Polish TKS Tankette with Commander
Combat Group Dynamix, 1/48 scale
The TK (also known as the TK-3) tankette was a Polish design produced from 1931 based on the chassis of the British Carden Loyd tankette, with an improved hull and more powerful engine, and armour up to 8 mm (0.31 in) thick (10 mm or 0.39 in on the TKS). In 1939, up-arming of the tankettes with Nkm wz.38 FK 20 mm (0.79 in) machine guns began, but only 24 of these were completed before the outbreak of World War II.
575 TK/TKS tankettes formed the bulk of the Polish armoured forces before the outbreak of war. They suffered heavy losses during the invasion of Poland, often being the only armoured fighting vehicles available. Their small size suited them for reconnaissance and infantry support, but with their light armament of a single machine gun they stood no chance in combat against German tanks, except against the Panzer I.
The handful of tankettes armed with 20 mm guns were more effective against enemy tanks. In one instance on 18 September 1939 a 20 mm gunned TKS commanded by Podchorazy (Officer Candidate SFC) Roman Orlik destroyed two German Panzerkampfwagen 35(t) tanks and a Panzer IV B tank that was commanded by Victor IV Albrecht von Ratibor.
After the conquest of Poland, captured tankettes were used by the German army in various support roles, mostly for training, security duties or as artillery tractors. Many captured tankettes were also used by the Luftwaffe for airfield security and snow plowing.
Some were later sold to the puppet state of Croatia. In spring 1941, the National Police received 18 TK-3 tankettes, some with the 20mm gun, while in summer 1941 the Army received 18 TKS, 4 of them being sent to the Ustashe Militia.*
Combat Group Dynamix is a company that has been manufacturing 1:144 scale wargame vehicles, figures and diorama accessories.
They have now expanded into 1:48 scale military vehicles with their debut TKS Tankette with Commander.
This is an impressive resin kit that has been broken down very simply but still offers a high level of detail.
CGD’s Elite Series 1:48 scale TKS Tankette with Commander comprised just 21 parts for the vehicle and another four for the Commander.
The jewel in the crown is the one-piece resin hull and superstructure. This is cast as a single piece with no visible casting attachment points. This impressive parts boasts excellent detail including raised, round rivet heads and separate poseable hatches for the crew.
There is the hint of horizontal 3D printing lines here and there on the hull, but these should be easy to eliminate with some light sanding and painting.
The running gear and tracks are cleverly cast as a single part for each side. Attachment to the hull is via four locating pins along the upper inside of the running gear parts.
Smaller parts include the gun and mantlet, tools, hatches and hand holds. Each of these parts is cast onto a narrow strip.
The Commander figure is broken down into a torso with head attached, plus separate arms and a helmet. Sculpting and casting are generally very good although there are a few air bubbles to be filled on the Commander’s right shoulder.
The kit does not come with printed instructions but you can download a PDF version from the Combat Group Dynamix website https://www.combatgroupdynamix.com/EliteSeries/48/48_TKS/CGD_48_TKS_AssemblyInstructions.pdf
There is no painting or marking guide, nor are any decals provided.
This is an impressive little model and an indication of things to come.
3D printing and related technologies means that relatively esoteric subjects such as this may be affordably mastered and printed in small quantities and in various different scales.
I think we modellers have a lot to look forward to in the next few years!
* Historical summary via Wikipedia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/TKS
Thanks to Combat Group Dynamix for the sample www.combatgroupdynamix.com
Text and Images by Brett Green