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Sd.Kfz.181 Pz.Kpfw.VI(P)

DML 1/35 Sd.Kfz.181 Pz.Kpfw.VI(P) Premium Edition Kit First Look

By Cookie Sewell

Date of Review August 2006 Manufacturer DML
Subject Sd.Kfz.181 Pz.Kpfw.VI(P) Premium Edition Scale 1/35
Kit Number 6352 Primary Media 734 parts (355 grey styrene, 228 Magic Track links, 127 etched brass, 12 clear styrene, 4 prebent steel wire, 2 prebent copper wire, 2 twisted steel wire, 2 prebent etched brass, 1 spring, 1 turned aluminum gun barrel)
Pros Nice if older kit receives upgrades and bonus parts from later Tiger I and Elefant kit releases; Magic Track always a nice change and upgrade for single-link track kits; some corrections to original kit Cons Lot of extra work for a one-off vehicle; no zimmerit paste on hull or turret
Skill Level Intermediate MSRP (USD) $45.00

First Look

There are a number of one-off items that have always proven popular with modelers, and many of them deservedly so due to the fame of their prototypes: the Ryan "Spirit of St. Louis," the USS Constitution, HMS Victory, the Bismarck, NCC-1701 USS Enterprise, RMS Titanic, and even the "Leopold" railway gun. (Yes, I know that there are related or sister items to each of these, but only these specific items gained iconic status.) But among armored vehicles, this particular tank is one of the very few to gain such a following, along with other short-lived or unfinished German designs such as the "Maus" heavy tank or "Dora" 80 cm heavy gun.

DML released a pretty nice kit of this tank in November 2004 as their kit No. 6210, but as usual the "boo birds" were not happy as it was not perfect. DML provided most of the kit in styrene with DS plastic one-piece tracks and only sufficient etched brass for the grillwork, and not much more. There were some twitches over hatches and details as well, as the kit shared much of its architecture with the then-recently released "Ferdinand" and "Elefant" kits.

DML now adds this kit to their "Premium Edition" stock with more than double the parts of the original kit, adding "Magic Track" for the kit as well as a good-sized fret of etched brass and parts from their more recent "Slide Molded" Tiger I kits.

The "Magic Track" provides two kinds of links – an "A" link (parts R) with a guide tooth and a "B" link (parts S) that snap together. This should solve the complaints from those who want the track to sag properly (but probably getting grouses from the "one-piece track" fans for dropping the DS plastic ones!) The good news is the "Magic Track" links are some of the best around, needing minimal cleanup and replicating the originals very nicely.

The etched brass covers the original grilles as well as many other details and brackets that dress up the model. Some such as the device to the rear of the commander's cupola (MA31) are going to be somewhat difficult to shape but they do provide nice details. A styrene version (A9) is also provided.

As the model uses parts from the later Tiger I series of kits, it makes a step forward with the turned aluminum barrel and a step backwards with the frou-frou "realistic recoil" spring feature. The kit comes with no less than three mantelets but the one in the "Special Features" card bag is the correct one to use.  It also has two different right sides to the turret, one with a pistol port and one with the hatch, so the modeler has some flexibility on making the most accurate kit possible based on the original's career.

  Only one set of markings and painting directions are provided for the vehicle as the command tank of s.Pz.Jg.Abt. 653 on the Eastern Front in 1944. Again, no zimmerit is provided for the hull or turret so the modeler will have to add them if desired.

Overall this adds to DML's Tiger "family" but I am not sure, since it was a one-off "orphan," if those who purchased the original kit will want this one as well. DML may well be on their way to becoming their own worst enemy with this "Premium" kits as fence-sitters may prefer to wait for an upgrade/corrected version of a specific vehicle in the future.

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

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