Pz.Kpfw. I mit Abwurfvorrichtung
|Stock Number and Description||Dragon Models Limited 1/35 Scale ‘39-‘45 Series Kit No. 6480; Pz.Kpfw. I mit Abwurfvorrichtung - Smart Kit|
|Media and Contents:||554 parts (244 in grey styrene,216 “Magic Track” single links, 51 etched brass, 41 clear styrene, 1 twisted steel wire, 1 nylon string)|
|Price:||pre-order price US$49.95 via Dragon USA Online|
|Review Type:||First Look|
|Advantages:||Upgraded version of the 2004 kit with new parts from the better molded A version where applicable; interesting version with charge layer equipment|
|Disadvantages:||Very tiny individual track links will not be popular with some modelers|
|Recommendation:||Highly Recommended for all light armor, armored engineer and German armor fans.|
When armored vehicles first appeared in WW I it did not take the engineers long to realize these vehicles had a lot of advantages in carrying out tasks which would otherwise place them at risk. While few experiments were carried out during the war, in the postwar period some experiments were conducted.
Most countries came to the conclusion that a tank could be used to place a charge next to an obstacle that was covered by enemy fire, and so experiments concentrated on a way to get the charge next to the objective. This vehicle was among the first created by the Germans to do this and was used during WWII for laying explosive charges. The idea was that the tank, in this case the little Panzer I, would approach the objective, turn around, drop its charge next to the objective, drive off, and then remotely detonate the explosives to flatten the objective. Two versions were developed, one with a long arm holding the case with the explosive charge and one with a “ski jump” that simply let it slide off the rear of the tank. Up to 10 of these devices were fitted to tanks assigned to the 3rd company of the armored Pioneer engineer battalion of panzer divisions. (There is no information apparently on how many were converted.)
But the Panzer I was not the most reliable vehicle to use for this as it was thinly armored and unless given plenty of cover and supporting attacks, it was easily knocked out before it could place its charge. The Soviets preferred vehicles like the KV-2 with a 152mm howitzer and the British the Churchill AVRE for the same purpose, as both had thick armor and could flatten the objective with either a shell in the case of the former or a “dustbin” charge from the latter’s mortar.
DML has now offered a kit of the first variant of this interesting concept and based it on an upgraded version of their Panzer I Ausf. B kit from 2004. The kit has had any of its common parts with the Ausf. A replaced by sprues from the later (and better) A kits as well as one new sprue with all of the charge laying device components.
This kit comes with the complete set of clear styrene vision blocks and block frames, which are used to provide the basis for the vision port mounts and also the locks for opening the external vision ports.
But as this is a typical “mix and match” kit with sprues from previous kits, the modeler must pay attention to the directions for which components go with this model. (There are three different machine gun mounts for the turret as an example.) Alas, the directions are confusing and leave some bits out, such as the MB1 parts which are the brass stiffener rings for the road wheels.
All of the previous kit options on exhausts, hatches and view port covers have been retained. As before, the kit includes 216 single track links, which are not going to be popular with some modelers as they are very, very small – each one is about 3 mm x 7 mm. At least this kit uses the improved “Magic Track” set so you don’t have to remove the links from sprues as with the original B kits.
The charge laying container comes with separate lids and a possible diorama option would be showing engineers packing it with explosive charges.
Technical advice came from Tom Cockle and Gary Edmundson.
Two different finishing options are offered: 1st Panzer Division, 1940 (panzer gray with white crosses and markings), and Unidentified Unit 1940 (panzer grey, white crosses and white 323). A small sheet of Cartograf decals is incldued.
Again, this is an interesting version of a vehicle which did see service (hence not a cyber-hobby.com effort).
A 37 Upper hull, engine deck, details
B 46 Hull details
C 21 Turret, turret details
D 14 Hatches, details
F 24 Hull top, turret base, turret details
J 21x2 Pzkw. I Ausf. A suspension, drivers
K 18 Pzkw. I Ausf. B Premium hull top, turret details
L 12x2 Pzkw. I Ausf. A road wheels, suspension parts
L 216 “Magic Track” single links
P 17 Abwurkvorrichtung assembly
W 41 Clear styrene
X 1 Hull pan
Y 1 Nylon string
Z 1 Twisted steel wire
MA 35 Etched brass
MB 16 Etched brass rings
Thanks to Freddie Leung for the review sample.