by: Mitko Nikitov [ ]
IntroductionThe King Tiger is probably the most famous and in my opinion definitely the most attractive tank that served in WWII. It was also the most expensive one to be in production, at its time costing in money and resources about the same amount as the electricity of a small town for a month.
It was a formidable and powerful machine, introducing refined looks and - compared with all others – superior capabilities. It was arguably the WWII tank which came closest to the modern idea of a heavy main battle tank. Probably if its service life hadn’t ended, more refinements would have been introduced, some of which are implemented in this kit as ‘What If’. However, the design died with the end of the Second World War, and with it, this mean-looking vehicle was replaced on the battlefields with some technologically inferior and ill-armed tanks, although the newer types had better mobility and lower cost. Nevertheless, these were tanks that belonged to the winners and we all know what that means.
Even though King Tiger suffered a lot of criticism for its reliability, it still remains one of the subjects that gathers the most attention among historians, modelers and tank fans. It was and still remains a symbol that defines the German Armor during the Second World War, and will probably remain as such forever.
Box and BoxartAs one might expect, the box is very neat looking. It is black in its overall appearance with something very close to a satin finish. It is made from nice materials, although I expected it to be thicker and made from stiffer card. It shows a King Tiger climbing over a railway and in the background, stored hulls of King Tigers are placed one over another. Black smoke in the air and overall dark feeling emanates from the painting, showing both the unpleasant war-like atmosphere and the dark fate of the subject itself. It seems that this is the July ‘45 version (post-war, ‘What If’ type) and one can tell by the FG1250 visible over the turret.
This is 2 in 1 kit, so there is a logo describing this, alongside the handwritten Limited Edition and the AMMO logo featured too. On one of the sides there are some of the camouflage schemes profiles included in the kit and on the other, paint sets available for it. AMMO offer probably the widest range of paints oriented towards this subject and it was good business to include those on the box.
InstructionsStandard for Takom, a landscape-oriented sheet of instructions comes with the kit. The touch of AMMO is visible on the cover, and the simplicity and straight-forwardness of each step is on every page.
Some of the steps are marked with dash-1 or dash-2, which shows which version you are building it for. Second one is of course, July 1945, while the dash-1 is March 1945.
ContentsLight gray plastic sprues, frames of which are easily recognizable as Takom-produced by the flat appearance, fill the box. They are not all that is featured in the kit though. Sprues with the tracks are showing the AMMO mould as well as those that include the FG1250 (Sprue J) and the different engine deck and gun barrel (Sprue H). With them, instead of the TAKOM logo and name molded in, we have AMMO’s with the kit number and MIG’s name.
The details on both types are superb and it is up to today’s standard by any means. Some interior features show that the kit has another option with interior, however such is not included in this version.
Tracks are link and length here, unlike the ones we have seen in Takom’s version of the King Tiger. This allows for easier and quicker build and more importantly, without compromising the quality. There are some few pin-marks on each track link, but ones that are easy to be dealt with.
Everything shows fine texture and good looking details, no matter their size. Even the smallest parts are being taken care of. AMMO chose to repack this King Tiger not by accident!
One decision in particular that I didn’t like was the gun barrel of one of the versions being made into two separate halves. In truth, there are many aftermarket companies and when it comes down to King Tiger probably one can find a substitute barrel. However for a company created by a famous and experienced modeler, that decision must raise some eyebrows.
Overall, the part count isn’t scary, nor the complexity of the build. Everything looks fine and does not show any unwanted flash, defects or troubles like that, which promises that this will be a nice investment.
Clear parts and PEThe photo-etch sheet is rather small. It is quite simple too, and it will please the beginners mostly. Of course, being a Limited Edition kit that does not represent the full possibility of the metal included, but rather the collective value of the Takom kit repacked. However, with what we are used to getting from the 21st century armor kit, we could have had more in that direction.
Clear parts in my opinion are the least important item in a scaled-down tank. In reality, they are battered, dirty, missing and what not. Here though, we have versions that are either brand new or barely used, so clear parts do have some significance and Takom did a great job with molding them. Overall look of those is very satisfying as well as the thickness of the photo-etch actually – the latter one being criticized only due to its size here.
Marking optionsEight marking options are available, divided into two sections. To each of them we have a dedicated page of the colored marking options sheet. Half of those are well-known and widely modeled Spring of 1945 versions, the other half being What-if options.
‘What if’ options feature the FG1250 infrared sight on the commander’s cupola and are easily recognizable on the sheet. They do show unusual camo schemes, which will tempt many and will look wonderful once at any modeling show. The one thing that might get more attention is the gun barrel colors of some of those, which often is a subject of heated discussions. Although many claim to know the proper appearance of those, there are still a lot of comments in the German armor circles.
Splinter camo scheme, as well as a single tone, brand new vehicle does offer a very interesting options of painting and weathering techniques, being representation of styles, each in their own polarity. Both of those preferences are covered by the paint range that AMMO by MIG offers.
conclusionThis kit benefits from a simplified track assembly with more than satisfactory appearance. There is an abundance of marking options. The FG 1250 infrared sight is included. Clear and professional instructions and color scheme sheets add to a good-looking and greatly packed combination, requiring fewer skills.
But the July 1945 version isn’t accurate according to the documents published in various sources. Turret shape should be altered to accommodate the larger gun. That could have been fixed by AMMO themselves and probably what could justify their decision to leave the turret unchanged?
Overall this is a welcome Limited Edition, polished and simplified version of Takom’s beautiful kit. A choice that will satisfy many, including most ‘green’ modelers, along with the masters. A good combo of marking options and very clear declaration of what a kit should look!