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1/16 Panzerkampfwagen VI Tiger Ausf. E


Dave J
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1/16 Panzerkampfwagen VI Tiger Ausf. E
 

Hobby Boss
Catalogue # 82601


Available directly from Creative Models for £69.99

 

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Jim, our Editor at SPAR & LSM, dropped me a email saying to watch out for my courier shortly... As there would be a box arriving with a review sample of the Hobby Boss P-61 Black Widow wing its way to me from the UK. And that he also arrange something small to be added to the shipment that required to be reviewed also.... Fast forward by 10-14 days, I had a box arrive.... Well, small was an understatement!

 

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History -

Panzerkampfwagen VI Tiger Ausf.E, often shortened to Tiger 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. During the course of the Second World War, the Tiger I saw combat on all German battlefronts. It was usually deployed in independent tank battalions, which proved to be quite formidable units. While the Tiger I was feared by many of its opponents, it was well over-engineered, used expensive and labour intensive materials and production methods was hugely time-consuming to produce a single tank.

 

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Production of the Tiger I began in August 1942 and ceased 24 months later in August 1944, when production was phased out in favour of the new Tiger II. Production rates of the Tiger I from the factory were slow and it took about twice as long to build a single Tiger tank compared to any other German Tank of that period. Many modifications were introduced during the production run to improve automotive performance, firepower and protection. Simplification of the design was implemented, along with adjustments for shortages. In 1942 alone, at least six revisions were made. Due to long production times at the factories, incorporation of the new modifications could take several months.

 

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The Tiger was first used in action on 23 September 1942 near Leningrad. Under pressure from Hitler, the tank was put into action months earlier than planned. Early Tiger I models proved to be mechanically unreliable, as they were was prone to certain types of track failures and immobilizations, and very limited in range by its huge fuel consumption. It was, however, generally mechanically reliable tank, but expensive to maintain each machine. 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.

 

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The Hobby Boss kit –

 

Upon opening the huge box that just arrived from UK, the first couple of things that jumped out at me was the eye-catching art work adorned on the front of the box and the sheer size of the box.... It's VERY... VERY large, measuring 73cm x 38cm x 12.5cm, and it was heavy... A good sign that its packing a lot of plastic for that large tank thats hiding in that box ! Upon opening the box is another surprise waiting ... How the kits parts are packaged neatly in eight separate boxes, plastic blisters and bags within the kits box. This a fantastic idea, as the chances of having damaged parts while in transit is majorly reduced.

 

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Some of the parts are laid out on sprues, as you would expected to find most kits these days, but a lot of the parts are separate items due the size and amount of the items required for this kit. The kits description on Hobby Boss website says it's a "simplified" version... I can see why that is, there is no interior components included what so ever. All the hatches are all moulded shut on the turret and upper hull parts, but the commanders cupola can be posed opened. The side-skirts are also moulded as one piece on the upper hull, this is a bit of a letdown as they would nice addition as separate parts. The track links are also solid moulded items, when the guides should have shaped holes moulded into them. If some of these details were added with this scale, I am sure that we could be see highly detailed Tigers being built, without resorting to aftermarket parts.

 

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With a kit of this size and the weight of the model once compete, some parts require a little more than the normal plastic clement and superglue that is normally used to lock them into place, and components to be made of stronger materials. The kit has a mixture of normal styrene plastic that we are all used to in our model kits, ABS plastic's, rubber, metal bolts and nuts, springs, steel pins for drive shafts and ball bearings.

 

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Looking more into the parts layout, it appears this Tiger I kit is intended to be an Radio Control toy/kit as there is a battery box built into the lower hull, speaker mounting points on inner side of the upper hull and a couple of other tell tail components. There is no information in supplied in the box if there is some sort of extra upgrade/motorization kit that one can order if they are wanting to do this... So being curious, I jumped onto Google and started to look into it... Well I didn't find anything at first, but did discover that this wasn't a newly tooled kit from Hobby Boss, as I first though. In fact that it had been released by two other companies in the past, under the names Torro and WSN. Both of these companies' produce 1/16 Radio Control Battle tanks.

 

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After finding out this information, it now expands why some of the parts are moulded they way they are. The big 88mm main gun barrel is split into two half's with the muzzle molded with to separate round discs to be sandwiched together once glued. This will be one of the painful areas to clean up seams as you will be wanting to keep the barrel profile round, while sanding to remove the glue seams. However, I have seen a couple of turned aluminium replacement barrels listed on EBay for the Tamiya and Heng Long kits, however the fitment could be an issue as the Hobby Boss barrel has a rod that slides into the 3 piece mantle which is held in place with a location pin and couple of screws at the end of the locating rod. But I am sure that someone will come along with an answer shortly for those that a looking to purchase this kit.

 

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The MG34 is also moulded strangely in three parts, two gun halves and the upper body section. Clearly you can see that these parts are moulded using out dated moulding techniques, as I am sure if this parts were moulded using today's technology, these parts will be lot more detailed.

 

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The Turret is virtually one piece, except for the base of the turret which is screwed into place by five screws at the bottom. The loaders hatch is moulded onto the upper turret part is not openable. However the Commanders cupola hatch is open-able, but the cupola assembly fits on to a reassessed area that is blanked off, but can be removed by drilling/cutting out the plate. You may want to do this if you are thinking of adding a figure (not included within the kit) to finish off your Tiger. The turret is nicely detailed with weld seams and clasps. The stowage bin is also moulded directly on the upper turret part, but the lids are once again not able to be displayed open. It should be an easy scratch building task if you are wanting to travel down this road to open them up.

 

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The upper hull deck of the Tiger is one large piece of plastic with the engine grills moulded in place, along with the machine gunner and drivers hatches, once again these hatches are not openable. Also supplied in the kit is a sheet of brass photo etch sheet that carries the mesh for the engine grilles, that protect debris and foreign objects from entering the engine compartment. As mention before the side skirts, are moulded to the upper deck plastic, this would have been a nice addition if they were replaced with Photo etch parts, as you could depict your tiger with missing or damaged skirt panels.

 

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A selection of tools and equipment are also included to be fitted to the upper deck, along with towing cables. The cables are supplied as moulded left and right hand-sided... But they could be easily removed if you wished to added braided cable yourself. Again I have seen cable sets listed on EBay and couple of internet webstores. Just remember to keep the barrel cleaning rods and the latching points, and not to discard them with the plastic cables are they are all moulded as one piece!

 

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Another sheet of Photo Etch is included, this time made with steel. This sheet carries the tools to create your own Zimmerit for appropriate Tiger I schemes. This was factory applied from July 1943, so you will want to check references to see if the Tiger that you are depicting carry Zimmerit on the outer panels. The tools are designed to be raked over modelling putty or Milliput to create the Zimmerit. Zimmerit was normally applied to the surface of the turret, sides, front and rear of the tank. Hobby Boss does depict Zimmerit on the side skirts in there instructions, but I understand this is not the case. However it does appear the Zimmerit is applied correctly on the box art. If creating your own Zimmerit scares you, there is an aftermarket set just made available on the market from Atak Model from Poland.

 

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Now looking at the bottom half the kit, there are a lot of road wheels supplied, a total of 48. Each wheel is supplied as one solid disc piece, but they are moulded as separate inner and outer wheels. The wheels are fully workable, as there are bearings and wheel shafts that are sandwiched between the road wheels parts and then secured with a set of small screws. This will aid them with extra strength under all the weight from the completed kit. Each road wheel has a separate rubber tyre that slips on to the rim, this will aid in quicker painting as no masking is required.

 

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With having a workable track, workable suspension is also included. The suspension arms are moulded in a dark grey ABS type plastic for added strength, and they simply slot into place and secured with a nut and bolt setup.

 

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Half or close to a third of parts that are supplied with the kit are the individual track links and track pins, as there are 96 tracks and pins required for each side. Each track is provided as a single link, which slips into each other in the track hinge point. The track pin is pushed into the holes securing the links together. This allows the track to pivot and move correctly and be fully workable. This method is pretty simple and quick to assemble. I manage to get quite a length of track together in a few minutes. Each track link has 4 light injector pins, which could be a tedious task to remove, or you could cheat with weathering and cake on the mud on the track.

 

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Markings

 

A large colour A3 painting guide is supplied with a total of eight marking options for your Tiger to choose from. Unfortunately, there are no time periods or unit information is supplied on the guide to aid you in your research. This is something that I have noticed in the past with some Hobby Boss kits. The marking/camouflage options are very well thought out as they are all different, expect for two of them, this should cover most operation scenes where the Tiger I serviced. The decal sheet is quite large and the colour and printing appears to be in the correct and excellent register. Carrier film is a little large in some areas, but can be easiy trimmed with a knife or small pair of scissors.

 

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Instructions

 

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Decals

 

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How's the Kits Accuracy?

 

Well I am no Tiger expert... So I cannot personally comment on how accurate the kit is... But if you want to look into it further, I have been told that the book called, Germany's Tiger Tanks D.W. to Tiger I: Design, Production & Modifications by Jentz & Doyle (http://www.amazon.com/Germanys-Tiger-Tanks-D-W-Modifications/dp/0764310380 ) is what you want to get.

However reading other peoples comments, that are more knowledgeable on this subject, the kit does seem to have its issues. Here are some of items that have been brought up and you may want to look into further if you want an 100% accurate Tiger I -

  • Rear engine deck grates are the Early design
  • Drive sprocket hubs are the Early type
  • It's missing the gun travel lock for a late mid
  • Late style starter guide plate
  • Cable on the left side is laid out as on an Early Tiger
  • Turret chin lacks the cutaway that a Mid would have
  • Turret front edge is cut wrongly, it's not tilted back 5 degrees as it should be
  • Bottom front of the hull has false housings added
  • No rear holders for the tow cables.
  • Driver's visor has relief detail for the episcope, which should not exist on this Tiger.
  • Engine hatch is missing its support legs.

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So what do we think?

A lot of plastic and hardware is included for the price tag the kit is asking, so it's a great value compared to Tamiya's 1/16 Tiger offering and Trumpeter's 1/16 kits, if those kits are out of your price tag. It has some issues if you are wanting a 100% accurate Tiger I, basically it looks like a Tiger for those that want something that looks like Tiger in large scale.

 

Recommended

 

Our sincere thanks to Creative Models for the review samples used here. To purchase this directly, click the link in the review article.

 

Dave J.

 

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Guest styrenedemon

Molded on side skirts? Plastic tow cables? Two piece plastic barrel? In 1/6th? Ok.....?

 

Pretty much looks like a 1/16th version of Tamiya's old 35th Tigers. Good starting point for those with ambition. 

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