Italeri 1/72 Jagdtiger Sd.Kfz.186 Build Review
By John Kelley
|Date of Review||July 2010||Manufacturer||Italeri|
|Kit Number||7030||Primary Media||Styrene|
|Pros||Good detail; good fit; easy build||Cons||No detail on inside of tracks; road wheels are one piece instead of two|
|Skill Level||Basic||MSRP (USD)||$18.50|
The Sd.Kfz. 186 Jagdtiger was built on the lengthened chassis of the King Tiger Tank. Mounting a 12.8cm main gun, it was one of the most powerful tank destroyers fielded by the German Army in WWII. Its armor plating was so thick that the tank could travel on nothing but the best roads and bridges. In essence, it was a moving pillbox.
Italeri has re-issued the ESCI kit in 1/72nd scale. There are no two ways about it. I have always liked the ESCI kits. Yes, many of them are old. Some items of the kit need detailing and some need correcting, but there is just something about these kits that I always find unique and appealing. One of the things I liked about this kit in particular was the inclusion of three crew figures and a choice of hard plastic or vinyl tracks. I liked the detailing and, to be honest, I just had a lot of fun building this kit.
As always, I began by assembling the lower hull components first. I find it easier to add the tracks and road wheels after the lower hull is assembled then try to and put everything together at one time. I did have to make one adjustment to the hull.
The front of the lower hull where the drive sprockets are located bowed in after assembly. This caused the drive sprockets to sit at an angle. I took a piece of kit sprue and put inside the hull between the side plates. I added .020 strip styrene to shim between the sprue and the hull. This straightened the sides and the drive sprockets were now horizontal. At the same time, I added some strip styrene to the sponsons for a tighter fit with the upper hull.
After pre-painting the wheels and tracks, I then added them to the lower hull. Since the road wheels are interleaved it is easier to pre-paint in this case. The only problem I encountered with the tracks was there were too many teeth on the drive sprocket for the links to fit. I cut off a few of the teeth so the links would fit and this solved the problem.
I much prefer the hard plastic tracks to the vinyl and while it takes a little time to apply them, I think the hard plastic tracks look better. The kit has rods on the hull sides to induce track sag for the vinyl tracks, but since I used the hard tracks they were not needed so I cut them off.
At this point, I painted the interior of the model Flat Black. This way, you can't see through the air intakes to the bottom of the kit.
I began work on the upper hull by adding the main gun mounting pieces and rear doors to Parts 8B and 7B. I then attached these assemblies to the fighting compartment. There was a gap between these parts and the sides of the fighting compartment that I had to fill with some putty. I also replaced a broken hinge with brass wire. After I sanded the putty, I then coated it with Mr. Surfacer 500 to eliminate any small gaps that I missed with putty.
There was a step where the upper hull meets the rear plate and this was filled with .020 strip styrene. I did make one correction to the kit. I added .020 styrene to the flat portion of the bottom of the gun mantlet to eliminate a step between the mantlet and the gun collar Part 32. This is due to the mantlet being too shallow. I drilled two holes in the gun lifting ring and added the tip to the main gun barrel and blended the gaps in with putty.
The instructions have you add the spare track links that are attached to the fighting compartment sides on backwards. The tracks should be attached with the guide teeth facing out. After I completed this, I assembled all of the details except the tow rope and tools and began painting.
I knew from the beginning I wanted the single Dark Yellow color. Straight out of the bottle, the Model Master Dark Yellow is, in my opinion, a little too dark and needs to be lightened for 1/72nd scale, so I mixed half Model Master Panzer Dunkelgelb '43 #4796 and half Light Gray #4765.
For the tracks, I made a mixture of 5 parts Tamiya XF-64 Red Brown and 1 part XF-1 Flat Black. I used this same mixture for the spare track links and the exhaust pipes. I used a Prismi Color silver pencil to show bare metal on the tracks and the drive sprocket.
The tow rope was painted Gun Metal and dry brushed with Red Brown. The shovel handle was painted Model Master Wood, the metal parts were painted Gun Metal and Dark Yellow. I painted the starter handle Dark Yellow. The exhaust pipes were dry brushed Red Brown as well as the spare track links.
I then gave the model a coat of Pledge Floor Wax with Future to aid in applying decals and washes. I used Windsor & Newton Van Dyke Brown for all of the washes. I applied it to all the road wheels, panel lines and details. Afterwards, I dry brushed everything with the 50/50 Dark Yellow/Light Gray mixture.
I then sprayed Model Master Flat Coat and the model was ready for the final details to be attached. This included the tow rope, tools, and the crew.
I painted the crew uniforms Flat Black, the faces flesh, and the hair brown. After they had dried, I added a little of the Van Dyke Brown Wash to bring out the eyes and mouth of the figures. My figure painting skills are not that good, but I think that by adding them to the model, it brings the kit to life.
I enjoyed building this kit. Is it perfect? No! The tracks lack details on the inside, the road wheels are single instead of doubles like the real tank, but in my opinion, the detail that is on the kit is very good. If washed and dry brushed properly, it can be brought out beautifully.
In the end, to me it looks like a Jagdtiger. I guess the real question is would this reviewer buy this kit? Yes! It was fun, it was easy to build, and with the exception of needing some putty, the kit went together very well. So well, in fact, I didn't even have to glue the road wheels on.
This kit lends itself to some very nice super-detailing and the crew and extra track were a nice bonus. The decals, as always from Italeri, went on without a problem. So go out to your local hobby shop, buy this kit and have a good time!
My sincere thanks to Testors for this review sample to build.