ARM: Review - 1/35 scale Tiger I Mid Production - Otto Carius

Kit Review: 1/35 scale Kit No. 74 (Dragon Models Limited 1/=
35 scale =9139-45 Series Kit No. 6763); Sd.Kfz. 181 Pz.Kpfw. VI Ausf. E Ott=
o Carius Tiger I Mid-Production Battle of Malonovka - Dragon Zimmerit; 905 =
parts (774 in grey styrene, 104 etched brass, 21 clear styrene, 2 DS track =
runs, 2 twisted steel wires, 1pre-bent wire, 1 spring); pre-order price US$=
64.99 via Dragon USA
Advantages: yet another short run one-off kit but this time of an eagerly a=
waited Tiger I; adds even more parts to previous kit to match known informa=
tion; DS tracks solve the tedium of single link track assembly; choice of d=
etail parts
Disadvantages: another Tiger from DML; will become expensive on eBay
Rating: Highly Recommended
Recommendation: for all German Tiger fans
The skill of an opponent is sometimes measured by the respect afforded him=
by the loyal opposition. Whereas Russian writers have little respect for =
=93Saint=94 Michael Wittmann, it is a much different story with legendary T=
iger tank commander Otto Carius. Part of it is due to the fact that (as est=
eemed German armor researcher Tom Jentz has pointed out for some time) Witt=
mann got away with much and received much of the praise heaped upon him for=
being a good Nazi and an SS tanker. Carius, a Wehrmacht tanker, had to ear=
n his praise the hard way but was more honest about his results.=20
The Russians note that contrary to popular myth the Germans weren=92t much=
better at long range shots than the Red Army tankers were; they were train=
ed to shoot at more distant targets whereas the Soviets only trained their =
gunners to engage at 750 meters or less. Too many popular myths have Wittma=
nn credited with killing off any tank with one shot at 1,800 meters or more=
. Carius accounts for a much more involved process and in one case shows th=
at in order to kill 84 Soviet tanks in July 1944 a total of 555 rounds of A=
P were fired, or an average of 6.6 per destroyed tank. Russians give credit=
where deserved, but appreciate a more honest assessment!=20
I believe the period noted for this kit is a fight that took place around =
what Carius called =93Malinava=94 between 23-26 July 1944, which noted the =
first time his company ran up against early production IS-2 heavy tanks. An=
ambush accounted for 17 of the new tanks over two days as well as five T-3=
4-85 tanks (which Carius calls =93T-43s=94).=20
While Caruis=92 very interesting autobiography =93Tigers in the Mud=94 has=
numerous pictures of his first Tiger I (bort number 213) this kit is appar=
ently of a later tank (bort number 217) which has both factory zimmerit and=
also the standard production cupola. Like the earlier tanks, it is modeled=
with its front outer road wheel removed. I leave it to the serious Tiger I=
researchers to vouchsafe for its accuracy.=20
This kit comes with the DS Plastic single piece runs and replicates the =
=93universal=94 tracks (installed facing different directions). As previous=
ly noted, the DS plastic looks good, takes paint well, and glues with commo=
n plastic solvents; it also permits undercutting such as the pin ends of th=
e track and even open teeth to replicate castings as is the case here. Over=
all, cleanup is simple and I do believe most people like these better. Howe=
ver, the =93sag guides=94 from previous kits are now missing.=20
There are fewer options with the kit: the box does include two styles of i=
dlers, two different rear plates, and three different mantlets, but as this=
tank is designed to match a specific vehicle with much more known informat=
ion most of them will have to go to the spares box. It comes with the later=
commander=92s cupola and other specific parts. As before a partial interio=
r is included for the engine compartment as well as all of the torsion bars=
and the 8.8 cm gun breech in the turret. While the mount for the AA MG is =
provided, this time no extra MG34 is provided.
Many of the =93brag book=94 features from the previous releases remain wit=
h this kit. They have redone the mufflers and armored covers for the rear p=
late, fixed some problems with the turret escape hatch, redone the hull she=
ll to make more use of =93Slide Molding=94 features, and provided for the u=
se of a engine pre-heater (read blowtorch) at the rear of the hull. This is=
included with this kit (probably not needed for Russia in summer 1944 thou=
The amount of etched brass has been reduced, and my take on that is that t=
he molds have all been =93tweaked=94 a bit to clean up earlier problems and=
thus much of the brass detailing is now superfluous.=20
Zimmerit molding is confined to the lower glacis (T2), upper glacis (T4), =
vertical plate (T5), hull sides (T7 and T8), stern plate (T3), turret shell=
(T9), and the mantlets (T6 or T12). But the previous three patch panels us=
ed to provide smooth surfaces for markings on the vertical plate are missin=
g as the directions show the markings going right over the zimmerit.
Technical assistance and research for this kit came from David Byrden, Tom=
Cockle and Gary Edmundson.=20
The kit comes with a nice sheet of targeted Cartograf decals with two opti=
ons: Carius=92 tank at Malinava, July 1944 (green bands over sand, white 21=
7); or the same tank, Narva Offensive March 1944 (whitewash over sand, blac=
k 217). An extra set of =93Red 217" numbers are also included.
Overall this is again a very popular subject and with the the addition of =
factory applied zimmerit and DS tracks will make it easy to get a realistic=
model from the kit. Note that these kits quickly move to ridiculous prices=
on eBay and other sites so anyone wishing one should snap it up quickly ($=
200 each for previous ones is not uncommon).
Thanks to Freddie Leung for the review sample.=20
Cookie Sewell=20
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1/35 scale =9139-45 Series Kit No. 6763); Sd.Kfz. 181 Pz.Kpfw. VI Ausf. E O= tto Carius Tiger I Mid-Production Battle of Malonovka -
in the Mud=94 has numerous pictures of his first Tiger I (bort number 213) = this kit is apparently of a later tank (bort number 217) which has both fac= tory zimmerit and also the standard production cupola. Like the earlier tan= ks, it is modeled with its front outer road wheel removed. I leave it to th= e serious Tiger I researchers to vouchsafe for its accuracy.
His Pharmacy website indicates there has been a reprint (or new edition) of "Tiger im Schlamm" last March. If you buy it from them he'll sign it... He's still working there, but apparently only as a part timer for the last year-and-a half: now I know why our current administration abolished compulsory retirement...
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