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In-Box Review
135
JagdTiger Henschel Suspension
Sd.Kfz. 186 JagdTiger Henschel Production Type
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by: Darren Baker [ CMOT ]


Originally published on:
Armorama

Introduction

The JagdTiger is credited as being the heaviest production armoured fighting vehicle of World War Two. 150 JagdTigers were ordered but only between 77 to 90 were delivered, the exact number seems to be a mystery as the numbers quoted are the highest and lowest I found. They were equipped with a 128mm Pak 44 L/55 main gun and up to two MG42’s for air defence and infantry defence. The 128mm Pak 44 L/55 main gun had an effective range of over 4,000 metres and a maximum range of 22,000 metres and could penetrate any Allied vehicle at a range of 2,100 metres including the M26 General Pershing, as discovered in US tests after the war.

The JagdTigers fire power and protection were excellent but it had a major weakness, its weight. Weighing in at 75tons made travel slow and restricted its movement due to the problem of crossing bridges and its range was an issue as well due to over taxing the power plant resulting in a large number of breakdowns, the fuel it required was also in limited supply. The result of this was that most of the JagdTigers losses were due to destruction by their crews due to mechanical breakdown or simply running out of fuel. There were two versions of the JagdTiger which were; the Porsche version which had 8 wheels each side and which utilised the same suspension system as the Elefant, It would seem that most agree 11 JagdTigers utilised the Porsche suspension system, the other design was the Henschel version which utilised the torsion bar suspension system and had 9 wheel stations on each side.

Of the JagdTigers built only three are believed to have survived which are located at;
Bovington Tank Museum, England a Porsche version can be viewed.
Kubinka, Russia a Henschel version can be viewed.
Aberdeen Proving Grounds, USA a Henschel version can be viewed. This could have changed as there are a lot of changes being made to the collection at the Aberdeen Proving Grounds, and it is my hope that a better location where these important vehicles can be preserved for future generations is found soon.

Contents

The contents of this model consists of;
  • Lower hull
  • 12 grey sprues
  • A turned aluminium barrel
  • Magic Tracks
  • 2 clear plastic sprues
  • A photo etched fret
  • A length of coiled wire
  • Four metal towing eyes and pins
  • A turned brass cartridge casing
  • A turned brass shell

Review

Starting with the instructions for the model which are the typical Dragon Models black and white line drawings affair. There are 21 stages listed with a few of those stages being very busy but not too difficult to follow if you take your time. There are 6 finishing options with this model featuring vehicles from both units that operated them and are;
  • Panzerjäger Abteilung 512 vehicle X7
  • Panzerjäger Abteilung 653 vehicle 115
  • Panzerjäger Abteilung 653 vehicle 301
  • The fourth option is listed as an unknown unit, however it would have to belong to one of the two units mentioned unless it is a vehicle that was not completed or not issued by the end of the war.
  • Panzerjäger Abteilung 512 vehicle 211
  • Panzerjäger Abteilung 653 No identifying marks

The artwork on the box lid is done by Barry Crook and while I am not as big a fan of the figures in the work by Barry Crook he does provide a good representation of the JagdTiger. A big plus with the Henschel version of the JagdTiger is that most of them did not have zimmerit applied as reference indicates that only those vehicles produced up to September 1944 had zimmerit applied and only 18 vehicles had been built by that time.

Looking at the suspension on the model it all appears to accurately depict the Henschel design. The suspension arms unfortunately are not workable but providing you have a specific display in mind can be secured in an articulated position before the application of the tracks. The interleaved wheels look good to me with nice detail on both sides of each wheel. The idler and the drive wheel look good. The drive sprocket has the 9 tooth pattern which was adopted in September 1944, and so any JagdTiger without zimmerit must have the 9 toothed drive sprocket. The Magic Tracks are an accurate representation of one of the track designs seen on JagdTigers and uses the 2 types of link which alternate.

The exterior detail is quite good but does have some annoying niggles as well. Dragon Models has included a set of their excellent tools without the moulded on clamp detail but has neglected to supply the photo etched parts for the clamps. Another area that is a let down on this model is the side skirts that have not been supplied as individual panels, they are instead supplied as a run of two then a run of three and finally the front portion as a single piece which restricts display options. The large rear double doors on the fighting compartment are moveable and so can be displayed open or closed. The rolled steel texture on the fighting compartment is excellently replicated and adds a very nice level of detail that is replicated to varying degree across all external body structures except the lower hull. I do not believe has been replicated by any other manufacturer to date.

The 128mm Pak 44 L/55 main gun is supplied in the kit as a turned aluminium offering and also a 2 piece plastic offering if that is your preference, either option should look just as good depending on your finishing ability with the aluminium offering being the best option in my humble opinion. The mantlet consists of 4 parts and has some very nice metal casting detail on it and while just one area of the model it should draw the eye.

The internal detail is Spartan to say the least with the only real detail being the fighting compartment floor and a fair representation of the main guns breach, Dragon Models has not even included one of their excellent bow machine guns and while I know it cannot be seen it has never stopped them before. The other issue with the interior is that Dragon Models has not supplied a fire wall between the engine bay and the fighting compartment; this means that if the doors in the rear of the fighting compartment are left open the light entering will I believe be visible the engine deck grills. The only way I can see around this is for the modeller to make their own fire wall for the model. While looking at the interior I have made an observation about the cartridge casing and shell supplied with the model which is that I believe the ammunition for this weapons system was 2 part and so the shell and cartridge should not be mated as shown in the instructions as that would only occur in the breach of the weapon.

Conclusion

Despite my gripes about this model I still believe it is one of the best JagdTiger’s with Henschel suspension available despite the fact it is by no means a new kit. The details included are great with the rolled steel armour texture being especially worthy of praise. The failure to include the photo etched clamps for the tools included in the kit is a very sore point with me and something that Dragon Models should do better on.
SUMMARY
Highs: The upper hull texture and texture on the mantlet are shining examples of what Dragon Models can do.
Lows: The failure of Dragon Models to include the PE clamps for the included tools is an example of why they leave themselves open to criticism.
Verdict: Highly recommended but be prepared to do some scratch work or spend some more money to make the most of the model.
  Scale: 1:35
  Mfg. ID: 6285
  Related Link: 
  PUBLISHED: Oct 28, 2013
  NATIONALITY: Germany
NETWORK-WIDE AVERAGE RATINGS
  THIS REVIEWER: 87.16%
  MAKER/PUBLISHER: 86.19%

About Darren Baker (CMOT)
FROM: ENGLAND - SOUTH WEST, UNITED KINGDOM

I have been building model kits since the early 70’s starting with Airfix kits of mostly aircraft, then progressing to the point I am at now building predominantly armour kits from all countries and time periods. Living in the middle of Salisbury plain since the 70’s, I have had lots of opportunitie...

Copyright ©2017 text by Darren Baker [ CMOT ]. 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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