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In-Box Review
135
VK.45.02(P)H
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by: Jeremy Hengest [ VONHENGEST ]


Originally published on:
Armorama

Background

So called Paper Panzers may not be at the top of everyone’s interest, but this one should be considered an exception. Porsche had a notable, if not entirely successful, history with the development of the Tiger series, especially with the heavier variants. Two concepts were submitted for the VK.45.02 (P) by Porsche, distinguished as the Type 180 and Type 181, for consideration as the Tiger B. Both versions were based on a strengthened version of the running gear used on the now famous Type 101.

Following the design elements of the Type 101, the Type 180 featured a turret positioned towards the front of the hull which really encroached on the driver and radio operator and ironically gave an elephant-like look to the tank. However on the type 181 Porsche decided to place the turret towards the rear of the hull, thus pushing the engine(s) farther forward into the middle of the hull which placed the firewall and electric generators against the backs of the driver and radio operator. This would have created a huge offset of weight towards the rear of the vehicle, placing a very biased load on the rear of the suspension. The weight of the turret and gun, even at it’s loading weight, would be more than the two engines, generators, and transmission could counter balance unless the suspension were modified even further to support it.

Given the benefit of the doubt however, the Type 181 would have been a lot more maneuverable in tight quarters and had a nice “slingshot” look to it. Porsche was evidently so confident that one of their concepts would be chosen as the Tiger B that they ordered 50 turrets from Krupp. Although neither the Porsche Types 180 or 181 were chosen, the “Porsche” turrets were used on the original 50 VK.45.03(H) Type 182 designed by Henschel when it went into production as the Tiger B.

the kit

Upon opening the box I found it nicely filled with styrene, but not to the point where there was so much stuff inside that I couldn’t fit it all back into the box and close the lid after emptying the contents. Most will be pleased to find that Dragon has provided the traditional style of instructions, instead of the photo type that has been widely criticized by many for being challenging to use.

Sprue A, which is actually two trees, makes up the only styrene that I can say for certain are new to this kit. Sprue A contains the upper hull, exhaust, rear plate for lower hull, and a few other small parts unique to the Type 181. The PE set, MA, is unique to this kit as well and provides some very nice brass mesh for the grills in addition to other fine details. Those who have built any of Dragon’s Kingtiger kits will find sprues H, M, and N familiar with a few small bits added to sprue N based on my comparison to kit 6189.

Elefant fans will recognize sprue F(x3) which contains the running gear from that kit. Part X is the one piece lower hull and I would not be surprised if it was the same as the one used for Dragon’s Elefant kits, but I don’t have one for definitive comparison, so this is speculation on my part. Sprues E(x2), J, K(x2), TA, TB, TC, TD, TF, TG, TH, TK, TJ, and U(1 and 2) are mostly standard Dragon items and will provide the bulk of the small details. Sprues L and S contain clear vision blocks.

The remaining multimedia pieces consist of W – two sizes of braided metal cables, and MB – a length of metal wire and a turned aluminum barrel. This kit comes with a very nice set of DS tracks that have good details, your only option for building this kit as no styrene tracks are provided.

Sprue TL is not listed in the instructions, and consists of the Kingtiger muffler covers. You will have quite a collection of nice little bits for the spares box when you are done with your build.

You will need to be aware that there are two options for the commander’s cupola U, annotated by a very small number “1” and “2” on the instruction sheet, but come loose in a small bag without any means of identification.

You will also have a choice of barrels, unfortunately the turned aluminum barrel does not depict the barrel type used in the box art and marking options. I don’t understand why Dragon would provide a turned aluminum barrel for the optional barrel, but not for the one intended to depict the Type “181”. Dragon, if you are reading this, I encourage you to consider addressing this issue.

The only markings provided come in the form a very small decal sheet consisting of four black Balkenkreuz outlined in white. Of course markings are entirely up to you as this is an overall theoretical vehicle.

Be on the lookout for a full build review where I will address any additional issues and/or welcome surprises.

Conclusion

This is a great looking kit based on inspection of parts, although it is a bit of a let down that so many parts are recycled from Dragon’s early kits. Thankfully those are good kits to begin with, so there shouldn’t be any disappointment with the quality of the parts.

It is interesting that this wasn’t released as one of Cyber-Hobby’s value series as there was minimal new tooling and I don’t think that the rather high MSRP accurately reflects this. Regardless, this will be a welcome addition to Tiger and Paper Panzer fans, and will certainly stand out as a conversation piece in your collection.
SUMMARY
Highs: Paper panzer with actual historical significance, traditional instructions (not photos), DS track.
Lows: Another Tiger variant, paper panzer, wrong metal barrel (?), no indy track option, high MSRP for what you get.
Verdict: A welcome addition to Tiger and Paper Panzer fans.
Percentage Rating
85%
  Scale: 1:35
  Mfg. ID: 6657
  Suggested Retail: $49.95 US
  Related Link: DragonUSA item page
  PUBLISHED: Apr 15, 2011
  NATIONALITY: Germany
NETWORK-WIDE AVERAGE RATINGS
  THIS REVIEWER: 88.75%
  MAKER/PUBLISHER: 86.19%

Our Thanks to Dragon USA!
This item was provided by them for the purpose of having it reviewed on this KitMaker Network site. If you would like your kit, book, or product reviewed, please contact us.

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About Jeremy Hengest (vonHengest)
FROM: TEXAS, UNITED STATES

I've always had an avid interest in history, machines, art and learning. Scale modeling seems to be a natural conduit for bringing these things together, and I strive to further broaden my knowledge and skill bases as I inevitably continue to discover more throughout my life.

Copyright ©2017 text by Jeremy Hengest [ VONHENGEST ]. Images also by copyright holder unless otherwise noted. Opinions expressed are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of TankRat's. All rights reserved.


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Comments

04090 Hi Jeremy looks like a good kit but i have just built Hobby Boss kit and i have to say that it has more in the box than dragons and it cost less but i like your review, yours Cyril
JUL 09, 2011 - 04:20 PM
Tell me if I'm wrong but the Hobby Boss version doesn't have the side fenders? Very nice review Jeremy. I like this kit has the DS tracks. - Jeff
JUL 09, 2011 - 05:12 PM
Cyril: It honestly comes down to what you are after. The advantage of the HobbyBoss kit is that they give you a well detailed interior for the turret including ammunition rounds, and perhaps a few other parts such as a full machine gun for the radio operator. They also molded the driver's and radio operator's hatches as separate pieces allowing you to position them open for those who are either looking to pose figures in the open hatches or those who wish to depect an interior in the front portion of the hull. What I don't like about the HobbyBoss version is that they appear to have taken the hull design directly from preliminary line drawings, which are unfortunately simplified. Detail is also limited to what can be produced in styrene, and for whatever reason they did not include the fenders in this kit. The road wheels are also inferior to Dragon's, but they still present enough refinement in detail that many people will be happy with them. Dragon put a greater amount of effort into transitioning the preliminary line drawings into a believable production variant. If you compare the upper hull pieces from the two kits, you will see that Dragon's kit offer an abundance of detail not available on the HobbyBoss kit or on any other kit of any scale for that matter. The small service hatches located on the forward section are much more believable on Dragon's kit based on what was being used on German armor at the time. Dragon has also provided much more refined detailing parts for the exterior that are far superior to any of the other VK.45.02(P)H kits available thus far. These pieces are mixed media, the majority of them being provided as simple PE which allows for greater refinement of delicate details, but can be difficult to work with. Dragon's Tiger kits are also already known for being well researched and accurate, which if nothing else at least places them as the standard for Tigers and variants in the 1/35 modeling world. I will also tell you up front that the new styrene parts fit together with Tamiya precision, and that the suspension components fit together like a glove requiring no glue which is something I've noticed with many of Dragon's German armor kits. The downsides are that Dragon's kit offers minimal interior detail, solely in the form of the gun breach. The driver's and radio operator's hatches are molded as one piece with the upper hull, and will be difficult to open because of the countersunk recesses on the bottom that allowed the detail for perimeters of the hatches. It's not impossible, it's just going to take a bit of work. They also only offer the DS material tracks which is a bit of a letdown simply because the detail is not as crisp as what can be produced in styrene or white metal. If you want to buld the best kit then I would recommend that you buy both the Dragon and HobbyBoss kits and kitbash them to get the best that both have to offer. This will give you a superior hull with a better detailed turret subbassembly, the more accurate road wheels, and your choice of which suspension and tracks you want to use. Jeff: If you compare the two kits you will notice that the sponson fillers on the lower hull pieces are more narrow on the HobbyBoss kit than on the Dragon kit as they are intended to fill the sponsons whereas the Dragon kit has a different mating area for the upper and lower hulls because the fenders make the upper hull wider. I don't know that HobbyBoss ever offered the fenders as separate pieces in their kit. So the short answer is yes, as far as I am aware you are correct. Here is a site that offers a comparison between the two kits. I apologize as it is in Russian and I don't know how to accurately translate the text, but the pictures tell the story: http://scalemodels.ru/articles/4142-sravnenie-1-35-VK-4502PH-Dragon-vs--HobbyBoss---skrestit-tapki.html
OCT 11, 2011 - 05:41 PM
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