Originally designed in secret as a light tank in contravention of the Versailles treaty arms limitations, the Pzkpfw I Ausf A was produced from 1934 to 1936 and saw service in the Spanish Civil War as well as the early campaigns of World War II and was more numerous than the better known Ausf B. DML has continued its series of early war panzers with this latest release which features an Ausf A modified after initial factory production, mainly in the configuration and design of the rear engine deck and reinforced road wheels among other variations. The kit is designated a “Smart Kit” with many features from the previous Pzpfw Ausf A Early Production kit #6289 carried over to this one as a result.
The kit consists of over 420 parts in the following configuration
• 8 sprues molded in gray styrene
• Separate one-piece hull tub
• 1 sprue molded in clear styrene
• 2 PE Frets
• One bag of “Magic” Tracks
• One bag of PE road wheel inserts
Assembly directions are provided in the form of a standard instruction sheet featuring black-and-white exploded diagrams for 19 assembly steps. The Marking and Painting Guide and Decals are provided for the following 3 options: 6th Pz.Div.(HQ) Western Front 1939-1940, 3./Pz.Abt.z.b.V.40 Norway 1940, 1.Abt. 15th Pz.Rgt. 5th Pz.Div. Sandomierz Poland 1939.
Hull and Suspension
The hull comes as a single piece with molded in posts for the return rollers and has nicely molded detail on the hull sides and undersides. The kit includes a new set of road wheels on sprue L with the later style reinforced hubs and spokes and should not be confused with the earlier style also included on sprue A but marked as Not for Use on the instruction sheet. The idler wheels include two-part separate inner hub rim sections which interlock with each other to form the whole idler, creating the inner hub detail with the spoke reinforced supports in the process. All of the other road wheels and return rollers are integrated as a single molding including the rubber rims. Included in the parts count is the provided bag of “Magic” track links to enable assembly of the non-working individual link tracks, with the instructions calling for 87 links per side as a guide.
One of the key features of this kit vs. the earlier kit release is the inclusion of an interior and this is evident in both the parts count and the kit price. The interior includes a full fighting compartment interior with inserts for the rear firewall, floor plates, and driver’s station. The transmission and brake housings are included as detailed multi-part assemblies and the hull glacis hatch is provided separately to allow it to be removed to show this area off if desired. The interior includes ammunition racks for the MG13s as well as signal flag tubes and various storage boxes/containers. A single-piece radio is also provided for the driver with a separate PE mounting rack that will require some delicate bending but will look outstanding even if it won’t be easily viewable on the finished vehicle unless the turret is removed.
All of the view ports and hatches can be posed open or closed but are not workable and the parts for these are all molded in clear styrene, even those that don’t need to be, a trend that DML has established and continued for some time in their kits. Separate parts in clear styrene are provided for the armored glass blocks and it’s always been somewhat of a mystery to me as to why the other parts aren’t provided as regular styrene for simplicity sake, but I'm sure DML has a reason for doing it this way even if it's not an obvious one. One major modification to the kit parts is required to show off the interior. In order to configure this later variant properly, the view port opening in the upper hull on the rear right must be filled in on the interior side and the instructions clearly call for this in Step 11. The exterior is taken care of with the plate that’s added to the base frame, but the interior hole will need to be blanked off to keep the interior consistent with the exterior. This is a by-product of the earlier designed superstructure part being replicated in this kit and shouldn’t be too hard to correct with some thin sheet styrene and careful sanding, but is a factor in terms of work/effort required in regards to taking advantage of the interior provided.
The turret interior includes fully detailed twin MG13s including separate magazines, spent shell catch chutes, and a multi-part aiming scope for the commander/gunner. The turret hatch and side hatch both have very nice detail inside and out with no ejector marks present, a nice touch for those wanting to display these open to show off the interior. The turret traverse mechanism is included along with the remote trigger for the MG13s as a multi-part assembly with nice detail on the pistol grip trigger mechanism. The commander’s chair also includes a detailed tubular support frame and the turret itself fits into the ring via friction fit instead of the old customary “ear slots” to preserve the integrity of the interior detail which includes the turret ring.
The kit includes the usual details in the form of on-vehicle equipment and pioneer tools with simple molded on styrene clamps as the only option since this is a "Smart Kit". The kit supplied fenders are one-piece and multiple locator holes need to be opened up with a pin vise or knife point to install the various items. The fenders have tread plate detail on the upper surfaces only and the front and rear mud guards are supplied as separate one piece styrene items. The front guards include some very nice detail on the hinges and tiny separate parts provided for the hinge locking arms.
The engine deck includes the modified configuration for the intakes and smoke candle racks specific to this version. While the kit does not include any details for the engine bay, the engine access hatches can be posed open or closed, allowing for the addition of an after-market engine and compartment details if desired. The exhausts have hollowed out flattened exhaust pipes courtesy of slide molding and the screens are provided as PE items that can be curved to shape.
The kit is the first by DML to include a full interior for the Pzkpfw I Ausf A and provides quite a bit of detail and the options to show it off via the hatches. A full Build Log
will follow to evaluate the parts fit and assembly.