From Flyhawk Model
Model No. – FH 3012
Scale – 1/72
MSRP – $25.00 US
Flyhawk Models is a Chinese manufacturer of fine scale modelling kits and accessories. Typically when hearing of the Flyhawk name it is synonymous with scale model ship building accessories as they make a wide variety of photo etch and resin detailing parts covering 1/350 and 1/700 scaling. In recent years, they have branched out into providing a line of 1/700 scale styrene model kits which quickly moved to the top of the evolutionary pile of ship modelling construction due to the crisp and highly detailed manufacturing, what is supplied in the kit and packaging all the while being able to offer these kits at an incredible value to the modelling community.
Most recently Flyhawk Model has delved into the 1/72 scale armor end of the modelling spectrum with such releases as their FT-17 Renault light tanks, Pz.Kpfw I Ausf F (VK18.01) Late and Pz.Kpfw Ausf J (VK16.01). Now, Flyhawk tackles another Panzer I with earlier variant; the Pz.Kpfw. I Ausf F (VK18.01) Early. I was fortunate to be able to obtain a pre-production kit to take a look at it. In fact, this is so early of a look, there was no outer box with box art and a few items not included with this kit due to the limited production at the time. I will mention all of the parts to be included in this kit within my review below.
Pz.Kpfw. I Ausf F (VK18.01) Early
The Pz.Kpfw. I Ausf F (VK18.01) Early kit is sold in what has quickly become Flyhawk’s industry standard packaging. There is an outer box sleeve with box art depicting the early Panzer with rear box art showing a 3D rendering of the kit itself. The inner carton is a plain cardboard flip-top style box. Once open, reveals something not seen very often, all of the part are nestled within pre-cut foam inserts to organize and protect the parts. There are eighty-one styrene parts provided with this kit along with a sheet of photo etch parts and decals consisting of the following:
- 1 – Light grey styrene upper hull section
- 1 – Light grey styrene lower hull plate
- 1 – Turret
- 9 – Light grey styrene sprues
- 2 – Black styrene sprues
- 1 – Set of decals*
- 1 – Nylon wire*
- 1 – Metal barrels*
- 1 – Sheet of photo etch
- 1 – Sheet of decals*
- 1 – Set of instructions
*Please note – For this review, I was presented with an early test kit. Some of the documented parts that were to be included in this set are not in the box. Flyhawk Model’s instructions and website do show this kit provides all items listed above when purchasing.
The one item that always seems to make it out of the box first for examination is the hull section. Flyhawk has incorporated an interesting two-piece hull design for this model; similar to the previously released Pz.Kpfw. Ausf. I Late kit. The entire upper hull is one piece with the exception of the rear deck and glacis plate. There is a lower plate has the tank’s swing arms delicately molded into it.There is opening between the swing arms and hull as seen with traditional part placement even though they are molded all together as one. Both halves of the hull fit together virtually seamlessly.
Staying with the lower end of the little tank, all of the road wheels are provided on one sprue. There is no visible seam lines or flash present and all of the parts have been molded extremely clean and crisp. Flyhawk has incorporated a linked wheel design to the road wheels on this model. The inner wheels are actually connected with a small styrene bar; three to a set. Once the wheels are placed during construction the overlapping pattern of the wheels hides the linkage of the wheels from being seen. The sprockets are nicely molded and included as well are the detailed gearbox covers with added bolt head detailing. Finishing out the running gear of the tank, there are four small shocks and two idler adjustments included separately. There are some slight depressions on the sides of the top mounting cover that will require a little sanding to smooth out.
The unique fenders to the Pz. I are provided in six pieces; three to a side. These consist of fine surface detailing with regards to fastener heads, ribbing and hinges. The rear deck is molded with open intakes which when covered with the provided photo etch screening allow for full depth to the engine deck.
The turret to this Panzer I has been molded in one piece and has its own spot among the foam within the package. There are no pesky attachment points needed to be removed and only the installation of the lower plate, mantlet and hatch are needed. As I mentioned above, there would be two metal machine gun barrels included in this kit. These however, did not make it into the test review box. The kit does provide a more than adequate styrene version of the two barrels only needing the ends to be drilled out slightly to add more realism to the build.
All of the tank’s on board tools have been provided separately on smaller specially designed sprues. These are small square-shaped sprues containing standard panzer tool and have been designed by Flyhawk to be able to streamline the parts included on various kits being produced and possibly future kits. All of the tools are delicately molded and have minimal clean up involved other than the basic attachment points which are very small. There are eyelets for two tow cables included with the set. Going by what I mentioned the production kit would come with, the Nylon Wire, which was not included in the test kit, would be used to construct these cables. There are also two small molded cables provided which after a small amount of cleanup from the attachment points would work just as well or in conjunction with the longer cables.
There are two small sprues of track links provided with this kit; one for each side. Panzer I tracks are small to begin with, and in 1/72 these are tiny. But, Flyhawk has done a fantastic job with molding of these links. The upper and lower sections of the tracks are molded in a one-piece configuration and the rest of the links which attach over the sprockets and idlers are provided individually.
Flyhawk has provided a nicely appointed sheet of photo etch parts with this kit. The mesh grills for the engine deck are cleanly etched as are the various hinges and even a tiny set of tools. While I do not have a set of the decals for this review in front of me, in looking at the Flyhawk website, the sheet of decals looks to include several sizes of Balkenkreuz and both numbers and tactical markings to depict the early Panzer I. I will have add that I have to assume the quality of the decals provided is the same quality given to the other kits I have seen from Flyhawk, which is of high quality.
As seen with all Flyhawk kits, the instructions are laid out rather well. There are actually four pages to the instructions even though they are printed on two single sheets of glossy white stock paper. The instructions appear to be easy to follow and are presented in an exploded view format. The track construction, wheels placement, tool positions and photo etch parts have all been added in color to help the modeler correctly install the parts. The last page of the instructions shows the Painting and Marking guide to the model and give a legend showing the model numbers of both Mr. Hobby and Tamiya paints.
A short Video Review
I am very impressed with the Pz.Kpfw. Ausf. F (VK 18.01) Early kit from Flyhawk Model. Although very similar to the Late version kit already sold but with slight differences seen in the suspension, hull molding and tools. This new “Early” kit is a fantastic model in 1/72 scale. All of the parts are crisp and detailed very well. The added benefit of separate on board tools and pre-molded suspension makes for not only a great looking model but a fun experience while constructing it. There seems to be just the right amount of photo etch added to the kit to raise the level of detailing without bogging down the construction with a pile of unneeded shiny brass parts. The advertised inclusion of two metal barrels in a big bonus and would raise the detailing to the kit that much more. The model itself may be tiny but the kit itself is HUGE on quality. The parts are excellent, the packaging is exceptional and the pricing for what is given in this kit is spot on. I have no other option but recommend this kit to anyone into braille-scale building and these little Panzer tanks! A whole bunch of fun packed into one little box!
Modelers Social Club and MSC Review Connect would like to thank Flyhawk Precision Models for providing a sample of their Pz.Kpfw. Ausf. F (VK 18.01) Early tank.