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Panzer I Ausf A
Part One  - Construction

by Terry Ashley


Panzer I Ausf A


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Building Tristar's new 1/35 scale Panzer I Ausf A is fairly straightforward as this is only a small vehicle. If you choose to build it straight from the box a nice model will result but, as with any kit, there is scope for additional detailing.

One advantage of working with a basically sound kit is you donít have to worry about correcting major errors and can concentrate on adding those small details that enhance the final appearance. This kit falls into that category.

I will generally follow the construction sequence and highlight any problems along the way. I have added additional details from plastic card, rod and bits from the ABER Pz.Kpfw.1 detail set (No.35065). It should be noted that this ABER set is designed for the Italeri/Zvezda Panzer 1 and as the detail on the Tristar kit is far better than these kits not all the ABER parts are required.


Suspension and Drive Sprockets

The kit parts are nicely detailed and fit together well, by following the instructions you shouldnít have any problems.

I felt some areas could do with some tweaking and started with the road wheels, these have the lubrication points included but I added a small plastic card disc (made with a punch and die set) to make then stand out a little more.



On the main suspension units I cut off the leaf spring securing bolts which were a little underdone on the kit parts and replaced these with plastic card and rod with Grant Line bolt heads for better definition and also drilled out the centre of the axle hubs as these are hollow on most photos Iíve seen.

Click the thumbnails below for additional views of the suspension construction:

The return rollers hubs have a raised centre section and I added this with more plastic card discs with an etched Ďboltí centre.

The main bolts on the drive sprockets I also felt were a little small and I replaced these with larger bolt heads taken from and old Tamiya M3 Lee kit.

These old kits such as the M3 Lee and M3 Stuart which have many bolt heads included are excellent for cannibalising by cutting of the bolt heads with a shape blade and using elsewhere by attaching them with a small dab of liquid cement. One kit can supply you with hundreds of bolt heads of different sizes.

Finally the beam between the two suspension units also should have raised Ďhubsí where they attach to the units and again these were added using plastic card discs.

The road wheels are designed to rotate freely, but I glued these in place to aid in attaching the tracks and also to ensure the added details remained visible.


Hull Construction

This is fairly straightforward with only a few parts to make the hull proper. On the lower hull is added the front plate which fitted nicely but take care to put it the right way up with bolt heads to the bottom, this part will fit either way so take note. The rear plate fitted without problems and there is also an internal bulkhead to add. This canít be seen after construction but does give some rigidity to the lower hull but I donít think it would cause a problem if left out.

The upper hull is one large moulding but ensure you add the rear intakes grills (part C13) from the inside of the upper hull before gluing to the lower hull or you will have some fun fitting the grills.

I glued the main upper hull to the lower hull before added the front glacis plate (part C19) as this had some minor fit problems. I had to trim small amounts from both sides and the front to get a good fit between the front plate and upper hull.

Trim small amounts only and test fit often. Donít trim too much at one time because itís a bigger problem to add some back if the plate is trimmed too small.

All the hull hatches and vision ports are separate parts so you can choose to show these open or closed?

I added a row of six bolt heads along the rear hull sides (behind the exhausts) as these were missing but would be impossible for Tristar to include given the constraints of the injection moulding process. These bolts were again Ďstolení from the old Tamiya Lee kit. They are very small and partially hidden by the exhausts so may not be noticed on the finished model.

Another six small bolt heads were added inside the front fenders also using the same method as above but are more noticeable than the rear bolts.

Wiring was added to the small front fender lights from thin wire and the Notek light was added with a resin light from a Royal Models set on an etched base made from a bit of left over brass. The Notek light was often fitted to later vehicles as well as most Afrika Korps vehicles and as I will be finishing the model in that paint scheme I decided to add this.

The rear exhausts were hollowed out by careful drilling and trimming with a sharp blade as well as the right front outlet pipe being drilled out and the aerial was repositioned in the up position with the aerial itself being replaced with thin wire.



The plate fitted over the rear engine grills was thinned at the edges for better effect as were the front section of the side fenders as I left off the front fender extensions (these are rarely seen on operational vehicles).

On the rear hull the towing shackle was thinned down for a more realistic appearance and an etched chain added (not shown in photos).

This completes the main additions to the hull. All the remaining detailing was replacing some kit parts with items from the ABER etched set. These included all the lifting points with the two hull front points being further detailed with bits a thin card and wire. The front klaxon horn mount was replaced as were all the tool attachments and latches. These latches are fairly time consuming but do add to the final appearance, one thing I have noticed with the ABER tool latches in they appear to be slightly over sized. I have noticed this on other models Iíve added these bits too but is more noticeable on such a small vehicle therefore I reduced some of the latches in size to better fit onto the fenders.

The tracks and lens from the large front light were left off until after painting.



Click the thumbnails below for additional views of the hull detailing:


The Turret

This again is very simple in construction and went together without any problems. I drilled out the MG barrels and added the lifting points from the ABER set as well as the internal latches on the separate main hatch.



When drilling out barrels I find it helpful to mark the end of the barrel with a black felt pen, this gives a better key to ensure your drill bit is centred before drilling, nothing worse than drilling a hole only to find it if off to one side. (see image above)

The vision ports are again separate so you can position these open if you wish?


The Tracks

These tracks by ModelKasten are especially made for this kit. They are sensational. There are left and right handed links so take care to ensure they are on the correct side when you are assembling the track lengths.

The instructions show to lay the links out on a piece of self adhesive tape and insert the connecting pins as you go. While this method will work perfectly well I personally prefer another method for assembling separate track links.

After removing the links from the sprues (and taking care of any cleanup needed), I assemble a short length of track (say 10 links) by holding the links between my fingers, clipping the next link in place and inserting the connecting pin. Apply a small amount of liquid cement to each connecting pin and cut off once dry. Doing this in short lengths avoids a long length dangling out of your hand.



When you have enough short sections for one track, 8 in this case as there are 88 links per side; you can then join the shorter sections together to form the one full track length.

As is said this is a personal preference and the tape method plus the use of a custom made jig will also work, whatever method works best for you is the one to use.

Click the thumbnails below for additional views of the track:





In summary, Tristar's 1/35 scale Panzer I Ausf. A was a pleasure to build with only a few minor areas to watch out for as mentioned above.

The amount of added details is entirely up the individual modeller but it is an excellent kit whether it is built straight from the box or if it is superdetailed.


To Be Continued in Part Two -
Painting, Markings and Weathering

In the meantime, for more information go to:

Tristar is distributed in Australia by Modelmania

    70 J Dobson Rd
    Queensland 4506

Phone: 07 54286381 (International 61 7 54286381)
Fax: 07 54286382 (International 61 7 54286382)

http://www.modelmania.com.au    e-mail: modelmania@bigpond.com

Model, Images and Article Copyright © 2002 by Terry Ashley
Page Created 17 September 2002
Last updated 04 June 2007

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