Tiger 1 "Tunisia Initial"

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Company: Dragon Models - Website: Visit Site
Provided by: Dragon Models USA - Website: Visit Site
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Before you read the overall review in this kit, let me start with a disclaimer: I’m not an armor guy. I’m an airplane guy that is that is very timidly exploring the armor genre. This is only my 3rd 1/35 model.

Having said that, Dragon is releasing a 1/35 Tiger I “Tunisia Initial”, with an impressive total of 24 sprues, including one clear sprue, a couple of small photo-etch frets and some metal cord to be used as a towing cable. Tracks are of the DS kind. Beware: some sprues have the same letter, so check if in the instructions they are printed in “black” or “light blue” to distinguish between them.

I think some (if not several) of these sprues have been released previously. Despite the different vintages of the sprues, all of them are molded in a medium grey plastic with clean sharp features and no flash anywhere.

Construction starts with the running gear. All 48 wheels on it, plus the torsion bars and sprocket and return wheel. I actually choose to assemble the torsion bars, but keep the wheels out for ease of painting. Make sure you keep track of which wheel is each –as they are not interchangeable-. I keep them in separate Ziploc bags with a tag on each bag to identify the type of wheel I had inside.

Construction then moves to the side of the tank, skirts and front of the hull, including the machine gun and driver view port. Everything fit perfectly. No need for filler of any kind. I probably had the main hull and wheels assembled in about 10 hrs (due to the high part count) of very relaxing and fun modelling time.

Turret assembly is also straight forward as there are no seams to deal with. The main turret is molded as a single piece, with the top of the turret, cupulas and mantlet being molded as individual pieces. In the turret you have the option to keep a few hatches open. There is a limited interior, basically the gun and a crew seat. The details are good, but there is no further detail in the hull, so I choose to model my tank with all hatches closed. Again the fit was perfect. Adding the smoke grenade launchers was actually very easy; just make sure you keep track of which one is each, as they sit at different angles. Main gun and mantlet are also easy to assemble, with only a faint mold line needing to be sanded away. I got the turret and gun assembled in another 6 hrs, or so. It was now looking like a tank!

At this point I went ahead and shot a coat of paint as a primer. Satisfied with the results I added the photoetch grilles –they are beautiful- and proceeded with the two tone North African camo applied to the Tiger deployed in Tunisia. I used Afrika Grunbraun and Afrika Khakibraun from the Model Master Enamels series. The colors are very similar to each other but the difference in shade is there when you get close to the model.

At this point it was a matter of getting a gloss coat for the decals (each number in the turret is a separate decal); work on the very detailed pioneer tools and to apply a wash to bring all that nice detail. I attempted to use the metal cable to model the towing cable; however I’ve found it to be very stiff and difficult to work with. I decided to model my Tiger I after it had “lost” the towing cable due to combat and recovery needs.

The tracks are of the DS kind. They present no difficulties to work with and can be easily painted. Note that they will not sag, so you will have to use some glue on top of the wheels to create the typical Tiger tracks sag.

In summary: This is an excellent model with an outstanding fit and it has plenty of detail, including some really nice photoetched parts. There are plenty of small parts that require careful removal from the sprues and careful cleaning to ensure proper fit.

The only downsides I found were: The metal cable was too stiff and difficult to work with, so I choose to leave out and the instructions were confusing, at best. I wish the instructions would have been printed into more pages and have the sub-steps more clearly indicated.

In my opinion this is not a good model for someone that is just starting into armor models due to the high part count. I got a bit burned out during the construction of this kit. I know that if I were to tackle this kit after I get more experience in the armor genre I could get a better result. Still I am happy with the looks of it.

I spent around 30 hrs working on this Tiger (over a period of 5 months or so). As I am a “newbie” to armor, I am not sure if that is high or low for an average model in this scale. I know this: I’m looking forward to build a few more armored vehicles. I think I got bitten by the “armor bug”.

I would like to thank Dragon Models USA and IPMS/USA for the review sample.


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