Attack Hobby's 1/72 Aufklärungspanzer 140/1
The Czech-borne Panzer 38(t) saw many permutations during the Second World War, making it one of the most successful light tank designs of all time. The small size and quick maneuverability made the Panzer 38(t) chassis well suited for reconnaissance and the Aufklärungspanzer 140/1 was developed. The basic design borrowed much from the existing PzKpfw 38(t) already in production, but featured a boxy superstructure topped by a small turret with an open top and a 2cm gun. Production took place only during February and March of 1944, with a total of 70 vehicles being produced.
Attack Hobby has been putting out a slow but steady stream of Panzer 38(t)-based kits for a while now, and this is their latest example. Like the real tank, this kit features a large number of common parts to the other kits, with the hull, wheels, and treads all being the same as in the other kits. New parts included are those for the new Aufklärungspanzer superstructure and turret.
Like the other PzKpfw 38(t) kits, this kit will need some serious work in cleaning the parts up, but for the most part assembly will be very straightforward. The interior is somewhat basic and could use some sprucing up, although the etched brass grill top will help hide a lot of that open space. One area that will need replacing is the fenders, as they are too thick and actually touch the road wheels at the rear of the hull. This makes it somewhat difficult to feed the treads between the two. Some 5 thou plastic card should fix that problem area easily, though.
All the seams on this kit are butt joints, with rivets all over the place. This will make cleaning up the seams a bit difficult, but it also brings up the other problem with these kits: the rivets. While the rivets are actually very nicely done, once you assemble the hull and turret the rivets end up being offset due to the assembly process. There is no easy way to fix this other than removing the problem rivets and replacing them closer to the edges. If you work to fix up the seams you'll likely have to do this anyway.
The kit includes a small decal sheet with two cross styles.
While this kit does have its shortcomings, it's still the best injection-molded 1/72 Aufklärungspanzer 140/1 out there and it won't take much to build a very nice model from this kit. If you're into 1/72 Wehrmacht armor, definitely check out the Attack Hobby series on the Panzer 38(t).