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1⁄35Academy Tiger I Early
Kit AssemblyI have never built a Tiger-I, although I have several Tamiya Tiger-I kits in my stash (early, mid and late versions). I could not get myself to build any of them for fear of spoiling or wasting the expensive Tamiya kits. In order to fulfill my desire to build a Tiger-I without being too concerned about soiling or wasting the kit, I bought myself less expensive Academy Tiger-I Early Version (ACA 1386 – exterior model). The Academy kit served as my Tiger-I guinea pig.
Before proceeding to build, I researched about the different Tiger-I versions in order to be familiar with the kit I was about to build. After gathering all necessary information, I decided to assemble the kit based on the Tiger-I Nr. 311 of S.Pz.Abt.502 in Russia during the summer of 1943.
There was nothing fancy when it came to the kit assembly because I built it basically out of the box. The only downside of building the Academy Early Version (ACA 1386) was the missing parts. The manufacturer probably forgot to include the brackets that clamp the air filter hoses in place and the steel bar that holds the tracks in front of the hull. In order to give the kit some level of accuracy, I scratch built the missing parts using spare sprues and some thin-gauged wires. Along the scratch building process I also added the cables that connect the headlights using thin-gauged wires.
In the middle of construction process, an idea crossed my mind; I need to make the Tiger-I look as if it took a lot of beating but was still rendered serviceable. In order to give the kit the impression of battle damage, I performed some very minor surgery to the kit. The exhaust covers were filed to simulate dents and scratches. I made the mudguards thinner by sanding it and then twisted and bit (yes, I used my teeth) it to simulate tears and dents. I also used a soldering iron to simulate shrapnel impacts on the mantlet and glacis.