Takom- Panzerjager 1b mit 7.5cm StuK 40 L/48
To read the first look review of this large kit click on the following link: https://www.amps-armor.org/SiteReviews/ShowReview.aspx?id=15025
Building The Panzer 1B hull
Steps 1 and 2 construct the basic parts of the running gear. The springs were assembled without issue. They are nicely detailed with good definition on the leaf springs and separate bolt heads. I had a small issue with the stiffening rings on the road wheels, they are a loose fit and showed a small gap around the circumference of the ring when attached to the road wheel. I have build several 1/35 scale Panzer 1s and the rings were always a tight fit. Various internet sites including https://www.tapatalk.com/groups/missinglynx/panzer-i-wheels-t331107.html show the ring extending to the inside edge of the wheel rim and possibly over top of the edge.
The road wheels had eight tiny knockouts on one side of the wheel and a slight mold seam down the center. Both needed some light sanding to remove.
Step 3 attaches the road wheel assemblies and the front road wheel spring assembly to the hull.
Step 4 adds the stiffening bar to the right side road wheel assemblies. The bar is a finicky fit due to the small attachment points on the springs.
Step 5 adds the front plate to the hull and adds a retaining C-clip designed to hold the road wheel assembly axles in place and allow them to rotate. The C-clip is extremely thin and both broke when attempting to slide them over the axles. I decided to simply glue the axles in place later in the build.
Steps 6, 7 and 8 repeat the previous three steps for the left side.
Note the rivet detail on on the hull and the detail on the return rollers: the manufacturer, CONTINENTAL, and other info can be clearly seen. At this point the road wheels have not been completely cleaned up. A tiny bit of the weld seam detail that is present all over the model can be seen in the lower right corner of the image.
Steps 9 and 10 are basic construction adding detail parts to the hull front and adding the idler wheels. I elected to install the tow cable later in the build.
Step 11 builds the tracks. The instructions call for 97 links per side. The number of links used is dependent on the placement of the idler wheel. When using 97 links the idler axle had to be rotated to its extreme rearward position. Comparing this to period pictures and TAKOM's drawing on the cover of the instructions the position just didn't look right, it seemed to sit too far back and too high off the ground. I reduced the number of links to 96 and moved the idler forward.
Assembling the links was straight forward, just put two links together and push a pin through the aligned holes. But before that can be done the links must be cleaned up. (see the image below of the uncleaned links) Each link had a small amount of flash around the pin holes and sprue tabs that had to be removed. The fit of the links was very tight. I found I had to make a couple of sanding swipes on the inside edges of each link to get them to slide together. Finally once the links were together the pin was initially difficult to insert (i.e. I broke a few pins - TAKOM supplies several extras). This was solved by using a pin vice to run a drill bit through the holes thereby aligning and slightly enlarging them. The pins still fit tight enough not to slip out. None of this was difficult and was done fairly quickly. From removing the parts from the sprue to placing the final pin in the track took less than two and a half hours per side.
The workable tracks look fantastic when completed and added to the running gear.
Step 12 builds the jack and adds tools to the right side fender. When building the jack the exact placement of the hold down clamp (part E33/34) has to align with two holes in the fender. I did this by assembling the jack and placing it on the fender and then adding the clamp in situ.
The fenders are an "H" shaped one piece assembly that spans the width of the hull. Closely examine the fenders before joining them to the lower hull. I failed to notice the fenders on each side of the hull had a slight droop that caused fit issues later in the build (More on that later). The droop could have been easily rectified at this stage by selective bending of the plastic.
The underside of the fenders have numerous deep knockouts that would be visible in the completed model. Originally, I was going to use the standard putty and sand technique. But after thinking it over I opted to make an insert from plastic sheet and simply cover the holes rather than fill and sand them. It took about five minutes per side to do this.
Steps 13 and 14 build the fighting compartment and the stand for mounting the 7.5cm gun. The knockouts on the gun mount will not be visible once it is installed in the hull.
Steps 15 through 19 adds tools to the fenders and then the fenders to the lower hull. Step 15 also adds the headlights. I elected to leave the lights off until all other construction was finished. They are very detailed, very delicate and very likely to break off. The construction images for these steps were accidentally deleted.
Steps 20 through 25 build the upper hull superstructure and the engine deck. The basic superstructure shape is a one piece affair with the builder adding armor plates to it. No issues were noted during assembly. There is no internal detail for the engine deck and the air intakes provide a large view of the empty interior. Sheet plastic was used to create blanking plates for both intakes. The engine access doors had similar fit issues to the road wheel stiffener rings. The size was slightly off and they could be installed slightly askew. Carefully installed, with an even gap around the perimeter, the doors look very good. Unfortunately the construction images for these steps were also deleted.
The tow cable was installed in step 23. The copper wire supplied for the cable had a larger diameter than the diameter of the end loops, so a length of floral wire was used as a substitute.
After the superstructure and engine deck were added to the hull in Step 26 there was a slight but noticeable slope to the outside edge of the fender. This caused the edge of the superstructure to float about one scale inch above the top of the fender. I could not bend the fender into place with the superstructure installed nor could I remove the superstructure from the hull. (I really glued it down tight.)
My solution to the gap was inserting strip plastic between the fender and the superstructure. After the glue dried a sharp knife blade was used to trim off the excess plastic. The remaining strip was softened with glue and smoothed out using the tip of a needle file. There was also a slight gap where the engine deck meets the superstructure. This was filled with plastic strips and blended with the hull.
Again, if I would have noticed the droop before the fenders were installed it could have easily been straightened and the gaps would not have occurred. The fault was mine- it was not a flaw in the kit.
Note the detailed weld bead around the armor plates and the detail on the bolts. The hatch handle was installed in step 22 and I managed to quickly break it (twice). I recommend leaving this off until the end of the build.
Building the 75 mm gun
Step 27 assembles the gun cradle which went together without a hitch. The image below also shows the traversing/elevation gear and the complex gun sight less the clear plastic lens.
Steps 28, 29 and 30 construct the 29 piece gun. It is well detailed with the breach alone consisting of eight parts.
The aluminum barrel fit perfectly and tightly. No glue was needed to keep it in place. The muzzle break has a rifled insert that adds a nice touch when peering down the barrel.
Nice detail on the gun shield.
The shield was an easy install with substantial attachment points gluing directly to the gun frame.
The fully assembled vehicle. Note the plastic strip used to cover the gap where the engine deck and superstructure meet.
Building the figure
The kit includes beautifully sculpted 29 piece figure of a soldier loading a 75mm round into the gun's breech. The soldier appears to be wearing a Zeltbahn (shelter-half) with a late war splinter camouflage pattern. Zeltbahns were often worn for both warmth and camouflage. The figure went together without difficulty, but be prepared to remove seam lines from within the folds and creases of the clothing.
Although the vehicle looks great without the figure, it adds a sense of scale and just makes the vehicle look meaner!
And the headlights and gunsight lens are still not attached.
Painting the Beast
I chose to paint the hull Tamiya Panzer Grey to represent an old hull found in some repair depot near Berlin. The superstructure was removed and a mount for the gun was installed. Originally I planned to do a faded winter camouflage on the hull, but I opted for the chipped and slightly rusted look. (Interestingly the chipping and rust, both reddish in color didn't show up well against the grey in the photos.)
I imagine the 75mm gun was rescued from a damaged field piece. I painted it in Tamiya Dunkelgleb and Rotbraun.
The headlights are finally attached, but the tow cable has been removed until I can find an acceptable alternate to the cable TAKOM provided. The floral wire didn't work well.
A few images of the basic paint job are shown below.
This is not just an upscaling of some other kit. This kit is detailed and eye-catching, there are delicate weld beads everywhere, bolt heads are well defined and the return rollers even have the Continental logo on them. The instructions are clear and concise and guide you through a fairly easy build, with no gotchas. I would have liked TAKOM to include a simple interior. When you look forward into the vehicle past the gun mount, it is empty space. To fill the empty space I scratch built a simple seat and used the the backs of the unused radio sets to simulate storage boxes and other equipment. Any modeler with a few kits under his or her belt can easily build this kit.
Highly Recommended for Beginner to Advanced builders.
Thanks goes out to Takom for this review kit.
Reviewed by Brian Campitella
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