Pz.kpfw.I Ausf.A
Early Production

Kit #: PS720090 Preview by
Andy Lang (text)
- ajn(dot)lang(at)talktalk(dot)net
Peter Sisung (photographs) - petersisung(at)gmail(dot)com
Edited by Al Magnus

The S-Model Pzkpfw 1A arrived in the UK before Christmas 2013 and I thought that I'd offer an in-box review of the kit. I have bought various S-Model kits over the past year and this may be the best one yet. The kit is presented in the usual S-Model house style - most parts appear on a single grey sprue, with a smaller number (including some duplicate parts) on a smaller sprue. I would like to see S-Model shift to a lighter-coloured polystyrene, either sand or light grey. As is the case with all the S-Model kits I have seen, the detail & moulding quality is very crisp. The kit broadly depicts an early 2 Serie production vehicle (but see below).

The superstructure has the various vision ports moulded in place. As moulding constraints mean that these cannot be presented with all the requisite detail, S-Model have taken the unusual, but commendable, step of producing separate, fully detailed vision ports on the supplementary sprue. The modeller thus has the option of leaving the original items in place or cutting/sanding them off and using the replacement parts to provide a bit more detail.

The axe & crowbar are moulded in place on the trackguards, while the other tools are presented as separate items. The main sprue has had a number of parts clipped off during the kit production process. I suspect that these are/will be the engine deck covers needed to depict a later service variant.

The suspension isn't quite a one-piece effort as the coil springs supporting the front road wheel and the girders on the outside are separate parts. The main parts feature track sag and this is very nicely done. I would like to see more detail on the outside of the track faces and an end to the single 'bars' representing the track teeth.

Unlike the driver's hatch, the turret hatch can be positioned open or closed. An etched brass sheet provides covers for the exhaust mufflers, the strengthening armour strips on the hull sides and some of the tools. Markings provide for a range of German and Chinese vehicles, although I have never seen any photographic evidence that the latter carried the Nationalist blue/white sunburst insignia.

As with most kits, there are some parts which will benefit from additional work or replacement. The girders on the suspension units and the aerial trough are a bit 'solid' & could be be replaced with scratchbuilt items. The teardrop-shaped aerial base itself is nicely done and can be retained, although it will be a challenge to drill it for a replacement rod aerial. I intend to use the replacement vision ports described above, but I will sand them down to a thickness of about 10 thou. The circular engine access hatch on the hull rear can use some bolt detailing.

A note on production variants for the Pzkpfw 1A (this information comes from the excellent Jentz & Doyle 'Panzertracts' Volume 1/1, covering the Pzkpfw 1A/B).

Four different series of the Pzkpfw 1A were made, of which the 2 Serie was the most common. Early 2 Serie vehicles had a vision port on the right rear quarter which was omitted thereafter. The strengthening armour strips on the superstructure sides were introduced during the 2 Serie production run, as was the shorter horn and wirecutters mounted on the vehicle jack. Chinese vehicles seem to have been late 2 Serie or 3 Serie vehicles: no additional vision port on the right quarter, strengthening strips on the superstructure sides, two fuel filler ports and a short horn. As might be apparent from the above, one can't say that individual features identify a particular production run.

I don't know if anyone from S-Model reads the Missing Lynx Braille Forum, but I hope so, as they have been an absolute breath of fresh air in our scale over the past 15 months. Their Pzkpfw 1A kit is easily the best depiction of the subject in this scale. I have yet to build it, but I think that modellers can buy it with confidence.

Preview sample purchased by the author.

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Article Last Updated: 01 January 2014