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Wittmann's Last Tiger (Cyber Hobby Limited Edition Kit)

Befehlspanzer Tiger I (Late Production)

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Sean's build of Wittmann's Tiger...

Sean's build of Wittmann's Tiger...

... the photo feature from the blog Germany - World War 2

Sean Emmott06/02/2010 16:56:35
2262 forum posts
4584 photos
3 articles
If you're a collector of rare unbuilt kits, then you'd better look away now.
I gather this kit goes for £100 or more on ebay, but I've just got one for the normal retail price, and as my King Tiger is ready for painting, I'm reay to start construction on a new kit.  After looking through the box, I just couldn't hold off starting this one.
Let's start with a little preamble about Michael Wittmann. 
The son of a Bavarian farmer, he was born in April 1914 and joined the German army in 1934, and the SS in 1936.  He served in the Polish campaign of 1939 and then France, where he was given command a of a Stug. III.  As part of Leibstandarte SS Adolf Hitler he participated in the 3 week long Greek invasion, and then his unit was transferred to the Eastern Front and it was during the invasion of Russia and the subsequent campaign that he gained the bulk of his kills and made his way up through the ranks.  By the time he left the Russian campaign, he was commander of a Tiger I with over 100 kills to his name, had reached the rank of SS-Obersturmfuhrer, and been awarded the Knight's Cross with Oak Leaves.  Although unknown to his Allied adversaries, he had become a celebrated war hero in Germany.  His celebrity being further enhanced following his emphatic and famous victory at Villers Bocage.
He was killed on 8th August 1944, south of Saint-Aignan.  There has been a lot of debate about how he was killed, but the generally accepted facts are that the fatal shot was a fired by a Firefly of the 1st Northants Yeomanry that entered the Tiger through the engine deck and detonated ammunition causing the tank to blow up. 
(Picture taken in 1945)
This is the account described in Anthony Beevor's excellent D-Day: The Battle for Normandy.  There have been alternative suggestions, such as Wittmann's Tiger being destroyed by a rocket fired by an RAF Typhoon or by tanks belonging to the 144th Regiment Royal Armoured Corps or the Canadian Sherbrooke Fusiliers, but these have been largely discredited.  They are discussed in some depth in Wittmann's Wikipedia Entry.
Wittmann's remains were traced in 1983 and he now lies in the German Cemetary at La Cambe.

65 years since he was killed, it's easy to forget that although Wittmann was undoubtedly a brave and skilled soldier, he was also a member of the SS: a paramilitary organisation responsible for many of the most horrendous atrocities of World War II.  Obviously we have no record of any presonal involvement of Wittmann in such events, and there is no doubt that it's easy for us, in our mature and liberal democracy, to judge the German population of the 1930's and 1940's for not standing up to Hitler and the Nazis.  Hence, before continuing with this blog, I'd like to make it clear that I do not build this model as any kind of tribute to an evil regime, but rather out of an historical interest in the weapons and vehicles of all armies involved in the Second World War.
Sean Emmott06/02/2010 17:05:17
2262 forum posts
4584 photos
3 articles
OK, so Here's the Box lid:

And the Sprues:
The pre-moulded zimmerit looks excellent to my eye

as does all the other detail.

Four of this sprue:

Another shot of the zimmerit:

A crow's foot antenna in plastic - the wonders of slide moulding!  It looks like I'll need to take extreme care when removing this from the sprue

I've spotted that one of the towing cables has snapped, but it shouldn't be a difficult repair, and anyway there is a real metal cable provided among this lot:

Sean Emmott06/02/2010 17:10:25
2262 forum posts
4584 photos
3 articles
Thankfully the instructions are not the photographic type, although they look quite dense:

I've already been thinking about how I'll present the model, and I thkink some very simple groundwork and this single figure standing next to the tank:

Ian Robinson06/02/2010 17:52:16
10586 forum posts
1437 photos
Nice one Sean. Great choice mate
Chris Spalding06/02/2010 17:57:01
3637 forum posts
1 photos
OOOH very nice Sean I've been waiting to see who was going to blog this one
I do like a nice Kitty
Bring it on
Moggeller, PhD06/02/2010 18:51:10
10570 forum posts
2219 photos
29 articles
Excellent!  I love Tigers.
Go-ee Sean!
I note that two of his crew were only 20 years old and one was 19.  Wittmann was the 'oldster' at 30.  If his crew died at those ages in 1944 these guys had been brainwashed by the state as children.
Sean Emmott06/02/2010 20:13:38
2262 forum posts
4584 photos
3 articles
The kit has working torsion bar suspension.  Very nice for them that like it, but I don't like people touching my builds once they are finished, so I don't bother with moving parts because they only encourage fiddling fingers!
It does mean you need to take a little care to get the axles aligned roughly level, but the angled location slot in part H3 helps a lot with this.

Now part H3 is not so small - about 7-8mm diameter, but I have still managed to lose one.  I suppose if it was an important, visible part of the kit I would have looked for it a lot harder, but it won't be seen once the tank is built, so I'm not too worried.

You'll also see I didn't clean up the torsion bars or the seams on the axles.  Since they aren't going to be seen, I didn't really see the point.  Sorry to all you purists
If anyone was wondering about how well the zimmerit fits, I have to say it's perfect.  

Just a bit of Revell Contacta on the back and it's done. Such a snug fit you get the feeling the kit would build itself if it could!
Right, I can smell my tea cooking.  More moggling tomorrow, all being well!

Edited By Sean Emmott on 06/02/2010 20:15:06

Neil doman06/02/2010 20:23:55
2866 forum posts
1820 photos
Great choice of kit sean.
Its nice to see these kits being built and not stowed away in a loft.
Chris Meddings06/02/2010 21:10:19
9828 forum posts
791 photos
5 articles
Good choice Sean count me in
Philip Appleyard06/02/2010 21:22:17
296 forum posts
222 photos
Hi Sean (Hello Neil) Nice to see the cellophane coming of this shunter!I tottally agree ,always look better built than collecting dust!
 With regards to the fitting of the Zimmerit, especially on the bow plate in the last post. You will have to remove a small portion of the pattern, in order to get the bolted armour plate covers on the inside of the final drive housing to seat correctly and not be proud of the hull.
Looking forwards to the rest of theblog Sean... I do like aTiger!

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