Bison Bashing

  • BisonHeader
The Bison I or, going by its proper name, the 15 cm schwere Infanteriegeschutz 33 auf Fahrgestell Panzer I, was an attempt by the German Army to provide mobile artillery support to advancing infantry units. The design was a simple one, it effectively took the 15 cm sIG 33 gun in its entirety and installed it onto a cut-down Pzkpfw I chassis. The conversion was done by Alkett, Berlin beginning in March 1940 with 38 vehicles produced.

For this project, I will be modeling gun B or “Bismarck” in service with s.IG.Kp. 703 during the French campaign May-June 1940. The project is a “kit-bashing” exercise involving the combination of the Alan Bison I kit #019 with the DML Pzkpfw I Ausf B DAK kit #6207. Additional replacement parts include Model Kasten’s Pz I-B SK-32 workable tracks, Model Point’s sIG 33 turned aluminum barrel, Eduard’s photo-etch Bison I Detail set #35813, Bison Decals to replace the inaccurate Alan decals, and Tiger Model Designs resin sIG 33 gun sight and resin wicker 15 cm ammunition cases from their sIG 33 ammunition set.

As an open-topped vehicle, the first order of business dealt with the interior. The detail on the DML kit in relation to the hull, suspension, and engine deck are superior to that of the Alan parts but the DML kit doesn’t include any interior detail. Let the kit-bashing begin! Since the DML hull has a molded in place transmission access hatch, the forward parts of the interior wouldn’t be exposed so not much effort was invested there but everything from the driver’s seat back would be visible below the installed gun.

The Alan interior parts needed to be integrated with the DML hull, requiring careful fitting and modifications to accomplish. The floor insert didn’t extend all the way back to the firewall, so it was necessary to add this using sheet styrene cut to size with rectangular cut-outs to fit over the suspension axle hubs in the interior. The DML suspension elements are designed to extend into the interior and the Alan axles were trimmed down to provide the required clearance.

For things to go smoothly, all the interior elements had to match up with the firewall which matched up with the engine deck which had to match up with the rear hull and fenders. All of the sections were dry-fit first to check for a uniform alignment. The DML rear deck needed some triangular styrene extensions to get the deck to match up with the firewall, which I fashioned out of sheet styrene and trimmed to fit. Satisfied that everything lined up properly, the firewall was permanently attached to the floor extension along with the drive-shaft cover and the remaining interior details installed and detail painted including the radio wired up using some fine gauge solder wire and the Eduard faces.

Capping things off, the engine deck was installed and the joint with the firewall sanded smooth where it mated up with the air intake. The standard engine deck hatches for the Pz I-B included in the kit were installed instead of the “tropen” hatches and a small amount of putty was needed at the rear join with the lower hull, but nothing major.
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About the Author

About Bill Plunk (wbill76)

Like many, I started out in the hobby as a kid building airplanes to hang from my bedroom cieling. I took a long break from the hobby, returning in 2001 with an interest in armor inspired mostly by online gaming. WW2 armor, 1/35 scale, is my preferred genre with a special taste for the stranger vehi...


Nice feature on a vehicle I know very little of.
MAY 04, 2008 - 04:50 AM
Great job! I would like to get some subjects by Alan - above all the Pz.II J - but the price is around €40!!!
MAY 04, 2008 - 05:47 AM
Thanks DJ, the radio was a fun item to work on even though you'll need a dental mirror to see it on the finished vehicle, it's there! Gary, given the fact that DML and Trumpeter have been on an artillery kick lately and the fact that CH has the munitionspanzer version of the Grille out...it may only be a matter of time before a Bison I appears, especially since I spent the time to bash this one together. Same thing happened when I did the Alan Flakpanzer 38(t), so Murphy's Modeling Law could strike again! The Osprey book is a neat one, while its chapter on the Bison I deals with scratch-building one using the Italeri Pzjgr I chassis as the foundation, I had previously kitbashed a Pzjgr I using the Italeri with the DML, so I figured why not try with the Bison? Very useful guide. Darren, The Bison I doesn't get a lot of attention due to many factors...not may produced, only used for a relatively short space of time, and ultimately not too successful a concept even though it pushed development for other later vehicles like the Grille. I had a lot of fun learning about and researching the vehicle and was surprised to learn that some were still in service at Kursk in 1943! It's the original "frankenpanzer" though and for that reason has always appealed to me. James, 40 Euro for an Alan kit! That's pretty steep, IIRC I picked up the Bison I for around $20 USD a couple of years back via Great Models but the kit may be harder to find these days and could explain the price.
MAY 04, 2008 - 05:58 AM
Excellent kitbashing, Bill. You invested a lot of money and time into this Bison and it clearly shows. Thanks for sharing
MAY 04, 2008 - 01:39 PM
Thanks Jesper, I had accumulated the different items for this project over a long period of time, 2 years or more, so it didn't hurt the wallet too much at any one point. GM sales are wonderful things if you're patient. Appreciate the comments.
MAY 05, 2008 - 02:21 AM
Turned out looking great Bill. A rather strange looking thing though, appears to be extremely top heavy, and esay to tip over on uneven ground.
MAY 05, 2008 - 12:35 PM
Thanks Dave. The design severely overstressed the chassis...there are pictures in France showing them being transported on trailers to avoid/reduce chances of mechanical breakdowns on road marches!
MAY 05, 2008 - 03:00 PM
Bill , you've done another great one Your extremely talented and I look forward to more of your work Thanks, Bob
MAY 10, 2008 - 10:38 AM
Thanks Bob, appreciate the comments.
MAY 10, 2008 - 05:21 PM
Hello Bill. Im sorry to say Ive missed most of this build, and also the article until now. But what a joy to read it from start to finish as one installment. Love what you´ve done, and its inspiring models like this, when I wish I had more time to attempt similar. For some reason Im being drawn more and more to early way German, and this has to be one of the coolest! Excellent build, and also a very, very useful feature. have the osprey book as well, and between both of these articles, I´m really hoping Dragon or Tristar release this in the near future ... else I´ll be collecting parts!!! Nice one.
MAY 30, 2008 - 10:53 PM