by: Jason [ ]
First off itís a Tiger 1 from Academy and more over itís a popular type with limited reference and plenty of vagaries. I am not an expert, I do like Tigers and have built a few and researched a few, this review will be looking at the kit and testing its accuracy to a basic level so I will be aiming it more towards modellers who would like to build this from the box.
The kit includes:
10 x Beige plastic sprues
1 x Black sprue for the spare tracks
1 x Etched fret
1 x Decal Sheet
1 x Decal Zimmerit Sheet (from DEF MODEL)
1 x Sprue of Poly Caps
1 x Piece of String
1 x Instruction Book
1 x Black & white painting guide (Designed by DEF.MODEL) and photo etched instructions
1 x Hull tub
2 x One piece tracks
There are four markings included which all have interesting changes, each one has information on the painting guide giving you pointers as to what things should be left off or added, for example zimmerit on the turret and not on the hull, spare track placement etc. If you are happy to depict one of these popular Tigers without worrying too much about total accuracy then this guide will help you to build a very good looking model. If you are looking to go down the route of researching the particular Tank and want to be totally accurate then these Tigers have a few discrepancies. For example all are depicted with steel wheels (and that is all that is included) however some had rubber wheels and 111 could have had either. I fall somewhere in between myself and I am quite happy to use info sourced from the internet and from what I can see in a picture to aid my modelling.
F01 Gruppe Fehrmann Essel, Germany, April 1945
F13 Gruppe Fehrmann Achum, Germany, April 1945
F111 Gruppe Fehrmann Achum, Germany, April 1945
411 Schwere Pazer Kompanie Hummel Belgium Ardennes December 1944
Looking over the sprues you can see that the kit is made up from lots of different Academy kits. Sprues D, Hull tub, E & C are from 1996 and include a turret and its fittings with the remainder being mainly hull fittings. Sprue L is from 1997 with a few interior parts and a figure. Sprue B is for the steel wheels, sprockets and idlers and is from 1990. Sprue R has a newly tooled turret which is asymmetrical and when compared to the 1996 offering it has vastly improved weld seems and looks more refined overall. Sprue P has a new 88mm gun, mantlet and engine deck, the gun and engine deck are similar to Dragon offerings and look very good, there is also a multi piece muzzle break. Sprue B (new) also contains an engine deck of an earlier type as well as the hull deck and glacis plate. The track cables have a lot of flash however I have not seen much flash anywhere else.
The one piece tracks are joined with melted pins and do not have open guide horns, the detail on these is quite poor overall and the model would benefit from after market replacements.
Photo etched fret is a welcome addition, it is quite thin and contains rear mudguards, mesh grills, tool clamps & exhaust shields.
The decal sheet is small and contains turret numbers and balkenkreuz plus insignia for the figure.
Now onto the decal zimmerit, this is produced by DEF.MODEL and it is the first time I have seen this in the flesh, I must say it looks very convincing, itís an epoxy resin on a transparent film and is meant to behave like waterslide decals. Initially this looks like a brilliant reproduction of zimmerit and could be a great way to ease this notoriously problematic part of modelling German armour. I have added it to a couple parts which can be seen in the pictures and I found it to behave very well, much like heavier (older) decals and this is actually help in this instance.
I think this kit is a good choice for the beginner/intermediate as the fit is good, accuracy is good and everything is included in the box, if you are looking for a highly accurate model then you would need to add to this kit with some aftermarket upgrades with the tracks in particular needing improvement.