Kit, DML 6597, Sd.Kfz.265 kleiner Pz.Bef.Wg.I Initial Production
November 21 2010 at 11:30 AM
(Login zappa93) Missing-Lynx members from IP address 18.104.22.168
DRAGON MODELS LIMITED
6597, Sd.Kfz.265 kleiner Pz.Bef.Wg.I Initial Production 2-in-1 Smart Kit. 1/35th-scale styrene/multimedia kit containing 292 injection-molded styrene parts (including 38 clear), plus one bag of Magic Tracks, 20 stamped etched brass parts, two pre-shaped metal wire parts, one etched brass fret, six water-slide decal/painting options and six pages of instructions in 10 steps.
DML is increasingly known to be one of the only manufacturers to regularly update older kits. Sometimes this is done to introduce corrections noted by consumers, consultants and kit reviewers. Other times this is done to introduce detail enhancements or to provide a minor variation on a theme. In the case of this, their third iteration of the kleiner Panzerbefehlswagen, DML has chosen to offer the initial production version based on the 2.Serie/kl.Pz.Bef.Wg. chassis. This version was initially produced without a cupola for the commander, which is catered for in this kit. Additionally, the kit also provides the first type of retro-fitted cupola and finally, a new, multi-part styrene and metal Rahmenantenne (frame antenna) array.
Other detail enhancements include those that have gradually made their way into DMLs Pz.Kpfw.I kit series. These include re-worked road-wheels that include stamped etched brass rings for their rims, an idler wheel with separate outer rim ring, new coil springs and new forward-most suspension swing arms for either side of the hull. Unlike other later Pz.Kpfw.I Ausf.B-based kits, this one does not include the very welcome (but inexplicably absent) slide-molded exhaust muffler, with its opened fish-tail pipe; for more on that, see below.
One other item is of note. There is a new sprue in the box, which is supplied to provide for two different tools for this kit. However, the sprue is also obviously from an upcoming kl.Pz.Bef.Wg.I Ausf.A kit, since parts for the superstructure roof hatch lid, vehicle-specific view-port flaps and the unique rod-frame style antenna stowage trough are also included. So, stay tuned early war Panzer nuts!
These Magic Track individual links are packed in a separate bag attached to the usual DML parts card. Since the links fit together quite positively but very loosely, glue will be required to keep them under control during final fitting.
The suspension system has been greatly re-vamped along the lines of that seen on DMLs latest Pz.Kpfw.I Ausf.B-derived kits, such as the Panzerjäger I and Bison kits, which enhances visual fidelity for a much more accurate appearance. For instance, the road-wheels are now provided with a pair of stamped brass rings fitted to the rims; these provide for properly-undercut details. Improved coil springs and their associated swing arms are also given for the first road-wheel station on each side of the hull, while the idler wheels are complete with separate rims.
The entire suspension system features some parts that can remain movable after careful assembly; the wheels will rotate and the main bogies will pivot. I recommend that the modeler fix the units in place after everything is in its proper location. If desiring to put the model on a base, plan ahead so the suspension system will properly follow the contours of your ground-work. Of course, if using the kit tracks, which are not workable after assembly, this entire exercise will be even more challenging.
The lower hull is a one-piece tub with integral side panels; this makes for ease of assembly and also provides for very positive alignment of the major components. The separate bow plate/transmission housing is attached to the front, while a separate stern plate is attached in the rear. The belly plate and hull side walls feature crisply-molded rivets, panel lines, access plates and suspension system mounting points. The rear plate has the circular access cover molded in place and will receive several separate fittings, such as a convoy distance-keeping lamp, idler wheel housings, hull stiffening fittings, tow points, and finally, the trailer hitch. The two-part exhaust muffler is complimented by an etched brass perforated heat shield, but it must have the pipe fish-tail openings carefully carved out for maximum realism.
Track-Guards and OVM.
The track-guards are molded integrally with the lower hull pan. They feature separate styrene front and rear mud-flaps as well as etched brass edges for their entire length. The usual assortment of tools (shovel, axe, wire cutters, etc.) as well as a jack and its associated jack block, a fire extinguisher, various marker lamps, and transmission exhaust pipe all dress up the track-guards. A re-worked wooden rod antenna stowage trough is mounted on the starboard side.
The upper forward superstructure is based on an inner shell that is molded with part of the glacis plate. To this, the front and side panels are attached; careful clean-up of the parts allowed them to fit nearly flawlessly, but hair-line gaps may ensue. Some thinned putty or Mister Surfacer will certainly prove useful. There are two roof panel configurations provided. One has simple hatch lids, while the second consists of the commanders cupola that was eventually retro-fitted to these Befehlspanzer. The Heckpanzer (engine deck) module consists of an inner core to which separate side walls and deck plate are attached; the engine deck access hatch lids, as well as the two fuel filler cap lids are also separate parts. Up front, there is also a head-lamp with a clear lens, a slide-molded horn with separate mount, tow points and a ball-mounted MG34. New for this kit is a two-part, pre-formed metal wire Rahmenantenne (frame antenna) with multi-part styrene mounting posts.
All view-port flaps are supplied as separate clear parts, with separate glass blocks, and include internal details. The small armor plates seen on the sides of the superstructure, where they meet the track-guards, can be used or left off depending upon references. Throughout, there are delicate molded-in counter-sunk screw head details as well as various other things such as weld beads, hinges and bolts. Separate (and tiny) lift hooks complete this assembly.
Molding, Fit and Engineering.
Overall, the fit was good-to-excellent on the original kit parts, which I have previously assembled for other ToT reports of kits that portray this variant. All details were crisply-rendered and there were no ejector pin marks to be seen on any visible surface, including the inner faces of hatch lids.
The locations for the bases of the Rahmenantenne are shown in the instructions, but not in a scale sense; no measurements are provided. One method, would be to slide the forward (center) post assembly (after the parts have thoroughly dried and set) and both forward side post assemblies on to the large pre-formed metal wire part. Next, set the forward/center posts location using the etched brass part provided, on the glacis plate; after it is fixed, slide the side posts to their proper locations and fix them. Then add the small wire part and the last two posts. This entire operation is only complicated by the etched mounting bracket for the forward/center post, which will require some skill in bending in order for it to work. It would be best to replace it with some styrene strip and a couple of bolt heads.
Accuracy and Details.
Overall, the model scales quite well with drawings from the references listed below. If I understand the Pz.Kpfw.I chassis correctly, the lower edges of the hull front plate/transmission housing should be flat extensions of the line created by the belly plate, not fully-curved as given by DML.
These are typical for DML and are clearly-rendered line drawings. In step 4, parts K9 and K5 are mislabeled; they should be A11 and A15 (the exhaust muffler). Parts K9 and K5 are actually the missing revised exhaust muffler parts. Colors are, as usual, coded to match Gunze and Testors paints. DML has also provided the official German names and RAL numbers for the various colors, which is an excellent touch. Finally, each color scheme is provided with a set of three-view drawings.
Decals and Markings Information.
The water-slide decals are from Cartograf and as usual, they are crisp and exhibit fine color saturation and registration. Carrier film is thin and cropped close to the edges of the designs. Markings for six kleiner Panzerbefehlswagen, all from unidentified units in pre-war Germany, are provided as follows:
White 7, painted overall Dunkelgrau RAL 7021 (should be Dunkelgrau Nr.46 with Dunkelbraun Nr.45).
White 601, painted overall Dunkelgrau RAL 7021 (should be Dunkelgrau Nr.46 with Dunkelbraun Nr.45)*.
White 7 painted overall in the feuersicherem Buntfarbenanstrich three-tone system of Nr.17 Erdgelb-matt, Nr.28 Grün-matt and Nr.18 Braun-matt*.
White 10, painted overall in the feuersicherem Buntfarbenanstrich three-tone system*.
Overall Dunkelgrau Nr.46 with Dunkelbraun Nr.45
Overall feuersicherem Buntfarbenanstrich three-tone system.
The three marked with an (*) asterisk are confirmed in photos seen in the cited references (in all cases, in reference 4). Note that white 601 does not mount a Rahmanantenne as shown in the drawing. The other schemes are generic enough for the time period to be substantially correct, as German AFVs seldom wore permanent markings in the pre-war era.
This is a nice variation on a theme, only marred by the lack of the re-worked exhaust muffler parts currently extant in the DML supply chain. The choice of markings have been well-researched and the use of proper German names for the colors is most welcome; the inclusion of a multi-media Rahmenantenne adds to the overall attraction of whats in the box.
Frank V. De Sisto
References consulted for this report included, but were not limited to:
1. Panzerkampfwagen I; Panzer Tracts1-1, by T. Jentz & H. Doyle.
2. Panzerkampfwagen I; Panzer Tracts1-2, by T. Jentz & H. Doyle.
3. Encyclopedia of German Tanks of World War II, Revised Edition; by P. Chamberlain, T. Jentz & H. Doyle.
4. Panzerkampfwagen I; Wehrmacht Special No.4009, Tankograd, by M. Zöllner.
5. Pz.Kpfw.I/ Pz.Kpfw.II Series and Variants; Achtung Panzer No.7, Dai Nippon Kaiga, by M. Bitoh.
6. Panzer I, The Beginning of a Dynasty; AFV Collection No.1, AF Editions, by L.M. Franco.
7. German leichter Panzer at War; Concord 7066, by F. De Sisto & L. Lecocq.
Note: Since May of 2005, I have been working on books for Concord Publications, a sister company to DML. The reader may wish to take this into consideration. For my part, I will attempt to maintain an objective viewpoint when writing these reports.
DML kits are available from retail and mail order shops. For details see their web site at: www.dragonmodelsltd.com.