Testors 1/35 PzKpfw I ausf B
KIT #: 804
DECALS: Five options
REVIEWER: Ray Mehlberger
NOTES: Reboxed Italeri kit


When the German Army began to rearm in earnest in 1933, the High Command asked Germany's heavy armament industry to submit designs for a light tank that would be cheap and easy to produce in large numbers. From the designs submitted, that from the firm of Friedrich Krupp AG was selected for production. It eventually became known as the Panzerkampfwagen 1, or, as it was usually called, Panzer I.

Production began in 1933. About 1,800 were built before production was discontinued in 1941, by which time the design was totally obsolete. The Panzer I was used in action in the Spanish Civil War by the German "Condor Legion" and Franco's Nationalists. It saw combat in World War II with the German Army in the campaigns against Poland, Norway, the Low Countries, and France. However, by the time of the of the later actions, it was rapidly being replaced by the larger and more powerful Panzer II. Small numbers of the Panzer I remained in service as reconnaissance vehicles and saw some action in North Africa and on the Eastern Front.

However, the main contribution made by the Panzer I to Germany's war effort was as a training vehicle. Before the first shots of WWII were fired, German tank troops had trained for years with the Panzer I, creating and perfecting the "Blitzkrieg" tactics with which they were able to over-run most of Europe in the early years of the war.

As more advanced tanks replaced the Panzer I, many of the Panzer I's were rebuilt for use as command vehicles and as self-propelled artillery. The later was armed with either the Czech 47mm anti-tank gun or the German 150mm infantry howitzer. These versions were used in action up to about the end of 1942.

While the Panzer I cannot be said to have been an outstanding combat tank, nor a particularly original design, it still must be given an important place in the history of armored warfare bgecause of its contribution to the formation of the German Panzer Korps and the tactics that nearly won for Germany in WWII.


Crew             2 (commander and gunner-driver)
Weight:          5.8 tons
Dimensions:      Length: 14ft. 7in.
                Width:  6ft. 10in.
                height: 5ft. 8in.
Armor thickness: Maximum: 13mm
                Minimum: 7mm
Maximum speed:   25 mph on roads
Radius of action:90 miles on roads
Armament:        Two 7.9mm machine guns
Engine:          One Maybech NL38TR 8-cylinder water-cooled engine of 100hp @ 3000 RPM


Back in 1979, the copyright on this kit, Testor sold this Italeri kit and several other subjects by them under their label. Their trademark back then was their bright yellow-orange boxes with photos of the models that were inside as box art.

This kit came in a shrink-wrapped, end-opening type box. It was unique in that it had a carboard tray inside that held the parts. I like this feature, because most end-opening boxes that did not have a tray like this were "parts waiting to fall out and get lost" problems...at least for me a few times.

The box art has a photo of the tank made up and finished in overall panzer gray with a large yellow national cross that is outlined in white on the side of the turret with a white number 33 behind the cross and a yellow bar with a black section in the center below the 33. This was a tank of the 5th Panzer Division, Poland, 1939. Standing next to the tank is the figure that is included in the kit. He is wearing a great coat and has his hands in his pockets. He is wearing the early Panzer crew black beret on his head and has his black pants bloused into low shoes. This photo has been posed on a model work bench and is surrounded by hobby tools and paint bottles.

 The back of the box has 8 more full color walk-around photos of the box art subject. Above these photos is a list of the model's features:

Precision molding of 165 highly detailed parts enable the armor enthusiast to construct an exciting action model.
Suspensions move.
The turret rotates and the guns elevate.
A realistic crew figure is included.
A complete instruction sheet, including figure painting and weathering instructions.
The decals enable the builder to finish the kit in one of four sets of markings. (note: a mistake as the kit offers 5 markings)
Markings include the Condor Legion.
Decals are by Micro Scale, usually sold through specialty hobby stores. They have a reputation for quality, thinness, accuracy.

One side panel shows a color profile of a Panzer Ib in overall earth yellow with a black national cross outlined in white on the sides of the turret. Next to this is a short history of the tank. This profile is repeated on the other side panel next to a list of materials required to complete the kit. These are Testor brand glues and paints. The kit is recommended for experienced modelers ages 10 and over. The box art photo has been enlarged to show detail and the actual model is said to be 5" long.

Inside the box is a sealed cello bag that holds 2 dark gray plastic parts trees and a tree of black vynil rubber-band type treads and a perferated screen cover that goes over the muffler. A few short track lengths are included as spares. The decal sheet is loose in the tray. The instructions, a survey sheet and a mail envelope to send the survey in to Testor complete the kits contents.

The instructions consist of a unbound booklet of 8 pages in 8 3/4" x 11" page format.

Page 1 begins with a black and white photo of the box art subject. This is followed by the history of the Pz.Kpfw. I Ausf. B and some general assembly instructions, parts preperation, spray painting and detail painting instructions.

Page 2 thorugh 5 give a total of 8 assembly steps. Step 8 is for assembly and painting of the single figure in the kit. He comes with a pipe that can be put into his mounth if desired. Othewise he is molded all in one piece.

Page 6 has five marking and painting schemes shown as 4-views.

1. Is the box art subject. A vehicle with the 5th Panzer Div., Poland 1939 (already discribed above) A yellow circle is on the left front of the fighting compartments front wall. It is divided by a verticle bar down the center. This decal was not used by Mike Good for the box art that he built. A further yellow national cross with thin white outline is on the turret rear.

2. A vehicle with the 1st Panzer Battalion, 1st Panzer Regiment, 1st Panzer Div.,Poland, September,1939. It is in overall panzer gray with a white national cross  on the turret sides, rear of chassis and on the turret roof. A white symbol of a tree leaf appears on the left side of the fighting compartments front wall.

3. A vehicle with the 1st Panzer Battalion, 25th Panzer Regiment, 7th Panzer Div.,(commanded by Rommel) Western Somme (France), June, 1940. It is overall panzer gray with a white number 13 on the turret sides. A white cross is on the turret roof. A thin black national cross outlined in white is on the hull sides and hull rear. A yellow circle divided down the center by a verticle bar is on the left side of the fighting compartments front.

4. A vehicle with the 2nd Panzer Battalion, 5th Panzer regiment, 21st Panzer Div.,Afrika Korps, Libya, Nov. 1942. It is in overal German Desert Sand (the page gives the mixing fomula for this color). It has a large white letter R followed by small white number 03 on the sides of the turret. A solid white circle on top of the turret for air recognition. A white palm tree with swastika next to a half circle that is divided by a horizontal bar is supplied as just by itself or on top of a panzer gray square.

5. A vehicle with the Condor Legion (German "volunteer" forces) Spain, 1937. It is in overall panzer gray. It has a white rectangular bar with a thin black X on it on the sides of the hull nad the top of the turret. A flag with horizontal red, yellow and black stripes is on the front and rear of the fighting compartment. A white number 424 is low on the front of the hull and the rear of the hull. A white diamond symbol is on the rear of the turret and to the left fof the tri-color flag on the front.To the right of the flag is a white symbol of a crossed axe, rifle and sword.

Page 7 gives figure painting and weathering hints.

Page 8 has the parts trees illustrations. These have the parts numbered. However, the actual trees are not either alphabetized or numbered. So these drawings will have to be constantly refered to in order to find the part needed on the trees. Bad move Italeri. Also, the trees are indicated througout the assembly steps by geometric symbols. A circle for the tree of vynil pargts, a square for the tree of hull and turret parts, and a star for all other parts.

What is nice in the instructions is a running text next to each step telling you in what order to assemble that step.

In step no. 2 you have the option of either of two different engine grill arrangements. Although the left side dull doors and the turret hatch can be posed open or shut, there is no interior detai provided to be seen.


Although this kit is out of production in this boxing, one can find them relatively easily on the auction sites. Zvezda also marketed this Italeri kit as kit no. 3522. Which I  believe is out of production now as well.  DML/Dragon has a Pz.Kpfw.I as their kit no 6186


German Tanks of WWII By Dr.F.M. Von Senger und Etterlin

AFV Weapons Profile #15

Lichte Panzer in Action By Ewe Feist & Norm Harms

AFV News, May 1971

AFV G-2, Vol.5, #3

Ray Mehlberger

April 2012

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