Dragon 1/35 Sd.Kfz.265 Kleiner PzBefWg I (initial production)

KIT #: 6597
PRICE: $48.00 SRP
DECALS: Six options
REVIEWER: Scott Van Aken
NOTES: Smart Kit, 440 parts


The SdKfz 265 was designed to fulfill a growing need within the German Army for a Command Tank, following the realization that the leaders of a massive panzer formation would themselves have to travel in a tank of some type. This vehicle would have to carry extra equipment and personnel to assist the field commander in his duties.

In 1935 Krupp offered a command tank design based on the existing Panzer I Ausf B training tank chassis. The Ausf B was a turretless chassis version of the Panzer I designed solely to train tank drivers, and lent itself easily to conversion into a command vehicle.

To increase space for a radio operator the rotating turret of the PzKpfw IB was eliminated and replaced with a larger fixed "box" superstructure. This allowed room for map boards, paperwork and a more powerful FuG6 radio transmitter in addition to the earlier FuG2 radio (Panzer I's had only FuG2 radio receivers). Despite these modifications the vehicle's interior remained small, a factor leading to its rapid replacement by conversions of larger tanks. The cramped quarters also made operation of the vehicle's single ball-mounted MG13 or MG34 machine gun virtually impossible. Because of this, most SdKfz 265 were also equipped with pistol ports, and many had their machine guns removed entirely. A large frame antenna was mounted to the hull of many early version SdKfz 265s. The antenna gave the upgraded radio transmitter units better range and reception.

Because it would be necessary for a command tank to keep up with the tanks under its command, the original 60 hp Krupp M305 gasoline engine of the Panzer I was replaced by the more powerful 100 hp Maybach NL38TR gasoline engine, resulting in a design that was 3 km/h faster, despite weighing 300 kg more than the Panzer I. Increased fuel capacity also gave the SdKfz 265 a range of 180 miles, nearly 100 miles further than the Panzer I.

Despite its ungainly appearance, the SdKfz 265 was 1.97m high, only 25cm taller than the original Panzer IB. About 190 SdKfz 265 Panzerbefehlswagen conversions were produced by Daimler-Benz between 1935 and 1937, and were produced at the same time as the Ausf B. 


This is one of Dragon's Smart Kits. That means individual track links and they are superbly done as always. They are also a bit smaller than those on a Tiger, so care will be needed in assembling these. I dare say they take up a goodly portion of the 440 parts, but will be well worth the effort. In fact, since this is a smallish tank, it would be a great way to be introduced to separate link armor kits. The kit also includes a nice photo etch set. Not a ton of parts on this so again, if one isn't used to p.e. it is a good starter kit. I really liked that Dragon has provided the radio wire as a pre-formed unit, packaged in its own plastic container to keep it from being damaged. Of course, there are new bits and other options in with the kit and I'll let the official Dragon PR info cover all that.

- Newly tooled MG 34
- Newly tooled Early Production cupola is provided as option
- Newly tooled antenna supporter

- Newly designed pre-formed antenna w/metal wire frame
- Optional cupola w/delicate detail
- Detailed plate w/accurate scale thickness
- Intricate upper-hull components molded in great detail
- Upper-hull details intricately reproduced
- Side fenders w/detailed tread pattern
- Lower hull w/great detail
- Cupola access batches can be assembled opened/closed
- Engine deck exquisitely detailed
- Air-intake grill reproduced like the real one
- Engine hatches can be assembled open/closed
- Idler wheels w/accurate detail
- Road wheels w/photo-etched rings
- Suspension system realistically represented
- Accurately molded glacis plate w/removable transmission inspection cover and accurate bolt detail
- Photo-etched exhaust cover realistically produced
- Suspension w/coil springs finely reproduced
- Upper-hull vision port covers can be assembled open/closed
- OVM w/molded-on clasps
- Magic Tracks w/accurate details

This one includes markings for six vehicles, many of them nicely colored. All of them are pre-war from 1936-38 and all from the popular 'unidentified unit'. The one thing they have in common is a base color of grey with some having an additional camouflage colors added. Instructions are well drawn as usual and with Gunze paint references.


Not a ton of prewar armor out there and this important tank will find a lot of fans. Thanks to the usual detail provided by Dragon, this one will make for a very nice model when done.



January 2011 

Thanks to www.dragonmodelsusa.com for the preview kit. Get this one today at your favorite retailer.

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