Hobby Boss 1/35 PzKpfw I ausf F (early)
|REVIEWER:||Scott Van Aken|
|NOTES:||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 By this stage the design concept had been superseded by medium and heavy tanks and neither variant was produced in sufficient numbers to have a real impact on the progress of the war.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.
Hobby Boss has been treating us to some of the lesser known armor vehicles of WWII and continues this with this particular vehicle. The kit is very nicely molded and does not include an interior so unless you wish to stick a figure in there, the hatch should be built closed. The kit looks very much like a minature Panther in the way the suspension works. There are interleafed road wheels that fit on the suspension stubs which attach to the lower chassis tub. Unlike some of their previous kits, this one provides the tracks in link and length rather than separate links, so that should help speed up the build.
There is a photo etch fret included that is mostly for handles, straps and the engine cooling grilles. Unlike most tanks, the fenders on this one have a gap in the middle to allow access to the side hatches in the hull. This is a rather unusual feature that I have not seen on tanks before. There are the usual tools like jacks, shovels and pry bars to attach to the fenders prior to installation. The small turret is nicely molded with a pair of jacketed 7.92 mm machine guns.
Instructions are well drawn with, as usual, no color information provided during the build. That is left for the full color painting and markings page. The one shown is in overall panzer grey and carries just a pair of insignia on the side hatches. I am sure that research will turn up something a bit more interesting, but since only 8 saw combat, these may well be school numbers if anything.
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 Squadron Products for the preview kit. You can find this kit at your favorite hobby shop or on-line retailer.
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