by: Vinnie Branigan [ ]
The King Tiger, or Tiger II as everybody knows, was a result of the evolution of the Tiger I, incorporating design changes such as sloping front armour, learned through bitter experience on the Eastern front. Both Porsche and Henschel were asked to submit designs. The Henschel design was eventuallu favoured, but Porsche had already begun production of a turret, initially for a cancelled design, therefore the first 50 production Tiger II's had their turret installed, thereafter all the Tiger II's produced had the Henschel designed turret.
On opening the box, you'll find the 'Dragon card', a device for ordering all those little 'goodies' we've come to expect with Dragon kits. This one holds the tracks and a small photo etched fret of the 4 engine grills. There are 4 sprues of light grey styrene, plus two fender skirts, a separate hull and turret, and of course the instructions.
There is not a lot to say here.........the parts are simply stunning! The hull has zimmerit already moulded on......and it looks perfectly in scale too. The only problem I can see with this is the representation of damage that some modellers will like to impart to their models. I do think that could be accomplished with a little styrene cement to 'smooth' things over, or fine sandpaper however. Anyway, it's a small price to pay for relieving us of the need to source aftermarket zimmerit, and as for doing it yourself at this scale.......?
The hull does have moulded on tools, which is a drawback, but liveable with, and again, these can be improved quite easily with a small piece of fine wire. The driver's hatch id moulded closed, and yet the co-driver's hatch is a separate part. allowing for the possibilty of inserting a crew member, although this is not included in the kit.
The fenders and engine deck sprue C are from the Jagdtiger kit. Again, the moulding looks to be near perfect, and there is an engine insert, which means you can show the engine access cover open, since it's moulded as a separate part. This sprue even includes separately moulded tow shackles and a jack!
Sprue A containing the running gear, or at least the wheels and drive sprocket etc., since the axles are moulded as part of the hull, is again common to the Jagdtiger kit, and does not have reverse detail on the roadwheels, which would probably be unnecessary at this scale anyway. Sprue F contains the rear hull wall, rear of the turret, and spare track links for hanging on the turret. As before, the zimmerit is moulded on, and is exceptionally well done. I've seen a lot of larger scale Tigers not done as well as this.
The major thing I don't like is the two trapeziod-shaped grills over the engine deck slats, just underneath the rear of the turret. Dragon supply four beautiful photo etched grills, and then these two in solid styrene, and they just don't look good at all.
Quite a comprehensive decal sheet is supplied, even though small, and there are six different options catered for:
1. s.Pz.Abt.101, Belgium, 1944
2. s.Pz.Abt.506, Andler, 1944
3. s.Pz.Abt.501, Germany, 1944
4. s.Pz.Abt.501, Eastern Front, 1944
5. s.Pz.Abt.503, Hungary, 1945
6. s.Pz.Abt.506, Germany, 1945
A stunning miniature of the Tiger II, at an incredible price. It's one drawback is two of the six required engine grills are only supplied as styrene. Still highly recommended.
My thanks to Dragon for the review sample