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Sd.Kfz.181 Pz.Kpfw VI Ausf.E Tiger I Initial Production 1.Kompanie s.Pz.Abt.501 DAK 3-in-1

DML 1/35 Sd.Kfz.181 Pz.Kpfw.VI Ausf.E Tiger I Initial Production 3-in-1 Kit First Look

By Cookie Sewell

Date of Review October 2005 Manufacturer (DML)
Subject Sd.Kfz.181 Pz.Kpfw.VI Ausf.E Tiger I Initial Production 1.Kompanie s.Pz.Abt.501 DAK 3-in-1 Scale 1/35
Kit Number 6286 Primary Media 950 parts (494 in grey styrene, 223 etched brass, 180 "Magic Track" links, 18 turned brass, 11 clear styrene, 8 metal pins, 8 metal clevises, 4 bent wire, 1 turned aluminum,1 length twisted steel cable, 1 length of woven nylon sleeve, 1 spring)
Pros Targeted production permits building a specific unit's vehicles; limited production kit provides wealth of options for construction means and methods Cons Limited production kit may have limited availability
Skill Level Intermediate MSRP (USD) Unknown

First Look

I recently found a web site for Universal Models Limited of Hong Kong. It is quite interesting, as it gives out a great deal of history and explains a great deal. Founded as a hobby shop in Hong Kong in 1974, it moved on to become a wholesaler and exporter (Hobby World Ltd.) and it also opened subsidiary companies in the US and Canada.  In 1987, UML took the step of forming its own satellite model production company – Dragon Models Limited. Business boomed, and with the coming handover of Hong Kong to China in 1997 a satellite model production company, Shanghai Dragon, was launched in 1994. Now, in 2005, they are adding to market limited production versions of DML products.

The first of these in 1/35 scale is a Tunisian Tiger I (the same version as the Ordnance Museum's Tiger I here in Aberdeen, as so well covered in the book "Tiger Without a Home" and which is under renovation in the UK right now) with suitable optional parts to make any of three different tanks from sPzABt 501.

Most of the parts are a combination from three previous kits – Tiger I Early No. 6252), Tiger I Late (No. 6253), and Tiger (Porsche) (No. 6210) kits. Some new bits have been added, but overall this is a mix-and-match kit that provides all of the specific bits in one box with a new main set of etched brass (MA fret).

While the kit has many of the same parts from the previous three Tiger kits, there are a number of new details. The sides of the hull are new and a specific plastic cable array (or your choice of styrene heads and steel wire cable) are provided for making the Tiger match a 501st tank. New rear fenders are provided, along with one set of styrene and three etched brass sets for the front fenders. The model also has a new glacis plate and various bins to match the Tigers fielded by the 501st.

Many other original kit parts have also been "tweaked" to match 501st tanks. The "Feifel" air filter system is provided with either styrene tubes or styrene head and tails to use with a woven nylon tube option. Mounts are also provided so that you can model the tank with missing road wheels or – with an after-market purchase – with "shipping" tracks and not its "combat" tracks.

The "combat" tracks are provided as "Magic Track" links, which snap together for assembly and come pre-trimmed.

Details abound. For example, the bow gun consists of seven parts for the gun and mount and another seven for the ball mounting on the upper glacis panel. The driver's viewer operates (slides up and down) and as with the previous "Late" kit there is a rudimentary interior provided in the way of fuel tanks, torsion bars, and engine radiator fans. Where the three tanks covered differ there are callouts on the directions for what details are used or not used or what has to be changed to match.

DML originated the concept of optional parts, and the kit provides for many of them in either styrene or brass (or other materials as appropriate). Two different barrel options are provided (styrene or turned aluminum) as well as various optional parts such as smoke grenade launchers, exhaust shrouds, tow clevises, and the kit also includes 24 rounds of 8.8 cm ammunition, two ammo cases, three Jerry cans, and a bucket. Finally, four locks are included for the stowage bins, consisting of a styrene body and etched brass hasp.

The finishing options are for three tanks: Number 112 (the Aberdeen tank), Number 141 and Number 142. The Aberdeen tank is in what appears to be Afrika Korps Braun (the directions call for "middle stone") and the other two are in Panzergrau.

Overall, this is another lovely kit, and at least by having a subsidiary company create low-rate limited production kits for them DML will not clog up their inventory with what may not be the most widely appealing kits. According to the flyer in the kit, the next four "" releases are: ch.c 02 (DML No. 6293) - Sd.Kfz. 251/23 Ausf. D with 2 cm turret; ch.c 03 (DML No. 6294) Pzkw. IV Ausf. E - Eastern Front; ch.c 04 (DML No. 6295) T-34/76 STZ; and 05 (DML No. 6296) Sd.Kfz. 234 with 2 cm turret.

Thanks to Freddie Leung of Dragon Models USA for the review sample.