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Tristar 1/35 Panzer I Ausf.A Early/Late Model Kit First Look

By Cookie Sewell

Images By Michael Benolkin

Date of Review January 2007 Manufacturer Tristar
Subject Panzer I Ausf. A Early/Late Model Scale 1/35
Kit Number 35028 Primary Media 574 parts (520 in tan styrene, 48 etched brass, 6 clear styrene)
Pros Reworked and more complete kit, all parts now provided by Tristar; complete interior now provided with this kit Cons Confusing number of variants now available for the same small early vehicle
Skill Level Intermediate MSRP (USD) $50.00

First Look

Panzer I
Panzer I
Panzer I
Panzer I
Panzer I
Panzer I
Panzer I
Panzer I

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 (reviewed here).

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 MRC for the review sample.

Sprue breakout:

  • A 24 suspension details
  • B 26 turret
  • C 29 upper hull details
  • D 29x2 wheels
  • E 52 lower hull
  • G 21 upper hull
  • I 55 engine and interior
  • J 31 interior parts
  • K 16x2 optional wheels
  • T 64x3 Pzkw. I track
  • GP 6 clear styrene
  • 48 etched brass