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Sd. Kfz. 182 KingTiger Porsche Turret w/Zimmerit

Kit Number:
6848
Scale:
1:35
Published:
Sunday, January 29, 2017
Manufacturer:
Dragon Models Limited (DML)
Retail Price:
$80.00
Reviewed By:
Chuck Rothman

Sd. Kfz. 182 KingTiger
Porsche Turret
with Zimmerit
Dragon Kit # 6848

First Look Review

 

Background

Even before the Tiger I made its debut in the fall of 1942, plans were already underway for its replacement. Both Henschel and Porsche were asked to design a bigger Tiger that could mount a longer 88mm gun. The Porsche design did not progress very far, although its suspension was used on the first few Jagdtigers, and 50 turrets designed for the Porsche version of the Tiger were manufactured. These were not specific to the Porsche design, but rather were the design that would fit onto either tank chassis. Because the turret was redesigned to avoid shot traps and simplify manufacturing, the early turret was dubbed the "Porsche" turret, and the later turret was dubbed the "Henschel" turret. These are not official designations, but are commonly used.

The Henschel design was essentially the Tiger I, with a lengthened chassis (one additional road wheel station), and slopped armour like on the Panther. Based on reports from the field, they dispensed with the interleaved roadwheel design of the Tiger I and just had inside and outside roadwheels.

The first Tiger IIs came off the assembly line in January, 1944, and 474 were completed by the end of the war. As noted above, the first 50 were fitted with the early "Porsche" turret. Since zimmerit was in use on all manufactured tanks from Sept 1943 to Sept 1944, all "Porsche" turreted King Tigers were coated in Zimmerit.

This information was compiled from information in Achtung Panzer No. 6 and The Modeler's Guide to the Tiger Tank, both excellent references for this vehicle.

The Kit

Dragon released its first King Tiger kit with the Porsche turret in 2004. They re-released the kit with upgraded parts as a Dragon Smart kit in 2006, and then redid the smart kit with zimmerit molded directly onto the kit parts in 2007. The 2006 and 2007 kits had pre-formed photoetch engine deck covers that were designed to eliminate the shot trap under the rear turret overhang.

This kit is essentially the same as the 2007 kit, except that it no longer has the preformed grills (it does have the grills on the photoetch sheet but you have to form them youself), and it comes with the crane that was fitted to the top of the turret for maintenance. The zimmerit molding is very good, and although it might be a bit overscale, it does look right. 

What's In The Box

The kit is composed of 26 sprues, two bags of magic tracks, two aluminum cables and one large photo-etch fret. Some of the sprues are from the original 2004 kit, some are from the reworked 2006 kit, and most of the remainder are from the 2007 zimmerit kit. The only new parts compared to the 2007 kit are the photoetch sheet and sprue N which has the turret crane parts. The photoetch sheet has the engine deck grills, tool clasps and chains for the crane.

Because of the mismash of sprues, there is no Sprue A, D, E, F, I, M, O, R, U and Z, and there are two different sprue N. Here they are:

 Sprue B.jpg

Sprue B - this sprue contains the drive sprockets, idlers, exhaust pipes, and a bunch of small parts. There are two of these sprues in the kit. This is the same sprue B that is included in the Jagdtiger kit. About half the parts on this sprue are marked as not used.

Sprue C.jpg

Sprue C - this sprue contains some hull parts. The rear of the turret, the armoured ehaust cowls and the tools are marked as not used.

Sprue G.jpg

Sprue G - this sprue has the roadwheel, torsion bar arms, and part of the turret ring guard. It is essentially the same as Sprue G in the Jagdtiger kit. There are 3 of this sprue in the box. The roadwheel detail is very nice

Roadwheel Closeup.jpg

Sprue H.jpg

Sprue H - This has various turret parts. There are two piece gun barrels representing both the one section and two section barrels used on the King Tiger. Note that the one section two-part barrel is the one shown in the instructions, but they also show the separate muzzle break from sprue TK which means you're supposed to cut the muzzle break off parts H1 and H2. The cutting off step isn't mentioned..

Sprue K.jpg

Sprue K - this has the track guards, rear engine plate (with zimmerit), and the gun mantle (also with zimmerit).  A close up of the rear plate, kugelblende, and gun mantle are shown below. The attachment points for the gun mantlet look like they will damage the zimmerit. I'll see what I can do when I build this beast. Note that the offset cap on the engine access panel is correct for this version of the King Tiger, according to both Achtung Panzer and The Modeler's Guide to the Tiger Tank.

 Mantlet Closeup.jpg

Kugelblende Closeup.jpg

Rear closeup.jpg

Sprue L & S.jpg

Sprues L and S - clear parts for the commander's cupola and periscopes.  Many of the parts on Sprue L are not used.

Sprue N(2).jpg

Sprue N (the first one) - this contains some turret parts, and the single piece gun barrel which is marked as not for use. The barrel is too short for the one section barrel used on early King Tigers, but with some modification, you could use it as part of the two section barrel fitted to some of the later Porsche turreted King Tigers (there is a picture at the bottom of page 112 of Auchtung Panzer that shows both barrel types on Porsche turreted King Tigers),.

Sprue N.jpg

Sprue N (the other one) - this is the only new sprue in the kit, and has parts for the turret crane. It comnes from Dragon's Bergepanzer kit.

 Sprue Q.jpg

Sprue Q - this has parts to represent the gun breech. There isn't a whole lot of detail here, but if you leave the hatches open and stick a figure in them, then maybe there is enough here.

Multiple Sprues.jpg

Sprues TF, TG, TH, TJ, TK, TL and J - various small parts. The kugelblende on sprue TK is not used, as one with zimmerit is located on sprue K.

 Sprue T (various).jpg

Sprues TA, TB, TC and TD - tools, the jack and the tow cable ends.  The tow cable ends have slide molded holes to insert the cables into. The tools do not have molded on tool clasps.

Tools Closeup.jpg

Cupola Closeup.jpg

The kits comes with two different cupolas. One has drainage channels and one doesn't. I don't think any Porsche King Tigers had the cupola with the drainage channels, as Achtung Panzer says that cupola was introduced in June, and June is when the "Henschel" turret was introduced.  Perhaps one of the last Porsche turetted King Tigers had the later cupola.

Sprue X.jpg

The upper hull is molded as one piece. The zimmerit is slide molded onto it. 

Hull Front Closeup.jpg
Sprue V.jpg

The hull tub is also a single piece, and zimmerit is molded onto the lower front. The lower hull has very nice weld details where the side joins the bottom. Too bad this isn't seen unless you want to show the King Tiger flipped upside down.

Underside Closeup.jpg

 Sprue P.jpg

The turret top is also molded as a single piece with zimmert.

Photoetch.jpg

The photoetch is one long piece. It includes the engine deck grills, tool clasps and chains for the crane. The chains are two dimensional, and could stand some twisting to make them look more 3D.

Photoetch Closeup.jpg

Wire.jpg

There are two different diameter wire cables included. These are rather stiff, but I should be able to make them work.

Decals.jpg

The decal sheet doesn't have a lot of choice, but most pictures of King Tigers don't show a lot of makrings, so this should be adequate.

Tracks.jpg

And finally, the Magic Track. The King Tiger track was originally made up of track shoes joined together with a 4 piece link., These links were ultimately changed to single piece connecting shoes. This later track design was introduced in March, 1944. The Magic Track included represent this later type of track. 

Track Closeup 1.jpg

Track Closeup 2.jpg

There are raised knockout marks on each shoe that will need to be cleaned off, at least for the bottom run if you plan on using the full track guards.

 

The instructions are on 8 pages, in Dragon's standard black and blue ink. However, instead of line drawings, they include photographs of the various steps. I find this somewhat confusing. When building this kit (or any dragon kit for that matter), you should pay very close attention to the actual parts and read through the whole instructions before starting, because Dragon often makes mistakes naming parts and leaves out step that you only discover later on. Just a word of warning.

The instructions are here:

Tiger_Page_1.jpgTiger_Page_2.jpg

Tiger_Page_3.jpgTiger_Page_4.jpg

Tiger_Page_5.jpgTiger_Page_6.jpg

Tiger_Page_7.jpgTiger_Page_8.jpg

The marking options shown on page 8 of the instructions include two vehicles used in Normandy in June, 1944, one used in Eastern France in August, 1944, and one used in Hungary in January, 1945. Pictures of all 4 vehicles are well known.

Conclusion

This kit looks to be a well detailed and relatively easy to build representation of the early King Tiger. While some people prefer to put zimmerit on from scratch or use thrid-party resin or photo etch zimmerit, I like the molded on type. Of course, if you want to show some damaged zimmerit, you will have your work cut out. The way this kit is engineered, it looks like all zimmerit edges are taken care of. I've built other Dragon Zimmerit kits where zimmerit is not included on edges - I had to do my own there.

The only major concern I have is damaging the zimmerit on the kugelblende when I remove it from the sprue.

The addition of the turret crane is nice, but I would have preferred real chain to the flat, photoetch type. Although the engine screens are not pre-formed, I don't see a major problem dealing with these.

Highly Recommended for Intermediate to Advanced builders. I think beginners will have difficulty with the photo etch, esepcially the tool clasps (there are no alternate plastic tools with clasps, so you have to use the photoetch). Of course, this rating is pending my upcoming full build.

Thanks goes out to Dragon USA for this review kit.

Reviewed by Chuck Rothman
AMPS 2nd V.P. - Canada
AMPS Webmaster
AMPS Fort York Toronto Chapter

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