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Airfix Pz.Kpfw VI Ausf.B King Tiger
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England - South East, United Kingdom
Joined: November 19, 2008
KitMaker: 2,231 posts
Armorama: 1,989 posts
Posted: Wednesday, October 10, 2012 - 10:23 AM UTC
For their summer 1/76 scale armour release Airfix went for one of the big subjects: a King Tiger. Just which King Tiger is this, and how does it go together? Matthew Lenton tracks down this big cat... yes, tracks...

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Tennessee, United States
Joined: December 21, 2002
KitMaker: 7,689 posts
Armorama: 2,415 posts
Posted: Wednesday, October 10, 2012 - 03:01 PM UTC
Matthew, super review! Great writing style -- kept me interested. Thanks for showing us what to expect when built up.

I recall seeing a photo of a KT with Porsche turret (properly zimmerit-itized {New adjective!}) on a later hull without zimmerit. Maybe that's the solution to paste or engrave?
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Ontario, Canada
Joined: March 23, 2008
KitMaker: 2,839 posts
Armorama: 2,659 posts
Posted: Thursday, October 11, 2012 - 05:14 AM UTC

A very concise and also entertaining build review. I must say that it's very nice to see a "new" Airfix kit reviewed and more than a bit nostalgic in general. One of the very first kits that I ever built (when Velociraptors roaned the earth) was the Airfix Tiger I. It is pleasant to see that the evolution of Airfix's moulding is approaching the standards that one might consider the current norm. While I can appreciate the "audience" these kits might be targeted at, it's still disappointing to see some of the "shortcuts" that were taken (moulded on tools, cables, hatches). With a bit more effort they could have targeted a larger market.

Of course what you say about the tracks is quite disappointing, especially after the nice job they did on the Cromwell. As for the Zimmerit, several sources that I have seen suggest that the use of the paste was discontinued in September 1944 and that there are photos of quite a few Tiger II's without it. As for other "inaccuracies," I have read more than a few articles that mention that, in the latter stages of the war, all manner of jerry-rigging was common on almost all German vehicles. In particular I recall one source stating how a Tiger I was returned to service after having parts replaced from three different versions that were cannibalized. This even went as far as swapping out turrets and even various hull plates.

If it is your intention to coat your beast with Zimmerit then I only see a few options. The most common would be to first sand off moulded on details so that you would have smooth panels to work with and apply a thin coating of some sort of putty that can be textured. Another way I have seen is to use a small jewellers screw driver, heat the blade and apply to the plastic. With this method you could work around the cast on details. Then another option that I have seen involved the use of Zimmerit photo-etch. I know it exists in 1/72 scale but may not in 1/76. Finally there is the use of Humbrol liquid poly cement outlined in an article HERE.

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England - South East, United Kingdom
Joined: November 19, 2008
KitMaker: 2,231 posts
Armorama: 1,989 posts
Posted: Thursday, October 11, 2012 - 09:17 AM UTC
Thanks Fred and Jan for your nice comments on the review.

If anyone can bring up the photo of an operational Porsche-type turret KT with no Zimmerit I'd like to see it. According to Jentz and Doyle, the fitting of the 50 early turrets was authorised in Feb 44, with the new series production turret starting to be fitted to the KTs from June 44. There is the somewhat vague sentence about "Three additional turrets originally ordered for Porsche prototypes were also converted by Krupp for mounting on Henschel chassis from April to August 1944." So that's still short of the 9th Sept 44 order stopping Zimmerit, but maybe there's time for an overlap...

Anyway, I had dug out an Airfix Panther kit and experimented a little using the Liquid Poly method that Jan links to, and actually found my best result was using a knife to score in the ridges rather than trying to press them in with a flat blade. I suppose the problem with engraving is that you do get an inward groove when what you really want is something that sticks out, especially the vertical pattern between the horizontal strokes.

In preparation, I have some tow ropes coming from Poland (Eureka brand via Ebay) and today ordered some tools from Dan Taylor's Model Works. So I'm covered for pasting, or for engraving-with-accidental-ruining of the details!

I was thinking about the tracks and re-read Michael Johnson's build log on the Cromwell and there was some discussion about the limited detail, particularly on the inside of the tracks, although the Cromwell tracks are relatively narrow and rather ridged in appearance; I'm thinking maybe that it was decided that the KT tracks are just too big and complex in terms of tread detail to do the same method.
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Sør-Trøndelag, Norway
Joined: October 23, 2012
KitMaker: 189 posts
Armorama: 37 posts
Posted: Wednesday, March 13, 2013 - 10:30 AM UTC
When I built this model recently I opted for the metal axel-solution, the joint was much stronger and it was really quite easy to fix.

The end result was pretty good I thought. Ages since I built armor in this scale but was a christmas present