This is the third Panzer I Ausf.B kit from Dragon and represents the same later 6a.Series/LaS of the first kit #6186 but with additional parts for the DAK version as well as some minor updates to the original kit parts. This kit consists of 201 parts in the usual light grey plastic with another 216 individual track links and 22 parts in clear plastic as well as the bonus Deutsche Afrika Korps figures. There is also the original small etched fret with engine deck grills and the exhaust cover as well as a new etched fret with the jerry can rack and jerry can parts plus clear parts for the three head lights as well as the decal and instruction sheets.
The detail on the parts is as you expect the same as the previous kits with very well done weld seams on all hull and turret panels joins as well as very subtle engraved screw head detail and nice raised bolt/rivet details. The road wheels have equally well done details with the bolts on the drive sprocket being the correct size and again excellent rivet detail on the lower hull bottom with nicely rendered tread plate pattern on the side fenders.
The previous problem with the idler wheel still remains where it is depicted with a solid rubber tyre as with the Panzer 1A idler. The idler wheel on the Panzer 1B was in fact a new all metal design with a gap between the inner and outer wheel discs with connecting ribs and the box top art actually shows the correct configuration. As mentioned previously this is a difficult design to replicate in injection plastic but with all the other improvements in this and other recent kits it would have been nice for this to be addressed.
The lower hull tub includes the side fenders with multipart suspension units and separate front road wheel axle with nice shock absorber spring and rear idler wheels.
At the front is a separate plate with nice rivet and weld seam details but ensure this is attached the right way up with the bolts at the bottom while at the rear is a choice of two rear panels for an early or late configuration with or without the smoke dischargers plus alternate tail lights. The tail light mounting and later style tail light with convoy lights are included as etched parts for nice definition.
The upper hull has the forward glacis/superstructure and rear engine compartment deck as separate parts and in an interesting engineering exercise the superstructure and engine deck have an inner shell with all separate outer panels which allows the inclusion of all the superb weld seams, bolt and rivet detail that really does stand out and adds an extra dimension to the kit.
All the hull crew hatches are separate parts and the pin ejector marks on the insides of the previous hatches have been eliminated from these hatches by the use of additional plastic 'nodes' used to punch out the parts instead of the usual pin ejector marks, this requires a bit more clean up but a small price to pay for cleaner parts.
On the engine deck all the access doors and fuel cap covers are also separate parts more for detail definition but will make it easy to add an aftermarket engine if you wish, take note that the etched screen for the right rear intake grills has to be added from the inside before the top deck is glued in place.
Additional DAK parts are the raised "Tropen" ventilation ducts on the rear deck as well as the NOTEK light for the front fender. A large etched jerry can rack is also provided for the rear fenders and six new jerry cans to go in the rack, these are nicely done with fine engraved stenciling with an etched central flange that fits between the two halves as we saw with the BEGO Jerry Can Set as well as separate handles and filler caps to make jerry cans with well defined details.
There are the alternate visors with and without the three conical bolts seen on the later visors and all visors have been replaced with clear items with interal brackets so you can assemble these open if you wish.
There are many smaller details around the hull such as the towing shackles, head lights (with clear parts) and siren with separate face for good definition on the front hull as well as a full selection of pioneer tools along the fenders as well as very delicate radio aerial support tray and aerial.
This turret has the upper shell with separate lower turret ring and separate front panel with machine gun mantlet with two nicely detail MG barrels.
The turret shell has again superb conical rivet detail around the visors and weld seam detail around the top plate join with separate top hatch, again the pin marks on the inside of the hatche has been eliminiated and the two side visors are now separate clear parts with internal brackets to show open if desired.
There is also a rudimentary crew seat included to allow the Commander figure to stand on if he is positioned in the hatch.
These are all individual links with very fine details but being very small will require some patience to assemble but the end result is excellent detailed tracks.
While they are individual links they are not workable and have to be glued together but to help with this each link has small pins and corresponding grooves so each link will locate precisely into the next giving the correct spacing between each link and a positive seating, but be sparing with the glue so you don’t clog up the small spaces between the links.
Included is this kit is the figure set “Deutsche Afrika Korps” (Kit No.6063) which have very nice details on the uniforms and also includes a couple of small dogs and a lizard for a typical desert scene.
These are of the traditional line drawing exploded view type with easy to follow construction sequences but as with any kit careful study of the instructions before gluing is advisable.
The sheet is well printed with good colour register and reasonably thin carrier film with markings for two vehicles shown on the sheet but there are enough numbers to make virtually any number of vehicles from the two Pz.Divs on the sheet.
What was a nice little kit has been enhanced further with the clear visor parts and open visors on the turret plus the additional parts for the DAK version and again the bonus figures makes for good value.
Now I'm not one to start rumours but there is a new small engraving on the inside of the lower hull tub which says "1a/b", could we be seeing a new Panzer 1A coming soon, at least that would fix the idler wheel problem.
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Panzer Tracts No 1-1
Panzer Tracts No 1-2
Ground Power Magazine
Pz.Kpfw.I/Pz.Kpfw.II and variants
|TANKS & ARMOUR:
PanzerKampfwagen 1 & II
Ian Allen Publishing
Excellent photo feature on the Panzer 1a
Military Modelling Magazine
Page created 17 November 2004