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Pz.Kpfw.I Ausf.A Early Production

DML 1/35 Pz.Kpfw.I Ausf.A Early Production - Smart Kit First Look

By Cookie Sewell

Date of Review September 2006 Manufacturer DML
Subject Pz.Kpfw.I Ausf.A Early Production - Smart Kit Scale 1/35
Kit Number 6289 Primary Media 381 parts (192 "Magic Track" links, 137 in grey styrene, 44 clear styrene, 8 etched brass)
Pros "Smart Kit" concept provides fine details in a nearly all-styrene kit; "Magic Track" will please many modelers... Cons ...But track links are quite small and not intended for the multi-thumbed
Skill Level Basic MSRP (USD) $28-31

First Look

Everyone has to start somewhere, and the Germans started their legendary armored forces with this little tank. While the original was only designed as a trainer, it wound up being pressed into service as a reconnaissance and light infantry support tank in both the Spanish Civil War and other minor wars, and was still in service in 1939 when WWII proper broke out.

This is the second new kit of the little beastie to come out in recent months, and it is interesting that DML chose it to be its second "Smart Kit" release. "Smart Kits" are defined by DML as kits which permit the builder to get as much detail as possible without the usual hassle of multimedia or insane numbers of parts involved in the assembly of the kit. This translates as upon opening the box, surprise! a DML kit NOT packed all the way to the rafters with separate parts sprues. In point of fact, DML gets all of the kit's parts into a bare six sprues and the lower hull pan.

The kit is interesting to compare with the recent Tristar release that provides both sufficient parts for the early or late model Ausf.A tank in it – DML's kit only makes the early model. But given the overly complex Model Kasten tracks provided with the latter – and one of the reason for that kit's high price tag – this one comes with DML's popular "Magic Track" snap-together dry-fit tracks that only need minimal cleanup before assembly. There will be some arguing, however, that this kit probably should have used DML's DS plastic tracks as it is such a small vehicle they would have solved the problem of track installation, but the selection of "Magic Tracks" is not so bad. They are very tiny, however, and if you are all thumbs or suffer from any sort of joint problems they will not be fun to assemble.

Surprisingly, while DML just came out with a nice new chassis for the Pkzw.I Ausf.A with their Flakpanzer I kit (No. 6220) this kit does appear to share it's A and B sprues with that one. The rest (C- upper hull details and D - upper hull, as well as the K and W clear sprues) are all new, as are the "Magic Tracks." As a result there are some holes that have to be opened up on the fenders (parts B-12 and B-13) in Step 2.

The kit uses the same nice suspension provided with the Flakpanzer, including three-piece idlers and separate springs.

While the kit provides none of the interior bits that came with the Flakpanzer, it does provide a large number of clear parts for the various observation ports and brackets inside the upper hull and turret. Assembly is accomplished by "trapping" the clear pieces between the upper hull casemate former (D-11) and the sides (D-1, C-10, C-11 and C-13). Even the turret race comes with gear teeth molded in place. But oddly enough, the MG34 machine gun barrels did no receive the "Slide Molding" treatment nor are any breech details provided. A basic "stick-on" seat, essentially little more than a base for a standing figure in the turret, is provided.

The upper hull is nicely detailed, and all of the hatches are loose parts permitting an optional setting for each one; however, there is no interior to display if opened.

Thanks to DML for the review sample.