PzKpfw I Ausf. A Ambulance

Kit # 72SE14

Construction review by Rob Haelterman


While I mentioned in my preview of this kit that it had earned a place on the top of my stash, it quickly moved down that very same stash once I started building it, as my discussion below will explain.


The kit has the following features of a late (i.e. end of production run) PzKpfw I Ausf.A:

  • Armored engine cooling intake and outlet, installed from July 1937 onwards on some models. This can easily be left off if so desired, as by the start of the war, some vehicles still didn't carry them.
  • Armored strips on the crew compartment sides, installed from the summer of 1935 onwards. Some vehicles used at the start of the war did not have them, and they can easily be left off in the kit.
  • No visor on the right rear of the crew compartment.
  • Wirecutter on the right front fender, installed from January 1936 onwards.
  • Wide transmission hatch, although the kit seems somewhere in between the early narrow and the late wide hatch.
  • Small horn, although the early conical horn is provided as well.
  • Notek and rear convoy light (1939).
  • Jack block on the rear vertical hull plate.

By the end of the production run, smoke candles were installed on the rear of the hull, which the kit lacks. I don't believe all the vehicles carried them.

Attack depicts the vehicle as an ambulance. I am not claiming that a vehicle in this configuration was never used as an ambulance, but I haven't seen any photographic evidence so far. Built (almost) OOB, the kit would be a perfect match for the munition carrier, though. If you want to add a personal touch, you could add a box-like superstructure over the turret ring, which was seen on a limited number of vehicles. (Don't confuse this configuration with the Laube, which had the whole superstructure replaced with a box-type structure.)
Thanks to the full interior, this kit would also be a good start to build a Fahrschulpanzer (training vehicle).
Note that all parts for the other variants of the Panzer I Ausf. A that are in Attack's catalogue are also provided (e.g. this one), so if you have a sufficiently stocked spare decal box, you can always build it in a different configuration and/or use the spare turret for a bunker.

Some spare parts


Attack gives the standard instructions of the "normal edition" and adds a sheet for the resin parts. This approach doesn't quite add up, as you are told to install certain parts (the engine bulkhead for instance) that will need to be left off if you want to install the resin parts. Worse, you will actually have to cut away segments of the plastic parts, like the front and rear plate of the hull bottom (part 2), and sand off the locating ridges. The instructions don't mention this. Annoyingly, you have to continuously mentally merge the two instruction sheets.
The part-numbers are not on the sprues, but on the parts diagram, which I personally don't like too much. I noted that the numbers given for the resin part in the parts lay-out diagram don't always correspond to the instructions themselves.
In general: think twice, cut once.


"Disappointment is the feeling of dissatisfaction that follows the failure of expectations or hopes to manifest. Similar to regret, it differs in that a person feeling regret focuses primarily on the personal choices that contributed to a poor outcome, while a person feeling disappointment focuses on the outcome itself. It is a source of psychological stress." - From Wikipedia.

Due to the full interior, I decided to keep both hull halves apart as long as possible and try to assemble as much as possible before joining them.

Upper hull
I started with the upper hull. As this is the Special Edition, you get a full interior in resin and ditto hatches. Unfortunately, you get the regular plastic hull, which is soft in detail and has all hatches closed. So a certain amount of time was spent opening up all the hatches, thinning down the hull around these openings and rebuilding the hinges.
The armored strips were added to the side of the hull, made from plasticard with rivets from Calibre72. I goofed up a little as there should be two rows of (smaller) bolts, not one... a field modification, I thought? But then, then... I discovered parts on the sprue that the construction manual didn't mention (although they are on the parts lay-out). Off went my effort and on went the others. Ah well...
Almost all the tools are molded integrally with the hull, so I enhanced them with some undercutting.
The hull visors are very poor affairs. After some headscratching, I decided to sand them off and make new ones.

Opening up the hatches. The turret and crew compartment hatch are already provided as separate parts. Engine and transmission hatches not.


Lower hull
I logically started on this part by installing the interior and soon ran into a wall (pun intended). The resin parts of the interior have the usual casting stubs, but even when I sanded these off to a comfortable degree, the parts wouldn't fit. One reason was that the plastic firewall between the crew and engine compartment of the non-special-issue kit needs to be left out, contrary to the instructions. Apart from that, I also noticed that the shape of the resin parts doesn't completely agree with the shape of the plastic hull and interferes with the walls of the latter, which are quite thick. All this meant that I had to continue sanding and shaving off parts of the resin bits and of the plastic parts until a reasonable fit was obtained. I broke off many of the more fragile extensions of the resin bits in the process. (The resin is extremely brittle, but very nicely cast with very fine detail by the way.) I am not sure if I am convinced by the way my interior turned out in the end.
I left out the center resin part, which supposedly corresponds to the medic's workstation, as I was aiming for an ammo carrier. I slightly re-arranged other bits, putting them in places that seemed logical to me. Note that you will have some left-over plastic and resin parts, as Attack also gives those for the normal PzKpfw.



Joining the hull halves

Already when working on both hull halves, I noticed that they would not join willingly. A (partial) solution was found in removing the "wings" on the lower hull, and filling in the corresponding recesses in the upper hull. (See picture above.) Even with this modification, I ended up adding a plastic strip to the outside of the lower hull, just below the fenders to hide a prominent gap. The presence of the interior didn't help the fit either, for that matter.


Running gear

Some issues appeared

  • The bogies fit with a sort of a tiny butt joint to the sides of the hull, which makes for a very flimsy attachment.
  • The first roadwheel is too close to the second (even though I don't believe I goofed up), and there is very little I found I could do about it.
  • The numbering of the suspension arms is only given for one side. I found it very easy to mix these parts up due to their similarity, and I have an uncanny feeling I had to switch parts around to get them to fit.
  • The tracks consist of two strips of plastic for the top and bottom run and two curved resin sections for the idler and sprocket. They are not too bad, but the resin parts are not quite straight.



The turret hatch was installed in the open position. (What did you expect with all the interior I installed.) This requires some careful cutting at the hinges. The circular hatches on the engine deck (which I believe are for the fuel filler points) should be installed with the hinges at the front, not at the rear as the manual shows.

The tubes of the mufflers that lead out from the hull needed to be shortened for a good fit.

I installed the early (plastic) horn, because I didn't find the later type, which is in resin. It later turned up, but I liked the sight of the early horn, and kept it. Besides, it was still seen in wartime vehicles anyway.

I installed all the other engine hatches in the open position, but didn't quite know if this was possible with the armored cover installed over the main engine hatch, so I left that one as a separate part. I believe the nose hatch (for the final drive) had no hinge, so I placed it on the vehicle in a detached state.

The towing pintle left my workbench for a LEO, so I had to make a new one from plastic leftovers. The rear convoy light soon followed in its path, so a spare one (I believe from BP Resin) was dusted off.


Painting and markings

The interior was painted ivory white for the crew compartment, and primer red for the engine and transmission compartment.
I painted the outside in dark grey, and used decals from the spare's box. (I believe the unit marking came from the S-Model Panzer II.)
As I didn't use the kit decals, I can't comment on them.






Attack has clearly made improvements over the last few years, and the effort they have made to include interiors with their kits is very laudable. Unfortunately fit is still iffy and detail rather soft, which still firmly places it in the short-run category. Then again, this is the only plastic Panzer I Ausf.A I am aware of, and one of the very few kits with interiors, which still makes it a good choice for the patient modeler.


Post scriptum

Having painted the signal flags inside the crew compartment, I just noticed that I still have to add the "Broken Down" flag, which is a yellow rectangular flag with a black cross.



  • Achtung Panzer No7, PzKpfw I / PzKpfw II series and variants, M. Bitoh, Dainippon Kaiga, 2002
  • Panzerkampfwagen I, History - technology - variants - specialised vehicles, Tankograd Wehrmacht Special N°4009, M. Zöllner, Tankograd Publishing.

Kit bought by author.

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Article Last Updated: 13 April 2013
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