Bronco 1/35 PzKpfw I ausf F
|Scott Van Aken
|New tool kit
Aside from the early versions, two more combat versions of the Panzer I were designed and produced between 1939 and 1942. By this stage the design concept had been superseded by medium and heavy tanks and neither variant was produced in sufficient numbers to have a real impact on the progress of the war. These new tanks had nothing in common with either the Ausf. A or B except name. One of these, the Panzer I Ausf. C, was designed jointly between Krauss-Maffei and Daimler-Benz in 1939 to provide an amply armored and armed reconnaissance light tank. The Ausf. C boasted a completely new chassis and turret, a modern torsion-bar suspension and five interleaved roadwheels. It also had a maximum armor thickness of 30 millimeters (1.18 in), over twice that of either the Ausf. A or B, and was armed with a 7.92mm EW 141 semi autocannon firing 7.92×94 mm ammo Panzerbüchse this higher pressure barrel was heavier than a normal 7.92mm barrel. Forty of these tanks were produced, along with six prototypes. Two tanks were deployed to 1 Panzer Division in 1943, and the other thirty-eight were deployed to the LVIII Panzer Reserve Corps during the Normandy landings.
The second vehicle, the Ausf. F and subject of this kit, was as different from the Ausf. C as it was from the Ausf. A and B. Intended as an infantry support tank, the Panzer I Ausf. F had a maximum armour thickness of 80 millimeters (3.15 in) and weighed between 18 and 21 tonnes. The Ausf. F was armed with two 7.92-millimeter MG-34s. Thirty were produced in 1940, and a second order of 100 was later canceled. In order to compensate for the increased weight, a new 150 horsepower (110 kW) Maybach HL45 Otto engine was used, allowing a maximum road speed of 25 kilometers per hour (15.5 mph). Eight of the thirty tanks produced were sent to the 1 Panzer Division in 1943 and saw combat at the Battle of Kursk. The rest were given to several army schools for training and evaluation purposes.
I have to guess that it is difficult to keep secrets in the modeling industry. Not that long ago, Hobby Boss produced this kit and now we have one from Bronco. While the subject is the same, I dare say that comparing the two is like comparing apples and oranges. As nice as the HB kit is, this one looks to be even nicer with a bit more detail than the previous offering.
This kit has a full interior and to help get all the bits in place, one details the hull side interiors before attaching them to the central section. This central bit is itself carefully constructed with radios, drivers position, gunner's position as well as the transmission. Then all the bits are brought together to produce a full hull. To this assembly the suspension pieces are added.
In line with some other Bronco kits, rather than run a mold seam through bolt heads, they have molded these items onto the sprue itself and one simply cuts off what is needed and cements them in place. Of course not all of them are like this and the instructions show you where they need to be placed.
Individual track links are supplied along with the pins used to hold the sections together. A tool is provided to be sure that your links are properly aligned. None of the road wheels, the idler or the sprocket are glued in place so in theory, you should be able to move the tracks.
While the kit has a full interior, it does not have an engine. However, you can build the engine hatch open so I have to assume that an aftermarket engine is available. The turret is very nicely appointed and though armed with machine guns instead of a cannon, it is very busy looking and should have enough detail to satisfy all but the fussiest modeler. All of the various hatches on the vehicle can be modeled open if one so desires.
Instructions are typically well done as is the norm for Bronco. They are in booklet form and in color. Markings are provided for three specific tanks though there are enough to do others if you wish. The first color option is tan with large splotches of green and red brown. This vehicle was with the 1st Panzer Division in Russia during 1943. An overall panzer grey vehicle with the polizei-panzer-kompanie on the eastern front in early 1944 is the second option. Third is a tan with red brown disruptive camo tank with Panzer-Abteilung z.b.V 66 in Russia in the fall of 1942. Several turret number options are provided for this one. Decals are nicely done and in register.
Another interesting German tank to add to the list and something that will not take up a lot of space once it is finished.
Thanks to www.dragonmodelsusa.com for the preview kit. You can find this kit at your favorite hobby shop or on-line retailer.
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