Tiger I Mid-Production
(w/ Zimmerit) s.Pz.Abt.506 Eastern Front 1944
See my First Look review of this kit that shows sprues, first impressions and a short history of this AFV: http://amps-armor.org/SiteReviews/ShowReview.aspx?id=4005
Steps 1 - 7 Construction of Lower Hull, Mufflers and Rear Plate Details
Like most kits, the instructions direct the modeler to begin construction of the lower hull. The fit of the rear hull plate was good and the detail excellent, however, as you will see later in this review, there are very small gaps where the zimmerited hull sides meet. Normally this would not be an issue, however these gaps disrupt the molded on zimmerit surface meaning the modeler will need to replicate the zimmerit surface to fix the gaps or add some hanging stowage to hide them.
The lower hull is provided as a near tub shape with the modeler needing to install the rear hull plate.
Construction of the fan and housing only take a few steps and the detailing is very good. The photo-etch parts that cover the fan blades, when folded in the pre-marked spots, fit well and no need for any glue.
Dragon does provide some very nicely molded on zimmerit detail here, however, as you can see above (right), the modeler may need to sculpt a little zimmerit where the front plate and hull sides meet. This is the first issue I had with this kit. The gap is rather small, so before proceeding much further in this build, the modeler should decide whether they want to tackle this are needing a zimmerit patch or just roll with it.
The molded on zimmerit is provided throughout and the rear hull plate is no exception. The zimmerit looks quite good as a background to all the details. The jack, towing clevis and muffler guards have excellent detail and look great once installed. Since the clamps holding the jack are a bit thick, the modeler may want to carefully thin down the clamps or possibly scratch build a set which doesn't look to be overly difficult.
The jack in the stored position. The detailing is very good and should look great with a coat of paint and a little drybrushing. It is a multi-part assembly, but not difficult and the final result is well worth the extra cutting, sanding and gluing. Again, some gaps will need to be filled and a touch of zimmerit added by the modeler.
Steps 8 - 13 Upper Hull Details and Gun Breech Assembly
Once all the hull sides are joined, then it's time to start adding the photo-etch rear engine deck screens and upper hull details.
The second issue I found in this kit is the gap between the rear hull plate and the rear deck plate. In this review sample, the gap measured about 1.0 mm, which as you can see is quite noticeable. However, this gap was readily addressed with a piece of plastic stock. So, although a little disappointment, not a major issue and one that can be fixed rather quickly.
The on-vehicle tools in the kit are delicate and quite good with a great fit. No need for any aftermarket offering here.
Here the issue of the gaps between various hull parts ( as seen above) is evident and will need some attention. The zimmerit pattern is disrupted leaving the modeler to fill in these gaps and replicate the zimmerit pattern over the filled in gaps. Most modelers should be able to fix this issue though it will require some extra care to match the pattern with the molded on zimmerit surface.
The tools are attached to the upper hull at this stage and look great and, though the tool clamps are molded on, they are commendably thin and detailed. However, with a little extra care in filing/sanding, these clamps can be made even finer, but this is not necessary.
The molded in weld marks are very good; shame their older kits didn't have that detail included. Some photo-etched brackets are included to keep the spare tracks in place. Fold lines are provided.
Dragon provides a nicely detailed gun breach with assembly which is completed in two straight forward multi-step sub-assemblies.
Steps 14 - 18 Turret Assembly and Details
Nice interior upper turret details. It's a shame this will all be covered up after assembly.
Dragon did a top notch job on replicating weld marks on the turret seams.
All the hatches look great with no fit issues or multiple sub-assemblies.
The mounted tracks look good when attached, thanks to Dragon providing some very nice detailing here.
My third issue with this kit is the fit of the rear escape hatch as seen here. It will take some extra work to get the correct fit. The modeler should consult some on-line pics of the escape hatch on the real thing to help guide them along to making this hatch fit more securely to the turret wall. If the modeler decides to leave this hatch open, then there's no need to do anything else as Dragon does provide interior hatch details.
The completed kit, minus the road wheels and tracks of course. A word about the kit supplied DS tracks; they glue together well, though a light clamp should be used to ensure a strong bond once the track ends are correctly lined up. DS tracks take paint and washes quite well and are quite a time saver, especially if the modeler hates building individual tracks.
Here's the completed look after filling the gap with some plastic card stock.
A black wash applied to the turret weld marks adds a bit more depth and nice contrast to the dark yellow base coat.
Decals went on like a charm over the zimmerit and looks great over the camo paint scheme.
Pros - This kit is full of great details throughout and if the modeler is a Tiger I lover, this is one to add to the shopping list. With the exception of what's noted below in the "Cons" section, all parts fit great and the detail is, as usual with the newer Dragon kits, just superb. The molded on zimmerit has been done very well and matches up to various period pics of Tiger I's in the field. For this kit anyway, Dragon has scaled back on the numerous sub-assembly steps making construction more straightforward and less confusing.
Cons - I think the biggest let down for this particular kit would be the gaps between the various sides and the fit of the turret escape hatch. While these gaps can be filled and the zimmerit pattern replicated with some care, the price of this kit should provide a much better fit all around, The second issue I had encountered with the kit was the gap between the rear upper hull plate and the rear vertical plate. Thankfully, the gap can be filled with some plastic card stock and didn't take up too much time and effort to address. The third issue is fit of the escape hatch on the turret rear. This should have been caught in the test fitting stage and will require some patience and lots of dry fitting to get it to sit correctly. Finally, though probably not a systemic issue, one of the decals, in this case, "308" fell apart before I could apply it to the turret. Thank goodness the other two (one for each side of the turret) went on like a charm. None of the issues I found are insurmountable and with a little patience, this kit can be made into a show winner, but all the same, some of these oversights are a bit much. Still, despite these issues, it's still a very good kit and good value for the money.
Recommended for Beginner to Advanced builders.
Thanks goes out to Dragon USA for this fantastic review kit.
Reviewed by Chuck Willis
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