I think it will help to consider VK 45.01 (H) as the blueprint for following Tigers. I will describe its features here in a retrospective, assuming we all appreciate the attributes of an Initial or Early Tiger. VK 45.01 (H) is similar to the upcoming production Initial Tigers, but certain ‘items’ are missing/different.
The points are;
• The prototype Tiger had no OVM tools.
• It had no wing-nuts for fording gear on the MG ball.
• There was no MG fitted in the Kugelbende on the three photographs I have, I will assume the coaxial MG is similarly missing.
• 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.
• The prototype had a horn on the upper hull.
• VK 45.01 (H) had no periscopes in the driver’s or radio operator’s hatches.
• 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 prototype had a flat-hatch style opening stopper for the cupola lid, which opened fully-flat, this means that there was no swing-arm for the hatch opener, or spring gear; the hatch would have been opened manually & dropped (no doubt creating all sorts of damage when it fell on the opener, hence later development of the spring mechanism?)
• The MP Klappen were asymmetrical.
• There were no S-mine launchers or smoke-launchers on this Tiger 1.
• There was a Vorpanzer (obviously).
• The sprocket wheel external bolts were aligned with the wheel spokes, as were the sprocket teeth, but the hub nuts were not aligned with the spokes.
• 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).
• There was no sighting wire on the forward cupola slit.
• There were no rain cover posts on the cupola.
• Despite sporting the Vorpanzer, the forward sections of the hull had holes for tow shackles.
• The turret roof extraction fan had an armoured cover applied in the photographs I can see.
• There were no hatch hooks on the rear hull deck grates.
• There was no crank starter plate.
• The engine hatch (like Tiger 111) had no rectangular air intake aperture in the forward position.
• There were no lightweight front mudguards; these were solid metal extensions of the glacis pate, further – this area had no circular cut-outs for ‘lorry camouflage’.
• The exhausts had no shrouds, but also had no flappers, or bolt mechanism for attaching circular metal covers; the upper aspects of the exhausts were blank discs with a hole in for exhaust gases.
• The rear mudguards look the same as the Initial Tiger 1’s.
• This Tiger had a rectangular convoy light, as seen later on Tiger 111.
• Fgst.Nr.V1 had no armoured guards around the final drives.
I think this Tiger was (at some point, at least) Primer Red. Having discussed this with David Byrden we have come to the conclusion that the barrel is a darker colour, one assumes it would be the heat resistant dark grey we hear so much about.