With this kit release, Dragon Model
has once again treated the modeller to what might be called a combo kit. In this case we are presented with a Tiger I Late Production variant with Zimmerit and a new figure set that they call “Tiger Aces”.
For all intents and purposes the Tiger I is a recycling of the Late Production Sd.Kfz.181 Ausf. E, kit 7203. From various sources it has been suggested that the “Panzer Aces” figures are downsized versions from a previously released 1/35 scale offering. A bit of searching revealed that the original 1/35 set (kit 6028) was released in June 2003 and these appear to be the smaller version of that set.
To anyone interested in German World War Two armour, I am sure that the phrase "Tiger Aces" immediately conjures up the name Michael Wittmann. Whether these figures are meant to represent his crew is open to speculation.
The subject of this review is the Dragon Model
Armor Pro, Sd. Kfz. 181 Tiger I Late Production w/Zimmerit Tiger Aces, kit 7440.
On opening the somewhat larger than average box, one is immediately presented with a plethora of parts. Presented were five moderately large sprues moulded in the standard Dragon Model
grey styrene. These are contained in separate bags. There is no standard Dragon Model
accessory card but one will find separate bags containing a pair of Dragon Model
DS plastic tracks, a single small photo-etch fret, brass muffler shrouds and a set of Cartograph water-slide decals.
A four sided instruction card is provided displaying a parts diagram, two pages with six assembly steps in the form of coloured CAD images with arrows for parts placement and one page showing painting and markings. The painting and marking illustrations are for one of four tanks, all painted in three colour camouflage.
- 2./s.Pz.Abt.101, Normandy 1944
- 1./s.Pz.Abt.101, Normandy 1944
- 9./Pz.Rgt.3, “Totenkampf”, Poland 1944
- 2./s.Pz.Abt.102, Normandy 1944
The colour references provided are for the GSI Creos Corp Aqueous Hobby Color, the same company’s Mr. Color and Model Master enamels.
Sprue and parts breakdown is as follows:
- Sprue ‘A’ - 25 (Tiger detail Pieces)
- Sprue ‘B’ - 58 (Two Sprues with Suspension Wheels)
- Sprue ‘C’ - 10 (Gun and Tiger detail Pieces)
- Sprue ‘D’ - 2 (DS Tracks)
- Sprue ‘E’ - 1 (Upper Hull)
- Sprue ‘F’ - 1 (Lower Hull)
- Sprue ? - 25 (unlabeled Figure Sprue)
- Fret “MA’ - 2 Photo Etch (Exhaust Shrouds)
- Fret “MB’ - 3 Photo Etch Turret Ring Pieces
Total parts count is 127 with 5 styrene parts marked as unused.
Essentially this is basically two individual kits in one box. The styrene parts of both are moulded in lighter grey coloured plastic and the DS-100 parts in a light tan colour. As with most Dragon Model
Armor Pro kits that I have seen, these kit(s) looked promising. As stated in the introduction, the Tiger I is virtually the same kit (#7203) that was originally released in June 2004. It has been the subject of a built review here on Armorama.
Ejector marks are minimal and where they do appear they are mostly on internal surfaces that will not show after construction or be otherwise hidden after the addition of extra parts. Some flash was present on some of the Tiger parts. This flash and most seam lines were generally light and could be taken care of with a scraping of a sharp hobby blade. Sprue attachment points (gates) for the parts were all over the place. A number on the larger Tiger parts are quite large and will require care with their removal.
The Tiger in this kit was previously released as Kit No. 7203; Sd. Kfz. 181 Ausf. E Tiger I Late Production w/Zimmerit. Altogether, six steps in the instructions deal solely with the Tiger’s construction.
Tiger Ace Figures
The figures are multi-piece affairs with separate arms, legs, heads, torso and head-covering. All the pieces are on one medium sized sprue. The moulding is good and there is little flash and the moulding seams are quite light.
There are five figures one of which is a three-quarter figure on the sprue, as one has no legs below the knee. This partial figure is posed in a erect position and ideally meant to occupy an open loaders hatch. The other four full figures are in various poses with two being in a sitting position and two standing.
While new to Braille scale, the original set on which they are based is an older moulding (2003). This original set has the moulding considered to be on the soft side and not quite as sharp compared to today’s standards. The 1/72 figures are good for the scale but in this reviewer’s opinion, not quite up to the sharpness of detail found in some more recent kits that include figures. The reader should also note that unlike their 1/35 brethren (and other 1/72 Dragon Model
figures), there is no equipment (pistol holsters, binoculars etc) provided.
The Tiger I
As mentioned above, the Tiger I and it’s fellow Dragon Model
cousins have reviews here on Armorama as well as other sites. Rather than go into extensive detail this reviewer will just present the quick observations from his experience.
Step 1 and 2
are the assembly of all the suspension components onto the lower hull. All these pieces are one piece mouldings. Fit overall was good although it can take a bit of fiddling to get everything lined up to fit on their respective shafts. Due to all the interleaving of the pieces it would probably be best to paint the pieces separately beforehand. This version used the steel road wheels so there is no need to worry about painting the rubber portion of each wheel.
In Step 3
the entire turret is constructed and should present few problems for an experienced modeller. The only issue might be the seam at the back of the turret. Due to the moulded on Zimmerit there is a visible partition line between the two turret side halves. As there is a turret rear storage bin, the area it covers could be ignored. That just leaves small areas at the top above the bin and below it to be taken into account.
With Step 4
the upper hull is assembled and detailed and from previous builds of Tiger I kits I foresee few issues.
Construction is completed in Step 5 and 6
with the attachment of the tracks and then the three main pieces of lower hull, upper hull and turret.
The Tiger Aces Figures
The figure instructions are coloured pictures of the assembled figure with parts callout and somewhat ambiguous painting instructions. There are no mating features between parts other than the head/neck fitting into a shallow depression at the top of the torso.
is a sitting figure meant to be positioned on the front turret roof with one foot resting on the main gun. The moulding was rather rough and parts do not align well.
is the partial figure without legs below the knees. It is to be posed in the open loaders hatch with the left hand holding the top of the hatch. This will not be possible with this version of the tank as the hatch in question is moulded on. It would take a fair amount of effort and skill to convert the hatch to an open configuration. Amusingly, the underside of the moulded on hatch has some interior detail.
is a full figure meant to sit in an open drivers hatch with the left arm resting along the edge of the turret mantlet top. As pertains to the figure 2, the drivers hatch is moulded in the closed position.
is a standing NCO (non-commissioned officer) with hands on hips. There is a fairly good fit to most parts but a split between the legs will need to be filled.
has often been referred to as the “Michael Wittmann” figure. It had overall good parts fit and has a simple yet unique pose. The figure is erect with the right hand holding a set of headphones and left hand up towards the face at collar level.
Three of the figures are wearing side caps and mating them with the head may be quite daunting for the less experienced. The caps have a fairly substantial sprue gate at their back end. Both the head part and the cap are extremely small. It will probably be best to attached the head to the torso first and then the cap to the head. Any clean-up should then wait until the parts have dried solidly.
In fact, many of the figures’ attachment points proved substantial enough to require some serious clean-up time. Each figure’s construction and clean-up had its unique challenges. This is partly due to the small size but also the unique poses.
This kit is both an interesting combination and a pleasant surprise. It has been a while since the release of the Panther and Tiger II kits with figures. Dare it be suggested here that perhaps we may see even more of these combination kits from time to time. Overall both these kits have their pluses and minuses but I experienced just a few difficulties with the review sample(s).
Having built earlier Dragon Model
Tiger I models in the past, I can attest that this version goes together with far less problems than the previous ones. While it doesn't have a large number of PE parts like The Tiger I Mid Production w/Zimmerit (kit 7251), it is still a serviceable kit.
The one disappointing aspect of the figures is that only three are usable with this tank. In their original configuration, the partial loader and the driver cannot be used due to the moulded on closed hatches. However, a use for these unsuitable figures may find a home adorning some other vehicle in the builder’s collection.
Armorama Built Review of Tiger I Late
Tiger 1 Build