Friday, 6 December 2013

First to Fight - Panzer I Ausf. A

Time for the first guest review! I was thinking about reviewing the whole "Wrzesień 1939" series, but as it's made of 79 models and I'm not interested in all of them (and, frankly, I've got enough unfinished projects...), I though of asking some of my friends for help. So the second model was reviewed by a co-administrator of The Node, Danny, and this post is my extract/translation of his review.

Thinking about buying the Panzer I, I had mixed feelings after the TKS. Its parts broke in several places and building it with its details was irritating, though the final effect was very charming.

That's why I was a bit unsettled when going to the shop, especially with the late release of the model (it was scheduled for 29th November, than rescheduled for the 2nd December and finally appeared on the shelves on 3rd or 4th - Sarmor). Nevertheless, I tried to give the series another chance. However, I had one important condition: the set really had to be fast assembly. I wanted to be able to build it in 15-20 minutes, so that I won't waste any more of my precious free time.

The packaging was identical to that of the previous model: a solid box, a bit too big, and an A4 magazine. I don't like the paper on which it is printed, as it's impossible to find the correct angle for the lighting, so that the contents are visible, yet the pages don't reflect too much light. You can even see it on the photos.

The magazine covers the history of the Panzer I and its rather unsuccessful operational history. There were some typos in the magazine and I'm still convinced that if they dropped it altogether, it wouldn't be much of a loss.
The illustration of the box is quite nice and dynamic. On the back again we find several pictures showing the painting scheme, an assembly guide, a list of Vallejo paints and short descriptions in 3 languages (this time they're better).

Inside, we get the standard toothpick and glue, two sprues with the model and... decals, which look quite good! 

(Sadly, you cannot make a full 5-tank platoon with correct numbers with them, unless you cut them into pieces and make two additional numbers yourself - Sarmor.)

A separate sprue with the turret is a nice touch, especially if you plan to convert the tank into a turretless version and keep your turret parts together (in fact, this sprue will be shared with the Panzer I Ausf. B model - Sarmor).
This time I found better cutters to cut out the parts, and so I had less cleaning to do later. I only had to file it in several places, et voila! It was ready to be assembled.
 The tank is made of grey, hard plastic. Fortunately, nothing broke during cutting, maybe due to me being more careful, maybe because the model is just better (I suspect a mix of both). I have the impression, that the MG 13 barrels are thicker than the barrel of the TKS's cannon, making them much more durable. What is more, this time the was cast as a part of the front left fender.
All the parts fit very well and you can even build the model without using glue (thankfully, as it stinks terribly!).

There are, however, some faults. The Panzer lacks a fire extinguisher, which should be next to the shovel, and which appears on the pictures in the magazine and on the box. Front headlines are too small (the ones on the fenders, not the central one, which is a separate piece), and the rear engine deck is very simplified. Of course, you have to remember that its a simplified wargaming model.
All in all, the Panzer met my expectations - I assembled it in 20 minutes. Additionally, I got a splendid, great looking mini of a terrible tank. I'm really impressed and I'll gladly buy another one to convert it into a recovery vehicle or ammunition tractor.
After the assembly, Danny was surprised to find an unused part - it's a side hatch for the Panzer I Ausf. B.

All the photos and text in italics are by Danny.

Review in Polish can be found here. / Recenzję po polsku można przeczytać pod tym adresem.

If you want to know more about the September 1939 series, visit their site or their Facebook profile.

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