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Pz.Kpfw.VI Ausf.E Sd.Kfz.181 Tiger I

DML 1/35 Pz.Kpfw.VI Ausf.E Sd.Kfz.181 Tiger I Feb. 1944 Production Kit First Look

By Cookie Sewell

Date of Review September 2011 Manufacturer DML
Subject Pz.Kpfw.VI Ausf.E. Sd.Kfz.181 Tiger I Feb. 1944 Production - Smart Kit Scale 1/35
Kit Number 6650 Primary Media 820 parts (674 in grey styrene, 118 etched brass, 21 clear styrene, 2 DS Plastic track runs, 1 pre-bent wire, 2 lengths twisted steel wire, 1 pre-formed etched brass, 1 coil spring)
Pros Another Tiger with more detail changes Cons Another kit adds confusion to a crowded suite of kits
Skill Level Experienced MSRP (USD) $64.99

First Look

Once again it is time for “Mouseketeer Roll Call” on the list of Tiger I kits from DML and its boutique affiliate,

  • 6252 Sd.Kfz. 181 Tiger I Initial Production (2005)
  • 6253 Sd.Kfz. 181 Tiger I Late Production (2005)
  • 6286 - Tiger I Initial Production DAK (2005)
  • 6350 - Tiger I “Michael Wittmann” (2006)
  • 6335 - Gruppe Fehrman Tiger I (2007)
  • 6269 Sd.Kfz. 181 Tiger I (Early Production) (2008)
  • 6383 Tiger I Late Production with Zimmerit - Dragon Zimmerit (2008)
  • 6406 Tiger I Late Production 3-in-1 (2008)
  • 6610 - “Wittmann’s Last Tiger” Normandy 1944 - Dragon Zimmerit (2009)
  • 6600 Pz.Kpfw. VI Ausf. E Tiger I Initial Production - s.Pz.Abt. 502 - 3-in-1 Smart Kit (2010)
  • 6650 Pz.Kpfw. VI Ausf. E Tiger I Feb. 1944 Production - Smart Kit (2011)

Since this one basically redoes Kit No. 6253 from 2005, once more the concept of 11 different Tiger I kits still stuns me. (Yes, I know they are popular and they sell, but there are only so many times you can plow the same furrow...)

As for this kit, only a handful of parts appear to remain unchanged. What is in the box is a late production (e.g. steel road wheels, identical tracks, periscope-fitted cupola, no zimmerit) Tiger I with track links carried on the turret for extra protection.

Since there are some “mix and match” sprues from previous kits, the number of redundant parts continues to rise. This kit comes with two styles of turret roof, several different loader’s hatches, two sets of hull sides, two sets of drivers, three different stern plates, three different upper glacis plates (the slanted “foredeck”), tons of pioneer tools and OVM, and lots of fiddly single link tracks for the add-on applique, each with separate guide teeth.

Alas, not all good ideas are carried forward, for once more it retains the silly feature of a recoiling spring-loaded gun barrel like AFV Club used to provide with its kits. But it also retains the breech assembly, two basic seats, and no other turret interior detail.

The hull comes with some interior elements, but not a complete interior. It includes the torsion bar assemblies, bow gun assembly, hatch details, and radiator bays and trunking at the rear of the hull. The rear engine deck grilles are from a later kit (K sprue).

The hull top comes with a set of tools that have etched brass clasps included, as well as a jig for bending the clasps to shape prior to installation.

The turret is the one-piece slide molded body with choice of roofs and a separate race. The commander’s cupola comes with clear periscopes as in previous late versions. Casting numbers are included on one sprue for the mantlets.

Technical assistance was provided by David Byrden, Tom Cockle and Gary Edmundson.

Five different finishing options are offered: 1./s.Pz.Abt. 507, Brody, Ukraine May 1944 (tricolor, white 1-14); 1./s.Pz.Abt. 506, Central Poland, Spring 1944 (green over sand, white 7, crest on rear of stowage bin); s.Pz.Abt. 504, Parthenay, France, May 1944 (tricolor, white 1-11); s.Pz.Abt. 504, Central Italy, Spring 1944 (tricolor, white 1-33); s.Pz.Abt. 504, Central Italy, Spring 1944 (tricolor, white 2-22). A nice set of Cartograf decals is provided.

Overall, while I am sure it will sell (many modelers now buy them when released to avoid having to deal with eBay dealers a year from now) it is somewhat disappointing to see what appears to be a lack of imagination by DML/ Other manufacturers are now exploiting this while generally ceding German armor to DML.

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

Sprue Breakout:

  • A 26 (Tiger I generic) 8.8 cm gun
  • B 40 (Tiger I generic) drivers and idlers
  • C 39 (Tiger I Late) drivers, side skirts, exhaust shrouds, details
  • D 26 (Tiger I Late) mantlet, turret roof details
  • E 33 (Tiger I Late) turret roofs, mantlets, details
  • F 12 (Tiger I Late) rear hull, upper glacis, hatch details
  • G 31x2 (Tiger I Late) steel road wheels, radiators
  • H 50x4 (Tiger I Late) tracks with separate guide teeth, torsion bars
  • J 39 (Tiger I generic) interior components
  • J 8 German Generic - MG34 bow gun, machine gun details
  • K 4 (Tiger I Late) grilles
  • K 6 (Tiger I Late) OVM, pioneer tools
  • L 12 (Tiger I generic) clear blocks
  • P 40 (Tiger I Late) sides, upper glacis, engine deck details
  • R 15 (Tiger I Late) rear stowage bin, track hangers
  • S 9 (Tiger I Late) clear styrene
  • U 3 (Tiger I Late) hull roof and sides
  • U 1 (Tiger I Late) cupola
  • V 31 (Tiger I Late) turret body, turret race, upper glacis, details
  • W 3 (Tiger I Late) turret roof with track hangers
  • W 15 (Tiger I Late) stern plate, details
  • W 2 DS Plastic track runs
  • X 1 (Tiger I generic) hull bottom
  • Y 10 (Tiger I Generic) radiator shunts, details
  • Y 8 (Tiger I Late) OVM, pioneer tools
  • Y 7 (Tiger I Late) pioneer tools
  • Y 16 (Tiger I Late) details
  • Z 2 Twisted steel wires
  • MA 114 Etched brass
  • MB 4 Etched brass
  • MB 1 Preformed etched brass
  • MB 1 Prebent wire
  • MB 1 Spring
  • TA 5 German Generic - OVM, pioneer tools
  • TB 12 German Generic - jack, cable hooks
  • TC 4 German Generic - cable heads
  • TD 4 German Generic - track installation cable heads
  • TE 4 German Generic - details