Jagdtiger Porsche Production Type
The Jagdtiger was the largest and heaviest AFV of any combatant nation to see active service during WW2. It was armed with a formidable 12.8cm PaK.44 L/55 gun, and its frontal armor of up to 250mm was proof against any Allied weapon of the time.
I have already posted a First Look review of Takom's new Jagdtiger kit here on the AMPS web site with some historical background on the vehicle and particularly the 11 production examples fitted with the Porsche suspension, plus sprue shots of the kit.
As noted in the First Look review, the kit gives you marking options for three vehicles from s.Pz.Jg.Abt.653, all in three color camouflage. I wanted to do something a little different and my original plan was to build Fgst.Nr 305004, which was originally allocated to Wa.Amt at Kummersdorf, became part of Kampfgruppe Kummersdorf and was eventually captured at Sennelager by the US Army. It was subsequently handed over ot the British Army and is now preserved at the Tank Museum in Bovington. However, that required me to use Atak's zimmerit set for this kit, which still isn't available so I decided to build Fgst.Nr 305012 instead.
Forgive me for starting this review with a bit of a rant, but I'm going to deviate from the assembly sequence in the kit instructions, and I want to explain why.
My only peeve with Takom kits is the assembly sequence. The instructions would have you build the lower hull with all its details including the running gear, tracks etc., then do the same with the upper hull including all the small details and stowage items, then mate the upper and lower hulls together. This might be fine if you take great care and have an extremely delicate touch, but if you're a ham-fisted fool like me, you're likely to break and/or lose parts. For this reason, I prefer to build all the major structural elements of the kit, then add the smaller details, leaving things like tracks and running gear separate to allow easier access for painting. That's how I'm going to build this kit. You, of course, can make your own decision.
Construction begins with the lower hull tub, assembling the shock absorbers, the armored guards for the final drives, and the idler mounts.
As I mentioned in the First Look review, the kit parts are crisply molded and free of flash, with only very fine mold lines to remove.
The right-hand guard for the final drive (part B31) wouldn't fit in place easily, the cause of which turned out to be a misaligned upper locating pin. I cut the pin off and the part slid into place easily, though with some slight gaps where it met the hull tub. I filled these with tiny amounts of putty. The left-hand guard (part B32) went into place with no trouble and no gaps.
The idler mounts (parts M7) were a tight fit into their locating holes, and required a little sanding on the locating tabs to to get them into place.
Step 2 of the instructions deals with the road wheels and torsion bar assemblies. With care, the suspension can be made to articulate. I assembled the torsion bars as indicated in the instructions but left the road wheels separate for easier painting.
The torsion bars are hollow and have ejector pin marks on their inner sides, but these are hidden once the suspension is attached to. the hull. Similarly, the road wheels and parts M20 also have ejector pin marks but these are hidden once the wheels are mounted. The photo below shows two of the suspension bogies dry-fitted in place, just for illustrative purposes.
Note that the suspension units are an extremely tight fit on the hull. The thickness of a coat of a paint will make a difference here so if you prime and/or paint before attaching them, you'll want to scrape the paint off the mating surfaces.
Step 2 also instructs you to add the final drives and torsion bars to the lower hull. I added the final drives but left the torsion bars separate to simplify painting.
The final drives have very tiny nuts and even the locking washers molded in situ on the housings. Takom are to be complimented for the attention to detail here, even if it will be invisible once the sprockets are in place.
Step 3 assembles the sprockets and idlers. The kit includes 18-tooth sprockets which are correct for all the Porsche Jagdtigers except Fgst.Nr.305001 after its refurbishment in December 1944, when it carried 9-tooth sprockets.
The instructions would then have you add the sprockets and idlers to the lower hull, along with the front tow shackles. I added the shackles but left the sprockets and idlers separate for painting.
The sprue attachment points on the sprockets are very small, but nevertheless I managed to butcher one of the teeth on each of the inner sprocket halves (parts M2) when cutting them off the sprue, so take great care when doing so. A little putty and careful sanding fixed the problem, but it's better not to have it happen in the first place.
The innermost sections of the idlers (parts M5) have visible ejector pin marks. They would likely be obscured when the parts are assembled and the tracks mounted, particularly with some mud and dirt on the wheels, but I decided to err on the side of caution and filled them anyway.
Step 4 deals with the workable, individual link tracks. Porsche Jagdtigers had the inner guide tooth removed from each track link, and Takom correctly depicts this idiosyncrasy in the kit parts. The smaller 'bridge' links without guide teeth are provided as single parts, which are then sandwiched between the two-part toothed links. You need to take a great deal of care to avoid getting glue on the track pins, in order to allow the tracks to articulate, but I found they went together without any problems.
The inner half of each toothed link has a small raised ejector pin mark, which requires removing. A quick scrape with a #11 blade took care of it on each link.
The tracks were not as difficult or tedious to assemble as I feared they might be. Work slowly, and be very sparing with the glue. I applied a little Tamiya Extra Thin glue just to each end of the toothed links, then held them together for a few seconds until the glue dried.
This is the point where I began to divert from the assembly sequence in the kit instructions. As mentioned above, I like to build all the big structural bits of a model, then add the smaller detail parts like handles, tool stowage, tow cables etc. This would normally mean I'd assemble the upper and lower hull and the rear hull plate next. In the case of this kit however, I have a little work to do first.
The gun and cradle are mounted on an H-shaped frame that sits on the sponsons. You need to assemble and fit the gun and cradle in place before you attach the upper and lower hulls. I therefore skipped forward to Step 17 in the instructions and completed this assembly.
The barrel for the 12.8cm PaK 44 is supplied in two halves, split vertically, with a separate hollow muzzle which includes rifling. The barrel halves feature numerous locating pins and the sprue attachment points are offset below the mating edges to minimize the chance of tearing a divot out of the part when trimming the attachment points. Kudos to Takom for smart engineering here. There was some slight warping in the parts but I glued them in stages and held them together as the glue dried. A couple minutes work and I had a perfectly aligned barrel, ready for light sanding.
One odd thing is that there is a groove around the circumference of the barrel at the base of the muzzle cap, whereas photos of the PaK 44 barrel show it to be smooth all the way to the muzzle. I filled the groove and sanded it flush.
The gun cradle allows the barrel to elevate, and the entire cradle can traverse slightly left and right as on the real vehicle.
Once the gun was in place, I moved on to the upper hull. The main upper hull part includes the glacis plate, both hull sides and the roof of the driver's compartment, fighting compartment and engine compartment. The front and rear of the superstructure are separate pieces, allowing for better detail definition.
The instructions direct you to remove the faint locating marks for the central set of spare track links, since early Jagdtigers including all the Porsche example had only two sets on each side. They also have you remove one set of locating marks for the lifting hook at the rear left-hand corner of the fighting compartment roof, and several of the locating marks for the lifting hooks on the right-hand radiator assembly, since the configuration of these hooks varied from early to late production examples.
The fighting compartment front plate is a very snug fit but went into place without any problems. There were a couple tiny gaps at the top corners but gluing and holding the parts together for a minute or two made them disappear. The joints between the parts correspond to the corners of the plates or to the dovetailed edges, giving a very neat appearance, and the parts include the prominent weld beads.
Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for the rear plate. Here the part is a flat plate that butts up against the rear of the superstructure sides, and while the dovetailed joints are represented, they do not match the edges of the parts, leaving a seam on the center of both sides that requires filling. The weld beads are represented as trenches without any weld texture like that present on the front plate. I filled and sanded the seam on the center of the sides and used putty textured with a hobby knife to improve the weld beads.
Now I was ready to attach the upper and lower hulls, but first I added the various periscopes since they need to be fitted from the underside of the upper hull. I also attached the periscope guards to help protect the parts once they were in place.
Note that the rotating crescent shield for the gunner's periscopic sight includes locating tabs on the underside to fix it in the 12 o'clock position, so if you want to depict the gun traversed to either side, you'll need to cut away the tabs and position the sight to align with the gun barrel.
The periscope guards have raised ejector pin marks on their undersides. These would likely be invisible after assembly but I was concerned they would interfere with the fit of the parts, so I shaved them off.
Next I turned my attention to the engine deck. The engine compartment access hatch is molded in-situ, so you don't have the option of showing it open, but that's not a big problem since there's no engine or other interior parts in the kit. The hatch includes the mounting plate for the anti-aircraft MG42 monopod molded integrally with the hatch itself. Most if not all of the Porsche Jagdtigers lacked the monopod and mount, so I carefully cut away the mounting plate and sanded the hatch surface smooth.
I then added the engine compartment roof plate, plus the various ventilators and screens. The kit provides nicely rendered etched brass screens for the radiators, but does not include the bolts that secured the rectangular screens in place. I added the four bolts to the corners of each screen using Grandt Line bolts, and the smaller bolts to the engine compartment vent screen from 20-thou hex rod.
I left the smaller and more fragile parts such as the grab handles and lifting hooks off until I was ready for final assembly, to minimize the chance of breaking or losing them.
While I was at the rear of the vehicle, I added other details to the rear of the superstructure like the rear doors and the stowage tube for the antenna.
The fit between the inner and outer sections of the rear doors wasn't the best, leaving small gaps that I filled with tiny amounts of putty.
Next I shifted my focus to the roof of the driver's compartment, adding the two hatches, the ventilator cover and the cast cover over the exit point for the headlamp power conduit. Again I omitted the grab handles for the time being, to minimize the risk of damaging or losing them.
As I mentioned at the start of the review, my original plan was to model Fgst.Nr 305004, which served with Kampfgruppe Kummersdorf in April 1945 and was captured by the Allies at Sennelager. This is the sole surviving Porsche Jagtiger, and now resides at the Tank Museum. Modeling this vehicle meant adding zimmerit, so I planned to procure the brand-new zimmerit set from Atak, designed specifically for this kit.
However, the Atak zimmerit set has been delayed and it wasn't fair to Takom to keep delaying this review, so I decided to model Fgst.Nr.305012, the final Jagdtiger with the Porsche suspension, which did not have zimmerit, had the A-frame gun travel lock as supplied in the kit, and for which the kit includes decals since it was tactical number 314 from s.Pz.Jg.Abt.653.
I continued assembly by assembling the exhausts and adding them along with the rear mud flaps and various tool stowage items to the rear hull. The exhaust pipes come with the vertical anti-grenade bars molded in place, which is a nice touch. The guards that cover the bases of the exhausts feature cast texture.
Be extremely careful when cleaning up the lifting lugs (parts C27). I managed to lose one to the carpet monster, and had to fabricate a replacement from short lengths of 30-thou and 60-thou styrene rod.
Included in the kit as parts M6, but not called out in the instructions are the sheet metal shrouds that surrounded the exhaust pipes. At least some of the Porsche Jagdtigers, including 305003 and 305004, carried these shrouds. Check your references for the vehicle you plan to model. The kit parts include locating pins on the surfaces where they attach to the rear hull, but the rear hull plate does not include corresponding holes so you'll need to cut off the locating pins and eyeball the shrouds into place if you decide to use them. Since photographs seem to suggest the later Porsche Jagdtigers did not carry them, I omitted them.
I now worked my way up over the model, adding the remaining details such as tool stowage, grab handles and lifting hooks to the engine deck and the rear of the superstructure, being extremely careful when handling the model, so as not to break off or damage any parts I had already attached.
I found the locating pin of the bottom of the wire cutters (part B25) was too large for the locating hole in the engine deck. I drilled it out to a slightly larger diameter so the part sat down correctly in place. One or two of the lifting hooks on the engine deck (parts C16) were slightly too narrow for their locating slots, leaving tiny yet noticeable gaps. I filled these with minute amounts of putty.
Moving on to the roof of the superstructure, I added the three lifting hooks to complete this area. Again, the locating slots for parts C16 were slightly too large and needed filling along the edges of the parts.
I left the folding cover for the scissors periscope (part D13) separate until after painting.
I continued forward to the roof of the driver's compartment and the glacis plate, adding more lifting hooks, grab handles and tools. I drilled out the muzzle of the bow machine gun before adding it, along with its kugelblende mount. The aperture for the machine gun has the later stepped configuration, introduced to reduce bullet splash. I was not able to conclusively confirm the date at which this feature was introduced on the Jagdtiger but other vehicles such as the Jagdpanther introduced it in October 1944. Since Fgst.Nr.305012 was completed in October and delivered in November, the later configuration is appropriate for the vehicle I intend to model.
I added the Bosch headlamp, its mount and power conduit to the glacis plate. The external gun travel lock remains movable if you assemble it with care, so I added it too, thinking I could simply fold it forward for painting. It turns out however, that the travel lock won't move once the headlamp is glued in place.
The kit instructions call out the folded travel lock configuration with an 'open' barrel clamp. Included in the kit but not mentioned in the instructions, is an alternate part (F7) that will allow you to assemble the travel lock in the deployed configuration.
I next moved on to the left-hand side of the hull, adding the tool stowage and tow cable. The tow cables and the thinner track replacement cable are supplied as styrene parts with the stowage brackets molded integrally.
I should point out that Takom provide the tools with their clamps molded in-situ. The parts are quite finely molded and will look very good with careful painting. If you're not satisfied however, you can always carefully hollow out the filled-in centers of the handles with drill bit and hobby knife, or even replace them with etched brass or 3D-printed aftermarket items.
The right-hand side of the hull holds the remaining tow cable and the track replacement cable.
Having had fun in the past with spare track mounting brackets when masking German three-color camouflage, I decided to leave the brackets separate until after painting, then add them and paint them.
The final parts to clean up were the fenders. Takom supply the side fenders as single pieces for each side, so you can't omit just a single section unless you're willing to do some surgery on the parts, or replace them with aftermarket items.
Now the model was ready for paint. I started by giving everything a coat of Tamiya Red Oxide primer, applied from a spray can.
Next came an airbrushed base coat of Ammo by Mig RAL7028 Dunkelgelb Aus'44 DG.1. Many factories began applying camouflage colors directly over the Rotbraun primer coat in October 1944, the month that Fgst.Nr.305012 was completed (it was delivered to the army in November), rather than using an overall Dunkelgelb base coat, but I decided to go with a Dunkelgelb base and work toward the darker colors.
Once the base color was dry, I masked off the camouflage using poster putty and airbrushed Resadagrun and Rotbraun patches over the Dunkelgelb. The painting and marking scheme in the kit instructions indicates that the road wheels were in Dunkelgelb only, which is confirmed by photos of Fgst.Nr.305012 after its wreckage was captured by the US Army.
I painted the tracks and running gear separately before adding them to the model. The tracks got a coat of Armory Black Primer, also applied from a spray can, then several airbrushed coats of various rust colors, and finally some dark brown pigment to simulate dirt.
After adding some mud and crud to the lower hull to match the running gear, I attached the wheels and tracks.
I added the fenders last, then masked off the suspension and applied the camouflage colors. Both the fenders were warped in the review sample, and it took considerable effort, clamping and gluing a little at a time, to get them into place on the hull sides. Even so, I had to use some putty at the rear of the left-hand fender. The front of the right-hand fender was slightly twisted and wouldn't fit under the curved front section, so I wound up fixing the front section in a slightly raised position. I call it battle damage.
I added the spare track mounting brackets and painted them too, in the correct color for that section of the superstructure side. Make sure you use the correct parts M21 and M23 since there are multiple versions of the brackets on different sprues. Several of the brackets were twisted but I left them as is, figuring they would likely have been damaged on the real vehicle too.
The mounting holes for the rear towing shackles on the upper rear corners of the hull sides were too shallow, so I drilled them out with a #51 drill bit and the shackles settled nicely into place.
The final part to go onto the model was the mantlet, and with that, the build was complete.
The decals are nicely rendered on thin carrier film. The tactical numbers needed some attention from Gunze Sangyo's Mr Mark Softer, but then they settled down with no problems.
The periscope lenses got a coat of gloss black, then I brush-painted the tools, tow cables and other exterior stowage items before sealing everything in place with an airbrushed coat of AK Ultra Matt varnish.
I'd hesitate to recommend this kit to a complete beginner, since there were a couple fit issues, some minor modifications required and masking the three-color camouflage is quite complicated. However, none of these issues or tasks are beyond the skills of a modeler with a modicum of experience. All in all, it was an enjoyable build and if you want a Porsche Jagdtiger for your collection, I heartily recommend this kit.
Highly Recommended for Intermediate to Advanced builders.
,Thanks goes out to TAKOM for this review kit.
Reviewed by Neil Stokes
If you liked this review, consider joining AMPS. Your annual membership
includes six copies of AMPS's magazine, Boresight,
and helps to support our ongoing reviews.
Click here for more information about joining AMPS