In-Box Review
Pz.Kpfw.I Ausf.A (early)

by: Vinnie Branigan [ TEACHER ]

Another early-war variant from Dragon, and this time up it's the turn of the Panzerkampfwagen I Ausf.A (Early Production), the second in the 'Smart Kit' series from Dragon. This light tank had it's prototype delivered to the German Army, way back in 1933, and was a result of a Krupp design, based around examination of the British Carden Loyd chassis. It was officially given the designation Pz.Kpfw I Ausf.A, once Hitler had stopped worrying about breeching the terms of the Versailles treaty.

the kit
The kit is supplied in the smaller version of what has become the Dragon 'standard' box, with, as usual, a card holding in this case the small decal sheet, a small photo etch sheet, and another bag attached to the side holding the track links.

A separate hull tub, with 4 sprues of light grey styrene, and one large sprue of transparent plastic.

Plastic-wise, a lot of this will be familiar to anybody who bought the recent Flakpanzer I from Dragon, although of course, there are new parts to make this vehicle.

From the Flakpanzer I kit we have Sprue A, containing all the running gear of course, sprue B, the side fenders, sprue D is the one issued with the Flakpanzer I, but has a new side sprue attached to it holding the new glacis plate with transmission cover, and also a new upper hull where there used to be a big space! Sprue W, the one supplied in transparent plastic, is again, the same as the one in the Flakpanzer I kit, but this time with 2 new side sprues attached. Obviously, the lower hull tub supplied in this kit is the same one too.

Brand new is sprue C, which contains all the turret parts. There is also a new small sprue k with visor covers, a new photo etched sheet................... and best of all, a bag of Panzer I 'Magic Track' links! I really hope that these will be made available separately, after all it wouldn't be the first time Dragon have sold track links separately!

Looking closely at the parts, Dragon's moulding is immaculate. No flash whatsoever, which is what we have come to expect from these recent Dragon releases, and the detail is pin-sharp. All the weld seams are extremely well rendered, as can be seen in the extreme close-up pictures. All the hatches can be modelled open or closed, and this includes the engine deck hatches, although obviously, there is no engine supplied, so there's a space here for the aftermarket manufacturers. All the hatches are detailed on the inner surface also. The turret vision ports can also be modelled open or closed, and should look excellent with all the appropriate vision blocks being supplied in transparent plastic, as is the headlight lens which is nice to see.

The photo etched fret includes two large exhaust covers, brackets for the exhausts and also two extremely finely etched intake grills for the rear deck. I would have liked to have seen the option of photo etched tool clamps, but I suppose since it's a 'Smart Kit', we'll see that option along shortly from Cyber Hobby!

The tracks, I have to say look superb! Of course the most beautiful thing about them is the fact that they are 'Magic Track', and therefore supplied in a small bag ready to assemble. These are extremely finely moulded. One of the problems with the track in the Flakpanzer I kit was that they were so easy to break whilst removing them from the sprue. No such problem here! I test fitted a few together, and they fit beautifully............detailed guide horns and all! You are going to have to be extremely sparing with the cement though, if you're not to spoil all that fine detail.

marking options
Dragon provide 3 marking options in the kit, one in dark yellow from Pz.Rgt.5, 5th Leichte Division in Libya from 1941, and two dark grey schemes, one from Norway in 1940 , and unusually, the other from an unidentified unit in Nuremberg, around 1935, that consisted of a 2-tone camouflage scheme over the dark grey.

in conclusion
This one is going right to the very top of my build list. Highly recommended!

My Thanks to Dragon Models Ltd. for the review sample.
A beautifully small kit of an early war light Panzer, that will build into an incredible looking miniature.
Percentage Rating
  Scale: 1:35
  Mfg. ID: 6289
  Related Link: Dragon Models Ltd.
  PUBLISHED: Sep 06, 2006

Our Thanks to Dragon Models!
This item was provided by them for the purpose of having it reviewed on this KitMaker Network site. If you would like your kit, book, or product reviewed, please contact us.

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About Vinnie Branigan (Teacher)

Copyright 2021 text by Vinnie Branigan [ TEACHER ]. All rights reserved.


Thank you very much for the review. I have always had a soft spot in my heart for the Panzer I for some reason. HARV
SEP 06, 2006 - 02:07 AM
I'll add my hopeful voice to the links being sold separately, they are beautiful! Thanks for the review Vinnie.
SEP 06, 2006 - 03:58 AM
If Dragon were to sell their Magic Tracks seperately, they might stand a chance taking a good share of the AM track market from Modelkasten (unless people want moveable tracks, which I still think is kind of useless on a static model kit...)
SEP 06, 2006 - 04:07 AM
Looks like a nice kit Vinnie, however I`m a bit puzzled as to Dragon`s choice of boxtop and most of the markings, according to Tom Jentz`s Panzer 1 book ,most Panzer 1a`s were retro fitted with armoured cowlings over the engine air intakes and oil cooler, the majority were also fitted with a smoke candle rack, all this was done in the late thirties, Dragon`s kit is what it declares to be an early Panzer 1a ie pre-war which doesn`t tie into a 1941 5th Leichte Division vehicle which would have most of the above retro fittings ( plus Notek light ) the kit looks good but the markings are a bit out of place
SEP 06, 2006 - 04:40 AM
Very nice Vinnie, I love North African stuff. Frank, if Dragon releases " time in a box " over by you before here in the states, can you send me about seven months worth,..... the check is in the mail. Cheyenne
SEP 06, 2006 - 04:43 AM
I am finishing the assembly of this kit now. After the last Maquette kit I just finished, this Dragon kit has gone together virtually perfect and has been really, really fun. All of the hull parts fit great and the tracks are really nice. My only criticism is the delicate hatch mechanisms on the hull and the turret. The arms come from inside the turret to hold up the exterior visor plates, they look good but because they are clear, it is really hard to see the mating detents that they are to fit into. I have had to solve this by filing the hinge pins down enough such that they fit in and then I have to glue them. I think this would have worked better if the parts were not cast in clear. Also the clear is much more brittle than the grey plastic. I am taking the time to write this even though Vinnie's review was some time ago. With the new modified version that Dragon has just released it seems that they have the same set up, and I want folks to know that they are a serious challenge. I struggled quite a while with them and only because I wanted the visors to be open because I think the tank has a more detailed and cool look that way. If they are going to be closed, then dont even mess with them at all and just glue the exterior visors on the outside.
SEP 25, 2007 - 03:05 PM
Geez Pat, talk about pulling a thread out of mothballs! lol
SEP 26, 2007 - 01:18 AM
Wow Pat Make a thread in the constructive feedback thread with some pics of your build! And I hate all the clear periscopes, particulary the PIV where they make ALL the parts in clear, kinda stupid actually. I'd rather just paint them and just put a little gloss clear where the lens is.
SEP 26, 2007 - 01:20 AM
Will do Kevin, thanks for the suggestion.
SEP 26, 2007 - 04:08 AM

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