TAKOM Tiger 1 Late-Production w/ Zimmerit
TAKOM Model, a Chinese company, entered the model-manufacturing game in 2013. Since that time, TAKOM has steadily gained a reputation as one of the hobby’s more innovative companies. They have earned a reputation for kits with a high attention to detail and accuracy, created with state-of-the-art molding technology. Their catalog boasts more than 100 offerings, concentrated around military vehicles, but wandering into ships, planes and some civilian subjects. Most TAKOM kits include a generous selection of accessories (extra feature options, stowage, weaponry) that empower the builder to personalize their kit straight from the box.
MEET THE SD.KFZ.181 PZ.KPFW. VI AUSF. E (whew)
By the time the Tiger 1 Ausf. E late version hit the field, the Tiger 1 had already established itself as a fearsome and deadly foe with long-range punch and seemingly impregnable protection. But German engineers continued to pursue perfection, releasing a steady stream of production changes to correct performance shortcomings while adjusting to materials shortages. The most obvious change to the late-production (produced after February, 1944) Tiger 1 Ausf. E was the addition of all-steel wheels – the same ones used on the Tiger II. Another giveaway is the single hole in the mantlet for the gunsight. This change was necessitated by Russian anti-tank riflemen aiming at the more vulnerable twin-hole setup on the mid-production Tiger 1 E version. I am sure I missed a litany of smaller changes, but this is a humble in-box review, not a seminar.
FINALLY, LET’S OPEN THE BOX!
When the kit first arrived, I had to double-check the scale. The box is freaking HUGE. What's more, when you pop the lid you see that TAKOM has filled it to the top with parts. A lot of parts – and that's without indie tracklinks taking up half of them. I get the feeling this kit offers a LOT.
Just to give some perspective, here is TAKOM’s giant box compared to Dragon’s legendary Tiger 1 kit.
The kit is crisply molded in light grey plastic. A quick inspection revealed VERY little (if any flash) and mold seams are subtle. The sprue attachment points are small, which makes me anticipate less cleanup and a smoother building experience. I think the best way to convey the potential of this kit is to let TAKOM show you. Here are a few of the shots they have released to promote this kit. Notice the little touches that keep this from being “just another Tiger kit.”
The link-and-length tracks look easy to assemble, and the open guide teeth are really nice.
Options are the word of the day – and they look spectacular.
This is a 2-1 kit, offering standard and command vehicle options. I haven’t decided which version to do yet – they both look delicious.
Check out the storage goodies included in the box! Those wheels under the tarp are super-cool.
Due to the sheer amount of plastic in this box these sprue shots are going to take awhile to plow through. I will jump in with commentary once in awhile.
TURRET: check out that rough, in-scale Zimmerit. The mismatched pattern to the right of the rear hatch is a VERY nice touch.
SPRUE C (x2)
SPRUES K, L, & M - I really like how TAKOM makes the sprue identifiers large and easy to find.
SPRUE T - THREE, COUNT ’EM THREE MANTLET OPTIONS! AND THAT MUZZLE BRAKE LOOKS LEGIT.
SPRUE X - THE STOWAGE GOODIES MAKE AN APPEARANCE - PLUS MORE ROUGH ZIMMERITTY GOODNESS.
SPRUE E (x2)
SPRUE G – again, look at that Zimmerit.
Sprue B (x2) – well-defined details here, you gotta get closer than my camera can to appreciate what's going on here.
Sprue F (x2) – these are the bazillion hollow guide horns that need to be installed.
Normally I would be hating life right about now, but TAKOM seems to have a clever jig system to make this step relatively painless.
I have only built one other TAKOM kit, and if I remember right, I enjoyed every step. Engineering was solid, the fit was great and the instructions were well thought out and super clear. So far, this box review is telling me that I am in for another incredible model-building experience. All those multiple building options and extra stowage pieces don’t hurt. I am anxious to get this one rolling. Stay tuned.
Thanks goes out to TAKOM for this review kit.
Reviewed by Matt Deck
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