German Panzer I Ausf.A Sd.Kfz.101

Tristar 1:35 Scale Kit No. 35028 and 35028S with clear parts
Review by Terry Ashley


Following on from their earlier Panzer IA kits (#35003 and #35008 now discontinued) and the recent Panzer I ohne Aufbau (kit#35025) comes this new revised kit of the German Panzer I Ausf.A which can be built as an early 3.series/La.S or later 4.series/La.S vehicle. Also released is a limited edition kit #38028S that has three sprues B, G and I included in clear plastic to show off the full interior and this review will look at both the kits together as the parts are identical apart from the limited clear parts.

The Kit:

The kit consists of 335 parts in light beige plastic with another 192 individual track links and 6 in clear plastic with Sprues A, B, C and D from the earlier Panzer IA kits and revised sprue E and T from the Flakpanzer I (kit #35019), sprue I for the engine parts from the ‘ohne Aufbau’ (kit #35025) and new sprue J with the hull interior parts and sprue K with new enhanced road wheels as well as a revised sprue G for the later hull parts.


As mentioned the limited edition kit (#35028S) has three sprues B, G and I included in clear plastic and there is also a small etched fret and the decal and instruction sheets with the standard of moulding very good overall and while some previous kits had a little excess fine flash on a few parts the parts in this kit are much cleaner in that regard but there are a few prominent mould seams that will need attention.

There are also some nicely rendered details such as the floor and fender tread plate pattern, the weld seams on the superstructure and the cleanly moulded suspension parts plus the extensive interior and engine parts.

Just a quick note of the new clear parts with the limited kit #35028S, they are not perfectly clear but have a slight frosted look as the plastic is not the hard brittle plastic usually associated with really clear parts and so looking through the parts gives a slightly blurred effect. Also you can see all the pin marks and other “blemishes” on the inside of parts normally hidden with opaque plastic and you have to be very careful cutting the parts from the sprues as there are often small stress marks showing that again are invisible with the normal beige plastic. There is also the issue of the glue marks further marring the finish and so in some regards the clear plastic parts are a bit gimmicky as they only offer limited views of the interior while exposing all the imperfections.

But as the level of detail on the clear parts is the same as on the opaque beige plastic you can simply paint the kit as normal if the ‘see through’ look doesn’t work out, the option is yours.

Dimensionally the kit matches the data and 1:35 plans in the Panzer Tracks No.1-1 Panzer I and Achtung Panzer No.7 Panzer I and II books to well within acceptable limits giving the printing processes etc. which makes for a good start.

Lower Hull:

This has the lower plate and both sides as separate parts that allow nice details to be included on both sides including details on the bottom of the engine compartment for the full engine included in the kit. Fitting the lower hull parts together is probably the most important part of the kit as it forms the basis for everything else and before attaching the hull sides it’s best to assemble the interior parts.

The forward transmission is made up of 14 parts and the detail on this assembly is excellent, in fact the plastic transmission has better details than on the resin part in Tristar’s own Panzer I Interior set (#TSR-001) with the reverse usually being the case.

Other details include the suspension cross members, rear bulkhead with separate central plate plus the raised floor section with excellent tread plate and compartment details. There is also the driver’s seat, control levers, foot pedals and instrument panel fitted to the underside of the glacis plus inside covers for the final drive housings. Also included on the rear firewall is the prominent starter motor with tread plate cover that is a notable feature and all this makes for a very highly detailed interior.

Additional details included are the right hull side mounted spare MG13 barrel container and four signal flag tubes as well as the three MG13 magazine racks along the right hand sponson which have the correct number of magazines in each rack, being 8, 20 and 6 (front to back) as well as the box for the MG tools plus the additional rack with correct 19 magazines along the rear superstructure wall for a very compete interior layout and it’s clear Tristar have done their homework.

The interior assembled easily with very good fit of the parts, especially the rear bulkhead and raised floor with the only trimming being a small piece to be removed for the left front corner of the floor behind the seat to clear the inside axle mounting.

It is a good idea to let the rear bulkhead (part C6) dry completely before attaching the side panels as this allows the sides to be positioned perfectly upright and provides a firm footing. The fit of the side panels was very good overall and using Tenax 7-R there were only a couple of minor join gaps requiring filling with the fit of the front and rear hull panels (parts C22 and E7) being very good without any gaps for an overall good fit.

The rear hull panel has additional parts for the fenders, jack block and towing hitch and the panel features the lower curved profile but as there is a panel join line present that may need to be eliminated to represent the smooth curved profile better.

At the front is the separate lower hull panel that includes the eight small rivets along the bottom edge and also the two small brackets on the final drive housings with the fit to the hull also being good but you may want to add the weld seams that go along the undersides of the final drives for a better appearance as these are not present.

The assembled lower hull tub was perfectly square and the glacis was also a very snug fit between the hull sides without any hint of gaps and has a separate inspection hatch so you can see the excellent transmission details after assembly. There is a choice here between the early 60cm wide (part E4) and the later 75cm hatch (part E4) depending on the version you are building so you have to make this choice fairly early in the build. The left over glacis with the 60cm hatch moulded in place is still included if you wanted to use this but the hatch lacks the small bracket on the front so using one of the newer parts would be better.

Added to the side are the full length fenders with nicely done tread plate pattern on the top surfaces only plus additional outer lip for good definition but care is needed when fitting this to ensure it lines up correctly with the fender to avoid and gaps.

Also added to the front of the fenders are the small position lights and the front fender extensions that have multi-part etched attachment brackets to give very good definition to this detail. All the tools are separate parts with the clips mounded on but with small etched brackets to add a little more detail without going the whole way of removing the plastic clips and replacing with etched parts. There is a choice of the early cone horn or later rounded type and again pick the one for the version you are building plus the NOTEK light on the left fender and the centrally mounted head light with separate clear glass.

The two exhausts mounted on the rear fenders are in two parts each with nice texture on the ribbed engine outlet pipes but the fishtail outlets are not hollowed out which you may want to do for a better look. The finely etched exhaust heat shields are best annealed by running them through a candle flame to make bending to the curved shape a lot easier and there are small “feet” on the shields to make locating over the exhausts easy.


One of the standout features of this kit is the newly revised road wheels and idlers which have the inner wheel in one piece and two outer rims that gives the rim lip of the original wheels for excellent definition. The road wheels have the re-enforcing ribs applicable to the 3.series and later 4.series Panzer Is and their diameter matches perfectly to the data and 1:35 plans in the Panzer Tracts No.1-1 Panzer I and Achtung Panzer No.7 Panzer I and II. There is a minor mould seam around the rubber sections that is easy to remove and there is also the grease nipples included on the wheel hubs and these should face outwards so watch this when assembling the suspension units.

The first road wheel also has a separate centre hub as the other wheels are joined by the suspension beam and there is nicely moulded spring and suspension arm assembly which all adds to the good details in the suspension units.

The drive sprockets are nicely detailed but the rim bolts are only on the outer face and are slightly undersized and it would have been nice if this detail was enhanced along with the wheels to really make the running gear while the return rollers are the revised type with hub details that match photos well. The suspension arms and mountings are all nicely moulded but there are some mould seams to be removed and the spring units need care to preserve the nice leaf spring detail during this process.

The original road wheel sprue D is still included as this has the drive sprockets, return rollers, mufflers and other parts so you actually get two full sets of road wheels and idlers of the correct diameter if you wanted to use these on other kits


The small individual track links have excellent details but are not designed to be workable and are simply glued together to form the track runs. Each link has the three sprue attachment scars to be cleaned but other than that can be quickly assembled and formed around the drive sprocket and idler while the glue is still tacky.

Views of the new links


This is one large moulding with the front hull plate included but with the two crew hatches and all vision ports as separate parts and features very nicely done weld seams around the superstructure joins and flush screws along the front panel and around the side hatch openings. The two bolted re-enforcing strips either side are include as these are needed for all wartime Panzer IAs with the only internal detail being the radio and three parts rack added to the underside of the front panel and the rear mounted MG13 magazine racks as mentioned previously. There is one strange omission from this kit in that the inner vision block frames that were included in the Flakpanzer I kit (#35019) are not included but the driver’s clear vision block is still on the small clear sprue.

The two part hatch is in separate parts with a separate inner latch on the top door and there are no pin marks or other blemishes on the hatches and it’s interesting that in the special kit the superstructure is in clear plastic while all the hatches and visor covers are in normal beige plastic.

Rear Engine Deck:

There are the two engine decks included, one with the two fuel filler caps for the 3.series/La.S or with the four fuel filler caps for the later 4.series/La.S with separate parts for the rear oil cooler access hatch that has louver detail on both sides and no pin marks to mar the louvers. The two engine access hatches are also separate with latch detail on both sides and again no pin marks to be seen with the fit of these hatches to the engine deck being millimetre perfect. Also included are small brackets that allow you to prop the engine access doors slightly open for better cooling which is sometimes seen in photos of active Panzer Is.

The rear deck panel has the cooling air outlets with very finely moulded screen mesh included but you are also provided with etched screen mesh and surrounds to use if you wish plus the cast armoured cowl covers as used on all wartime Panzer IAs. To add the etched screens requires you to carefully cut out the plastic screens and add the etched screens but as these are mostly hidden by the armoured cowls it’s up to you if you want to add the mesh screens but having the option is good.

Added on the inside of the engine deck are the exhaust outlet covers and oil cooler compartment coaming as well as the inner fuel filler receptacles and separate if using the two or four ports and finally the forward blanking panel is added.

Also included is a nicely detailed smoke candle rack made up of nine parts to add to the rear outlet cover with just the fine chain added to each candle to be added but this is not included on the etched set provided.

Engine Compartment:

Put simply this is a superb rendition of the air cooled Krupp M305 engine and is again better detailed than the resin engine in the previous Tristar Panzer I Interior set (#TSR-001) moulded with the extensive use of slide mould technology.

The two large fuel tanks in either corner are nicely detailed with the oil filters (parts I40) added to the sides and the upper oil cooler has extremely fine grill detail on both sides without any pin parts and this can be fitted in the normal down position or raised with the cooler door open to show the detail below the cooler.

The main engine block is an amazing piece of injection moulding with crisp details on all sides and also fully hollowed out and added to this is the lower sump cover which has excellent details even though it can’t be seen after the engine is mounted in the bay.

On top of the engine is mounted the central magneto and two large air filters with separate top covers which are attached to two long pipes feeding to the undersides of the cylinder banks plus the two ribbed exhaust pipe extensions which attach to the outer exhaust pipes so they just don’t finish in mid air.

Mounted either side are the cylinder bank heads with again excellent details included as well as additional plumbing while on the back of the engine is added the large finned electric generator and circular fan which are again superbly moulded without any flash or other blemishes.

The only cleanup needed is the usual moulding seams and the fit of the parts is excellent and builds into a superb engine and it’s a shame to hide much of the detail when fitted inside the engine compartment.

Note; all the engine parts are in clear plastic with the special kit #35028 basically because the early engine deck is on the same sprue but obviously you would paint the engine as normal and the level of detail is again the same as with the beige plastic parts.


The main turret parts are in clear plastic in the special kit and normal beige in the standard kit the turret shell in one piece with separate lower turret ring and separate top hatch and all the visor covers around the turret with very nicely represented flush screws around the turret roof although there are no weld seams on the turret as there are on the superstructure.

The top hatch has details on both sides and no pin parks to contend with and of course this can be left open to view the interior with two small hatch stops added to the front of the turret roof which are extremely small requiring care when removing from the sprues and fitting to the turret.

For a small turret the interior is extensively detailed with the two 7.92mm MG13s having the full breech and shell ejection chutes along with separate 25 round magazines for each gun. The telescopic sight is in three parts and the Commander’s seat is in four parts and is an excellent representation of the real thing but you will have to take care cleaning the mould seams from the thin seat frames. The two MG13 barrels are nicely depicted but you could drill out the muzzles for a better appearance.

Added to the turret ring are the traverse hand wheels with the only item missing being the 8 magazine ready racks on the turret rim under the gun mountings.


The decal sheets from kit #35003 and #35008 are included and are well printed with very thin carrier film cropped extremely close to the printed image and should help during application.
This gives you the choice of 4 early and 3 later Panzer Is from these units;

    Early version:
  1. 3 Company 2 Battalion Agrupacion de Carros
  2. Pz.Abt.zBV40 Norway, 1940
  3. Unidentified Unit, Poland 1939
  4. 5 Liechte Division, North Africa

  5. Late Version:
  6. Unidentified Unit, Poland 1939
  7. Unidentified Unit, North Africa

Clear parts


This is simply a superb little kit of the Panzer IA with a level of detail that leaves no part of the kit untouched and just asks for all the hatches and panels be left open to view the interior. As mentioned the clear parts in the special kit give a cloudy view of the interior and it may be better to paint these and just have all the hatches open.

The new road wheels and idler are a stand out feature as is the interior from the front transmission to the packed turret and the full engine with the option of the early 3.series/La.S or later 4.series/La.S vehicle being a bonus.

As with any kit there is room for additional detailing to really finish it off and there are a couple of notable details missing such as the turret ready magazine rack and the driver’s visor internal brackets but other than that the attention to detail is excellent.

There are a few minor issues but the overall fit of the parts was excellent making for a superbly detailed kit straight from box and this is clearly the best Panzer IA kit available today bar none.

Highly recommended.


The sprues
Click for larger image
Detail images
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Panzer Tracts No 1-1 Panzerkampfwagen I Kleintraktor to Ausf.B
Panzer Tracts
Thomas L Jentz and Hilary Louis Doyle
Panzer I
The beginning of a dynasty

AFV Collections No.1, AF Editions
ISBN: 84-87314-43-0
Pz.Kpfw.I/Pz.Kpfw.II and variants
Achtung Panzer No.7

Dainippon Kaiga Co.,Ltd..
PanzerKampfwagen 1 & II

Ian Allen Publishing
Ground Power Magazine
Issue #071 April 2000
GALILEO Publishing Co.,Ltd.
AFV Modeller
Issue 12

Excellent photo feature on the Panzer 1a

Tristar ShopThanks to CK Pat from the Tristar Shop for the review kit.

Page created November 22, 2006