, Italy, Normandy and in Germany during the final months of the Nazi Reich, gaining positive ratings from their crews.

ICM kits are typical of most eastern european kits. It has individual tracks and a multi piece lower hull. Unlike Tamiya kits that come with a pre made hull. Detail is fair to soft and could use some sprucing up. There are some dimensional innacuracies but overall I think its a good kit for a fairly new modeller. It has some challenges but with some patience it will build into a respectable model. If you wanted to improve it there is a very comprehensive pe detail set by Aber available.

I enjoyed building this kit, out of the box, when it first was released ,I believe around 1999 or 2000 . I had no really terrible problems with it, and the multi piece lower hull fitted together with no major problem, as with the indidvidual  track links. The welds were weak on the turret,so I added my own with Squadron white putty,and a putty applicator. The instruction sheet offers five painting and marking schemes.  For extras I added Jaguar resin equipment,which complemented the exterior. I used Testors enamels,Winsor and Newton Oils for the wash,and pastel chalks.

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