by: Jason [ ]
Originally published on:
The recent rise in WW1 armor is a very good thing in my opinion and this kit is no exception. The A7V was the starting point for the infamous German Panzers and was an odd looking vehicle. The tank was an imposing machine and maybe a little overambitious with an 18 man crew. There were only around 20 made and they were mostly short lived, so they failed to make much of an impression in the fighting and mostly arrived in the last year of the war. Meng have modeled the Krupp version which has a distinctive multi-panel design made up of 5 parts per side. There were only a few tanks which had this feature and ‘Schnuck’ is the vehicle they have based this kit on. They have also included an interior (without the engines).
The kit includes:
19 x Beige plastic sprues
4 x Black sprues for the tracks
1 x Etched fret
1 x Decal Sheet
2 x Small Poly Caps
1 x Piece of String
1x Instruction Book
Meng have presented the kit very well; there are some very nice pictures on the sides of the box showing the paint scheme and a cutaway highlighting the interior. The instruction book is well produced, with a good introduction explaining some history of the vehicle as well as its technical information. The construction stages are clear with an open layout and are easy to follow. The instructions call for paint throughout the early stages due to the interior and references the use Vallejo paint colours.
The build starts with the wheels and chassis, and there are quite a lot of wheels to assemble, but they seem straightforward. We then move onto the suspension assemblies of which there are 3, each one uses 8 wheels. The next few stages build up the chassis with very crisply molded parts. There is a lot of bolt detail across these parts and it is reproduced perfectly.
Once the chassis is complete things move to the tracks which are designed to be workable, and the only ejector pin marks on these tracks are on piece L2 which is completely hidden once L1 is attached so clean up should be minimal and easy. Once these two parts are glued together you have the completed link and then they just clip together in runs of 48 per side. Due to the clip together design these tracks can be removed for painting, and you may want to secure them if they sit a little loose.
The interior is a nice addition and is well represented, although the lack of engines may be a down side for some people, but if you plan to display the interior through hatches only you can’t see the area that the engines would occupy anyway. It does present a problem if the modeller plans to show the interior as a cut away for example. The main gun is a really nice piece with a full breech; the six machine guns are also very nice and are each supplied with a belt of ammo.
The hull is joined together with four pieces and a little care will be needed here to make sure everything lines up. Each piece of the hull has lots of detail on both sides, and Meng has done a very good job of capturing the rivet detail. The hull roof is one piece with a separate driver’s compartment sitting on top of it made up from five separate pieces. There are quite a few doors which can be glued in the open position to show off the interior and a good amount can be seen through these.
The painting options are limited to one vehicle with a three tone camouflage scheme, quite reminiscent of the later WW2 panzers. Vallejo colours are used as a reference and there is a good, clear, colour painting guide showing both sides, the front, back and the roof. The decals are quite thin looking so should go on the model very nicely, the two large German crosses that go on the roof may need cutting once they have dried as they go over the top of some air vents.
This kit is a vital addition to the ever growing WW1 armour range, and Meng has created a beautiful kit with very fine detail and crisp molding. The fact there is an interior included as well as individual, workable track links should mean that most modellers would be happy to build this one straight out of the box and the result will give a very accurate and imposing model. The way that Meng have designed the construction could lead to other variants being released by them or other after market companies as the chassis is separate from the superstructure. The lack of engines could be a problem for some and there is only one vehicle option included, however with a bit of research other tanks could be depicted but this would require hand painting of the markings.
I would highly recommend this kit, it is very well produced, the instructions are nice and clear and the presentation of the kit is first class. There are a few ejector pin marks in places none of which should cause any real problems and should it build up in to a very pleasing model.