Dragon 6383 Pz.Kpfw.VI Ausf.E TIER I LATE PRODUCTION w/ZIMMERIT Pour Maquette Véhicules militaires
Kit Review: Dragon Models Limited 1/35 Scale ‘39-‘45 Series Kit No. 6253; Pzkw. VI Ausf. E Sd.Kfz. 181 Tiger I Late Production 3-in-1 Kit; 724 parts (594 parts in grey styrene, 104 etched brass, 21 clear styrene, 2 DS track runs, 2 twisted steel wires, 1 spring).
Advantages: eagerly awaited version of the Tiger I lives up to most hopes; DS tracks solve the tedium of single link track assembly; choice of detail parts
Disadvantages: sixth Tiger from DML (and third “late” version) may muddy the waters and confuse modelers
Rating: Highly Recommended
Recommendation: for all German Tiger fans
While up until the present only one manufacturer – Italeri – has attempted to provide a kit of the popular German Tiger I with the essentially standardized “zimmerit” anti-sticky bomb mine paste on it, no other have attempted this. The Italeri effort was a brave attempt, but the results were panels which were much too thick and clumsy in use. Other attempts of “stick-on” panels of resin or etched brass have also met similar uneven reviews and comments. As a result, for the most part German modelers have thus had to add their own zimmerit from a number of concoctions or products, the best being R&J enterprises “Zimmer-it-right”.
With its sixth Tiger I kit release, DML has finally answered the prayers of many armor modelers and provided a kit with factory-molded “zimmerit” paste on the tank. This kit provides most of the parts from the last release (No. 6406) of the late model (e.g. “Steel Wheel”) version of the tank with a number of detail options, a choice between single-link injection molded track or DS plastic single runs, and other details.
As previously noted, the DS plastic looks good, takes paint well, and glues with common plastic solvents; it also permits undercutting such as the pin ends of the track and even open teeth to replicate castings as is the case here. Overall, cleanup is simple and I do believe most people will like these better. The two “sag guides” from previous kits are included so you can get a good fit over the wheels with the tracks.
There are a great number of options with the kit: two styles of idlers, two different rear plates, three different mantelets, two different turret roofs, two different commander’s cupolas, two different muzzle brakes – the list goes on. As before a partial interior is included for the engine compartment as well as all of the torsion bars and the 8.8 cm gun breech in the turret. While the mount for the AA MG is provided, no machine gun is provided in the kit once again.
Many of the “brag book” features from the previous release remain with this kit. They have redone the mufflers and armored covers for the rear plate, fixed some problems with the turret escape hatch, redone the hull shell to make more use of “Slide Molding” features, and provided for the use of a engine pre-heater (read blowtorch) at the rear of the hull. However, if you wish to use that you will have to either knock one together from scratch or use the one in the VW Starter kit that DML just released.
The amount of etched brass has been reduced, and my take on that is that the molds have all been “tweaked” a bit to clean up earlier problems and thus much of the brass detailing is now superfluous.
Zimmerit molding is confined to the lower glacis (D1), upper glacis (F5, now redone), vertical plate (D5), hull sides (D6 and D7), stern plate (D3), turret shell (D8), and the mantlet (D2). Three patch panels (D9, D10, and one DML forgot to flag on the D sprue!) are used to provide smooth surfaces for markings on the vertical plate but have to be cut out and inserted from the rear. The unidentified one is also called D9 and goes on the stern plate; note that these are not given sufficient highlighting in the directions and if needed be aware they have to be done before the parts are assembled!
The kit comes with a nice sheet of targeted Cartograf decals and a choice of one of six different finishing options, all in a variety of late war tricolor schemes: White “134", 1./s.Pz.Abt. 102, Normandy 1944 (tricolor patches); Red “221", 2./s.SS-Pz.Abt. 101, Normandy 1944 (tricolor spray); White “933", 9./s.SS-Pz.Regt. 3, “Totenkopf”, Poland 1944 (tricolor spray); White “242", 23./s.Pz.Abt. 102, Normandy 1944 (tricolor spray); black “112,” 1./s. SS-Pz.Abt. 101, Normandy 1944 (tricolor spray), and White “1", s.Pz.Abt. 508, Italy 1944 (tricolor splinter pattern). One nice touch here is that each set of markings has a recommended set of optional parts features listed for that individual tank, so it is a case of “read me first!”
Technical assistance and research for this kit came from David Byrden, Tom Cockle and Gary Edmundson.