by: Herbert Ackermans [ ]
A decade and a half of dreamingWell, I had imagined a kit like this way back, during my time in school, almost 20 years later, it has become a reality.
This is not only a large scale kit it is also an overwhelmingly complete Tiger-B kit.
What you get At first sight, the box is intimidating. It is a whopping 88 x 48 x 22 cm in size, and Trumpeter has added a handle to carry it with. Everything is packed carefully in the box to minimize damage during shipping.
Sprocket and idler box I started by going through the box with the sprockets and idlers. In addition to the sprockets and idlers, this box also contains a number of springs and metal shafts. A quick test fitting of the sprocket and idler revealed a perfect fit, and a very tight fit for the idler. I had to pry the outer two parts apart. Very good. I have found no burrs of significance on any of the metal cast parts.
Clear clam shell box The clam shell was next on my tour and this is sealed with some cellophane tape. Again, good thinking by Trumpeter, even though the clam shell stays shut by itself, they don't take chances.
Inside are two lengths of tow cable, one length of copper cable for the track mounting cable, the huge barrel 25 cm long. There are also several PE frets and eight sets of spare tracks to be hung on the turret.
This is where a low point of the kit parts is revealed. Every track link has knockout marks and an injection mark. The knockout marks on the inner side can be easily dealt with, albeit a time consuming task. The injection marks however, are in very difficult to reach places and trying to remove those could ruin the track face. I will see how to do this in the build review.
The detail is very good, no negative points there.
The PE-frets are next up. As will be shown later, there are several different types of ammo in the kit, all grenades will receive a PE bottom, and these are very well detailed with information as to which type, Spreng or Panzer granate. Combined with the plastic grenades, these look very much the business.
The barrel is a large single piece of aluminum, solid since the muzzle is a plastic part.
The next PE fret contains the grills, all with a nicely woven pattern, plus the one for the smaller air intake on the engine deck. Also in this fret are the foot pedals, the inner part of the jerry can and 5 additional parts for interior detailing.
The final PE fret has the curved grills that are part of the optional grenade screens over the forward 2 air intake grills on the engine deck.
Making tracksWell, no, luckily. Trumpeter provides both track runs pre-assembled, and this saves you a bundle of time since you don't have to link up 86 track links per side. There are two additional links provided. This together with an adjustable idler will make sure the track run will droop nicely over the wheels. This section of the construction will therefore be quite easy.
The red box containing the tracks has a window on its side allowing one to gaze in wonder at the track runs. Again, excellent work by Trumpeter in providing their kit with the best way of presenting itself.
Large components, part 1 Now we get to some of the really, really huge parts of the kit. First up, the turret. As this kit comes with the option for a solid or clear turret, 2 boxes are included. The top side of both boxes will flip open. The boxes feature pictures from the painting guide.The turret parts sit on a neatly formed black plastic base, and this provides a stable packaging. The turret is huge, anyone not having built a 1/16 tank prior to this one will be flabbergasted by its size. Front to end the turret is around 25 cm long.
The turret body is split up into 3 parts, the outer turret, inner turret and turret bottom. The turret front and more parts for the turret bottom are found on other sprues.
This is a very large scale tank and it would be easy to overdo the weld seams or torch cut marks. I'm glad to say, Trumpeter has added realistic, and one might even call it restrained welds and torch cut marks. Judging it by comparing to actual pictures, these are spot on. Even the Pilze on the turret roof have neat weld detail.
The inner turret is there to provide scale thickness for the armor body of the turret. Additional parts will further enhance it as in it's present form, it is a bare shell.
The turret bottom includes mounting plates for the gun cradle, turret ring bolt detail and several other details as well as many holes to be filled by other parts.
The clear version is the same as the regular version. There are no flaws in the clear molded parts.
Large components part 2 If you think the turret is large, wait until you open up the boxes for the hull parts. The lower hull is a massive injection molded piece of plastic and despite it huge size, eyeballing it shows it to straight and accurate. The box again show clever thinking by Trumpeter as front and back of the lower hull part are neatly stored in cardboard with cutouts for the rear to keep it in place, and a folded piece of cardboard that fits under the lower glacis.
The exterior of the hull tub is again, very well detailed with access hatches and drain covers molded in place, and at the front, a separate access hatch. At the front we are shown again, very well rendered torch cutting, part of which will sadly be covered by the sprocket drive.
Unfortunately there are knockout marks which are equally as prominent as the kit itself. These will require filling with either discs of plastic card or filler/putty. The interior sides and sponson surface will be clad in additional parts, so any kinks there are covered later.
Large components part 3 On top of a lower hull of course comes the upper hull. It is massive. Again, just simply huge! At the front, a black plastic filler proved a sturdy and fits snugly enough in the opening for the radio operator's MG Kugelblende. At the back, an equally stable support is provided. One word of warning though, even whilst being a large sturdy, "you-can't-break-me" type of molding, the rear of the hull has no parts molded on for the engine deck. Rather thin parts are molded and if handled improperly, can be broken and that will leave you in a world of hurt later on when constructing the engine deck.
The upper hull is provided as essentially the armor body as it would have been welded together. None of the smaller components, like the engine deck plates or the cover over the driver and radio operator's position are molded onto it. These are all separate parts. Other parts to be added are the Kubelblende for the MG, driver's periscope and all other parts one would expect to add in a 1/35 kit.
Another very neat looking feature of the upper hull part is the toothed turret ring.
The clear version of the upper hull is as crystal clear as the turret parts.
The SpruesTaking out the box on the right side of the case, it looks like it could hold two kits, as it is as wide and deep as the case. Another very nice touch, there are openings in the box side to facilitate easy taking it out and putting it back in.
The first sprue you can see includes the Schurzen, final drive covers, rear mud guards, towing eyes and some other parts. The detailing on this scale can easily go into the soft area, but not so here, it is all crisp where it should be crisp.
Next, the sprue with some of the larger parts for the turret, including the Topfblende, turret front, cupola, turret bottom additional parts, muzzle brake, rear hatch and loader's hatch, gun barrel detailing and the drivers periscope base as well as the additional grenade screens base for the engine deck.
The loader's hatch is the first time I see the remnants of 4 welded items included in a kit. These welds are referred to in Jentz' VK-4502 to Tiger II but it is not known what these were for.
The turret front part has the stepped aperture for the gun sight molded in great detail, the MG opening will be detailed by other parts.
The Topfblende is a 3 part affair, and the external part has a mold seam which runs all the way from front to end, this has to be removed. The front end of the Topfblende includes the locking wire running from bolt to bolt, again a first to see this included in a kit.
Following this is the sprue that contains much of the lower hull floor parts, including the power transmission axles to the sprocket wheels, stiffening plates on the hull bottom and the cover for some of the electrical wiring running over the torsion bars.
The next sprue contains some of the larger turret interior parts, including the turret basket floor, gun breech plus other gun parts. These are well detailed, too.
The transmission is the subject of the next sprue. Of special note are the very well detailed disk brakes, which will also be almost completely hidden but you know it is there, nice air cooling holes are present, well done again by Trumpeter.
The next sprue contains the engine deck parts and the grills, the forward hull hatches, engine hatch, air covers and the gun cleaning rods. The transmission access hatch can be attached loose if desired. The same holds for all true for the major components to be added to the engine deck, these can be left loose to be removed later to show the engine and cooling air ducts, fans, fuel tanks and other nice bits.
The gun cleaning rods are molded together with their holders. This might be seen as a bit of a downer, but the rods are all separate from each other, and the rack itself is an accurate solid part with curves in it for the cable. The locking plates have their wing nuts included, in crisp detail. The MG Kugelblende on this sprue is well executed with great stepped aperture detailing.
After these plastic sprues came 2 wobbly rubbery sprues. Molded in black vinyl (I think), these provide all kinds of tubing and cabling found throughout a Tiger-B, including the fuel system, air cooling and electrical wiring. Some of the larger tubing is made of 2 parts. I will have to see how this can be best glued together, whether regular glue can be used or some other kind.
Another sprue not made out of plastic are what I assume are nylon rings that will be used in conjunction with the road wheels, so 20 of these rings in total.
Next comes the sprue with the the exterior part for the hull rear, as well as the exhausts, armored exhaust covers, several other covers, full set of track hangers for the turret. Also included are engine hatch hinge parts, which if assembled with care, will be operational. There are also parts for the cupola, the commander's hatch and the AA-ring.
As mentioned earlier, the hull interior sides are provided as separate parts, and that is what the next sprue contains. These are large sections that will simply butt up to the interior hull sides and include electrical wire detail and torsion bar detail. Also on this sprue are the hull floor around the turret basket and hull side parts. The floor parts have good grid pattern molded on, which will respond well to weathering.
On the next sprue are the interior part for the upper glacis. To represent the massive armour plating, Trumpeter has chosen to add this as separate parts, instead of molding a very thick upper hull. Molding the thickness in scale would probably have caused the upper hull to warp or shrink. A sound choice and it allows for better detailing. Next to these parts is the fire wall which goes between the rear of the fighting compartment and the front of the engine. A couple of fuel tanks can be found on this sprue, as well as an upper hull bulkhead. Several other interior parts are also included on this sprue.
The next sprue up has parts to further detail the turret and the turret drive mechanism and all are well detailed.
The powerful Maybach HL 230 engine is almost a kit in itself. This is one huge engine, clearly showing of it's twenty three litre size and Trumpeter has really provided what can simply be called the definitive Maybach engine. At first glance a couple of nasty knockout marks are apparent, but checking the instructions shows that these will be on the inside once the engine is assembled. There is some detail that is present but will be hidden after assembly. The plumbing for the engine is on the vinyl sprue.
The radio, another “mini-kit,” is on the next sprue. Other parts found are the seat for the radio operator, this also is a multipart affair. This sprue does show some flash, minor but the parts here are rather delicate even for this scale so a careful run with a sharp knife will be needed.
Grenades and ammo racks are on the next sprue.
Fans, batteries, and two MG 34 machine guns are on the next four sprues.
The next sprue contains turret parts, including the inner turret front, featuring the bolted ring for the rubber seal. Additional cannon parts, turret ring parts, the frame for the loader's hatch, inside of the rear hatch, inside of the loader's hatch and further turret interior fittings are also on this sprue. Also found on this sprue is the sheet metal cover plate that would protect the rear hatch when loading ammo or changing the gun barrel. Anyone who has used PE sets for a Tiger-B in 1/35 scale or has built the DML kits, knows that this sheet has two strengthening embossed lines. These are strangely absent on this 1/16 kit.
The next sprue holds the ammo racks for the turret, and the shields located in the turret bustle between the ammo racks and the turret wall.
The inside of the rear hull plate comes next, and this sprue also contains further parts for plumbing and electrical equipment.
The next sprue contains even more lower hull side parts. As mentioned earlier these hull sides have positive location points so everything will be square after construction. The 20 liter jerry can on this sprue is the same as most of the current 1/35 scale cans, loose handlebar, loose filler cap, 2 sides and a PE insert. The embossing on the jerry can is another very good example of the level of detail in this kit. And this concludes the first box with sprues.
The Second boxYes, there are more sprues to be found in this kit.
Opening the second box of smaller sprues, and we start with turret interior fittings, the inside of the cupola, locking mechanism for the loader's hatch, air intake cover, Nahverteidigungswaffe and various other parts to fit to the turret interior.
The periscopes in this kit are molded in gray plastic. Whether or not it would have been better to have these periscopes in clear plastic is open for debate. Perhaps on this scale, the "real" glass nature would have worked better. The handles for the glass are molded separately, which is a plus.
Going on, the next sprues contain mainly the on vehicle equipment; shovel, axe, towing clevises, and the working jack. The smaller lifting hooks for the engine deck, transmission access cover and those around the circular fan grills on the engine deck are also on this sprue.
Next are the road wheels molded in two parts, an outer and inner. This gives very good detail with the bolts are all crisply molded.
Almost reaching the end, we have several sprues with all the torsion bars, twenty to be exact, as the Tigers had single torsion bars per road wheel, instead of the double layout in the Panther. The road wheel hubs are also on these sprues.
AmmunitionAnd what is a tank without ammunition? You get seventy two rounds to load out this Tiger. Its not a full complement of 84 rounds stowed in the actual Tiger-B, but it will certainly add the feeling of a combat ready vehicle! The rounds all look very good, with excellent detail per different type of ammo.
The final sprues
And the final sprues are the ones which hold the rather massive axles, as these are quite bulky solid parts. Also the idler axles are on these sprues.
Instructions, decals and dry transfersIn addition to the plastic, metal and etched brass parts, there is also the paperwork, in the form of the instructions, painting and marking guide and 2 sheets with transfers.
The painting and marking guides show 7 different vehicles with suggested finishes for the kit. Some of the making instructions are vague.
The decal sheets are sharply printed but are all one one piece film some the numbers, etc. must be cut apart. Oddly, the charging knight turret symbol is provided with only narrow carrier film.
The other decal sheet has stenciling for the interior. These are small decals so take care when applying them.
Both decal sheets come with a protective cover which is held in place with some transparent adhesive tape.
Finally comes the instruction manual, an area in which Trumpeter could really improve. You must study the instructions carefully. In every case, a sub-assembly is shown, and a small arrow points in what I can only call, the general direction of where this sub-assembly can be found on the whole assembly.
This often results in a "look and find the parts" build. I would recommend marking sub assemblies with colored pencil and building them in groups.
For the most part the painting instructions are vague or incorrect as far as the interior of the kit is concerned. On many points, Rot Oxid is given as the finish, when in fact, it should be Elfenbein, and the engine compartment is said to be black, while in fact, Rot Oxid is correct. This is really the lowest point of the whole kit. I would recommend studying other references to get the colors for the interior right.
ConclusionThis kit is massive and should be a pleasure to build. By including a complete interior, Trumpeter makes this a grand kit. Even the box compels you to put great effort into it's construction, painting and finishing. However, I think the kit is well worth the money. It is a kit that is well executed, and during the build up, I can further comment on the accuracy, fit, ease of construction, detail and what else will come forward in that process.
So far, having had all parts in my hands, looking at them and checking it mentally with what I have in my head, it all looks exceptionally good.
This is a kit, which due to it's size, can incorporate detail that can not be had in a smaller scale, simply because it either would become too small, or because it cannot be molded with current technology.