1:72 Panzerspähwagen Kfz 13 review

First to Fight PL1939-006

What's First to Fight? Is the Panzerspähwagen Kfz 13 kit any good? Well...


KFZ 13

Panzerspähwagen Kfz 13, also known as Maschinengewehr-Kraftwagen (oh, that beautiful German nomenclature) was first inter-war German armored car built in series. It was used in initial period of World War 2- during invasion of Poland and 1940 western campaign. Later it was withdrawn from active duty due to its outdated construction.

In 1:72

Nowadays we can't complain on lack of Kfz 13 models in 1:72- we have a bunch of kits to choose from. First, years ago, Ace from Ukraine released two models, both Kfz 13 (#72236) and Kfz 14 (#72237). But these are short-run kits for rather desperate modelers. Then RPM from Poland took interest in this topic. Again two versions were manufactured (72312, 72313). This models also doesn't met actual standards. Recently S-Model from China made its own “quick build” Kfz 13, which is offered in twin-packs (#720013). Unfortunately I haven't seen that kit in real, but judging from various Internet reviews pictures- it's better than previous attempts. The latest offer come from Polish First to Fight company. For now it's only Kfz 13 (PL1939-006), but we can be pretty sure that Kfz 14 will follow. Wait, what? First to fight?

First To Fight

First to Fight is a relatively new brand of model kits from Poland. You may not heard about it, because it has rather unconventional method of distribution. They doesn't sell model kits, but a magazine with a kit as a "bonus". The periodical is titled „Wrzesień 1939” (Polish for „September 1939”) and is basically an instruction with expanded historical note. And yes, you guess right- it's all about equipment used during the first stage of World War 2- German invasion of Poland.

The kits represents both sides of the conflict- there are issues with Polish and German armour. So far there was no Russian armor released in the series and the publisher didn't show any interest in this topic. Well, kind of “First half of September 1939” collection really.

Oh, and I didn't mention the most important thing- all kits are, or will be, in 1:72 scale. Sounds pretty good so far, isn't it? But be aware, there is a catch- the target audience for discussed magazine (and models) are wargamers, for which FtF is preparing “Septembeer '39” board game. That of course reflects in the design of models, which has to be simple and easy to assembly for non experienced modeller.

For some of you that may be a deal breaker, but don't be to hasty in crossing out FtF effort. In my opinion, some of the kits are quite interesting- especially these, which weren't available as 1:72 injection molded before. Yes, that mostly refers to Polish armour, which is coincidentally slightly better designed that its German counterparts- at least that's my impression.

For me the worst thing about FtF kits is the manufacturer choice to mold tank tracks as a single part with wheels (similar as in some S-Model kits). In Polish tanks it's not so bad, but for German vehicles it's not served very well so far. The double guide horns are merged into a single misshaped roll. It's obvious why it looks like that, but I just don't buy it. Therefore, the first German kit from “September 1939” collection which I purchased, was an armoured car. Kfz 13, from 6th number of the magazine, obviously wasn't scared with that irritating flaw.

The Kit

The box contains almost one injection molded sprue with parts of the model, decals, small tube of glue and a toothpick. Why “almost one”? Firstly- it comes divided into two parts. Secondly- if you try to fit one section to another, you find that there is an area missing. Undoubtedly the parts for Kfz 14 were cut off.

Back end of the box was used to print assembly and painting instruction. These are pretty small, but  simplicity of the model and proposed all gray camouflage make them almost unnecessary. Paints numbers are given from Vallejo palette.

The very thin magazine (less than 8 pages of reading) contains two short articles written in Polish, and a painting instruction with bigger profiles. Nothing really important.

The model, as expected, is quite simple. Lets look at various parts. Main body- molded as a single element, with quite thick sides. No interior details, view ports indicated quite softly and no weld seams present.

Rear section quite simplified- no recesses for wheels' fenders.

Crew compartment floor molded with crude levers and mounting points for seat and gun post. The latter is without  square baseplate, which was in real screwed to vehicle floor. Also the fenders are quite thick.

Underneath almost no details, only main beams of frame featured.

Suspension and drive elements as a single part, no exhaust system at all.

Wheels. The spare one no different that others- can be mounted like that, or with scratch-built cover. Nice.

Assorted details- front lights, mirror, width indicators, steering wheel and its rather odd mount.

Driver's seat of somewhat peculiar shape and different storage boxes. The rear trunk is molded with floor (seen on one of the earlier photos), here is only its flap with rather thick license plate area.

Machine gun with integrated mount and gunner seat plus separate protection shield.  To much right angles- horizontal beam of the gun stand shouldn't be horizontal at all.

Decals- rather modest, no tactical symbols or vehicles' nicknames. But what wonders me the most, is the choice of license plate numbers. There are known photos of Kfz 13 from September 1939, but FtF apparently didn't bother and just offered some generic ones. Really? It just make no sense at all.

Conclusion

Well, I think photos show it quite clear- rather nicely moulded model with some annoying simplifications. Certainly a better base to build Kfz 13 than ACE and RPM products. Comparing to S-Model kit, its hard for me to point indisputably better one. Both of them have some weak points in different areas. FtF has one undeniable advantage- you're not forced to buy two models. But seriously, the choice is yours.

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