Zvezda 1/35 Tiger I ausf E (early)
|REVIEWER:||Scott Van Aken|
Tiger I is the common name of a German heavy tank developed in 1942 and used in World War II. The final official German designation was Panzerkampfwagen VI Tiger Ausf.E, often shortened to Tiger. It was an answer to the unexpectedly formidable Soviet armour encountered in the initial months of the Axis invasion of the Soviet Union, particularly the T-34 and the KV-1. The Tiger I design gave the Wehrmacht its first tank mounting the 88 mm gun, in its initial armored fighting vehicle-dedicated version, which in its Flak version had previously demonstrated its effectiveness against both air and ground targets. During the course of the war, the Tiger I saw combat on all German battlefronts. It was usually deployed in independent tank battalions, which proved to be quite formidable.
While the Tiger I was feared by many of its opponents, it was over-engineered, used expensive and labour intensive materials and production methods, and was time-consuming to produce. Only 1,347 were built between August 1942 and August 1944. The Tiger was prone to certain types of track failures and immobilizations, and limited in range by its huge fuel consumption. It was, however, generally mechanically reliable but expensive to maintain. It was also complicated to transport, and vulnerable to immobilization when mud, ice and snow froze between its overlapping and interleaved road wheels in winter weather conditions, often jamming them solid. In 1944, production was phased out in favour of the Tiger II.
The tank was given its nickname Tiger by Ferdinand Porsche, and the Roman numeral was added after the later Tiger II entered production. The initial official German designation was Panzerkampfwagen VI Ausführung H (‘Panzer VI version H’, abbreviated PzKpfw VI Ausf. H), but the tank was redesignated as PzKpfw VI Ausf. E in March 1943. It also had the ordnance inventory designation SdKfz 181.
Today, only a handful of Tigers survive in museums and exhibitions worldwide. The Bovington Tank Museum's Tiger 131, is currently the only one restored to running order.
This is the latest from Zvezda's 1/35 line and it is an early Tiger as fought at Kursk. Not often does Zvezda put its sprues in individual poly bags, but perhaps complaints about damaged parts from all the sprues loose in the box are getting through. Molding is very good as one usually gets from Zvezda. All but the tracks are in a tan plastic. These tracks are four pieces of two on each side and are connected in the time-honored method of melting the joining pins.
While the kit does not have a fully detailed interior, it does have a fully detailed turret interior, something we do not see very often from kit makers. Not sure how much of that will be visible from the outside, but I appreciate the effort put forth by Zvezda to provide it. It even includes the cannon breech which is attached to a hinged piece to which later the barrel is glued.
Some hull interior bits are provided like the engine cooling fans and a forward bulkhead, but perhaps that is only to provide some visual bits to see through the open hatches. Speaking of which, all of the various personnel hatches have full interior detailing and can be posed either open or closed.
The rather complex engine exhaust system is very nicely detailed and does not use vinyl hoses as does the old Tamiya kit, so no worries about painting. A full selection of external bits and pieces is included such s a starting handle, shovels, picks, pry bars, tow cables and such. Aside from the open or closed hatches, the only other options are for the smoke grenade launchers or whether to attack additional tracks to the turret. These are the main differences between the two markings options and the instructions show just what goes where.
Instructions are well drawn with color information provided throughout the build using generic and Humbrol paint references. Though not mentioned in the instructions, the two markings options are for tanks that operated at the Kursk battle. One is overall tan while the other has large reddish-brown swatches over the upper surfaces. The small decal sheet provides both numbers and insignia as are appropriate.
It is nice to see another Tiger join the group and this one will not break the bank. I do not know how accurate it is as armor is not my bailiwick, however, it looks to be very well done and Zvezda usually does their research on armor projects.
Thanks to www.dragonmodelsusa.com for the preview kit. Get yours today at your local hobby shop or on-line retailer.
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