ARM:Review - DML 1/35 Scale King Tiger Battle of the Bulge

Kit Review: Dragon Models Limited 1/35 Scale '39-'45 Series Kit No.
6254; Sd.Kfz. 182 King Tiger Henschel Turret Battle of the Bulge sPzAbt
501; 808 parts (504 in grey styrene, 288 Magic Track links, 11 etched
brass, 3 turned brass, 1 turned aluminum, 1 length steel wire): price
estimated at US $31-34
Advantages: another "pocket diorama" kit from DML with eight
figures included; nicely done kit now offered with four different
"ambush" paint schemes
Disadvantages: fourth version of this kit approaching overkill in the
market; may impact sales of the last kit (Final Version)
Rating: Highly Recommended
Recommendation: For all German armor fans
The Battle of the Bulge stands as the high water mark of the late war
German army; even though some US intelligence analysts (see the first
chapter of Charles B. McDonalds' "A Time for Trumpets" to see
what happened) predicted the Germans would attack out of the Ardennes,
few believed that they could do it. Considering their staging area was
a part of western Germany called the Schneeifel, it is a wonder that
they could stage as many men and as much material in that area as they
did. It is even more amazing when one considers how many late model
armored vehicles, such as the 68 metric ton Tiger II, were staged in
what essentially is a heavily wooded mountainous area densely forested
with coniferous trees. Even having been there, I for one am amazed at
their achievement today.
While serving with the 3rd Armored Division in Frankfurt, Germany, I
found out the basic secret as to how this could be done. The Germans
had been logging the forests for hundreds of years, and in order to get
up to get the trees and then get them back down, the mountains were
riddled with hundreds of reinforced (corduroy type) roads and paths
that would easily support the movement of heavy vehicles. (This was
also a shock to my division commander, but that's a different story.)
The premier striking power of the German army in this attack came from
the concentration of new production Tiger II heavy tanks, which at the
time were the most powerful in the world and able to defeat any
American or British vehicle on the battlefield. While their actual
achievements did not live up to their billing (see the book "Battle
of the Bulge - Then and Now" for how poor they really did) the
shock value was quite high.
The Tiger II or "King Tiger" remains a popular modeling subject,
and this is the fourth kit of the vehicle to be produced by DML. This
is basically their Henschel version of the kit with newly cleaned up
road wheels, an aluminum gun barrel, DML's new single-link pre-cut
"Magic Track" (this track simply pops together and, while not truly
working track, makes assembly literally a snap) and two sets of
Fallschirmjaegers, #6113 and #6143, in one box. These latter sets
account for 146 parts from the kit.
(While these figures look very good and come with late production
weapons as well, as a side note it should be remembered most of these
troops were not the true crack paratroops of early in the war but
simply infantry in Fallschirmjaeger uniforms and kit. Most were recent
conscripts and not the seasoned veterans of Belgium and Crete; there
are many documented accounts from US forces that many of them were
simply slaughtered while still marching west.)
The kit also includes three turned brass 8.8 cm rounds with separate
bases containing the headstamp data and grillwork for the engine deck,
and a optional twisted wire cable for the tow cables vice the molded
plastic ones.
The model comes with a large and colorful number jungle sheet for at
least three companies of Tigers plus command tanks and other elements.
The finishing options provide for four tanks: two from 2nd Company, one
from 1st Company and one from the 3rd Company of schwere
Panzerabteilung 501. All are in variations of the popular tri-color
"ambush" paint scheme. The finishing options also show how the
battalion was structured as well with a total of 39 tanks covered by
marking data uncovered by DML researchers Hirohisa Takada and Minoru
Igarashi.
Overall this should be a popular model and comes, like all recent DML
releases, with a wealth of upgrades and "after-market" items.
However, it could be confused with the previous kit #6232, Kingtiger
Late Production w/New Pattern Track Ardennes 1944; it is not the same
kit and has much easier track to assemble, which is a plus with most
modelers.
Thanks to Freddie Leung for the review sample.
Cookie Sewell
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AMPSOne
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