by: Vinnie Branigan [ ]
introductionAnother early-war variant from Dragon, and this time up it's the turn of the Panzerkampfwagen I Ausf.A (Early Production), the second in the 'Smart Kit' series from Dragon. This light tank had it's prototype delivered to the German Army, way back in 1933, and was a result of a Krupp design, based around examination of the British Carden Loyd chassis. It was officially given the designation Pz.Kpfw I Ausf.A, once Hitler had stopped worrying about breeching the terms of the Versailles treaty.
the kitThe kit is supplied in the smaller version of what has become the Dragon 'standard' box, with, as usual, a card holding in this case the small decal sheet, a small photo etch sheet, and another bag attached to the side holding the track links.
A separate hull tub, with 4 sprues of light grey styrene, and one large sprue of transparent plastic.
Plastic-wise, a lot of this will be familiar to anybody who bought the recent Flakpanzer I from Dragon, although of course, there are new parts to make this vehicle.
From the Flakpanzer I kit we have Sprue A, containing all the running gear of course, sprue B, the side fenders, sprue D is the one issued with the Flakpanzer I, but has a new side sprue attached to it holding the new glacis plate with transmission cover, and also a new upper hull where there used to be a big space! Sprue W, the one supplied in transparent plastic, is again, the same as the one in the Flakpanzer I kit, but this time with 2 new side sprues attached. Obviously, the lower hull tub supplied in this kit is the same one too.
Brand new is sprue C, which contains all the turret parts. There is also a new small sprue k with visor covers, a new photo etched sheet................... and best of all, a bag of Panzer I 'Magic Track' links! I really hope that these will be made available separately, after all it wouldn't be the first time Dragon have sold track links separately!
Looking closely at the parts, Dragon's moulding is immaculate. No flash whatsoever, which is what we have come to expect from these recent Dragon releases, and the detail is pin-sharp. All the weld seams are extremely well rendered, as can be seen in the extreme close-up pictures. All the hatches can be modelled open or closed, and this includes the engine deck hatches, although obviously, there is no engine supplied, so there's a space here for the aftermarket manufacturers. All the hatches are detailed on the inner surface also. The turret vision ports can also be modelled open or closed, and should look excellent with all the appropriate vision blocks being supplied in transparent plastic, as is the headlight lens which is nice to see.
The photo etched fret includes two large exhaust covers, brackets for the exhausts and also two extremely finely etched intake grills for the rear deck. I would have liked to have seen the option of photo etched tool clamps, but I suppose since it's a 'Smart Kit', we'll see that option along shortly from Cyber Hobby!
The tracks, I have to say look superb! Of course the most beautiful thing about them is the fact that they are 'Magic Track', and therefore supplied in a small bag ready to assemble. These are extremely finely moulded. One of the problems with the track in the Flakpanzer I kit was that they were so easy to break whilst removing them from the sprue. No such problem here! I test fitted a few together, and they fit beautifully............detailed guide horns and all! You are going to have to be extremely sparing with the cement though, if you're not to spoil all that fine detail.
marking optionsDragon provide 3 marking options in the kit, one in dark yellow from Pz.Rgt.5, 5th Leichte Division in Libya from 1941, and two dark grey schemes, one from Norway in 1940 , and unusually, the other from an unidentified unit in Nuremberg, around 1935, that consisted of a 2-tone camouflage scheme over the dark grey.
in conclusionThis one is going right to the very top of my build list. Highly recommended!
My Thanks to Dragon Models Ltd. for the review sample.