Chinese PzKw I Ausf A

I normall don't do German armor. However, I wanted to build a Pzkw I ever since I saw this photograph. The photo is of what looks like a platoon element of Chinese PzKw Ia light tanks in Chinese service. They have been captured by Imperial Japanese Army troops outside Nanking in 1937.

The caption on the photo reads (roughly):

Japanese soldiers cheering while standing on Chinese Army Panzer Ia tanks on the Nanking front. This photo was taken by a cameraman of the Osaka Mainichi Newspaper. The photo was taken at Hsia-Kuan. The vehicles seem to have been abandoned by Chinese troops retreating from the Yangtze River since there does not appear to be any damage to them. This photo was taken December, 1937.

One of the captured Chinese panzers was sent to Japan where it was handed over to the Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Technology Division for evaluation. They were mostly interested in the engine and drive train and tested those pretty extensively. When when they were done with that they placed it on public display (didn't say where) for an unspecified period of time after which they handed the vehicle back over to the Army. Sadly, it doesn't say what the Army did with the vehicle.

Eventually this will find it’s way into a diorama depicting the picture. This is the Dragon PzKw Ia Smart Kit. I built it stock box except for two stretched sprue flash hiders I added to the muzzles of the machine guns in the turret.

I painted the vehicle with Tamiya acrylics and weathered with dark oil washes and ground pastels. I created the Chinese roundel on the computer and printed it on Testors decal paper.

There was a lot of chatter on several discussion forums about how these vehicles were painted. One school of thought is that German tanks in the mid 1930’s were painted in a three color camo pattern so the tanks exported to the Chinese HAD to be painted the same way. I still maintain that this and several other photos of the captured Chinese tanks show NO camo pattern. Anyway, it’s fun to speculate.

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