Pz.Kpfw.I Ausf.A

ABER 1:35 Set #35 120
Review by Terry Ashley


This new set from ABER is an extensive interior detail set designed for the Tristar Panzer IA kits (#35003, #35008) and consists of 43 parts in light pinkish resin and two etched frets with approximately 425 pieces, some very small as well as two small photo film sheets for the radio and driver instrument faces plus a 10 page instruction sheet.

It should be made clear from the start that this set is not for the inexperienced modeller, not only for the sheer number of parts but the many quite intricate sub-assemblies that combine the resin and etched parts where modifications to the kit and resin parts are required. Soldering skills will also be very helpful in assembling these small and detailed assemblies. To aid in the assembly is the ten page instruction sheet that will require careful study before work begins as some assembly sequences will have you wishing you took that engineering course after all.

There are also a couple of sections where you can't assemble this set as per instructions without buying an additional ABER set #35 066 for the replacement glacis and upper hull. The instructions show to fit the parts from this set to the reworked parts from set #35 066 but not to the Tristar kit parts but I guess it wouldn't take much trouble to apply the instructions to the Tristar parts.

Some of the sub-assemblies can be assembled independently and fitted together at a later stage or as you go such as the front gearbox assemblies which will help putting it all together.

The front gearbox/planetary drives are quite a complex assembies which includes resin and etched parts as well as plastic rod and thin wire segments. You also have to drill a few small holes in the resin parts to take some etched parts but unfortunately the instructions don't indicate the drill size. Looking ahead in the instructions to see the part that fits into the hole will help determine the correct drill size. There are also a couple of plan view drawings that show the location of other holes to be drilled and you have refer to both drawings and the assembled parts diagrams to determine the correct location of these holes.

Some small sections have multiple etched parts such as the steering lever quadrants which are made up of 4 etched parts with small plastic rod spacers sandwiched between them and the levers themselves require small notches cut into them to fit over the middle etched part of the quadrant. Again extreme care is needed and careful study of the instructions before hand will lessen any frustration.

There are numerous small storage boxes, tool clips and mounting brackets from etched parts that require careful bending that should be straightforward as far as etched parts go.

The lower hull floor is again in multiple etched parts with the floor panels and hatches mounted on spacers to lift them off the hull bottom as per the real thing with a few resin and wire detail parts to be added. The central drive shaft tunnel is again in resin with additional etched parts added which again is quite straightforward to assemble.

The two front driver's seat is quite complex with the lower supports from resin, etched and wire parts with the resin cushions and seat back having multi-part support arms but again are fairly straightforward if you take your time and the resulting seats have excellent detail definition.

The radio is another complex assembly with the radio and separate rack from etched parts with a separate etched radio face with photo film trapped behind the face for the dials plus additional small etched details for the radio front and the final radio/rack assembly again has excellent detail definition.

Moving to the back is the rear compartment bulkhead with the bulkhead proper having additional etched stiffeners and detail parts added as well as resin parts for added detail. The assembled bulkhead being quite robust as the etched stiffeners do the same job in this scale as they do on the real thing and using any of the available etched metal bending tools will really help when bending the stiffeners as there is not a lot of room to grip the parts. The many small rivets on the stiffeners are simulated by embossing the small notches included on the parts which again will require care to execute and any distortion while embossing the rivets should disappear when they are bent to shape.

The driver's instrument panel also has photo film dials and etched face panel with additional detail parts and supports for the underside of the front plate and this is where the instructions show to fit this to the etched glacis from set #35 066 but it is easy to add this to the Tristar part in a similar manner.

Attention is now turned to the upper superstructure with the instructions showing all the interior parts added to the etched superstructure parts from set #35 66 but again can be added to the Tristar superstructure quite easily.

The numerous racks and boxes for the sidewalls are fairly straightforward during assembly with resin gas mask canisters and etched brackets to add further detail and again carefully following the instructions should eliminate any problems.

The final part of the assembly is to fit all the sub-assemblies into the lower kit hull and attach the upper superstructure to the hull, if using the Tristar parts these will fit without problems but as I haven't fitted the superstructure from set #35 066 I can't comment on the fit but the usual test fitting will determine any adjustments required.

The instructions have the many sequences in exploded view form with some small photos of the assembled model to help show the location of the parts and providing you carefully study the instructions before hand to understand what's happening things should go okay. The last page of the instructions have some tips to get the best result during assembly such as removing the resin parts from their casting blocks and soldering the many etched parts together.

While there are many small parts and quite complex assemblies the end result certainly looks impressive but as mentioned this set is not for the inexperienced modeller. Experience working with resin and etched parts as well as soldering skills will make assembly easier. It's a pity you have to by another etched set to build the as per instructions but it's easy to substitute the Tristar parts for the etched parts from that set shown in the instructions.

Recommended for experienced modellers who want to take their Panzer I kit to a new level of detail.

Image of assembled set courtesy of Airconnection Canada
Etched parts
Resin parts
Photo film

Thanks to ABER and Airconnection for the sample set.
Airconnection carry the full range of ABER update and barrels sets.

Page Created September 11, 2005

Click Browsers BACK button to return to list
Home / Reviews / Vehicle Reviews / ABER