KIT: Hasegawa 1/72 Tiger I Ausf E (Hybrid)
KIT #: 31155
PRICE: $10.50 msrp
DECALS: Two options
REVIEWER: Scott Van Aken
NOTES: Has bits for all the different Tiger I variants.

HISTORY

"The last and largest tank used by Germany during the war was the Pz. VI, or Tiger. Like the Panther, the Tiger was hurriedly developed in response to the Soviet T-34. It went into production in August 1942 and, like the Panther, first entered combat in large numbers at Kursk. The Tiger emphasized to an extreme the German preference for firepower and survivability at the expense of speed, agility, range, and reliability. Its long-barreled, high-velocity 88-mm gun, adapted from the Germans' formidable antiaircraft (Flak) and antitank (Pak) guns, could penetrate even the most heavily armored Soviet tanks at extremely long range.

The Tiger's own frontal armor, 100 mm thick, was proof against almost any antitank gun, and the side and rear armor was 6080 mm thick. The tank's big gun and heavy armor seriously compromised its mobility, however. The early Tigers weighed about 55 tons, and the Tiger II model introduced in 1944 weighed 70 tons, making it the heaviest tank of the war. The Tiger had a top road speed of 38 km (24 miles) per hour, but it could travel only about 20 km (12 miles) per hour cross-country. Whereas the Panther had a range of 100 to 200 km (60 to 120 miles), the Tiger needed refueling after only 70 to 110 km (45 to 70 miles) of travel, and it was prone to breakdowns and was difficult to maintain.

The Tiger tank was thus best used in a defensive role, where speed and agility were not decisive factors. Lightly armored Sherman tanks suffered terrible losses against Tigers in the Normandy campaign, but the Allies quickly learned to capitalize on their superior numbers and agility in successful attacks on Tigers from the side and rear. Because Tiger tanks were difficult to manufacture, only about 1,340 had been built when Germany ceased production of them in August 1944."

Thanks to theEncyclopedia Britannica for this historical background.

 

THE KIT

Hasegawa has been doing 1/72 armor kits for about 35 years or so and generally, they are quite nice little kits. From the look of things, this is one of their kits from the 70's, complete with rubber band style tracks. Overall, the detail is all raised and a bit softer than what we've come to expect from modern kits, though really not something that most will complain about. I did find some small areas of flash and the earlier turret roof suffers from some sink areas. The kit includes two standing figures to be placed in the turret hatches. These are fairly well molded though the seams along the edges are a bit pronounced and they have large ejector pin markings in the back.

This is a hybrid Tiger IE and that means the later turret and road wheels. For those wanting to do an early Tiger I, those pieces are included so one just needs references and the willingness to make the changes. I should mention that the early wheels are not dished as one would expect, undoubtedly due to the inability to mold them as such when the kit was produced. The instructions will also have you remove half the wheel placement lugs as those are apparently too long. If you like painting road wheels, you'll be in heaven as this one has quite a few! The front fenders will also need to be cut off to do the hybrid version and there are a fewmounting holes that will need filled.

Instructions are very well done with the usual Gunze paint references. The five construction steps are well detailed and provide all the information you need to build this kit. Actual construction will go quickly once the parts are painted. There are decals for two tanks, both from April of 1945. One is the box art tank and is shown in overall Kawasaki Green. The other is in the three color shceme in a random pattern of green and brown over a Panzer Yellow base. Decals are typical Hasegawa in that they are a tad thick and the white is actually a light ivory. Though only two options are shown on the painting chart, you are provided with numbers for about a half dozen vehicles.

 

CONCLUSIONS

If you like small scale armor and are looking for this particular version of the Tiger, or an early one, then I believe this is the only easily found option. Although it isn't 21st century molding, it is still a very nice looking kit and should build into an equally nice looking model.

Thanks to me, your editor, for the preview kit.

July 2006

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