Flyhawk Pz.Kpfw.I Ausf F Review

The Panzer I was a light tank produced in Germany in the 1930s. Many of the problems in the Ausf. A were corrected with the introduction of the Ausf. B. Production of the Ausf. B began in August 1935 and finished in early 1937. 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By this stage, the design concept had been superseded by medium and heavy tanks and neither variant was produced in sufficient numbers to have a real impact on the progress of the war.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. Thr first, the Panzer I Ausf. C, was designed 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 over twice that of either the Ausf. A or B, and was armed with an EW 141 semi autocannon, with a 50 round drum, firing 7.92mm anti-tank shells. Forty of these tanks were produced.

The second vehicle, the Ausf. F, 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) and used five overlapping road wheels per side, dropping the Ausf. C’s interleaved units. Eight of the thirty tanks produced were sent to the 1st 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.

If there was a score out of 10 for the packaging, I would give 11/10 for the packaging Flyhawk have provided. There is a thin cardboard outer, and the parts are inside a sturdy inner cardboard box and slot into recesses in foam packaging. I’ve never seen such robust packaging for a model before and this has become the new standard to judge against.

The box contains:

  • 11 sprues (44 track parts, 92 other parts)
  • 2 part hull
  • Turret
  • 2 figures by Caesar Miniatures
  • PE fret (31 parts)
  • Decal sheet
  • Nylon wire
  • Instruction sheet

The instructions are on one colour glossy sheet of approx. A4/letter sized paper, folded in half to make 4 pages. The first page shows the various parts on frets, basic instructions and the first construction step. The remaining 7 construction steps are on pages 2 and 3 and the back sheet shows the 2 decal options and colour references. The construction steps are clear and colour coded in places to eliminate confusion.

The level of detail is very impressive, especially for this scale, as you can see from the attached photographs of the sprues. The kit starts with assembling the hull and exhaust and adding PE in a few places. Step 2 details the left and right sides of the hull and the rear in 2 diagrams with 3 part views to show close ups. Step 3 shows a clear, colour coded, diagram of how the running gear is attached. Step 4 shows 2 diagrams, one colour coded, showing how the link and length tracks go together. You have a longer top and bottom length that you bend at each and then individual links to go around the idler and drive sprockets. I’m interested to see how that works. Step 5 adds the mudguards to both sides and Step 6 adds the small parts to the top of the mudguards in 4 diagrams and colour coding as needed. Step 7 puts the turret together with 2 diagrams and 4 part views to show close ups of the PE. The final step, step 8, simply puts the completed turret on the hull. The 2 figures from Ceasar Miniatures are very nicely detailed. The seated figure comes in 2 pieces and fits together nicely. The only real issue I can see anyone having is with the small size of some of the PE and some of the fine plastic parts will need delicate removal from the sprues. Assembly seems pretty straightforward.

The paints are referenced in Mr. Hobby and Tamiya and are also named and colour chips are given. There are 2 decal options:

  1. Panzer Regt. 1 Eastern Front, 1943 (3 colour camouflage)
  2. 2 Polizei Panzer Kompanie (neu) Easter Front, Spring 1944. (German Grey)

This is a very nice little kit with very fine details and a high part count for such a small vehicle in 1/72. The instructions are very good and this should build up into a very nice kit of an unusual subject.

You should be able to get this kit for around US$17.00 depending where you are in the world.

A walk around photo reference is here.

Many thanks to Flyhawk for the review sample.

Paul Tosney – Editor
ModelBuilder International


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