Kit Review: Dragon Models Limited 1/35 scale '39-45 Series Kit No. 6700; Sd .Kfz. 181 Pz.Kpfw. VI Ausf. E Tiger I Mid-Production w/Zimmerit - Dragon Zi mmerit; 713 parts (663 in grey styrene, 47 etched brass, 21 clear styrene,2 DS Plastic track runs, 1 pre-bent steel wire); pre-order price US$64.99 v ia Dragon USA
Advantages: may finally be a "main-stream" Tiger I kit from DML and not ano ther short run version; simplified from the previous kit; DS tracks solve t he tedium of single link track assembly; choice of detail parts
Disadvantages: if a short-run will become expensive on eBay
Rating: Highly Recommended
Recommendation: for all German Tiger fans
DML has now released what could be called a "mainstream" Tiger I kit as it is based on the most common versions of this tank to appear, namely with t he full production cupola, rubber-tired road wheels, rear turret bin, and z immerit.
Like the previous "Otto Carius" kit (cyber-hobby No. 74/DML No. 6763) whic h this model basically replicates minus the extra bits in that kit, it also provides modelers a choice between single-link styrene tracks and DS Plast ic single piece runs. As these were the "universal" tracks (e.g. only insta lled one way so the two sides faced different directions) they are easier t o sort out than the handed ones. The DS plastic looks good, takes paint wel l, and glues with common plastic solvents; it also permits undercutting suc h as the pin ends of the track and even open teeth to replicate castings as is the case here. Overall, cleanup is simple and I do believe most people like these better. However, in this kit the previous "sag guides" for the s ingle links have made a return.
There are fewer options with the kit: the box does include two styles of i dlers, two different rear plates, and three different mantlets, and it does come with both "clean" and zimmerit-applied panels for the tank in the sam e box. It comes with the later commander's cupola and other specific parts. As before a partial interior is included for the engine compartment as wel l as all of the torsion bars and the 8.8 cm gun breech in the turret. No AA MG or mount are provided.
Many of the "brag book" features from the previous releases remain with th is kit. They have redone the mufflers and armored covers for the rear plate , fixed some problems with the turret escape hatch, redone the hull shell t o make more use of "Slide Molding" features, and provided for the use of a engine pre-heater (read blowtorch) at the rear of the hull. This is include d with this kit (probably not needed for Russia in summer 1944 though!)
The amount of etched brass has been reduced, and my take on that is that t he molds have all been "tweaked" a bit to clean up earlier problems and thu s much of the brass detailing is now superfluous.
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 mantlet (T6). But the previous three patch panels used to pr ovide smooth surfaces for markings on the vertical plate are missing as the directions show the markings going right over the zimmerit. Some vehicles have track links on their turrets, and some do not; check the finishing ins tructions to see which is which.
Technical assistance and research for this kit came from David Byrden, Tom Cockle and Gary Edmundson.
As it is the "mass production" version the kit comes with a large sheet of targeted Cartograf decals with EIGHT options: Panzerkampfgruppe "Strachwit z", s.Pz.Abt, 502, Narva front, Estonia 1944 (whitewash over sand, black 211); 1./s.Pz.Abt. 507, Poland 1944 (tricolor, white 113); 1./s.Pz.Abt. 507, Poland 1944 (tricolor, white 132); s.Pz.Abt. 508, Anzio, February 1944 (tri color, small black crosses); Unterscharfuehrer Ritter, 3/s.SS-Pz.Abt. 101, Mons, France 1944 (tricolor, white 304); Unterscharfuehrer Amselgruber, 3/s .SS-Pz.Abt. 101, Mons, France 1944 (tricolor, white 331); Untersturmfuehrer Guenther, 3/s.SS-Pz.Abt. 101, Mons, France 1944 (tricolor, white 311); 1./ s.Pz.Abt. 506, western Ukraine, April-May 1944 (green over sand, white 6 - 11 optional); and s/Pz.Abt. 503, Panzerregiment Baeke, Cherkassy Pocket Feb ruary 1944 (whitewash over sand, black numbers 123, 200, 221, 311, 312, or 314 known). The markings for the s.SS-Pz.Abt. 101 are also provided in ligh t blue. This is around 15 to 18 different options for one kit!
Overall this is an eagerly awaited version - probably as close to a "gener ic" Tiger I as DML will go. With the choice between "clean" or zimmerit and DS tracks it should be easy to find the "right" Tiger for most modelers. B ut 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 previ ous ones is not uncommon).
Thanks to Freddie Leung for the review sample.