Panzer Tracts 1-1: Panzerkampfwagen I Kleintraktor to Ausf.B is Assembled by Thomas Jentz with Scale Plans by Hilary Louis Doyle and published in 2002 by Panzer Tracts. One odd thing to note about the information above is that Thomas Jentz thinks of himself as an assembler of information, not a writer. In his research, he has found that many of the stories behind German AFV development were from after-war Allied documents and that these stories were suspect. As a result, he decided to use information taken only from original German documents, standing out of the way and tries to let the relevant parts of the documents speak for themselves. Hence the title of Assembler.
This book is the first volume of two on the Panzer I family and covers the beginning of what would become the Panzer I project through to the Panzer I Ausf B. The second volume covers the Panzerbefehlswagen, Panzer I versions built with export in mind, and includes the operational history and camouflage/markings for the entire series. Note that these cover production models, not variants that were built on top of the Panzer I. For those, you will have to consult the Panzer Tracts on those types of vehicles (like 7-1 for the PanzerJaeger I). Note that the Panzerbefehlswagen was a production version and is covered in the second volume. It's also worth noting that all scale plans drawn specifically for this work are in 1/24.
The book contents begin with an Introduction followed by individually numbered chapters.
1. Kleintraktor (Antrieb Hinten) This chapter covers the full-size wooden models only. These were modeled as front engine/rear drive vehicles armed with one 2cm MG as armament in a half-turret. The superstructure was also open in the back. There was a crew of two: Driver and Gunner/Commander. There are no drawings or photos in this chapter.
2. Kleintraktor (Fgst.Nr 8000) covers the first running prototype where the configuration was changed to rear engine/front drive. The superstructure and turret were developed in a separate parallel program. There are 2 German drawings (side, top) of the Kleintraktor with dimensions as well as 2 photos of the Carden-Lloyd Light Tractor bought to evaluate suspension design and 2 photos (side, top) of the Kleintraktor itself.
3. Kleintraktor (Fgst.Nr 8001-8005) covers the next 5 running chassis, only one of which was built with armor, used for chassis development only. No drawings are provided however there are 4 photos, 3 showing a "how-to" on track change.
4. Krupp-Traktor covers the initial 150 production vehicles, 20 of which were fitted with a Krupp soft steel superstructure and turret. The rest were altered to become tank driver training vehicles and the chapter includes scale drawings of the Krupp-Traktor.
5. Superstructure and Turret Development covers the separate project of developing the superstructure and turret. The chapter outlines how both Krupp and Daimler-Benz worked separately on their own developments and outlines how the turret moved from a single 2cm MG design to the now-familiar twin 7.92mm MG layout. There are scale drawings (left side, top, front, rear) of a first series with Daimler-Benz upper hull and turret and another set showing a first series with the soft steel Krupp upper hull and turret. There are German drawings for the original superstructure/half-turret concept as well as the Daimler-Benz concept along with 7 photos, 5 of the Daimler-Benz and 2 of the Krupp on the Series 1.
6. Panzerkampfwagen I (MG) (Sd.Kfz.101) Ausfuehrung A covers the first production model with production superstructure and turret. There were 3 different batches made referred to as Series 2, 3, and 4. There are scale drawings (left side, top, front, rear) of Series 2, 3, 4, and 3 with post production mods. There are many detail drawings and photos of the hull, superstructure, and turret, as well as interior stowage. There are also photos of vehicles showing the differences in the various Series.
7. Panzerkampfwagen I (MG) (Sd.Kfz.101) Ausfuehrung B covers the next major production version. This had a longer chassis due to a switch from an air-cooled engine to a liquid-cooled engine. The Ausf B was produced as the Series 5 and 6. There are scale drawings (left side, top, front, rear) for Series 5, 6, and 6 with post-production mods as well as 25 photos of differences of the Ausf B within the different Ausf B Series.
On the rear cover are 1/35 scale drawings of the left side of the Series 1, Series 1 with turret, Series 2, and Series 5a.
Highs: Great coverage of the Panzer I development and inclusion of details and photos.Lows: Photos are duplicated on page 1-85.Verdict: If you are interested in the real history of the Panzer I or are super-detailing a Panzer I kit, this is a must-have book.