PzKpfw I Ausf. A late
by Frank De Sisto
Contains 513 styrene parts, 14 photo-etched parts, 10 pages of instructions
in 17 steps and two waterslide decal options. Price: $43.00 USD, plus
Tristar’s debut kit of the PzKpfw I Ausf. A has been supplemented
by this later version, which represents the “4.Serie/La.S.”
with the following changes from the previous version: wider (75cm vs.
60cm) transmission access-hatch cover, four fuel filler caps (vs. two)
on the engine deck, Notek blackout lights for the front and rear, later
style horn, and smoke grenade discharger rack for the rear deck.
The basic parts of the kit have also undergone several improvements when
compared to the original release. For instance, the bow plate has been
corrected by the addition of flat portions under the bulges. The superstructure
has now been given weld bead detail and the engine deck is a separate
unit featuring three separate access hatches. The new transmission access-hatch
cover and the plate it mounts to is also separate, but the original is
also included, so the kit can also be backdated easily enough. The kits
remaining hatches are also separate, which will make it easy to view the
resin interior that is available from the manufacturer for this kit. However,
weld detail has not been added to the turret or the bow plate, which is
a shame. The individual link, workable tracks (in the Model Kasten style)
and the photo-etched engine exhaust muffler screens (from Aber of Poland)
are also included as per the original kit. Also, as in the original release,
the molding, detail, engineering and fit of the parts are simply outstanding.
A completely new pair of figures is provided in greatcoats, which are
suitable for any area in which this vehicle served. Separate heads are
also included featuring padded berets, sidecaps or visored caps. These
last embellishments make the figures suitable for service with the Afrika
Korps. The well-animated figures also feature separate side arms, shoes
and uniform items and can be considered “state-of-the-art”,
since the detail on such things as insignia and clothing is outstanding.
In addition, some of the photo-etched items include the necessary parts
to make up the crewmember’s headphones, which is a very nice touch.
The markings consist of rather plain choices for the Polish campaign
and the Afrika Korps. However, details such as the Notek blackout lights
were not used during the Polish campaign so the modeler should check references
prior to determining which decals would be used. The painting instructions
also do not give the proper colors for the Polish campaign, depicting
the vehicle in overall dark gray. But, oddly enough, the absolutely stunning
box art does depict the proper colors, although the Notek lights are shown
(incorrectly for the time period) fitted to the tank.Well-known author/researcher
Tom Jentz is given credit for providing technical assistance and his two
recent Panzer Tracts books (with co-author Hilary Doyle) on the subject
are given plugs on the bottom of the box, so it is surprising that the
kit’s designers did not get the paint scheme/vehicle features combination
correct. But, that does not mean that we modelers, armed with proper reference
materials, can’t figure things out for ourselves!
Altogether, this is an outstanding little model of this important early
Panzer. And, although some might decry this release because it is not
a low-price kit, what you get in the box makes it outstanding value for
CHESAPEAKE MODEL DESIGNS
As well as manufacturing their own line of resin kits and conversion sets,
Chesapeake Model Designs (CMD) is the US Importer and distributor of Tristar
products, and will ship worldwide. For more information see their web
site at: www.chesapeakemodels.com.
Phone/fax number is: 410-357-5496, NEW email: firstname.lastname@example.org.