AMMO by Mig Panzer I Breda, Spanish Civil War 1936-39
From the AMMO website and kit manual:
In October of 1936, the first Panzer I Ausf.A would arrive in Seville, to be sent to Cáceres where they would be used for training their crews personnel. A month later, the Ausf.B. would follow the same path, and together form the first three companies. Although they had not participated in any combat, the Ausf.A were well worn as they had been used for both training and field maneuvers for several years. The instructors became aware of an essential defect: the bulkhead separating the engine compartment from the crew compartment was not armoured. This implied that a shot penetrating through the air vents could cause injury to personnel. For this reason, additional protections were fabricated including armoured plate for the air inlet. In Germany it would take longer to find a solution to this problem, it was not until the end of 1938 that similar protective measures were designed and implemented and could be seen on the last twenty vehicles to be delivered in January of 1939.
Its first participated in the Spanish Civil War during the attacks on Madrid where they were deployed in support of the national infantry. This engagement made it clear that the design lacked the power, crew protection, and firepower to fight against infantry. Their adversaries lacked anti-tank weapons which contributed to some initial success but as time passed it became clear that the tank was vulnerable to the T-26. Despite German opposition, the solution was to install the Italian machine gun Breda 20mm in the same turret in a configuration similar to the Panzer II. Testing was carried out on four vehicles removed from the front, where the turrets would be modified to accommodate the fierce weapon. These newly reconfigured turrets were repainted, possibly with the same paint used for touch-ups. It is rumored that a lack of non-essential supplies forced the use of domestic products of the same color. The difference in tone is perhaps due to both this circumstance and the accumulated wear on the previous paint, with several years of service and at least one which served on the front line. The units transferred from Seville likely arrived in October of 1937, when the so-called First Battalion of battle tanks was formed to consist of two Groups: the first with three companies, and the second with only two. On the basis of the written and graphic documentation compiled, we consider the hypothesis that the second company did not receive any of these tanks, which can be corroborated by a photo dated mid-October 1937 which was taken in Zaragoza, and shows ten Pz.I and five T26 in formation.
Unfortunately, very few graphic documents survive and are limited to about thirty low quality photos which have been cut and censored to remove date or location. For this reason, extensive research has been conducted to isolate the characteristics of each individual vehicle using tactical numbers, combat damage, and small unique markings. It was only through this research that it was possible to identify which units were assigned to the Spanish Legion during the Spanish Civil War.
- Vehicle no. 351- The implementation of a three-digit identification system allowed us to identify this tank as belonging to the 3rd Company, the only surviving vehicle at the time. It was decommissioned at the end of March 1939 due to an engine fire.
- Vehicle X- This tank which was part of the 4th Company can be seen next to several Panzer I Ausf. Bs in various period photographs. It was decommissioned in November of 1938 after the damage sustained when a grenade exploded inside the gun.
- Vehicle L- This vehicle was identified by this letter painted on the front part of the transmission housing and jack. In addition, it is also recognizable by a small white circle characteristic of the 2nd Group in 1938.
- Vehicle H- Marked with an H on the glacis, it was likely decommissioned in the summer of 1938, which can be surmised from a photograph taken in the depot for damaged tanks in Cariñena which shows a Breda gun.
This is the first 1/35 release for AMMO-- a kit designed and devised based on Takom's initial Pz. I Ausf. A and B dual kit #2145, but with new parts to represent the Breda gun version. This is an extremely well designed kit with great thought put into everything inside the box. The sprues are individually bagged and presented in the format we have grown to know and expect from Takom kits with clear flaps glued down. Hull and turret pieces are individually wrapped and isolated to avoid scratching. The sprues are pretty similar to the initial Takom kit, but with the addition of a sprue containing the parts for the Breda gun and a new turret piece. The manual contains some of the aforementioned reference photos on the first couple pages and bits of interesting Spanish art and text from the period. Interspersed throughout are building, painting, weathering, and decaling tips which are very useful for the beginning and intermediate modeler and feature some of their products one can use to achieve good finishing effects. Let's get to the sprues...
Sprue A, of which there are two, feature the road and sprocket wheels, as well as the link and length tracks, tow hook ends, and others small parts. the sink marks present on the sprocket are on the interior face so won't be seen.
Sprue C, of which there are also 2, represents the idler wheels, more track length, turret vision slits, and muffler bits...
Sprue D includes track guards, suspension, suspension bits, some tools, and the exhausts and siren which are slide-molded with excellent open ends...
Sprue F contains tools, jack, turret ring and hatches, transmission cover, and the bits from the earlier kit that won't be used in this one...more slide molding here as well.
Sprue N is one of the new sprues separate from those from the original Takom kit (it even bears the AMMO logo as opposed to the Takom) and contains the parts for the Breda gun and mantlet...the barrel has been slide molded.
The lower hull tub is bagged separately and is one piece and very nicely detailed...
The upper hull is bagged separately as well and has very nice engine deck detail...
The turret is also stamped with AMMO and is new to the kit as it holds the Breda gun assembly. The weld beading on this turret is subtle and sublime...
The two PE frets contain rings for the road wheels, screens, and parts specific for the Breda gun...also included in the shot are the decals for the schemes for the four tanks mentioned in the History and the braided copper tow cable.
The instruction manual as mentioned previously has a few reference photos, Takom-written steps (although there are subtle variations like small icons for AMMO's slow dry CA glue for the PE and modifications to the instructions for this specific Breda kit), and the AMMO tips. The four schemes for the kit include 5-way views of each tank for the camo painting.
Vehicle no. 351
Rear cover- which could easily be reduced and printed for use in a vignette or diorama scene
I will certainly say that AMMO gets an A+ for presentation as this is an excellently packaged kit. The box is relatively small-- not much bigger than their 1/72 kit of the T-55. It looks to be high quality- very much what we have come to expect from AMMO and Takom. Whichever paint scheme I choose to do will definitely be interesting and a nice change from the usual Panzer Grey or Dark Yellow from the typical early-war German tanks. AMMO has also released two different acrylic paint sets for the kit-- one for the Republican side and one for the Nationalist side. They've included the latter in the review samples so I will be reviewing this set as well when I get to that point...
Highly Recommended for Beginner to Advanced builders, pending full build.
Thanks goes out to AMMO by Mig Jimenez for this review kit.
Reviewed by Michael Reeves
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