by: Mike High [ ]
Originally published on:
Neograde are a Korean company specializing in some very original conversion sets for 1/35th scale vehicles. This particular conversion is designed to replicate the Tiger (P) prototype/test vehicle with the steel "test" turret, air filters, and air intake cowlings.
The kit arrived in a small 4.50 x 3.75 x 2.00-inch sturdy flip-top cardboard box. Inside the box, the resin and brass wire parts of the kit were sealed in a thick plastic protective bag. The conversion set consists of 11 resin parts and one short, but thick length of brass wire. The resin is cast in a cream color with (comparatively) small pour-blocks. My sample arrived with only one of the test-turret lifting lugs (the thinnest parts of the conversion) broken from the pour-block. In this case, because the break was clean, it will cause no problems at all.
As a note to this review, I am utilizing the Panzer Tracts (PT) "Panzerkampfwagen VI P (Sd.Kfz.181), The History of the Porsche Type 100 and 101 also known as the LEOPARD and TIGER (P)" volume dated 1997. Note also that the test vehicle did not have Zimmerit applied!
There are no instructions included with this conversion. The box has a decent picture of the placement of the parts, and their website has multiple pictures. The builder should have no problems determining placement of the various items, though "web surfing" should not be required.
The test-turret is obviously the major part of the conversion. There's a pour-block on the rear of the turret (quite small considering the size of the turret) that will require some care in removal so as not to damage the cast texture of the turret. On top of the turret is an opening for the hatch and very nicely cast hinges. Why the opening was cast in the turret is only known to Neograde as its wide but shallow....too shallow to put a figure in it. One thing I would comment on about the texture of the resin turret is that it seems too "heavy." This observation is based on the picture in PT, page 49. In the picture, it appears that the test-turret is made of cold-rolled steel; and therefore reasonably smooth. Based on this observation, I would consider giving the turret "sides," or vertical portions, a quick sanding utilizing sandpaper with at least 220 or 240 grit; just to knock down the heavy texture. I would also caution to go lightly....it's not great, but it is pronounced. Also on the top of the turret are four markings (at each Cardinal direction) for the placement of the lifting lugs. At the rear of the turret, under the pour-block, is a marking for the step. Needless to say, placement of these parts is quite clear.
The top hatch has a slight texture to it; perhaps a little too much for what it probably was made of? The hatch's half of the hinge detail is nice, but this sample is missing one bolt from the left hinge. It shouldn't be necessary, but it's a quick fix to add one. The step for the rear of the turret is nicely molded; a clean tread pattern on the upper surface and the curve of it mates perfectly with the turret. However, the thickness is not quite right. This is a part that would have been perfect were it offered in photo etch. Again, two pictures on page 49 clearly show this step and it is much thinner. The four lifting lugs are nicely rendered, though a little bit of cleanup will be necessary....primarily along the edges.
The air filters have a small thin pour-block to remove. The Neograde site shows that the handles for the filters are resin; however the kit provides the brass wire for this. This is actually a better method; resin handles have a tendency to be too fragile and require cleanup. Neograde tried to replicate the wing nuts that hold the top cover in place and closed; they did a fair job considering the tiny size of them. The "puritan" may wish to replace these with scratch built parts or from an aftermarket company (Bronco?).
The air-intake cowlings that Neograde provide for this conversion are the weakest part. According to PT, and common-sense, cowlings are usually made of sheet metal. Page 49 of PT clearly shows these installed, with the obvious "thinness" defined. Additionally, PT shows that the ends of the cowlings are angled, almost to fit over the Tiger (P)'s entire horizontal part of the intake system. The Neograde parts have clearly vertical ends. Here's one more area that included PE would have made the most sense and offered the best detail. When I build this conversion, I will utilize their cowlings as templates to make them out of either sheet brass or lead.
Neograde have done a very nice job of offering the Tiger (P) test-prototype. While some things would have been better off produced in photo-etch than resin, it's still a nice representation of the test vehicle. The added benefit....no Zimmerit! This conversion is recommended for the builder that desires to model the German prototypes as they were during their test phase.