|REVIEWER:||Scott Van Aken|
The Panzer I formed the nucleus of Germanyís embryonic tank formations, but its light armor and light armament meant it was outdated by the start of WWII. Despite being made redundant as a gun tank, the chassis of the Panzer I was utilized in a number of alternative roles, including that of a self-propelled howitzer.
It was recognized early on that mobile artillery could provide invaluable fire support to tank units, so the mounting of a 150mm s.IG.33 infantry gun resulted in a vehicle known as an s.IG.33 (Sf) auf Pz.Kpfw.I Ausf.B. The gun was mounted in a tall, boxy superstructure, though the chassis of the Panzer I was overstressed by the extra weight. The armored shield was only 10mm thick and could only offer front and side protection, plus there was no space for spare ammunition to be carried.
Ultimately, this ungainly and top-heavy artillery piece wasnít a great success and only 38 were converted in February 1940 by Alkett. These guns served in the Battle of France and beyond, though as the war progressed, the 150mm s.IG.33 gun would be mounted on alternative chassis too.
Like many of you, I'm a real fan of light tanks and those vehicles made from them. I'm sure that this one has been kitted by other companies, but to my eye, Dragon's has to be the more accurate of what is out there. This is not a kit for the easily intimidated as it boasts around 670 parts. Of course, much of that is in the individual links and the etched wheel rims, but this is a complex AFV. Part of the beauty of these kits is that if one takes one's time in building it, the result is a real beauty and thanks to the 'Smart Kit' format, Dragon has pretty well seen to it that you don't need to spend additional on aftermarket.
Dragon can do a much better job than I of running down all the details of this kit and they are listed below.
- Ultra-slim injection-molded fighting-compartment armor plates
- Fighting compartment armor plates made by 4-directional slide molds
- Nut and bolt detail on armor plates realistically rendered
- Two types of fighting-compartment armor plates had different angle as option
- Side armor plates can be assembled in different angles
- Periscope armor plate can be positioned open/closed
- New photo-etched spare-road wheels brackets on frontal armor plate included as option
- Protective wicker cases for rounds placed on side fender
- Aluminium gun barrel w/rifling is finely reproduced
- Gun recoils like the real one
- Gun carriage molded w/authentic details
- Scale-thickness gun shield rendered w/delicate detail on both sides
- Realistic elevation mechanism allows gun to elevate
- Reproduced muzzle cover w/photo-etched belt
- Detailed hydraulic system for gun elevation system
- Periscope can be assembled in different styles
- Periscope made from clear plastic
- Realistic reproduced steel wheels
- Highly detailed brake and axle assembly finely represented
- Recoil system rendered w/bolt detail
- Axle reproduced in fine detail
- OVM specific to s.IG.33 are included
- Bonus ammunition included
- Highly detailed reinforcement elements for gun trails fixed on engine deck
- Multi-piece upper hull and engine deck for authentic detail
- Engine deck hatches can be modeled open/closed
- Detailed hollowed exhaust pipe w/photo-etched exhaust cover
- Side fenders w/detailed tread pattern
- Driverís compartment interior details such as instrument panel and transmission battery and driverís seat included
Lower hull / Wheels / Tracks:
- Lower hull formed from multiple parts for greater detail
- Realistically reproduced road wheels w/photo-etched rings
- Detailed suspension w/finely detailed coil spring
- Idler wheels accurately reproduced
- External suspension structure for Pz.Kpfw.I has sharp detail
- Fully detailed Magic Tracks
There are markings provided for five different vehicles. Most appear to be in a base of Panzer Grey with various additional camouflage colors added. First is a 1.Pz.Div vehicle used in France during 1940 with patches of the Red Brown camo used on early war tanks. Next is from 5.Pz.Div in Russia during 1943 with a Panzer Yellow base coat and Green camo squiggles. With a winter wash is another 5.Pz.Div vehicle from the first winter of the Russian invasion. Another 1940 France vehicle with 2.Pz.Div and the Red Brown patches is next with the final options being from the Balkans in 1941.
Overall a great kit that is bound to provide hours of modeling enjoyment and a superb looking SPG when you are done.
My thanks to www.dragonmodels.usa.com for the preview kit. Get yours today at your local shop or on-line retailer and be quick about it as I see that several places have sold out.
If you would like your product reviewed fairly and fairly quickly, please contact the editor or see other details in the Note to Contributors.
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