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In-Box Review
135
Tiger I mid-Production
Sd. Kfz. 181 Pz. Kpfw. VI Ausf E Tiger I Mid-Production w/zimmerit
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by: Rick Cooper [ CLOVIS899 ]


Originally published on:
Armorama

Introduction

I don’t think it is too far of a stretch to claim that the German Tiger 1 tank is the most famous tank in the world. Now before anyone gets their knickers in a knot, famous doesn’t always mean best, that is an argument that is outside of the scope of this review and a can of worms without end! However, with the enduring fame and popularity of the Tiger tank clearly in mind Dragon Models has released another in their long line of the big cats, and it is a safe bet that this one too will be a big seller.

An important point regarding the kit is that this is a virtual copy of the earlier Cyber-Hobby #74 release of the Otto Carius mid-production kit with the molded on zimmerit. There are a few things from the earlier kit that are omitted, but the fact that the Cyber-Hobby release is no longer available except through private sales, which almost always top $100.00, make this a welcome addition.

Contents

Before we get inside the box it is important to point out that the top cover is another great illustration from Ron Volstad of a 506 Battalion Tiger covering a retreat out of a Ukrainian village in spring of 1944. Any superlatives that I might add would be simply inadequate to describe Ron’s work.

Inside the large sized sturdy slip cover box you are confronted with a mass of light gray plastic divided into 28 sprues of differing sizes, 3 single moldings, 4 separate pre-shaped photo-etched brass engine a grates, 2 lengths of DS track, a sheet of photo-etched details, 2 clear sprues, a pre-formed metal conduit wire, a decal sheet, and the standard Dragon Models instruction sheet.

Review

The first thing that any close inspection of the parts will reveal is the overall quality and fidelity of the moldings. Dragon Models is to be highly commended for the overall look of what you have in the box, absolutely flash free with superb detail throughout. Dragon Models has eliminated the problem of knockout pin marks with all the “slide molding” they use. It does mean you have a healthy amount of plastic nodes but they all appear to be placed intelligently so as to make clean up easy.

When you actually get to cutting parts from the sprue Dragon Models takes the traditional route of suspension and wheels first. Again, all these parts look great, just be sure to take your time as the instructions are a bit busy. One change from the earlier kit is the different final drive covers for this kit, they are included in the Carius box but not used, and unfortunately you don’t get the others for the spares box. Another smaller change is the bolt detail on the bump stops that are molded into the hull, the new bolts are now a bit more detailed than before.

Leaving the suspension you will move on to several steps that construct the rear hull and the engine cooling fan detail. The rear hull plate has some lovely zimmerit detail that should look incredible with a bit of weathering. One thing to point out, the color callouts for the engine cooling fans are not listed on the master list of colors that you will need for the kit so here you go; red, black, copper, and silver, all in gloss. I might use a flat red myself but that is what Dragon Models calls for.

As you finish up this section the instructions will have you attach the zimmerit coated side panels, the kit does include panels without the zimmerit so if you want to add your own this is your chance. Be aware, they do NOT include a zimmerit free front lower hull or turret molding so if you are planning on adding your own good luck with the sanding!

From there you will proceed to the upper hull. Dragon Models has cleaned up the instructions a bit making things a little easier to follow. That doesn’t mean they are perfect, just a bit better. Case in point, the upper front hull shows two horse shoes being added on either side of the drivers visor, part T11 which doesn’t actually exist in the kit. Also, the antennae mount has parts C5 and C11 labelled backwards, easy enough to figure out after a moment of head scratching. A final word about my favorite molding in the kit, the fire extinguishers which have the decal placard look simply sublime. The tools all have the molded on clamps, I know some people don’t like these but it does make life easier and they don’t look half bad. If you want to add your own from other sources most of the tools are included without clamps so you should be in business.

After all that the instructions will lead you into fussing with the turret and gun. Again here the instructions have been cleaned up a bit from the earlier release to make construction just a bit easier. This is also where you will find another change from the Carius version, the mantlet now features the co-axial MG as well as the strengthened/thickened binocular sight opening. The gun is provided in plastic as a 7 part assembly; this doesn’t include the breech block or anything inside the turret, which is a separate issue. Speaking of which, the interior does provide at least a rudimentary breech/hydraulic recuperator as well as seating for two crewmembers (that’s all you really need, right?) as well as detailed hatches.

The outside of the turret is also well done, and doesn’t look like there are any issues whatsoever. Be careful of just which Tiger you plan on modeling as some wear a nice frill of spare tracks but not all are outfitted in this way. The spare tracks are of the individual link type with separate guide horns that will need to be attached. The kit gives a nice bunch of the individual links but not enough to ditch the DS tracks. The commander’s cupola has everything for the AA machine gun except the Mg itself. I know the MG wasn’t fitted most of the time but it would have been a nice option. Of course the vertical walls of the turret shell are also molded with the zimmerit already applied. The pattern on the turret is noticeably heavier than the hull pattern, which is correct.

With the turret finished the only area left to discuss is the tracks and the marking options. The tracks are the DS variety, love them or hate them, everyone has their own opinions but I will say that these look very, very nice with some extremely well molded track pins and hollowed out guide horns. If you feel like you just have to add some aftermarket tracks the kit does include the sag guides from the earlier releases with the Magic Track offerings.

With this being about as close to a production version as you are likely to ever get with the almost ‘one off’ manufacturing of the Tiger 1 Dragon Models has provided a wealth of marking options. Decals for many different vehicles and units have been included; two vehicles from Abt. 506 in Ukraine (the box art version) five different Abt. 503 Tigers in the Cherkassy Pocket, and one from Abt. 502 on the Narva front. Two Abt. 507 Tigers in Poland and one Abt. 508 vehicle from the Italian campaign, and finally three SS-Abt. 101 Tigers from the fighting in Normandy. The decals printed by Cartograf, look very nice, everything in register and thin. One of the nice things that I noticed was the limited amount of carrier film surrounding the turret numbers which should play well with the molded on zimmerit.

Conclusion

Most of us know how hard it can be to find a Dragon Models Tiger kit and when one is released it seems the best policy is to grab one (or even two!) while you can. This kit, which is state of the art in every respect, will probably follow the same course as the earlier releases. This kit shows off all those things that Dragon Models has learnt over the years regarding slide molding, DS tracks, fine detail, as well as working on cleaning up their instructions (baby steps, but at least it is trending in the right direction!). With all that in mind it is easy to give this kit a highly recommended rating.
SUMMARY
Highs: Superb molding throughout. Great decals with a plethora of marking options. Improved instructions that clarify a bit more. DS track looks outstanding. Another great Ron Volstad illustration for the box top.
Lows: Some will decry the DS tracks in favor of the individual link tracks. Option for photo-etched tool clamps has been deleted.
Verdict: I think this will be a VERY popular kit that will sell out quickly, my guess is that it is probably already getting difficult to locate. Highly recommended.
Percentage Rating
92%
  Scale: 1:35
  Mfg. ID: 6700
  Suggested Retail: $64.99
  Related Link: 
  PUBLISHED: Feb 27, 2014
  NATIONALITY: Germany
NETWORK-WIDE AVERAGE RATINGS
  THIS REVIEWER: 88.70%
  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 Rick Cooper (clovis899)
FROM: CALIFORNIA, UNITED STATES

I have been modeling for about 30 years now. Once upon a time in another century I owned my own hobby shop; way more work than it was worth. I tip my opti-visor to those who make a real living at it. Mainly build armor these days but I keep working at figures, planes and the occasional ship.

Copyright ©2017 text by Rick Cooper [ CLOVIS899 ]. 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

If a window alone isn't enough, you're better off moving away from a window and having at least two lamps (one generally isn't enough, and will produce harsh shadows) pointed at your subject, one one each side. If you haven't seen the feature about making a light tent, definitely check it out. There are also commercially available ones. Now, tents are very nice but they aren't always strictly necessary. Sometimes you can get away without the diffusion they give you. Hope that helps!
MAR 01, 2014 - 07:00 PM
There will be incessant disagreement as to "Magic Tracks" vs "DS Tracks". I like both- I've been able to very successfully model "DS Tracks" with the appropriate track-sag as seen on WWII German armor by using a simple technique of mine. As I've written in ARMORAMA Forums more than just a few times, DRAGON's "DS Tracks" WILL conform to the proper sag on the upper run of tracks with the VERY CAREFUL application of thin liquid cements, such as TESTOR's or TAMIYA's, or, EVEN MORE CAREFULLY, your favorite cyanoacrylate. The not-so-secret technique is to apply your cement to the UNDERSIDE of the upper track run, shaping the track to the proper "look" as you go. I like to weigh the top run of tracks down with whatever is practicable, helping the track to keep its desired shape as the adhesive sets up. It's a simple alternative to the hours of work required with "Magic Tracks". I don't understand why SOME (certainly not all) of you guys complain about "DS Tracks" when YOU KNOW that you're going to replace your kit-supplied tracks anyway, whether they are "DS Tracks" or "Magic Tracks"... You'll spend a boat-load of money on Friuls or whatever other after-market tracks, and then muck them up with centuries worth of mud and gook, obscuring all that great detail, and wasting your time with all of that extra work! Before you sentence me to slow death by roasting over a Bar-B-Que Pit, THIS IS ONLY MY OPINION, so please don't take offense. I like the "DS Tracks", especially when they are used on US AFVs. Ever since before WWII, the vast majority of US tracked vehicles have used "Live Tracks", which are specifically designed to curl up on themselves, thereby increasing the life-expectancy of the vehicle, and decreasing the work-load and wear upon the vehicle's entire drive-train, from the engine, transmission and final drive, right on down to the tracks themselves. For example, the US WWII M4-series tank, equipped with live tracks, had a track-life expectancy of 2500 miles. Conversely, the average German tank, and even more so the vaunted Tigers and Panthers, could only hope for 500 miles out of their tracks, many times falling short of even that low figure. Too bad that ASUKA/TASCA never developed their own version of "DS Tracks" for their "TOP NOTCH" US M4 Medium Tank-series kits. We'll probably NEVER see anything new from ASUKA/TASCA again. Thankfully, we have independent after-market companies such as TMD, FORMATIONS and TANK WORKSHOP, among a few select others, to keep us supplied with alternatives to what is offered my the mainstream hobby manufacturers...
MAR 03, 2014 - 11:43 AM
Not to knock the idea of yet ANOTHER Tiger I kit- it just seems like there so many of them out there. How many different Tiger Is have DRAGON released in the last 10 years? I'll probably wind up buying one of these myself. Still, to repeat myself yet again- We could stand some newly-tooled, state-of-the-art M3 Lights, and an M8 HMC. And if you're into obscure WWII German stuff, couldn't we use an all-new Pz.Kpfw.III Ausf A with the five big Road Wheels? There was also an experimental Pz.III with a FAMO suspension that had inter-leaved Road Wheels; the wheels look like something off of an Sd.Kfz.7, though...
MAR 14, 2014 - 07:25 AM
I got this kit in my stash...love the fact that it's a Tiger I with zim already added.
JUL 29, 2014 - 09:23 AM
Horray! Another Tiger 1 kit from Dragon! Lucky for me I appear to be full-up and so don't really care, but it is great that the kit is available, if only to stop the speculators from selling their Cyber kits for ten times what they paid for it. Grrr... Knowing me, I'll probably misplace part of my stash and need one after all.
NOV 19, 2016 - 07:37 AM
Frank? This kit was released over 2 years ago. In fact it's probably time to release it again! David
NOV 19, 2016 - 08:07 AM
Frank is a necromancer, bringing dead topics back to life.
NOV 19, 2016 - 08:33 AM
Maybe his broadband speed is just really slow.
NOV 19, 2016 - 09:58 PM
I mucked around with my pics but I have come back to, 2 100 watt cool daylight bulbs, one in each normal desk lamp and 1 large piece of white paper/cardboard under the model and curved up behind it. It seems to work pretty well and is a cheap option. Here is one of my latest pics with a point and shoot camera, it was taken at night. There has been no Photoshop done other than cropping and resizing Lol Just saw how old this thread is
NOV 19, 2016 - 10:19 PM
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