Hobby Boss 1/35 VK4502 (P) Vorne
|Scott Van Aken
|New Tool Kit
The Porsche Type-180 Design was based on the earlier VK 45.02(P), but mounted the 8.8cm L/71 gun on a much modified hull. Two versions were proposed with turrets to the front (vorne), or to the rear (hinten). However, only the former was proceeded with, and the construction of three prototypes was underway by February 1943. The turret and guns were designed by Krupp, the distinctively shaped 'P2-Turm' turrets which were designed for these vehicles have since been called 'Porsche' turrets.
As production of these had already started, the first 50 King Tigers were fitted with theses. Unfortunately, the larger armored 'lip' surrounding the turret rung on the Type-180 was not a feature of the Henschel design and resulted in a major shot trap below the mantlet. All later production King Tigers used the H3-Turm turret, commonly known as the "Henschel' turret. It seems that one of the Porsche Tyjpe-180 vehicles may have been in operation since a Porsche Tiger with an 8.8 cm L/71 gun is listed as part of the Panzer Kompanie Kummersdorf on March 1945. Virtually all operational Tiger II tanks and their prototypes were used at the end of the war.
Molded in Hobby Boss' usual tan plastic that is uses for armor kits, this one is just as superbly molded as all of their other recent kits. Most sprues are single bagged to prevent damage and those sprues with delicate parts have additional protection in the form of foam wrap, something I surely wish some other companies would do. It will be interesting to see how long this sort of thing goes on as it becomes more and more expensive to produce kits in China.
Anyway, this particular kit does not have an interior so most of the parts count is with the runn8ing gear. These prototype tanks had rather unusual bogies compared to the production tank and even earlier panzers. There are individual track links on this one with many sprues of links to work with. The turret has an inner shell to provide thickness where there are hatches. One can leave the side open if one wishes. There is considerable detail in the turret itself and several pages are taken up with adding in various details such as a full gun breech, ammo storage, operator's position and all the various gears and gearboxes used to elevate the gun. I find this to be pretty surprising considering that most other armor kits will do minimal turret detailing, but this one has to be seen to be believed. I've provided a scan of a section of the instructions to show what I mean. Yes, it is small, but consider it a teaser.
Markings are generic as these were, after all, prototypes and probably went into battle unmarked aside from insignia. Since they were mid war vehicles, overall panzer grey seems the most likely camo, but as there seems to be no photographic record (at least, I couldn't find any on the 'net), you can pretty well do as you please. I should add that the kit includes a small photo etch fret used for screening.
No sooner does Dragon come out with something like this than Hobby Boss seemingly ups the ante with what I think is the same subject. The turret detail has to give this one a leg up, so to speak, though Cyber-hobby's DS links will draw a lot of fans as well. Hobby Boss has provided a superb kit and I'm sure it will be very well received.
The side of the box
Thanks to Squadron Products for the preview kit. Get this fine armor kit at your local shop or ask them to order it for you.
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