In-Box Review
King Tiger sPzAbt 505
Sd.Kfz. 182 King Tiger Henschel Turret w/ Zimmerit s.Pz.Abt.505 Russia 1944
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by: Bill Cross [ BILL_C ]

The successful introduction of Dragon’s Königstiger Henschel Turret w/ Zimmerit (#6303, nicely Reviewed by Scott Espin) has resulted in the usual “line extension” into specialty kits that allows a manufacturer to get a greater return on its die & tool investments. Dragon has already released numerous versions of their non-Zimmerit Tiger I (usually associated with a famous tank commander), and is now doing the same thing for their Zimmerit Tiger II. The first extension is a release based on the colorful s.Pz.Abt. 505 with its distinctive mounted knight insignia placed in the center of a square “cut out” of the Zimmerit coating.

The Kit
The box contains 22 sprues with over 650 parts, including 240 Magic Tracks and links. Although the directions show the model in dunkelgelb plastic, it’s actually molded in Dragon’s usual light-gray. The kit, like 6303, also includes a sheet of PE brass grill covers, misc. parts including light and heavy metal tow cables, a metal chain for the pistol port in the rear turret escape hatch, and two sprues of clear vision blocks.

The decal sheet allows for recreating any of the tanks from the s.Pz.Abt. 505’s three Tiger II companies, and includes the famous mounted knight in both green and red. The decals and painting scheme offer two variants: Trakehnen (East Prussia) 1944 and Poland 1944. An additional distinctive feature of the s.Pz.Abt. 505 Tiger IIs is the placement of the tank company numbers on the barrel and mantlet tube. The water-slide decals provided look clean and crisp with a minimum amount of selvage.

The plastic parts are crisp with little or no flash. Some design shortcuts have been taken, including a two-piece plastic barrel, though the mantlet is slide-molded. The kit offers some nice additions to any OOB build, including PE tool clamps and grill covers, but unfortunately lacks some of the extra features from #6303 such as a turned metal barrel, the brass rounds, and the metal tow hitches included in that release. If this is your first Tiger II Zimmerit kit, I would suggest looking at one of the AM barrels available on the market if you're so inclined. A plastic barrel is a real disappointment in my opinion, though the Magic Tracks are an improvement over the rubber band ones included in Dragon’s first Zimmerit Panther (#6428). As per Scott’s review of the kit #6303, many of the parts are themselves taken from Dragon’s non-Zimmerit Tiger II Henschel (kit #6232), so any issues with accuracy and fit should have been worked out by this point.

Overall detail is excellent and things like the side skirts are reasonable in thickness, though purists may want to purchase one of the PE _Kettenabdeckung_ sets from either Griffon model or Voyager. Purists may also squawk about factory-applied Zimmerit, but I’m one of those modelers who’d rather let Dragon add the Zimmerit in the molding process than struggle with mastering the technique myself. The execution here is superb and the zimmerit can be damaged or chipped using tools like a Micro Chisel if desired.

In terms of value for money, kit 6303 is a better bet, especially if you’re comfortable cutting out the distinctive square on the side of the turrets for the mounted knight icon (available from Archer dry transfers on sheet AR35135). But as a kit on its own, it continues the excellent quality we’ve come to expect from Dragon, and has few, if any, accuracy issues.
Highs: Pre-molded Zimmerit with the distinctive square cut for the unit's icon crisply produced, and attractive water-slide decals are included. Excellent detail and accuracy of execution.
Lows: Only 2-piece plastic barrel. Pre-molded Zimmerit may be a turn-off to purists.
Verdict: Excellent overall kit, especially for those looking for distinctive vehicles like those from s.Pz.Abt. 505.
Percentage Rating
  Scale: 1:35
  Mfg. ID: 6400
  Suggested Retail: $41.99 USD
  PUBLISHED: Jul 29, 2008

About Bill Cross (bill_c)

Self-proclaimed rivet counter who gleefully builds tanks, planes and has three subs in the stash.

Copyright ©2021 text by Bill Cross [ BILL_C ]. All rights reserved.


Hey, Thanks for the review. I must comment that I was disappointed that this kit didn't come with the extras as in their DML 6303 kit, such as the aluminum barrel and 88 shells as you mentioned. I purchased this kit as my first king tiger kit because I love the unit marking on the side of the turret, as it makes this KT distinctive.
JUL 28, 2008 - 05:42 PM
Alexander, I agree totally. In my case, I purchased an AM barrel from Armorscale for 6303 and can swap out its turned aluminum barrel into this kit. But the metal tow hitches, for example, are hard to replace without an annoying expense. That having been said, it looks as though it will build into a fine kit.
JUL 29, 2008 - 07:36 AM
While the metal barrel and towing eyes are missing, I have to ask, are they missed for their superior detail or just because they are metal extra bits? Nowadays, a metal barrel isn't what sets anything apart from any other, it is the muzzle-brakes that really offer that superior quality. Yes, an aluminum barrel takes away the job of working out the join of the plastic barrel halves, but beyond that, there's little extra a metal barrel offers given the very good plastic barrels we find in kits today. Same for the clevices. Is it superior detailing on the metal bits, or just that no mold seam needs to be sanded of? If companies like Armorscale or Aber would releases only the muzzle-brakes of guns, they would still sell like hot-buns. IMO thats where the money really goes to. The multi-part muzzlebrakes are really a vast improvement over the plastic ones, even the multi-part ones. And the 88 shells, now, when would we see those near a Tiger-B? During re-loading, so only when you would place a supply truck next to it, would you have any use for those shells. With no ammo-racks in the kit OOB you can't put them in the turret either. The only real lacking feature of these Zimmerited Tiger-Bs in my view is that the kits do not give an indication of where the trackhangers go on the turret. DML could use their technique from the Smart Kit Panther-G where they have small dots to indicate the location of the D-rings. I know from converting the older arrangement on the turret to that of the final Tiger-Bs, the 6 sets per side instead of 4, I had a fair bit of trouble getting the positions of the hangers right. And yes, I am a accuracy freak when it comes to Tigers and Panthers. As to the kit, I can only echo what is said in the review, marvelously well engineered and detailed and certainly, the charging knight emblem really sets these Tiger-Bs apart from other Zimmerit Tiger-Bs. Once finished, it will look rather nice next to it's 1:16 brother.
AUG 19, 2008 - 11:23 AM
Herbert, you make a good point, and the aluminum barrel can be over-valued. Is it more than not having to sand off the mold seams and joins? Yes, because there is no worry about the "trueing" of the barrel or any warpage from an over-heavy hand. But I also mentioned the barrels because this kit derives from the earlier Tiger B Henschel Zimmerit, so if one is comparing value-for-money, the absence of the barrel and other metal parts is more telling IMO. Again, good points. Even the original Tiger Henschel kit this derives from does not include a metal brake, and with good reason, since the detailing on the brakes is where the "rubber meets the road." Turning a metal barrel is no special trick, and the large number of AM barrel makers proves that (some with quality inferior to the best plastic). True, but if comparing this to the generic Tiger B Henschel Zimmerit, some modelers may feel they are getting less for the same or more money. And we all like a little "extra" in a kit that can go into the spares box for use in a diorama later on, perhaps with a Munitionsschlepper parked alongside? A VERY good point. Since I have not yet built this one, I am glad you pointed that out.[/quote]
AUG 20, 2008 - 02:18 AM
I have been getting some Lion Roar gun barrels (for KT's) with excellent detailing and a terrific muzzle brakes. It's cheaper than the Aber sets. I agree with your opinions Bill & Herbert !
AUG 21, 2008 - 12:05 AM
Hello, I am also disappointed about this "new" set which is nothing less than a light weight of 6303. Therefore I decided to use the 6303er-kit I have got in stock and apply the characteristic emblem of the 505 HTB by using DML's instructions and stencils I bought at my local retailer. Image Hosted by Image Hosted by Image Hosted by The total price of both the kit and the stencils is less than this latest deception package of CH...
AUG 21, 2008 - 07:36 AM
Marco, thanks for posting this alternative. But some of us lack the patience and/or skill to machine off the Zimmerit (from 6303) or Zim ourselves to make the characteristic rectangular slot for the 505's striking unit insignia (which is also available in a dry transfer from Archer). I wouldn't call this a "deception," just an alternative for those who are looking more for things to go together OOB.
AUG 21, 2008 - 08:01 AM
My Tiger im Kampf books are still packed away so I can't verify this myself. I've built the 1/16 RC Tiger-B and it too is a 505 one, and the instructions had the rear turret numbers all on the hatch. CH shows it as one on the turret left rear, the middle on the hatch and one on the turret rear right. Which one is correct?
AUG 21, 2008 - 08:47 AM
Hello Herbert, all on the hatch. [Osprey Publishing "Kingtiger Heavy Tank 1942 - 45 / Tom Jentz & Hilary Doyle", page 27]
AUG 21, 2008 - 03:04 PM

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