Pz.Kpfw.VI Ausf.E Sd.Kfz.181 Tiger 1 Late Production
Ref. # 6406
Scale: 1/35
Manufacturer: Dragon
Price: Unknown
Material: Styrene, PE, DS100 Vinyl

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Itís been a couple of years now, since Dragon released what for many became the much sought after and definitive 1/35th scale Tiger 1 kit. Sought after since it still brings high prices on ebay, and modellers are always asking when it will be re-released. Well, now it has been, albeit in a slightly different form. The original release, kit #6253, came bulging at the seams with all manner of goodies, and these are mostly absent from this release, but in fairness, Dragon did say at the time of itís release that it was a one-off, and that future kits wouldnít have as much in them.

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The Kit

You wouldnít know there wasnít as much in this one when you open the box. Itís difficult to get closed again, as usual with this sort of Ďbigí release from Dragon. Inside, youíll find a set of instructions, a nice little pamphlet telling us whatís special about this kit, a set of DS100 Dragon vinyl tracks in a great cardboard holder that prevents them from getting creased, a photo etched fret, a great little decal sheet, black crushed felt effect box with brass screens for the engine deck, two separate cupolas, two lengths of wire tow rope, a separate hull and turret, two transparent sprues, and 24 sprues of light grey styrene. Alright, some of those 24 sprues are extremely small....but still.

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As usual these days, Dragon have tried to temp us with box art not just consisting of a painted illustration, but also with computer generated images extolling the kits virtues. These include, two types of muzzle brake, and three mantlets to choose from....as in the original release, the barrel recoils with the help of a sturdy spring...probably something most modellers could do without, a nicely moulded close in defense weapon, detailed jack, interior detail on all the hatches, clear periscopes, stowage bin that can be moulded opened or closed, working torsion bars, magic tracks provided (for spare track links only), interior air ducts, in fact all of the things we received with the original release. So whatís the difference?

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Well, as I mentioned earlier, the differences are mainly in the area of Ďgoodiesí that were supplied with the original release, but there are some small changes. For example, the hull bottom has now been changed so that it has the inspection hatches recessed instead of standing Ďproudí like on the earlier release. No doubt this is thanks to David Byrden, one of the technical consultants on the kit. If youíre not familiar with Davidís work by the way, do yourself a favour and take a look at his site, dedicated to the Tiger 1 and all itís variants. Tiger 1 info.

Sprue F that holds the rear hull wall along with other small parts, has been re-tooled slightly, in that there are now small square mounting lugs moulded in place for the exhaust shrouds, plus this sprue now holds separate heater covers for the rear wall and a small heater for starting the engine in cold weather, which opens up new diorama possibilities!

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As a consequence of mounting the exhaust shrouds on the lugs mentioned above, sprue C has had a very small makeover in that the shrouds themselves have been ever so slightly re-tooled to accept the new lugs. On sprue A which contains parts for the main gun, some Ďnodesí appear to have been moved, which makes it slightly easier to remove the parts unmarked from the sprue, and on sprue K holding the main deck, the drainage holes around the turret race are now actually drilled through rather than just being depicted as depressions as in the earlier release. Sprue P is an odd one. This has the hull side walls on it, each of which now has a new locating mark moulded in towards their rear. Thereís no mention of this mark in the instructions, and nothing appears to locate to it. Perhaps in readiness for an early tiger 1?

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The turret itself has been re-tooled, and now has slightly different locating holes at the rear for the turret bin. On the smaller sprues, the one that holds the jack Ė TB - now has two small towing clevises attached, although strangely, these are marked as Ďnot for useí? Sprue TA has a new shovel, not a spade, although this too is marked Ďnot for useí, and thereís a new pair of bolt cutters attached.

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The photo etched fret included is a new one, although thereís nothing new on it, if you know what I mean? It holds the housings for the air ducts below the engine deck, along with some tool clamps and various other small fittings. The biggest addition to the kit is of course, those vinyl tracks. Sort of a mixed blessing these. I know plenty of people who will be delighted with them. I also know plenty of people that would rather have had the original magic tracks, which by the way, are still available for separate purchase from Cyber Hobby if you absolutely must have them. The vinyl ones I have to say though, are exquisite. The guide horns are hollow and the detail is superb. Donít forget too, that because theyíre made from Dragonís DS100 Vinyl, they can be cemented in exactly the same way as normal styrene, so representing track sag should be no problem.

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Back to what we donít get! These have to be mentioned, if only because of all the modellerís out there that have the original release, and will wonder if itís worth their while getting this on too! Well, as Iíve just mentioned, we donít get the Magic Tracks. We also donít get some of the PE goodies such as the tiny fret of uniform insignia that was in the earlier release. The PE star antennae is also gone, as is the figure, the photo etched brackets for the cleaning rods, the brass cleaning rod itself, along with all those lovely ammunition rounds and spent shells. No Brass bucket, or side fenders, no aluminium barrel or brass exhaust shrouds, and no metal towing shackles!

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Being a late production model, if you wanted to make an accurate model, youíll have to add zimmerit of course. Itís still a mystery to me why no mainstream company has attempted to remedy this, but at least we wonít have to wait since the resin zimmerit sets already out there for the earlier release will of course, fit this one too.

The kit also offers a choice of two different turrets, one with the pilsen sockets and one without. In fact it's still badged as a 3 in 1, the three being the same as in the first release, Tiger 1 late, Tiger 1 Late Command, and Tiger 1 Final Production.

Marking Options

In this version weíre offered six different marking options, as opposed to the four in the original release, none of which are repeated in this release. All are three-colour schemes, the most interesting of which is likely to be the first, showing the mounted Knight with lance of Panzer Abteilung 505 at Nowe Koszary in 1944.

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Itís a funny one to review this, since inevitably, modellers will focus on what they donít get, rather than what they do get. OK, they no longer get all the goodies mentioned above, but what they do get is an extremely accurate, well-engineered kit of a late production Tiger 1. And it will build into a fantastic model, with whatís in the box, with added zimmerit of course! Remember what happened with the last release and get a few!

My Thanks to Dragon for the review sample

For full information on all Dragon products, please see their website, Dragon Models Ltd.