ARM: Review - DML 1/35 scale Pzkw. I mit Abwurfvorrichtung

Kit Review: Dragon Models Limited 1/35 Scale ?39-?45 Series Kit No. 648 0; Pz.Kpfw. I mit Abwurfvorrichtung - Smart Kit; 554 parts (244 in grey sty
rene, 216 ?Magic Track? single links, 51 etched brass, 41 clear styrene , 1 twisted steel wire, 1 nylon string); preorder price US$49.95 via Dragon USA Online
Advantages: upgraded version of the 2004 kit with new parts from the better molded A version where applicable; interesting version with charge layer e quipment
Disadvantages: very tiny individual track links will not be popular with so me modelers
Rating: Highly Recommended
Recommendation: for all light armor, armored engineer and German armor fans
F I R S T L O O K
    When armored vehicles first appeared in WW I it did not take the engineers long to realize these vehicles had a lot of advantages in carrying out tas ks which would otherwise place them at risk. While few experiments were car ried out during the war, in the postwar period some experiments were conduc ted.
    Most countries came to the conclusion that a tank could be used to place a charge next to an obstacle that was covered by enemy fire, and so experime nts concentrated on a way to get the charge next to the objective. This veh icle was among the first created by the Germans to do this and was used dur ing WWII for laying explosive charges. The idea was that the tank, in this case the little Panzer I, would approach the objective, turn around, drop i ts charge next to the objective, drive off, and then remotely detonate the explosives to flatten the objective. Two versions were developed, one with a long arm holding the case with the explosive charge and one with a ?ski jump? that simply let it slide off the rear of the tank. Up to 10 of the se devices were fitted to tanks assigned to the 3rd company of the armored Pioneer engineer battalion of panzer divisions. (There is no information ap parently on how many were converted.)
    But the Panzer I was not the most reliable vehicle to use for this as it w as thinly armored and unless given plenty of cover and supporting attacks, it was easily knocked out before it could place its charge. The Soviets pre ferred vehicles like the KV-2 with a 152mm howitzer and the British the Chu rchill AVRE for the same purpose, as both had thick armor and could flatten the objective with either a shell in the case of the former or a ?dustbi n? charge from the latter?s mortar.
    DML has now offered a kit of the first variant of this interesting concept and based it on an upgraded version of their Panzer I Ausf. B kit from 200 4. The kit has had any of its common parts with the Ausf. A replaced by spr ues from the later (and better) A kits as well as one new sprue with all of the charge laying device components.
    This kit comes with the complete set of clear styrene vision blocks and bl ock frames, which are used to provide the basis for the vision port mounts and also the locks for opening the external vision ports.
    But as this is a typical ?mix and match? kit with sprues from previous kits, the modeler must pay attention to the directions for which component s go with this model. (There are three different machine gun mounts for the turret as an example.) Alas, the directions are confusing and leave some b its out, such as the MB1 parts which are the brass stiffener rings for the road wheels.
    All of the previous kit options on exhausts, hatches and view port covers have been retained. As before, the kit includes 216 single track links, whi ch are not going to be popular with some modelers as they are very, very sm all ? each one is about 3 mm x 7 mm. At least this kit uses the improved ?Magic Track? set so you don?t have to remove the links from sprues a s with the original B kits.
    The charge laying container comes with separate lids and a possible dioram a option would be showing engineers packing it with explosive charges.
    Technical advice came from Tom Cockle and Gary Edmundson.
    Two different finishing options are offered: 1st Panzer Division, 1940 (pa nzer gray with white crosses and markings), and Unidentified Unit 1940 (pan zer grey, white crosses and white 323). A small sheet of Cartograf decals i s incldued.
    Again, this is an interesting version of a vehicle which did see service ( hence not a cyber-hobby.com effort).
    Thanks to Freddie Leung of DML for the review sample.
Cookie Sewell
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