Monday, July 26

Build Review Pt I: Pz.Kpfw.I Ausf.A & Pz.Kpfw.I Ausf.B (1+1 kit) in 35th scale from Takom.

Clayton has taken on the dual build of Takom's new kit - the Panzer IA & Panzer IB in 35th. He shows us the difference between the two variants and how to get the best out of your lil' Panzers in part one of his excellent build report...

Build Review Pt I: Pz.Kpfw.I Ausf.A & Pz.Kpfw.I Ausf.B
From Takom
Kit No #2145
1/ 35th scale
2 kits in the one box (both A & B types - one of each)
8 marking choices - either PZ.1A or PZ.1B types.
Link & Length tracks supplied in this kit
Photo-etch parts included
Takom Facebook Page
During my time in the hobby, I have always found the Panzer 1 is one of those tanks that you either love or hate. Hate is probably a little too harsh of a term, so I’ll change that to ‘overlook’, but we all know the big boys such as the Tigers and the Panthers get most of the love, don’t they? I am however a little different to the norm and given my choice I would take a Panzer 1 over a Panther any day (to model at least…I’d take the Panther in a gunfight!)
There have been many Panzer 1’s available over the years. Some great and some not so, but a new offering is always exciting. Even more exciting is that it was Takom that announced they would be releasing this subject. To make the announcement even more enticing it was to be released as a twin boxing. The Ausf A and the Ausf B are botn in the one box.
The kit: Pz.Kpfw.I Ausf.A & Pz.Kpfw.I Ausf.B in 35th scale from Takom.
I guess the subject really should have come as no surprise given their recent releases of the Panzer 1 in the 1/16 scale. The research and development had already been half done…it just needed to be massaged somewhat into the smaller scale.

Two of the 16th scale Panzer I's from Takom
The announcement can be found right here on The Modelling News for those of you who missed the release. I won’t go into any facts or figures because there is a terrific overview already available in that article but in summary, the easiest way to differentiate between the two versions is the Ausf. A is a little shorter and only has 4 road wheels whereas the Ausf B has five and is slightly longer.

As always, an attractive box art, drawn by Jason Wong
A look inside the box with the two kits present, more plastic than you would think to make both of these tiny tanks...
So, let’s see how these little icons go together and see if this latest release from Takom is all I was hoping it would be.

In the interests of the article, I decided to build the two models simultaneously as a lot of the steps are identical with just a few minor differences. The instructions are broken into an A and B section per step.

The return rollers and some of the suspension elements are attached to the hull to initiate the building phase. Having them side by side indicates the slight difference in the lengths of the two versions of the tank.
A little closer to show some detail. I didn’t notice at the time but on review, the housing for the drive sprocket has opened after gluing to the structure. Easy enough to fix and will be mostly hidden anyway.
The track guards are now assembled. The tools and exhausts (A version) are easily positioned on the sections.
The detail in the tools is quite stunning. I had purchased aftermarket parts with the thought of replacing some of these, but after actually seeing the parts I didn’t feel there was much of a point in doing that as they were so good anyway.
The jack and bolt cutters are of a particularly high standard.
The wheels are removed from the sprues and cleaned up. The rims are photo-etch pieces and are attached to the wheels using CA Glue. I forgot how much I hate CA glue at times…
Idler and drive sprockets are prepared for paint.
After painting the wheels, it was obvious there were some significant gaps between the etch rims and the wheel section. It looked terrible so the gap was filled using Vallejo acrylic putty.
After cleaning away the excess putty you get an understanding of the gap that needed to be addressed. In the scheme of things, it is a very small issue, but it still needed to be addressed.
The bogies and suspension sections of the Panzer 1 would have made painting the road wheels very awkward, so I made the call to pre-paint as much of these assemblies as I could.

The wheels were then painted in a very dark grey to represent the rubber sections and then using a circular template to mask the wheels, the grey sections of the wheels were painted in.

They are not perfect, but they are good enough to present well once weathered.
The bogie assemblies are again a little different between the two versions. Here you see the Ausf.B with the wheel assemblies now all attached to the hull.
Now back to the Ausf.A. It was here I decided I was going to represent an Ausf.A from the Afrika Corps. The A’s were rushed to the North African conflict and from what I understand were shipped in the Dunkelgrau colour and hastily painted on arrival in Gelbbraun RAL8000.

The base pieces were all painted using Gunship Grey from SMS and treated with a couple of coats of hairspray. Once dry a 50/50 mix of Tamiya Khaki and Dark Yellow was applied. Then using an old brush moistened with water the chipping began.
The African desert was a hostile environment, so given the rushed, field applied paintwork was generally less than perfect, I figured the running gear would have been subject to a great deal of wear. The simple chipping process was a quick and rewarding way to present that type of damage and wear.
The wheel assemblies are now attached to the hull of the Ausf A.
I thought it might be interesting to build one of the kits with the kit supplied link and length tracks and the other using the R Model aftermarket metal tracks.

The Ausf.A would get the link and length tracks from the kit. The pieces were painted in a very dark red-brown colour. This is just an insurance policy that will make painting them easier later in the build.
The tracks are now attached. Fit and realism were of a very high standard.
The top section of the tanks is the next area of focus. All hatches can be posed in the open or closed position but given there is no interior in the kit I was careful not to pose too many open. I did feel having a few open made the model a little more interesting though.

Light and service hooks are attached around the structure also.
A closer look at the engine decks of the two versions. The maintenance hatches are all moulded in place however the panel lines look convincing and in scale. The exhaust of the Ausf.B has also been fitted. Again, notice the slight differences in length between the two versions. 

Ausf B on the left, Ausf.A, on the right.
A closer look at the Ausf.A engine deck.
Assembly on the turrets begins with the machine gun barrels attached to the underside of the section. I considered aftermarket barrels, but I think the detail and moulding on the kit parts are again of a very high standard and decided to leave them.
All hatches are poseable in the open or closed position (not workable). The handle in the interior is a nice touch and will add an amount of finesse to the area. Unfortunately, these pieces were so fragile they were just about impossible to clean up and about 50% of them were broken on the sprue. Given I was posing most of the hatches closed that wasn’t that big of a deal, but worth mentioning nonetheless.
The main differences in the two turret assemblies are the vision hatches and the lifting hooks. It’s also worth noting the Ausf.B turret has rivetted sections as opposed to the "A" version. I haven’t checked references for this, but it is a nice point of difference.
It’s a shame there isn’t a little more interior (even if it was just the turret) because that main hatch is so large. If it was to be posed open you would see far too much to be able to get away with it…so for these builds the hatch will have to remain closed.
The interiors of the turrets were painted in an ivory white and glued in place.
Back to the top side of the Aust A now, and the smoke candles are fitted to the rear deck. In reality, there should be some fine chains attached to each of the canisters on this part. It’s something I may revisit later if I can source some chain fine enough, but for now, I have nothing suitable to replicate the detail.
The top and bottom sections of the Ausf.A are now connected. The fit was good with only some minor filling in places required.
The aerial and exhaust guards are now glued in place.
Then back to the Ausf.B and the guards are now attached to the hull section.
The work done on the two sections of the B version now comes together. The horn and aerial pieces are glued in place and the etch exhaust guard is bent and glued in place.
The turrets then just twist into place and the models are ready for paint.

Whilst the two versions of the Panzer 1 are quite similar there are a lot of interesting little differences between the two vehicles. Interestingly the two versions did fight together, so there is an opportunity to pose them together in a diorama.
Upon reviewing these images, I noticed a weld bead missing along the front edge where the armour plate meets the cast piece. This was added using stretched sprue and softening it with Tamiya thin cement. Whilst still soft the weld texture was added using a knife blade. I was a little heavy-handed with this, but it was better than nothing.

A slight cast texture was also added to the front piece by first coating the section in Tamiya thin and dabbing it with an old paintbrush whilst still tacky. The effect is subtle but should be noticeable once the paint and washes go down.

Primer goes down, ready for paint.
The models were then ready for a coat of primer (Mr Surfacer 1000). The wheel sections were crudely masked using a low tack masking tape to protect the painting I had previously done.

The smaller Ausf. A
The Ausf. B. After looking at reference images I noticed some of the examples seemed to have wiring running to the headlights (some didn’t). I couldn’t work out why some did, and some didn’t, so I decided I would leave the A as it was, but for the B I added some wiring to the headlights, if for nothing else than to add a little more detail. Don’t take it as gospel. Do your own research and see what you come up with.

The R Model metal tracks are temporarily pinned in place to test fit, and all was looking as it should.
...And the two versions together for a side by side comparison.
I have built a lot of Takom kits over the past few years, and I can honestly say these two kits are the best Takom kits I have built, in terms of both detail and fit. They were a pleasure to assemble and to watch them slowly to take shape.
I can only speak from my part of the World, but when I saw the price for this on a popular online store, I nearly fell off my seat…in a good way. It was just over $60 AUD - that is incredible value (in my opinion of course) for not only one highly detailed kit, but two… Not even the same kit, but two quite different versions of the iconic early war tank.
Numerous decal options paired with an extremely high-quality kit(s) at an affordable price. This is a knockout as far as I am concerned. Highly recommended.

Part II of this build review is at this link

Clayton Ockerby

Thanks to Takom for sending this kit to Clayton to build and review
See more of Clayton's amazing works on his modelling website "Workbench Hobbies" or his FB page