Tamiya 1/16 Tiger I 'Early Production'




$906 Euro


3 versions


Andre Kamsteeg


Full option version remote control tank scale 1/16. Batteries and 4-channel transmitter are needed to operate the tank. Photos taken with my Olympus Camedia C-860L digital camera.



The Tiger tank is one of the best-known tanks of World War II. Although the numbers built were never enough to stop the flood of tanks of the allies, they made an impact that is far greater than the numbers that were available at any given time on the battlefield. The design of the Tiger started in May 1941, before the first encounters with the Russian T34’s and KV1’s. The Germans did not learn the lessons of the T34 yet, so the Tiger did not have any sloped armor, but the combination of up to 110 mm armor and the 88 mm KwK36 gun made it a very potent weapon.

The problems that plagued the tank had to do with the weight (56.900 kg) and size.  The Tiger was too wide for normal rail transport so special tracks had to be used when moving it to and from the battlefield by train. In that case the outside road wheels of the early Tiger had to be removed. It also took 3 or 4 FAMO halftracks to recover a Tiger tank. One of the most famous actions involving a Tiger occurred on the 13th of June 1944 near Viller-Bocage in Normandy where Michael Wittmann destroyed 25 British vehicles including Cromwell tanks in about 10 minutes with a single Tiger.

On the other hand the British in Tunisia captured the Tiger that is now in the Bovington tank museum. The tank had been hit with a single shot that slightly damaged the gun and then got stuck underneath the turret, preventing the turret from rotating. This tank could have easily made it back to the German line where the damage could have been repaired, but the crew got frightened and left the almost intact tank to the enemy.


This kit is big (I hope to use this word only once in this preview, but this will be difficult). I normally built 1/35 vehicles and 1/48 airplanes and that does not prepare you for this kit. To show the difference in size, I put an Italeri Tiger I (not completely ready yet) in the lower hull. The box measures 29 x 18 x 7 inches (about 74 x 47 x 18 cm) so you better ask your significant other first; no way to sneak this one into the house unnoticed. For convenience the box has a handle so it can be carried as a suitcase.

I got the full option version and according to the box this means gun and hull will recoil when the gun is fired. There will be light effects when firing either main gun or hull machine gun. And full sound effects for both firing and engine. The Tiger II in Saumur has been sampled to provide the sound for the engine.

The instructions are in the usual Tamiya stile: an A4 sized book of 40 pages. The first 7 pages consist of a history in Japanese, English, German and French plus warnings about building and running the tank. The next 20 pages contain the 45 step building instructions including the installation of the mechanics to operate the tank. Then 6 pages about running the tank and trouble shooting, 3 pages of painting guide and finally 4 pages with the parts list. Also two small pieces of paper are provided. One with changes to the instructions and one with an extra warning to tighten screws in the track gearboxes. The changes to the instructions are not to use screws when fitting one part E27 but glue, although the other two parts E27 should be constructed with the screws. Also no grease should be used on the gearboxes for the turret rotation and the gun elevation.

The kit itself consists of 11 injection molded sprues (sprue A 3 times, and E 2 times) with a total of over 250 parts (see pictures, the ruler is 6 inches (15.2 cm) from the bottom to the red line). The ejector pins on the different parts are placed where they won’t show when the model is built. In my example sprue D is a little warped, but I don’t expect any problems from that, because the warp is more between the parts than affecting the parts. According to the parts list in the instructions, not all parts are needed. One part looks like a seat for the turret and also a barrel for a machine gun is not used. These might be used in the version without all the option or otherwise for the static model that is rumored on Internet. This rumor is not completely impossible because Tamiya also released a remote control and a static model of the Kübelwagen in 1/16.
Apart from the injection molded parts you will find 5 bags of screws with in total 239 parts, 48 rubber tires for the road wheels, 8 metal parts for sprocket and idler, shafts, torsion bars, bearings and some tools.

The tracks are assembled but you get 5 link pins and 8 track links as spares. Strangely enough you have to take links out of the track when attaching them. Also included are the parts to operate the tank. A speaker unit, a multi function unit, a control unit, 2 assembled gear boxes with 380 type motors, a recoil unit, a gun elevation unit and a turret rotation unit. Also some flash units for main gun and hull machine gun. In total an awful lot of parts to play with.



This is a truly impressive kit. It’s totally different from what I’m used to, including Dragon Wagon and Famo with Sd.Anh 116. The upper hull is about 2 mm thick and the sides of the lower hull are 2.4 mm (compared to 1 and 1.6 for the Tamiya 1/35 Tiger). I don’t think much filler will be needed apart from the mistakes you make yourself or to hide some screws (see lower hull). I have started construction already. That’s why some parts are missing from the sprues. The first 4 stages took me about 4 hours. I shall write full building report while building this kit, so: to be continued.


This list of references is what I’ve currently got in both German and English.
Der Panzer-Kampfwagen Tiger und seine Abarten, Walter J. Spielberger, Motor Buch Verlag, Stuttgart, Germany, 1994 (German version, but an English translation exists)
Tiger, Die Geschichte einer lagendären Waffe 1942 – 45, Egon Kleine and Volkmar Kühn, Motor Buch Verlag, Stuttgart, Germany, 1993, (German)
Tiger I, Uwe Feist and Bruce Culver, Ryton Publications, England, 1992
Tiger I and Sturmtiger in detail, Uwe Feist and Bruce Culver, Ryton Publications, England, 1999
Armor in detail no 1: Tiger I Ausf. E (Sd.Kfz. 181), Verlinden Publications, Belgium, 1993 (Later version of the Tiger, so perhaps not so useful in this case)
Achtung Panzer 6: Panzer-Kampfwagen Tiger, Mitsuru Bitoh, Dai Nippon Kaiga, Japan, 1999
Tiger Tanks, Michael Green, Motorbooks International, USA, 1995
Tiger I im Einsatz, Horst Scheibert, Waffen Arsenal Sonderband S20, Podzun-Pallas-Verlag, Germany, 1991 (An English version might exist from Schiffer).
Tiger Color, Janusz Ledwoch, Wydawnictwo Militaria, Warschaw, Poland, 1996 (Polish text with English captions)
Tiger I Heavy tank 1942 – 1945, Tom Jentz, Hilary Doyle, Peter Sarson, New vanguard 5, Osprey Military, London, England, 1993
Tiger in Action, Bruce Culver, Don Greer, Perry Manley, Squadron/Signal Publications, Texas, USA, 1989.

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