Originally intended as a training vehicle and interim solution till the development of the medium battle tanks Panzer III and IV, the Panzer I went into production in 1934. Based on a Carden-Lloyd running gear more than 800 units of the Ausführung A were produced. Protected by a meager 14,5mm of armor, this little tank was armed with two 7,92mm MG 13 with 2250 rounds of ammo. The Krupp M305 engine with 57 HP propelled the 5,4t vehicle to a maximum speed of 37 km/h.
An early Panzer I ... hurray ...as the HiPM kit resembled the original more bad than right, it could become only better and rumours about the quality of the Tristar kit began spreading quickly.
Construction begins with the running gear ... the excellent wheels are attached to the swing arms. With a little concentration the wheels will remain turnable. The ones how had the "pleasure" of building the HiPM kit before will have tears of joy in their eyes - running gear components that fit together perfectly! Wow! Where there is light, there also is shadow - as the swing arms will be glued to the hull, the running gear will not be workable anymore. A pitty, as the Modelkasten track and he overall quality of the kit would have demanded it. Drive sprocket D10 should be glued in a way that it remains turnable, as this makes attachement of the tracks far easier later on! After the completion of the running gear, one should check the alignment of the roadwheels. Now it is time to attach front- and rearplates to the lower hull, as well as an engine bulk head. The bulk head is nice to look at, but it also reminds us, that there is a total lack of interior! The hatches can be build in the open position, but all we see inside is a black hole - so we should rather leave them closed.
When finished with the turret, the external parts like tools, exhausts, vision ports and additional armour will be attached to the upper hull, as well as the entry hatches for the driver. Everything is detailed well and fits just perfectly! The antenna is resonably too thick, so I replaced it with a self made one. Parts C23 should be in place before the antennamount part C2, otherwise it will not fit.
At this point one should take care of the painting - before handling the tracks.
The tracks come from Modelkasten - so not much need to introduce them again. The molding is just fine and the track remains fully workable. It would have been desireable to have more links included, as there is only one spare link per side! The joining of the tracks went without problems, beginners will have the one or the other trouble with this system. The great plus certainly is that the track remains workable, on the other hand a lot of extra time is needed compared to other track systems. Moreover the joining of the two ends is not too easy in the end.
My Panzer I was to receive the paintscheme and markings from the polish campaign. It thus received a layer of Tamiya flat black primer and subsequently a layer of darkened german grey (XF-63). A bit out of the ordinary are the patches of brown colour, which were to be on the vehicles according to camouflage plans by the beginning of the war. I therefore sprayed some patches of Tamiya XF-64, which was darkend with some black. Contrast of these two coloures was quite low.
A wonderful small kit with superior quality, details and fitting. Here we see the work of a team using good research and a ery well thought concept - THIS way modelling is real fun. This kit can be completed within one weekend without any problems. Yet, there are three points of criticism: the total lack of an interior which makes open hatches impossible, the fact that the running gear is not workable, even though a workable track is included and last but not least the extremely high price of more than 40€, which positions this otherwise nice and historically correct kit on the upper edge of scale, when comparing size and price. Maybe a cheaper track would have been an option ?
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© 10/2002 Thomas Hartwig
Thank's to Rohe-Modellbau for this review sample
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