I’m no expert on the Tiger I, but here’s what I believe I understand about the VK45.01(H). I had planned on building a model of this exact vehicle and had done a bit of research for this build. I have read through your shopping list and found it to be complete with a few exceptions. So I thought it best if I went and shared. My main reference is the Jentz & Doyle D.W. to Tiger I. Incidentally, the Germans generally referred to this menacing vehicle as Tiger as did the Allies who fought against it. When the Tiger II came along a few sources began referring to this vehicle as Tiger I, but this name was never officially given to this vehicle.
• This was the first Henschel Tiger – it had a Porsche-style mantlet with the cut-out at the lower left border, assuming that by early 1942 Henschel had not quite clinched the deal and acquired a Krupp turret from the Porsche project; I hope to be enlightened by anybody who might know better.
Following production cancellation of the Porsche VK45.01(P) Tiger, Krupp delivered the first 4 of the 90 turret armor bodies along with the original drum-shaped commander's cupola and components produced for the VK45.01(P) to Wagman for conversion over to hydraulic traverse for use on the VK45.01(H) in late December 1942, completing all subsequent deliveries by early June 1943. Krupp delivered the 1st completed turret, designed specifically for the VK45.01(H), to Henschel on April 11, 1942 just 9 days prior to the demonstration competition against the Porsche VK45.01(P) held on Hitler’s birthday.
• Talking of radio operators; this being a prototype I assume it did not have any radio gear; consequently I am considering deleting the rubber antenna mount on the upper right rear hull and the metal antenna mount on the upper hull rear plate; comments would be appreciated.
The metal antenna extension mount welded to the upper right rear corner of the hull rear armor plate was a specified design feature that would have been affixed to the 1st Krupp armor hull during assembly before delivery to Henschel on January 3, 1942. The antenna extension mount was also present on the 2nd Krupp armor hull (Fgst.Nr.250001 – 1st production series chassis completed in May 1942). The antenna extension mount was removed from production by October 1942. The rubber antenna mount (without the antenna) on the right rear deck would also have been present per design. This is also present on the 2nd Krupp armor hull.
• One would have thought that this Tiger would have had ‘mirror’ tracks; in the photographs I have seen it did not. I wonder, therefore, whether this Tiger sported the first type of non-mirror tracks, a decision which was ‘modified’, then later re-simplified? Either that or the reference date on the pictures is wrong and the Tiger was photographed later than April 1942 (i.e. post-August 1942).
Only the first 20 series production vehicles (250001 – 250020) were outfitted with the right and left cross-country (‘mirror’) tracks. Although this was a specified design feature the VK45.01(H) did not have them.
• There were no hatch hooks on the rear hull deck grates.
There also wasn’t a pivoted hook or catch for the engine hatch. There is however a pivoted hook and catch for the engine hatch on the 2nd Krupp armor hull but not for the deck grates. These vehicles also did not have any screens installed over the deck grates.
• This Tiger had a rectangular convoy light, as seen later on Tiger 111.
There is also a small reflector mounted to the lower left side of the hulls rear plate. Also the tow coupling for the fuel trailer was not present on this vehicle, although this was a specified design feature.
Photograph of VK45.01(H) taken in April 1942 inside the Henschel assembly hull. This photograph was taken in the same month as the photograph you posted. What clinched the time frame when the photographs were taken is the VK30.01 sitting just to the right rear of the VK45.01(H) in both photographs. You can barely see the rear idler of the VK30.01 behind the VK45.01(H) in the photograph you posted.
Four VK30.01 chassis were in the process of being completed to be sent to a school for Panzer drivers with the first two vehicles having already been sent in March and the remaining two being sent in late April 1942. The first Krupp VK45.01(H) turret complete with main gun, was delivered to Henschel on April 11, 1942. After working around the clock for six days the vehicle was operationally ready and inspected on April 17, 1942 just 40 minutes before being loaded with its cross-country tracks onto a railcar for transport to Hitler’s headquarters in Rastenburg, for the competition with the Porsche VK45.01(P) contender held on April 20, 1942.
I hope that the above photograph will shed some light about why I believe that the assembly crew may have hastily over sprayed the vehicles primer color with a base coat of dark gray? Note the difference in color on the forward deck armored ventilator cover between the two headlights and the rear deck grates. I wonder if the top of the deck and turret were left in the primer color of rotbrun (red/brown oxide) because a lot of sections on the road wheels, idler and lower hull leave the impression that this may have been the case? Well, maybe not the turret top.
Hope this is of some help to you Bill?