- Published on Friday, 20 April 2012 00:01 Robin Jenkins
1/72 Pz.Kpfw. I Ausf.F German Light Tank
Kit Number M72202
Available direct from Armory for $45.40 (approx £28.47)
To many AFV modellers I know, even to those whose main area of interest is German AFVs of WW2, the Pz.Kpfw I (or Panzer I) is definitely seen as the poor man's relation. Perhaps it is the relative ineffectiveness of the small, 2-man tank; perhaps its use only in the first couple of years of the war (along with the Spanish Civil War) before being withdrawn; perhaps the meagre machine gun armament. Whatever it is, not many modellers build Panzer I models in comparison to other German AFVs.
I have always thought this was a sad state of affairs. In numerical terms, the Panzer I family were a very important AFV in all of the campaigns up to the invasion of France in 1940 and although they only appeared in the standard "panzer grey" scheme, sometimes overlaid with a brown camouflage colour, there are some very interesting schemes for the tanks from their involvement in the Spanish Civil War (a good introduction to this area can be found in the book that was my first ever review for this site, "Spanish Civil War Tanks" from Osprey).
There is also the matter of the Panzer I Ausf. F.......(below)
Credit and copyright: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Pz_II_Neu.jpg
This was a specialised, completely redesigned variant of the light, fast, manoeuvrable Panzer I Ausf. A and B which threw this basic pattern out of the window. It was a heavily armoured infantry support tank, so much so in fact that it weighed four times as much as the earlier versions. Even though it was re-engined with a more powerful powerplant, its top roadspeed was halved and off-road it was much, much slower. Only 30 of this little heavyweight were built in the early 1940s and most of them ended up at army training schools as their relative ineffectiveness came to light. The Panzer I Ausf.F did have its moment of glory, however, when 8 of them were transferred to the 1st Panzer Division and saw action during the Battle of Kursk in July 1943.
There have been only a few models of the Panzer I family over the years, mainly of the Ausf. A and B and the Command vehicles (in 1/35 scale, models from Italeri, Dragon and Tristar, plus an Ausf.C from Hobby Boss and in 1/72 scale from Italeri and Attack). As for the Ausf. F, I am only aware of an older 1/35th kit from Alan which needs a lot of work lavished on it to make a decent model and a 1/72 model from Milicast which builds up quite nicely. Now, Armory has released their own Limited Edition resin and etched multimedia kit of this fascinating little tank in 1/72nd scale.
The two largest resin pieces are, unsurprisingly, for the main hull and the turret (below). Even in this small scale, this is a tiny AFV, but Armory has managed to mould everything correctly and to the right size according to the plans I checked.
Within a separate bag are contained the dozens of parts to make up the tracks (above). This is a different approach to that in Armory's recently reviewed Soviet AT-L Prime Mover in the same scale, which provided the tracks as etched parts. Perhaps because the tracks are both more exposed and are more substantial, a traditional presentation for resin AFV kits has been adopted, with several different lengths of track links provided. However, as will be seen later, the etch does have relevance to these pieces. A close-up (below) shows the fine detail in these pieces (for those who do not know this vehicle, the tracks may appear to be over-wide, but Armory has got the size, pattern and width spot-on).
A second bag contains all of the ancillary detail parts (above). These include tools, lights, towing eyes, suspension arms, the exhaust and stowage boxes. As can be seen, some of these parts suffered from a mild resin flashing (as with the AT-L kit) which will require careful removal. The final bag contains the road wheels, idlers, drive sprockets and transmission housings (below) as well as the two main circular hull hatches.
For some reason, the gun mantlet was not contained in a bag but was loose in the box (above), not the best place for it in view of there being so many delicate parts. It is, however, perfectly formed and captures the double curvature of the original perfectly. Also shown in this photo are the decals, which are well printed but which may suffer from a slight translucency in the white areas. The options are:
- White "6", 1. Kompanie, Pz.Abt.z. B. V.66 (Autumn 1942) in overall panzer grey
- Red "25", Kubinka Tank Museum in dunkelgelb/rotbraun/grun camouflage
The final photo (below) shows the 2 intricate etched frets that complete the kit. Amongst the many parts are the major front and rear fenders, details for the sprockets and idlers, rear engine deck grills and turret fittings. Also seen at the top half of the larger fret is the multitude of track horns that need to be attached to the inner surface of every track link. This will prove challenging in this small scale.
Unfortunately, as with the AT-L, the instruction sheets are poor and give little detailed information to the modeller on the placing of many of the parts. This is frustrating, particularly with such a complex and intricate kit.
One final note for UK readers. As with the AT-L kit, Hannants is the UK distributor for Armory but they have decided not to stock this kit so it will have to be ordered direct from the manufacturer.
So What Do We Think?
As with the AT-L kit recently reviewed, Armory has produced an excellent little kit of an infrequently modeled vehicle. Although the casting of the resin was very good, I do not think that this kit quite matches the standard of the AT-L; at around nearly 50% on top of the current price of the excellent Milicast Panzer I Ausf F as well, I am not certain how good its sales will be, even though the level of detail is greater. It will also take quite a skilled modeller to do this kit justice.
Lots of accurate detail but rather expensive
Our thanks to Armory for the review sample. To purchase direcgly, click THIS link.