by: Frederick Boucher [ ]
introductionBandai's Jagdtiger was part of their huge 1/48 armor series. A later release, it featured weld seams, sharp molding and an interior.
Bandai or FROG or Fuman The Jagdtiger was released in the 1970's and then again in the late 1980's, it was last released by Bandai subsidiaries FROG and Fuman in the 1990's. Though this model is the Fuman issue, for review sake I consider it Bandai. Any differences between the releases will be noted. Bandaiís molds had held up well but are rumored to have been mishandled by Fuman and subsequently scrapped. Depending on the manufacturer, the box will be a sturdy two-piece box (Bandai), a flimsy two-piece box (Fuman), or a single flip-top box (FROG.) Bandai's original box had a red stripe with a Wehrmacht eagle on the bottom of the colorful action oriented box art. Eventually the Swastika was deleted from the eagle, and later the boxes lost the red stripe. During the 1980's reissue, the box art was a full color four-view of the subject. Fuman's box art is a full color four-view of the vehicle. All sprues were sealed in plastic bags. They still have Bandai molded onto the tabs, but "Made in Japan" is crudely obscured.
The kitThe kit is comprised of one hundred and eighty three styrene pieces. This includes one hundred eighty-one gray pieces on four sprues and a separate superstructure and lower hull, and two vinyl rubber band style tracks. A fifth sprue of crew members consists of 27 parts. The parts are crisply molded with sharp detail and virtually free of mold marks (on the visible side of pieces), but there are sink holes on some smaller parts. Some parts are marred with various amounts of flash. There are some mold seams along part edges, but most of these can be eliminated with a quick pass of an X-acto blade. The exterior is lightly textured. The mantlet was very rough and some additional texturing will greatly enhance the appearance. This was one of Bandai's last molds and featured weld seam detail. The hull has the nine road wheel Henschel suspension (Porsche's had 8 road wheels).
The 12.8 cm PaK 44 L/55 barrel seems too short, a common mistake for Jagdtiger models until recently. The kit includes the 690 hp (515 kW) V-12 Maybach HL 230 P30 engine but there are no other details for the engine compartment. Fuel tanks, radiators, etc., will have to be scratchbuilt.
Bandai models included an interior. How much access Bandai had to any of the three surviving Jagdtiger is speculative, but the interior indicates not much. The Jagdtiger includes the above mentioned engine compartment, the fighting compartment, and the driver and radio operator stations. The interior includes the transmission case with a radio and instrument panel, raised tread floor, drive shaft, seats, steering wheel, and the 12.8 cm PaK 44 L/55. The PaK 44 is reasonably detailed, though the gun mount is toy-like. There are also storage boxes for the APC Pzgr. and APCBC Pzgr.43, which were a two piece projectile and cartridge. These are incorrect as the real Jagdtiger stored the propellant casings horizontally along the superstructure wall, and the projectiles on the floor. The big gun and the ammo still leave a great deal of unfilled space in the fighting compartment for those with the inclination to scratchbuild.
A large number of spare track hangers for the superstructure exterior are provided.
The sad vinyl tracks have basic detail on one side.
Decals, instructions and paintingYou will be guided through assembly with easy to follow, well illustrated directions. Bandai enhanced the process with photographs of the model and prototype. The painting guide does not reference brands. The color schemes are an inappropriate Panzer gray. The extensive decal choice provides eight unit markings, Balkencruz, and numbers for any combination of vehicles. Bandai decals of the 1970s are acceptable, those of the 80's reissue are better though the carrier film is still a bit thick. FROG decals have been very good but Fuman decals are useless vinyl stickers!
ConclusionOne of Bandaiís later and better offerings. Basic interior detail fore and aft, plenty of room for super detailing. This is the Fuman molding and though the parts are mainly crisp, there is flash of varying amounts on many pieces. The vinyl tracks detract from the overall quality of the model; aftermarket tracks and running gear, or pirated from Tamiya King Tiger could help the model. For now this is the only quarter scale Jadgtiger available and, as is, makes a worthy model.
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