Leichte (FUNK) Panzerwagen

Kit #: PS720094 Preview by - Francesco Giovagnorio

In a rather bizzarre choice, S-Model introduces the kit of one of the most obscure exemples of the Panzer I family: the command vehicle on the Panzer IA chassis was probably nothing more than an experiment along the route leading to the production of the definitive command vehicle on the Panzer I chassis, or the Sd.Kfz. 265. The Leichte (Funk) Panzerwagen mit Sonderaufbau (light radio tank with special superstructure) was a turretless Panzer IA with a fixed casemate to house the tank commander and the radio operator, with a base for raising and lowering the antenna on the right corner of the superstructure and a tubular antenna rest on the right track guard. Fifteen of these vehicles were completed in time for the first trial exercise of a Panzer-division, in August 1935, and it is probable that no more were ever built, as it is probable that they were only used for propaganda and training and never saw effective combat.

The main sprue contains most of the pieces necessary to build the vehicle, and it is the same sprue to be found in the Panzer IA kit. The second sprue contains extra visors (in case you decide to substitute the in-built ones, which I think you should do) and other small pieces; the third sprue is exclusive of this kit, and contains the casemate, the commander's hatch and the antenna base.

Since the main sprue is the same as the Panzer IA, there are some pieces which can go directly to the spare box, like these very nice MGs.

As I said before, S-Model lets the builder choose to leave the vision ports as they are (easy solution, lesser detail) or shave them off and replace them with those in a small separate sprue (more work, higher detail).

Speaking about visors: the one on the front of the casemate was rather peculiar, very flat with a rain guard. The one already built on the casemate is rather different and definitely wrong, but sadly S-Model does not provide a correct one on the separate sprue, so it must be scratchbuilt.

A small fret contains the lateral additional armor and some very flat tools, and another one the perforated plate to be wrapped around the muffler. Another one contains the antenna guard to be mounted on the right anterior track guard, but, since it was tubular rather than flat, it should be scratchbuilt with copper wire.

Each side of the suspension, wheels and track is moulded as a single part. Despite this, the detail is sharp. The double rows of track guide teeth are moulded as a single wide tooth, which I think is acceptable given the tiny size. Naturally, due to limitations of slide mould technology, you can not expect much detail on the outer track, which also needs careful cleaning to avoid damage to the track detail.

A small decal sheet contains some German crosses, but it is doubtful if they were present, as in the very few pictures these vehicles seem to be carrying no insignia. What is very evident, however, is that they were camouflaged with the pre-1937 three-tone Buntfarbenanstrich. So, no overall Dunkelgrau/Panzer gray here.

To sum up, this is a nice kit of a very rare vehicle which should appeal every enthusiast of very early WWII German vehicles.

Preview sample purchased by the author.

This model can be purchased from Tracks & Troops

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Article Last Updated: 02 February 2015