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Takom Panzer I

Build review of the 1/16 scale armor kit with good detail

And get the Takom Panzer I wallpaper here!
Years ago, my wife asked me what I would do when I get older and my hands and eyes didn’t work as well. I replied that I would just switch to a bigger scale; 15 years later and I’m building Takom’s 1/16 scale Panzer I Ausf A.  

The kit consists of 746 parts nicely molded in light gray plastic — 360 are workable individual-link tracks and pins — as well as three clear plastic pieces, two photo-etched metal (PE) screens, and a copper tow cable, and a decal sheet with markings for four tanks. 

The 15-page instruction booklet features 22 uncluttered and the decals supply markings for four tanks, three in dunkelgrau and dunkelbraun in Poland or France, and one in Africa in gelbbraun; color callouts refer to Ammo by Mig Jimenez paints.

Leftover pieces suggest that a Panzer I Ausf B may be in the pipeline. Those hoping for a release with a full interior will probably be disappointed as the kit is not engineered with an interior in mind.

Assembly starts with the lower hull and partially working suspension and tracks; the first road-wheel arm gets glued in place but the rear bogies swivel although the leaf springs aren’t flexible. Those bogies are secured with small C-clamps inside requiring them to be attached early in the build. I chose to leave them off for painting and weathering and attached them near the end with a little superglue in the holes, rendering them unmovable.

Several ejector-pin marks blemish one side of the wheels. I placed that side facing in but was sure to fill them; in this scale, a lot of light gets under the model to reveal any laziness.   

The fenders are molded together as a single, rather thick part that looks good on the finished model. Crews often removed the front fenders in service, which you could do, but it would take quite a bit of work to thin the new edge.

Diverging from the instructions, I left off the tools until the hull was together. However, the kit’s design required that the mufflers go on before the engine deck was installed.

The upper hull’s plates fit around a frame. With care, these can be assembled without gaps, but the parts lack the weld seams between the plates. I added basic welds by masking the edges and running Tulip brand puffy fabric paint along the seams.

I attached the vision ports in the closed position to avoid excess light revealing the vacant interior. Detail marks crew hatches inside and out, so I tacked them in place with white glue in case I add aftermarket figures later. 

The engine-deck hatches and hinges are added separately along with the added armor on top of the deck smoke dispensers and rear intake armor. I found the engine deck a fiddly fit. In service, the added armor and smoke candles were uncommon, but the parts don’t really allow them to be left off for other options.

Finally, I added the tools. All the tool clamps are well molded with the handles open except on the larger pry bar. There, I simply drilled several small holes, removed most of the plastic, and shaped the hole with a square file. 

The tow cable lacks texture appropriate for the scale and I’d replace it if were I to build the kit again.

The turret assembles simply and quickly but be sure to install the mantlet before join the top and base.  

I painted my Panzer I as a Polish Campaign vehicle using Tamiya acrylics. After an overall coat of German gray, I outlined the brown areas with Pledge Floor Gloss (PFG) using a small paintbrush. After airbrushing Tamiya brown, any exposed PFG would be hidden by subsequent clear coats.

The tracks went together well and needed minimal cleanup, but I found that a needle in a pin vise helped align the links. There were some broken pins in my kit, but I replaced them with styrene rod. I used 85 links per side, leaving enough for spares. 

The decals have a flat finish but applied well and the carrier film disappeared under a gloss coat. The armor plates on the side of the turret are thick enough to distort the crosses, so I cut them and touched up gaps with white paint. This could be a real issue for the numbers on the Afrika Korps tank.  

I enjoyed this build; it went together quickly and easily, and the scale gives this little panzer serious presence. The large scale presents some challenges with big expanses to weather — but it was nice not to have to wear my Optivisor to build a kit.  

Note: A version of this review appeared in the July 2020 issue.
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