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In-Box Review
135
Tiger I Early Production
Sd.Kfz. 181 Tiger I Early Production, LAH, operation Citadel, July 1943
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by: Russ Amott [ RUSSAMOTTO ]


Originally published on:
Armorama

HISTORY

Operation Citadel, the last major German offensive in the East, known as the Battle of Kursk, involved mass use of armor and led to the largest tank battle in history. The battles are well documented, as is the heavy involvement of the Tiger I tank, which played a prominent role in the fighting. Armed with an 88mm high velocity main gun and armor capable of defeating most armor piercing rounds, the Tiger tank was a formidable foe. Cyber-Hobby, alter ego of Dragon models, has now released the Tiger I, early variant, in their value priced Orange Box series, with markings for the German LAH division from operation Citadel. Having recently purchased the Zvezda version of this tank, I happened to be vising a hobby store (MRS Hobby in Sandy, UT) and saw it on the shelf at a great price and made an impulse purchase.

THE KIT

The model comes in the typical large box with line drawing artwork of one of the tanks in the box, 1314, in dark yellow base with dark green overspray. CAD images of the kit details are shown on the box sides and bottom. Opening the box shows it stuffed nigh to bursting. One particular detail is an addendum sheet with corrections to some of the instructions and a note that two of the featured items on the side box art, a dust cover for the bow machine gun and an etch frame holder for the tool box, are not actually included in the box.

The numerous sprues are packaged carefully in clear bags, two or three to each bag depending on size, to minimize parts movement and damage. DS 100 single length tracks are packaged in a long plastic tray to protect them from damage and a large card with small zip baggies containing pre-formed wire for the headlight conduit, etch grill covers for the engine deck, decals, individual track links for use as the spare track and a commanders cupola all taped securely in place to protect them as well.

The kit parts showed no damage, no sink marks as far as I could see, and good, crisp, high quality modling one associates with DML. I removed and photographed the sprues in order as they appear on the first page of the instruction sheet.

  • A sprue is the multi part main gun. The gun comes as separate round pieces that attach to each other, slide molded with hollow ends. There is a mold seam line but it should be easier to deal with than a single length barrel molded in two halves. The only issue is getting the parts assembled so they are straight. The gun includes the breech and spent shell basket. There are ejector pin marks at the base of this. An early mantlet on this sprue is marked not for use.
  • B sprue has the idlers, driver's armored visor and some small hull bits.
  • C sprue has the track guards and drive sprocket, and small bits.
  • CH and CI, driver's bow plate and hull fittings. The track cable is very thin and well molded.
  • C, blue color, is the turret, molded in two halves with separate early roof, hatches and inner gun mount. Another early mantlet on this sprue is again not for use.
  • F sprue has the front deck plate with mud guards molded in place.
  • K sprue is the engine deck louvers.
  • K blue color is the hell deck plate and some tools. the piece is flat and very well molded, again with sharp detail and casting number present by what I believe is the fuel cap (I am not a Tiger expert).
  • CB, only the hatch and a couple of small attachments are used.
  • P sprue has the hull sides, molded as separate parts for best detail, and the main tow cables, jack block with wood grain detail and more small bits.
  • R sprue is the turret bin with separate lids.
  • L and "S" sprues are the clear parts, well molded.
  • W is the ducting for the air cleaners, with very sharp detail molded onto the surface.
  • Y is cleaning rods and inserts for the fans. "y" is the rear hull plate.
  • G is the mantlet, air cleaners and optional drive sprocket.
  • V is the tubing connections for the air cleaners and ducting.
  • J is the radiators, fans and bow MG, the only interior detail the kit has aside from the gun breech.
  • H is the lower hull. I understand this comes from the pre-built die cast kits and features prominent lugs on the interior. The suspension is molded in place and immovable. Detail appears to be good.
  • E comprising multiple parts, are the road wheels. Marked 1 through 6 on the inner surface, they have good bolt head detail but no embossing on the rubbery tire. There is a thin connecting tab that ties the road wheels together in groups of four. It can be easily removed. The road wheels appear to be the 18 bolt style.
  • TF is a well detailed jack.
  • Z and Z blue, are the individual track links for spares (10 total) and the DS material single length tracks. These latter have very good detail and are generally easy to use but can be difficult to manage for track sag.
  • P is a slide molded, single piece commanders cupola.
  • MC and MD are the metal parts, thin etch screens for the engine deck and the pre-formed conduit for the headlights.

Decals, by Cartograff, offer markings for two vehicles. First is the box art vehicle, Tiger 1314 of LAH, battle of Kursk, dark yellow base with green overspray, and second is Tiger 131 of Pz.abt 502, lake Ladoga, dark yellow overall.

Instructions are provided in fold-out pamphlet form, with a painting guide provided and colors called out by number for GSE Creos Aqueous Hobby color and Mr. color lines and Model Master enamel paints.

The instructions are line drawings with numerous small drop boxes showing small drop boxes. There are many options given during construction so careful attention is needed. In reading online forums, particularly at Missing-Lynx, there appear to be some errors in the instructions. There is at least one list of corrections needed at Missing-Lynx, and may be others on the internet. I have not yet started construction but as I do I will document what I encounter.

CONCLUSION

Overall, I am impressed by what has become a usual standard of excellent molding from Dragon. I am not impressed by the road wheels which lack detail or the single piece lower hull. I understand that as this is a value priced kit premium parts won't be offered, but many modelers have expressed a desire for a good quality early version of the Tiger. I imagine this was rushed to store shelves to compete with the Zvezda kit, and the price range is similar between the two (I paid $33 for mine). This kit is far more complex to assemble, and I don't know what I will encounter in the instructions. I do think this is a good value for what I paid as I build more for fun, but for those modelers who want or demand higher detail and accuracy, this kit probably won't provide what they were hoping for.
SUMMARY
Highs: Very good detail and molding. Good price.
Lows: Road wheels lack detail, lower hull tub from a die cast kit.
Verdict: I think this will build up into a nice looking model, but it may lack the detail many modelers want.
Percentage Rating
80%
  Scale: 1:35
  Mfg. ID: Orange box series 42 (9142)
  Suggested Retail: $45.00 US
  Related Link: 
  PUBLISHED: Oct 18, 2013
  NATIONALITY: Germany
NETWORK-WIDE AVERAGE RATINGS
  THIS REVIEWER: 84.47%
  MAKER/PUBLISHER: 87.50%

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About Russ Amott (russamotto)
FROM: UTAH, UNITED STATES

I got back into the hobby a few years back, and wanted to find ways to improve, which is how I found this site. Since joining Armorama I have improved tremendously by learning from others here, and have actually finished a couple of kits. I model to relax and have fun, but always look to improve. ...

Copyright 2017 text by Russ Amott [ RUSSAMOTTO ]. 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.


Reader Reviews
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Comments

Thanks, Darren! I bought the first Tiger I kit that DRAGON is marketing as a "cheaper" alternative to their standard Tigers. The great part about this new series is that some modellers may find that they are better-suited as simplified "beginner" kits that will build up into quite good representatives of Tiger Is costing HALF of what DRAGON's "regular" Tiger Is cost. They're cheaper than what your average TAMIYA Tiger I costs, so they are a perfectly viable option for the buyer that doesn't quite want to spend that $50.00 and up for their first Tiger. Purists will howl "FOUL", but I don't think that this model is intended to be bought by the more experienced "experts", who will invest an average of $65.00 (retail) and more for a regular DRAGON or CYBERHOBBY Tiger I PLUS extra resin and PE kits, not to mention their own "hand-formed" zimmerit...
OCT 20, 2013 - 03:32 AM
Zimmerit made its appearance in December of 1943, plus or minus, so it was not yet in use at the time of Citadel. (Kursk)
OCT 20, 2013 - 08:06 AM
..I think it's a pretty nice kit, BTW. There have been some complaints about the wheels and the suspension, but these are not deal-breakers IMHO. (How often do you see the suspension on a Tiger anyway?) I would love to see a Tunisia version released!
OCT 20, 2013 - 08:09 AM
I was kinda picky about the wheels too. but you know what you can still cut them loose of one another and then paint them individually... its not all bad. The tracks NOW thats another story all together.
OCT 20, 2013 - 08:41 AM
Thanks for the comments. James, the tracks are very well done for single length. The drape on the Tiger is much easier to show with these than on a pz. III or IV chassis, and it fits the target audience. One of my main reasons for getting this kit is that no zimmerit was needed.
OCT 20, 2013 - 05:31 PM
You KNOW that there are gonna be un-informed guys that go out and buy this kit and apply zimmerit just because they like the looks of it, realism be damned. PLUS, there are the much cheaper prices of this growing series of DRAGON re-pops and "economized" kits of Tiger Is and IIs, IIIs, etc. I've assembled the first Tiger I kit in this new series, using the "odd" interconnected wheel assemblies with the DS tracks- you're only gonna spot this quirky stuff if you look for it. As I said earlier, these new kits are not meant for the guys that will spend all kinds of money on AM PE and resin upgrades to bring their models up to top-echelon contest standards. They're not intended for the nit-picking rivet counters. Personally, I'd rather have seen DRAGON re-popping their M2, M3, M16, etc US Half Track kits with NEW FLUSH COUNTER-SUNK SCREWS, and slightly less "flattened and bulging" tires as seen on the real deals... There's no such thing as perfectly round tires on ANY vehicle, even when they're inflated to proper tire pressures. Trust me, I was in the automotive business for 25 years, so I know this to be true...
OCT 21, 2013 - 11:50 AM
NOw the halftracks from DML for the US would be the one time I would use DS tracks. I think there it would make much more sense. I have seen one image of a capsized HT in the water where the track is loose at the bottom. With DS track you could replicate that.
OCT 21, 2013 - 03:02 PM
Thanks a lot!
JAN 19, 2014 - 04:53 PM
Reading all of your comments with considerable interest and thought that I'd throw-out a quick comment/observation: M4A1Sherman: actually almost any Tiger that lasted long-enough would eventually had Zimmerit applied to it, and in this case it could have been done after the fact by the Werkstatt Kompanie who often did this stuff whenever a tank came back in for repairs and provided that there was time. This was how they applied all updates on equipment: prioritize the repair necessity and do what you could with what you had at hand. As such, you could conceivably see virtually any early Tiger with field-applied Zimmerit and it was, according to the photo evidence, a real mixed bag. Usually pretty rough. Same applied to Panthers, etc, up until they discontinued applying Zimmerit late in the war.
JAN 07, 2016 - 04:35 PM
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