Joined: 17 Sep 2006
|Posted: Mon May 07, 2012 6:53 pm Post subject: DML #6230 Panzerjager I 4.7cm Pak(t)
The need for self-propelled anti-tank or “panzerjager” vehicles led the German army to design a vehicle that combined the available chassis of the Pzkpfw I Ausf B and the highly capable Czech-designed 4.7cm Pak (t). Lightly armored with a 14.5mm shield and carrying 86 rounds of ammunition, the Panzerjager I was built by Alkett from a one-time order of 132 vehicles which were produced between March-May 1940. The design proved successful enough in the France 1940 campaign that a second order with some improvements and modifications on the original design for an additional 70 vehicles was placed with Alkett and produced between November 1940 and February 1941. This second batch of vehicles saw service in North Africa and on the Eastern Front and it is a vehicle from this group that DML (Dragon) kit #6230 Panzerjager I 4.7cm Pak (t) aims to replicate.
The kit is packaged in the standard slip top cardboard box with the sprues packaged in clear bags with multiple sprues per bag in some cases, so care is needed when removing them to avoid damaging some of the more delicate parts. The standard “Dragon card” is also included which has the separate bag of Magic Tracks, PE fret, decals, clear sprues, the jerry can and small tools/details sprues, and a small bag containing the brass PE road wheel rims attached to it. The kit consists of over 420 parts with a small number of these marked as “Not for Use” arranged in the following:
• 15 sprues of light gray styrene
• 3 sprues of clear styrene
• 1 light gray styrene hull tub
• 1 PE brass fret of 47 parts
• 1 bag of 20 brass wheel rims
• 1 bag of handed Magic Tracks links
• 1 decal sheet
• Instruction booklet
The differences between the first batch of Pzjgr Is and the second batch revolve around the design of the protective shield for the crew and other small details. The shield was made longer on the sides and had 7 sides instead of the previous 5 to provide more protection for the crew and the radio relocated to the splinter shield and a second radio antenna added to the left side to improve the communications setup. The opening in the front for the gun was also decreased in size slightly and a couple of bolts rearranged as a further distinction. The second batch of vehicles also included vehicles tapped for service in North Africa and those received the “Tropen” modifications to the engine deck hatches for improved cooling in high temperature environments. This particular kit captures all of those differences and accurately represents the features seen in the 2nd batch of 70 Pzjgr Is produced by Alkett. If you’re interested in a vehicle with the earlier type of features, Dragon has a separate kit available for that, #6258 Panzerjager I 4.7cm Pak (t) Early Production, that is virtually identical to this one with the exception of the gun shield .
Suspension and Tracks:
As you might expect for a vehicle that is built off a Pzkpfw I-B chassis, DML has taken advantage of the molds used to produce their previous line of kits and employed them here as well. The suspension has separate wheels for each of the bogeys and two PE rims are provided for each wheel to accurately replicate the reinforced wheel design. The idlers are a two part assembly and are the accurate type without rubber rims with a separate idler mount arm that can be positioned for sag purposes to a degree.
The tracks supplied are the standard skeletal type tracks seen on the Pz I family of vehicles and are provided as Magic Track individual links provided in a large single bag. 99 tracks are called for per side and extras are provided to allow for customized sag depending on your preference if you decide to add more links.
Hull and Fenders:
The lower hull is provided as a single tub with additional front and rear plates and has excellent detail on the underside including hatch and bolt detail where appropriate. The rear plate includes a PE shield for the muffler and the fish-tail exhaust is molded solid. The fenders are integrated in with the hull tub and have excellent tread plate detail on the upper surfaces. PE parts are provided to create the narrow fender edge and separate mud flaps are provided front and back for added detail. All of the tools are provided with molded-on clamps and the front head lights include clear parts for their lenses. The kit includes parts for three jerry cans stamped for use as 20L fuel containers that have PE inserts for their reinforcing ribs but no guidance is provided as to where to place them on the vehicle. Space is at a premium on this little guy so check your references and some rearranging may be called for to take advantage of this particular feature.
The upper hull installs as a single large piece that has the front glacis plate integrated along with it. This also has the transmission access hatch molded in place so it’s not possible to show this open without some surgery. The viewports for the hull have regular styrene external parts and clear styrene internal parts and can be posed either open or closed. The leftover ports from the Pz I-B design that wouldn’t be used on the Pzjgr I are correctly recreated externally and internally without the viewport mechanisms since the hull was no longer enclosed. Last but not least the upper hull includes other details such as the gun crew back rests, PE hooks for holding the spent shell bags, and driver’s area details such as the gauge console and
The rear engine deck is assembled as its own module and consists of a base frame with the side plates added. Those plates have fine weld detail along their top edges and also include the small brackets for securing the U-shaped mesh frame to the hull. The frame is provided as a large single piece of PE that needs to be bent to shape to create this excellent detail and a separate PE screen is provided for the long air intake vent at the front of the deck. The engine deck hatches are provided with the choice between standard Pz I hatches or those incorporating the “Tropen” modifications for vehicles sent to North Africa so make sure you choose the correct parts depending on your choice of markings.
The kit includes an interior for the driver’s area of the hull that includes highly detailed transmission and brake housings, battery boxes, and driver’s station complete with seat, steering levers, and pedal controls. The floor plate includes details for the axle covers and the base of the Pak mount as well as three ammunition boxes for the 4.7cm rounds. The boxes can be posed with their lids open or closed with the lids possessing excellent stamped reinforcement rib detail on both surfaces. The large box holding 34 rounds has provisions for up to 6 rounds to be displayed empty and those 6 rounds are provided as separate parts for added flexibility. The smaller 15 round boxes have all their rounds in place and all of the rounds include depressions to represent the firing caps in their bases.
Gun and Fighting Compartment:
The 4.7cm Pak (t) weapon included in the kit is almost a miniature kit in its own right. All of its parts are provided on its own sprue consisting of 56 parts assembled over the course of 4 steps. The level of detail is impressive with many small parts involved in producing the weapon. The muzzle brake is provided as a slide molded part that has the correct hollow side baffles as well as hollow front opening that attaches to a single piece barrel that has only a very slight mold seam present. The recoil housings are highly detailed and assemble as two-part halves so careful gluing and sanding will be called for there. The gun inner shield is provided as a single curved piece that includes fine recessed screw-head detail. The gun itself attaches to a base that includes separate PE mounts for the MP40 and gas mask container that make up the crew gear.
The 7-sided gun shield is provided as a separate part with excellent weld detail on the external surfaces. The interior of the shield is well-populated with a gas mask container and rack, multi-part radio and rack, intercom box, first aid kit, and PE hooks for the MP40 ammunition pouches (but no pouches themselves). The shield installs into a base plate which in turn secures to the hull top to ensure everything lines up properly.
Instructions and Finishing Guide:
The kit instructions follow the standard DML mode of fold-out black and white exploded diagrams and sub-diagrams and consists of 21 steps for full assembly. The decal markings are printed by Cartograf and are clear and in-register. The Painting and Markings guide provides for the following 5 possibilities:
• PzJgAbt 605, North Africa 1942-43, mud smeared over panzer gray
• PzJgAbt “LAH” (wolf’s head insignia), Eastern Front 1941, panzer gray
• PzJgAbt “LAH” (wreathed key insignia), Eastern Front 1941, panzer gray
• PzJgAbt 643, Eastern Front 1942, whitewash over panzer gray
• 3/PzJgAbt 605, Libya 1942, overall sand
The Pzjgr I was long overdue for a new kit as the Italeri kit had started to show its age in more ways than one. Dragon has produced a highly detailed kit in all respects and faithfully replicated the features seen on the 2nd batch of the Pzjgr Is. This kit is highly recommended for fans of self-propelled antitank vehicles, Pzkpfw I junkies, or those who just want to build a highly detailed kit that won’t take up much space when finished.