Published on
October 10, 2018
Review Author(s)
Product / Stock #
Company: Meng Model - Website: Visit Site
Provided by: Meng Model - Website: Visit Site

My, but when it rains it really pours, doesn’t it? After years of comparatively limited (and sometimes pretty iffy) kits of the impressive King Tiger, we now have numerous companies falling all over themselves to provide THE definitive version of this classic monster. Meng, a relative newcomer to the modeling community, has chimed in with their own contribution – one which offers a lovely Porche-turreted vehicle in classic 1/35th scale, but also a separate kit of the full interior as well as a decal set for the zimmerit.

As a limited edition, this offering not only includes a metal barrel, photoetch parts, and various other non-styrene bits but a military map from the Battle of Caen, drawn in 1944. The latter might make a nice poster for your modeling area wall if you’re into that sort of thing.

Because of the nature of the build, the basic kit and the interior kit (if you have both) are unavoidably interlinked, as you will have to bounce back and forth between the two a fair bit during construction. As I intend to write separate reviews for these two items, I will do my best to refer to the companion kit (in either case) only in its relation to the other kit’s construction. Bear with me on this – I found myself going through the directions and crossing out portions of both sheets so I wouldn’t get confused.

Although the instructions don’t call for a full assembly of the running gear until fairly late in the game, I elected to do the whole thing right after the installation of the torsion arms, as the looseness of these concerned me a bit. I wanted to assure myself that the running gear would wind up straight and level, which involved not only installing the running gear but the tracks as well. A note here, however – if you have the interior kit do NOT install the rear idlers until you have installed the engine compartment walls, as these parts run through them. There is no mention in either set of directions about this salient point, and it could potentially cause you endless trouble if you rush ahead.

In any case, I found no difficulty installing the running gear, and the link-and-length tracks posed few problems. The fact that they include a “sag guide” for the top runs was a real plus – something I’ve never personally encountered in a kit before. Very nice addition. Once installed, it was much easier to level the somewhat wobbly running gear by simply gluing the wheels to the tracks. Problem solved.

The only problem I encountered was putting the cables on the hull sides, which interfered with attaching the cleaning rods. If I were to make this again, I’d put the cleaning rods on and then attach the two cables around them. All hatches are openable, and the detail on these is the best I’ve ever seen in a kit like this. You’d be a fool to close these, and they’re just to lovely to hide.

The kit provides two different main gun barrels as well as a lovely turned aluminum barrel with a choice of two muzzle brakes. Although the turned aluminum barrel was tempting, I elected to go with the plastic as I was making my version of this kit in pieces to show off the excellent interior detail and didn’t want to overbalance the turret. Under other circumstances, I would have gone for the turned metal barrel, although the plastic ones are perfect as well.

Overall, compared to the separately-available interior kit, the basic model is a relative breeze to construct. The fidelity to detail is delightful, such as on the side skirts where the hanging bolts actually have a small open space beneath each one of them – a detail I don’t recall ever having seen before. If you elect to purchase both this kit and the interior kit, though, be forewarned. The one major failing I noted had to do with the instructions, as there are no indicators in either set as to when each assembly should take place – and believe me, there is a definite order in which these need to take place if you’re going to avoid serious problems. Use extreme caution as you proceed, lest you find yourself in an awkward position halfway through the build. If you’re just assembling the basic kit, however, you won’t encounter this issue at all.

Overall, the basic kit is a relative breeze to throw together, exhibits terrific fidelity to detail and certainly looks the beast when complete. In an industry that now offers so many choices for replicating this monster, Meng’s offering certainly has to be in the top bracket. I can heartily recommend this model without reservations.

My thanks to Meng for taking their own shot at this iconic vehicle, and to IPMS/USA for giving me a chance to tackle it.


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