Kit Review: cyber-hobby.com 1/35 Scale Kit No. 09 (Dragon Models Limited 1/35 Scale '39-'45 Series Kit Number 6349): 1,204 parts (1,019 in grey styrene, 153 etched brass, 19 clear styrene, 4 white metal, 2 preformed etched brass, 2 lengths of twisted steel wire, 2 preformed wire, 1 section of brass chain, 1 section of wire, 1 turned aluminum gun barrel); estimated price US $45
Advantages: "boutique" kit will build a model of one of at least the first 22 Tiger II tanks with the Porsche turret
Disadvantages: kit being released so soon after the first version of this kit may cause confusion
Rating: Highly Recommended
Recommendation: for all German fans
F I R S T L O O K]
I am a bit bewildered by why DML - via their cyber-hobby.com affiliate - would release a new version of an upgraded kit that was just released itself in May 2006. True, this particular kit is changed and has several new sprues added to replicate the earlier production variant of this popular tank, but it seems to cause some confusion among modelers as to which is which and what kits they really want. The "faithful" understand the nuances and minor changes between variants, but I am not sure that many other modelers do.
This version adds more than 200 parts to the May release of the "Premium Edition" of the Porsche-turreted version. Most of these come from an attempt by DML to capture the early tracks used by the Tiger II, and they are very, very involved. Each tank had "interchangeable" tracks consisting of an "A" link with cleats and a "B" or connector link. DML has re-created these with a total of six parts used for each pair: a solid "A" link and a "B" link consisting of a center plate and three connectors (a single inner and two outers) to present the tracks faithfully as used on the tank. While happily the size of a Tiger II makes most tracks sets "Pipe Fitters" size in parts, I am not sure how many modelers are going to have fun assembling these tracks.
Most of the rest of the kit is identical to the May kit, but there are a total of 90 other new plastic parts. These cover the original18-tooth drivers, new hull and exhaust fittings, and other bits. Also included is a section from the Panther Ausf. D kit as "Sprue I" for only three small fittings. Most of the new parts seem to fit with what Tom Jentz has written about the early production tanks, so it should build into one of the first 20-22 production models of the Tiger II.
Directions are the less than useful "Color Photo" variety, which I have personally found very difficult to use when trying to isolate where brass parts go and other details. Some are expanded (such as how to assemble the jack mounts from brass in Step 5) but others are not. DML has tried to help out, but overall the original black/blue/white instructions are far more helpful.
Finishing instructions cover five different vehicles, but all from the same unit: s.Pz.Kp.(Fkl) 316, France 1944. The major differences are whether or not the vehicle uses a two color green-over-sand or a tricolor green-red brown-sand scheme.
Incidentally, while I am not a fan of the Tiger II I must admit it is a sleek and powerful appearing vehicle in photos and in the flesh. The artwork on the box of this kit does it a great disservice, compacting it down to look shorter and far more dumpy. Some have complained about the artwork on kits like the M4A1 76mm Operation Cobra, but to me this one isn't far behind. It is also very , very dull, and does not match the colors shown in the directions.
Overall, this is a very well done kit and offers the chance for Tiger II fans to "fill in the blanks" in collecting the different variants of this tank, but I am still puzzled as to why it would be released so close to the "Premium Edition" of the base kit. One only has to check various modeling websites to see the confusion that has arisen over the Panther releases to see that "volley firing" similar kits does not seem to go over very well.
Thanks to Freddie Leung for the review sample.