Alan 1/35 Bison I Kit First Look
By Ray Mehlberger
|Date of Review||April 2005||Manufacturer||Alan|
|Kit Number||019||Primary Media||Styrene|
|Skill Level||Basic||MSRP (USD)||$22.95|
German experience in the Spanish Civil War showed that the armor and armament of the Pz.Kpfw.I was insufficient. Therefore, production was ceased in 1938. Nevertheless, the chassis of the Pz.Kpfw.I Ausf.B was used for the purpose of self-propelled artillery.
In January of 1940, the first 38 Sig 33 15cm heavy field guns were installed on the chassis.
The turret and upper hull superstructure were removed and, instead, an armor box-like shield, opened from above and behind was installed. The Sig 33 gun was mounted on it’s original wheeled carriage.
Six companies of these self-propelled guns were engaged in battles in Belgium and France, and later all over the European battle theatre until 1943. In spite of the obviously overloaded chassis and it’s high profile, the Bison I SPG proved to be quite reliable. Some of them remained on the front line in Russia until mid-1943.
About 132 SPG’s of this type were produced. Later on, the SIG 33 guns were installed on the Pz.Kpfw. 38(t) chassis. This turned out to be much more suitable for the purpose.
The kit comes in a tray and lid type box. The box art shows a Bison I sporting the individual name “ Bismarck” (one of the decal options in the kit). A side panel shows the box arts for 3 other kits in the Alan line: a Soviet “Katyusha” rocket firing truck, a Pz.Kpfw. 38(t) “Gepard” self-propelled anti aircraft tank and a Pz.Kpfw. II Ausf.J.
The kit contains one large cello bag that holds 7 medium gray parts trees. There is a small zip-lock cello bag inside this large cello that holds 2 brass PE parts and 2 decal sheets.
The instruction booklet completes the kits contents.
The instructions are 6 pages long.
Page one begins with a black and white repeat of the box art. This is followed by the vehicle’s history in Russian, Japanese, German and English.
Pages 2 through 5 give us a total of 18 assembly steps. I looked through these steps and couldn’t help noticing that things were not all that clear about where parts go. Careful study and test fitting are things that will have to be done to avoid mistakes.
Page 6 has a 3 view drawing for the camouflage scheme and markings. A mark for self-propelled artillery is given, alphabet letters A through F for the vehicle’s position in a group and the personal names Thomas, Bismarck and Alter Fritz to go on the bottom of the front shield. Division markings are given for:
- The 704th Company, 5 th Panzer Div., Greece 1941
- The 706th Company, 10 th Panzer Div. , Russia 1941
- The 1st Panzer Div., Russia 1941
- The 2nd Panzer Div., Russia 1941
The bottom of the page gives the translations for the symbols used in the instructions for paint colors and also a translation of the international assembly symbols too.
Large letter B parts tree holds: the hull tub, side shields, engine deck upper part, transmission, seats, tools, glacis plate, bogies, muffler, notek lamp, headlights, storage boxes, driver’s compartment floor panel etc. (70 parts)
There are 4 identical letter C parts trees. These hold the individual track links, the road wheels, drive sprockets, idler wheels, leaf sprung bogies etc. (106 parts per tree) Strangely, assembly of the individual track links is not shown on the instructions. It would have been, at least, nice if Alan had told us how many links per side are needed.
Tree letter D holds parts for the SIG 33 howitzer, some ammo rounds, jerry cans, and what appears to be two road wheels that look like they would go on a Pz.Kpfw. 38(t) and not a Pz.Kpfw. I ausf. B. (85 parts) The 6 jerry cans have mounting straps molded on them and separate handles, but they are hollow on the back side and will have to be mounted against a wall plate. They also do not have any pour spouts. These can probably be fabricated from some discs punched out of sheet stock.
The final parts tree, letter E, holds: the spoked wheels for the SIG 33’s carriage, brake drums, tools, gun shields, recoil ground spade parts and a couple of rocket projectiles that the SIG 33 was capable of firing etc. (65 parts)
Final items in the kit are the 2 decal sheets and 2 brass PE parts. One decal sheet is for the SIG 33 it gives stenciling for the ammo rounds and a information chart that goes inside the gun shield for the gun crew’s use. The other decal sheet is for the vehicle. It includes the German crosses, a decal for the dash board instruments, vehicle alphabetic letter designations,. division and tactical markings. One of the PE parts is the perforated muffler shield, which will have to be curved before installation over the muffler. The second PE part is some slats that are to be sandwiched inside of the air intakes to the engine compartment.
There are no crew figures provided in the kit.
I think that this kit will make up very nicely and the detail is very good in it. I put together the SIG 33 gun, by itself, that DML sells separately several years ago. It was a joy to build and has won a few IPMS awards for me.