ARM: Review - 1/35 Scale Tiger II Initial Production

Kit Review: 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
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 original
18-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.
Cookie Sewell
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