Building the Dragon 6289 Panzer I Ausf A.

Not a lot of Dragon kits has < 200 parts but this one is it, if you don’t count the Magic I’ve got the Ausf B. in progress and the tracks were on sprue which was a clean up nightmare, but MT makes this kit finishable with less than 10 days. 

Looks simple enough.

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I want to build a DAK version. Terry from PMMS pointed out the kit may not be correct for a Series 3. with omissions such as the smoke dischargers and side armor, in fact the box art has the armor but the kit doesn’t! But from my references it seems there are vehicles from 21 Pz Div. that are configured that way, I’m taking some decals from the Ausf B. kit as the original kit isn’t DAK-friendly.

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Trying to minimize handling of the wheels so started painting the rubber on sprue, as well as base coating Panzergrau. 

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Using the voyager wheel templates which gives a perfect fit for the hubs….

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The wheels are quickly dealt with. 

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The Magic tracks are a breeze to work with. I did links of 5, and assembled the 87 each side. I used the trumpeter track tool to ensure the tracks and straight.

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With Tamiya thin, after half an hour I wrapped the track around the running gear to shape it.

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Finally the hill is put together and the superstructure as well. The latter formed from stacking multi layer armor pieces, so the got can be challenging.

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Thanks to Terence pointing out the return rollers heights’ issue I tested my cutter’s ability to flush cut by splicing off the whole molded on axle from the hull, and it works! 

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Rather than raising the front two rollers I lowered the last and raised the front, as I was worried whether the completed could still make the new roller configuration.

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Nobody knows why Dragon molded the covers in clear plastics. Personally I dislike this step the most as the covers are PITA to set open, and the clear plastic is impossible to see and orient.

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Fitting the superstructure to the body. The fit isn’t perfect and there were some gaps, fortunately most of those would be covered by other details.

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The jack with brackets and wire cutter is a pretty complex assembly as some parts were not obvious which goes where.

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The turret, nothing to write about except once again we have the clear covers….

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Need to finish the build today to start weekend painting sessions. The exhaust is last with those pesky PE.

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Those nice brackets would all be hidden.

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That completes the build, next is a figure. I took the DAK figure set from the Panzer I ausf B kit I was building, assembled the limbs from different figures to get something that resembles the masked commander.

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Altered the pose to properly hold himself. I like that desert masked look and couldn’t find a figure with that, so I used the goggles from the kit and added bandana. Now a proper bandit.

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I’m going to do the desert colors chipped to panzergrau. For the Panzergrau layer I try to marble it to see if it’ll make a difference when I chip. 

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For these DAK vehicles they don’t overpaint the markings with desert colors so I’ll need to apply decals right away. 

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The basecoat was with Tamiya and this top coat of RAL 8000 is done with Mission Model paint. I don’t believe the pitch about MMP being better sprayer or higher pigment density, but its unique property is that it chips very well, and in fact after it dries you can even rub it off with water. Anyway after spraying a couple of layers of hairspray I put MMP RAL 8000 on top. 

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Incidentally Dragon’s instructions about holes to drill through the side fenders were as usual wrong. One extra hole in front was unnecessarily drilled (hence you see my acrylic white paste filling the hole) and a missing one on the right for the antenna holder. Also didn’t noticed I lost the left front light which I replaced later. I forgot to mention that I left off the left front mud guard, but I saw references showing the fender cuff in a dropped position so I clipped them off of the fender and reposed them that way,.

Some of the areas where crew left the insigna show were surrounded by straight edges, so I masked off the edge and chip. 

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I still need the RAL 7008 camo on this guy so I sprayed another hairspray layer and put RAL 7008 on top, covering some areas that I chipped unsuccessfully.

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Then I chipped this layer again. After that I switched over to the lower hull, aiming to put the track on. First I needed to apply pigments before I put on the suspension, fixed with alcohol and lightly streaked.

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Then I put the suspension on, and putting the assembled Magic tracks on. My hunch was right that 87 links was very tight, you’ll get a nice staggered sag with 88 links. To put them on I glued the drive sprocket to the track, hairdryer heat the track and it’ll become soft like vinyl and you can easily put it in place.

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I also put the spare tracks on, as well as painted the tools and the tarps.

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Not bad for a day’s work, tomorrow is oils.

Not as productive as yesterday, but still making some progress. First order of business was to lighten the rather stark coat with progressive layers of ochre and sand oil colors, and to give variety to panel tones.

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Time to finalize some details, opening the hatch to paint the inside, and also add the Jerry can for the second piece of stowage, with the white chipped.

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Put some paint on the figure to check my mods as well.

Another round of oil to accentuate contrast, and lay down the base colors of the commander. Initially I thought Vallejo’s Dak uniform base color was too green, but it seems fine if you put some pigments on at the end. Anyway since I thought it was too green I drybrushed heavily their Dak highlight color. I also put a frequently seen spare wheel as another piece of stowage.

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Then I put a couple of shades of dust/sand pigments on the running gear and surfaces of the tank. It’s finally starting to look like a desert vehicle. Plus I did more detailing work on the commander. I decided to raise the antenna half way as many references showed that configuration.

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Still need to adjust the pigments, plus finish up the rusted exhaust. May be I’ll get enough time to install the Aber MG 13k after all.
Often comes a time when I feel like I couldn’t work on the kit anymore and this is such moment. I fixed the commander on the turret hoping to have him get a firmer grasp on the turret edge, touched up on him a bit more, added and subtracted pigments (still getting the hang of it) and adding stains here and there. Time to move on and I posted this guy to the gallery. Thanks for following this blog.

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