ARM: Review - Tristar 1/35 Scale Pzkw. I Ausf. A Early/Late Version

Kit Review: Tristar Limited Edition 1/35 Scale Kit No. 35028: German
Panzer I Ausf. A Early/Late Model; 574 parts (520 in tan styrene, 48
etched brass, 6 clear styrene); retail price about US$50
Advantages: reworked and more complete kit, all parts now provided by
Tristar; complete interior now provided with this kit
Disadvantages: confusing number of variants now available for the same
small early vehicle
Rating: Highly Recommended
Recommendation: for all German and "Between the Wars" Third-World
armor fans
Tristar has now released what may be the most complete and option-
friendly version of the Pzkw. I Ausf. A tank. This kit combines new
parts from Tristar with elements of their previous kits and now gives
a full interior with the model. There are now nearly triple the parts
that came with earlier kits such as Kit No. 35008 (July 2006 review).
As I previously noted the tank is pretty small - about the size of a
Panther in 1/72 scale - and has a tremendous amount of detail provided
with it for its size. Tristar does not seem to be interested in a "who
can be tiniest parts molder?" competition with other companies, and
thus many small parts are molded into other components, which makes
assembly easier for the modeler. The suspension is nicely detailed but
still consists of parts that can be seen when assembling them, and are
not likely to be sacrificed to the "carpet monster."
This version of the kit now comes with a choice of two sets of
wheels: the original one-piece wheels or a new set with separate rims
for the road wheels and idlers. Tristar now provides their own one-
piece track links which snap together vice the Model-Kasten ones with
separate hinge pins, something many modelers will be grateful to see.
Instead of a one-piece hull pan there is a new pan with a belly,
sides, rear and bow section. This makes installation and painting of
the full interior easier so it should not be a distraction. The
transmission is made from nine parts and the engine is composed of 21
parts, and all primary accessories are included. All that appears to
be missing are the wires.
The lower hull also has many new details, including seats, ammo racks
and trays, and a radio set. Every single flap, hatch or filler cap is
provided as a separate part, and some come with hold-open braces as
well. The engine access hatch can be modeled as cracked open,
partially open or fully open.
The turret is nicely done with all view ports separate, and now has a
relatively complete interior with seat, gun breeches, and telescopic
sight. Controls are also provided.
Exterior details include outer-vehicle materials, pioneer tools,
smoke candles, and many other small bits.
Brass parts cover most of the major grilles, muffler shrouds and
other essential minor locks and clasps.
The instructions are oddly presented (using what appears to be
Japanese right-to-left printing vice more conventional left-to-right)
and come in two separate sections.
Decals and finishing instructions are provided for four early models
and two late models. Earlies include 3rd Company, 2nd Battalion
Agrupacion de Carros, Spain 1936; Pz.Abt. zBV 40, Norway 1940;
unidentified unit, Polish campaign 1939; and 5th Light Panzer
Division, Africa 1941. The first three are in Panzergrau and the last
one in desert brown. The Lates are: unknown unit, Polish campaign
1939; and unknown unit, North Africa 1941 (one Panzergrau, one desert
brown.) Two separate "targeted" decal sheets are provided along with
the painting instructions.
Overall this is probably the best kit of this vehicle going, but the
fact that several variants have been released for such a small and
where only just over 800 were produced may cause pause to consider how
many kits are really needed.
Thanks to Bob Lewen of MRC for the review sample.
Cookie Sewell
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I have been fond of early WW2 armor for many years. First I got the Azimut ADV Panzer I A conversion for the Italeri kit. Not a set for the faint of heart. Then Tristar came out with a nice, albeit expensive, Panzer 1 A. Then Dragon came out with a cheaper one. Had to get both of those. Now Tristar gives us the most comprehensive one available? They must be trying to such the money out of my wallet.
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When PT Barnum made his famous quote about "A (blank) and his money are soon parted" not sure he ever realized one could crib "Modeler" in there -- my wife tells me I have the same problem!
Cookie Sewell
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