Kit, DML 6230, Panzerjäger I, 4.7cm PaK(t) Smart Kit
January 24 2009 at 8:31 PM
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DRAGON MODELS LIMITED
6230, Panzerjäger I, 4.7cm PaK(t) Smart Kit. 1/35th-scale styrene/multimedia kit containing 454 injection-molded styrene parts (including 27 clear), plus one bag of Magic Tracks, 20 stamped etched brass parts, one etched brass fret, five water-slide decal/painting options and eight pages of instructions in 20 steps.
When Germany struck out against the West in 1940, the standard infantry anti-tank gun, the 3.7cm PaK35/36 equipped the vast majority of the Heers anti-tank units. There were virtually no self-propelled anti-tank guns in the inventory, except for one: the Panzerjäger I, mounting the potent Czech-designed 4.7cm PaK(t) on a Pz.Kpfw.I Ausf.B chassis.
Over the years, only Italeri had a kit of this vehicle in 1/35th-scale. It was a decent kit for its time, being based on a new-tool gun and the venerable Pz.Kpfw.I Ausf.B kit. With some after-market wonderment, the Italeri kit could be turned into quite a respectable replica. Now, DML has finally released an extremely well-rendered kit based on the latest iteration of its fine Pz.Kpfw.I Ausf.B kit, with all of the improved parts plus new ones for the gun, its mount and shields, as well as its accompanying interior bits.
The wait has definitely been worth it.
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 Ausf.A kit, which enhances visual fidelity for a much more accurate appearance. For instance, all-new road-wheels are provided, each of which has a pair of stamped brass rings fitted to the rims; these provide for properly-undercut details. New coil springs and their associated swing arms are also given for the first road-wheel station on each side of the hull. Finally, the idler wheels are complete with separate rims as introduced in the last kl.Bef.Pz. kit issue.
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 newly-tooled multi-part exhaust muffler comes from a slide-mold and now has the fish-tail orifice crisply and properly rendered.
The track-guards are molded integrally with the lower hull pan. They feature separate front and rear mud-flaps as well as etched brass edges for their entire length. The usual assortment of tools as well as a jack and its associated jack block, a fire extinguisher, various marker lamps, exhaust pipe and Notek head-lamp all dress up the track-guards.
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. The roof panel has been re-worked to be opened up for the gun mount as on the actual vehicle. The new engine deck/side wall assembly consists of separate side walls and deck plate; the engine deck access hatch lids, as well as the two fuel filler cap lids are also separate parts. An etched brass rack is then fitted to the engine deck roof, while three jerry cans made of styrene and etched brass can be laid in that area as stowage. Up front, there is also a head-lamp with a clear lens, a slide-molded horn with separate mount, and tow points.
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 fenders, 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, transmission cooling air exhaust pipe, rod antenna, mount and its associated stowage trough complete this assembly.
The gun shield is the later type with seven panels; it gets a separate base, which is then fitted to the forward edge of the superstructure. Various details are mounted on its inner face, to include a radio set and its associated transformer, small stowage boxes, brackets and etched brass racks for the accompanying gas mask canisters.
Gun and Mount.
The gun is all-new and is completely-detailed throughout. In fact, the only thing that could be added is the wire lanyard used to fire the piece. The piece will traverse and elevate, but will not recoil due to scale concerns. It attaches to a multi-part section of the original gun carriage, which itself is mounted to a new multi-part table. An MP40 and a gas mask canister are them mounted to their respective etched brass brackets for an extremely complete assembly.
Based on parts from earlier Pz.Kpfw.I kits, DML has included a relatively comprehensive interior for the fighting compartment. This includes, for the first time in any DML Pz.Kpfw.I-based kit, a drivers instrument panel, as well as his seat, hand controls and foot-pedals. Various stowage bins are fitted to the interior, as is a separate floor plate and two-section rear plate/firewall assembly. New multi-part ammunition stowage lockers are provided, all of which can be depicted opened or closed. All have rounds in place, while the larger single locker has several rounds left out for a just fired appearance. Six complete rounds are also given. The two smaller lockers double as seats for the crew and as such, back rests are also given to be mounted on the rear firewall.
Molding, Fit and Engineering.
Overall, the fit was good-to-excellent. 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.
Accuracy and Details.
Overall, the model scales quite well with drawings from the references listed below. Known details, especially within the fighting compartment as well as on the gun are very accurately-rendered. 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 belly plate, not fully-curved as given by DML.
These are typical for DML and are clearly-rendered line drawings. The addition of an interior makes this kit a bit busy, but all seemed to be OK. Colors are, as usual, coded to match Gunze and Testors paints.
Decals and Markings Information.
The water-slide decals are from Cartograf and are rather simple, but 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 five Panzerjäger Is are provided as follows:
Two different vehicles from Pz.Jg.Abt. 605, Libya 1942-43.
Two different vehicles from Leibstandarte Adolf Hitler, Ostfront 1941.
Pz.Jg.Abt. 643, Ostfront 1942.
With the exception of one of the LAH vehicles, the markings appear to be substantially accurate. The vehicle with the markings issue has a dogs head as the unit insignia; it should in fact be a white eagles head over a runic red S, which itself is outlined in white. For correct markings see the review recently posted here at ToT of the Echelon water-slide decal sheet, D356055, 1.SS-Sturmgeschütz Abteilung LAH on the Eastern Front, Abteilung Schönberger.
This is another outstanding effort from DML and will build out of the box into an excellent and accurate replica. Yes, it has a couple of minor issues, but these can be easily fixed by even the novice modeler.
Frank V. Curly Stooge De Sisto
References consulted for this review included, but were not limited to:
1. Panzerjäger; Panzer Tracts No.7-1, by T. Jentz & H. Doyle.
2. Panzerkampfwagen I; Panzer Tracts1-1, by T. Jentz & H. Doyle.
3. Panzerkampfwagen I; Panzer Tracts1-2, by T. Jentz & H. Doyle.
4. Encyclopedia of German Tanks of World War II, Revised Edition; by P. Chamberlain, T. Jentz & H. Doyle.
5. Sturmartillerie and Panzerjäger; Osprey Vanguard .
6. Panzerjäger I; Nuts & Bolts Vol.7, by H. Duske.
7. Panzerkampfwagen I; Wehrmacht Special No.4009, Tankograd, by M. Zöllner.
8. Pz.Kpfw.I/ Pz.Kpfw.II Series and Variants; Achting Panzer No.7, Dai Nippon Kaiga, by M. Bitoh.
9. Panzer I, The Beginning of a Dynasty; AFV Collection No.1, AF Editions, by L.M. Franco.
10. Panzerjäger I; Allied-Axis Issue 9, Ampersand, by K. Dugan.
Reviewers 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 reviews.
DML kits are available from retail and mail order shops. For details see their web site at: www.dragonmodelsltd.com.