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Sd.Kfz.181 Ausf.E Tiger I Mid-Production w/Zimmerit

DML 1/72 Sd.Kfz.181 Ausf.E Tiger I Mid-Production w/Zimmerit Kit First Look

By Cookie Sewell

Date of Review July 2006 Manufacturer DML
Subject Sd.Kfz.181 Ausf.E Tiger I Mid-Production w/Zimmerit Scale 1/72
Kit Number 7251 Primary Media 86 parts (57 in grey styrene, 24 etched brass, 2 pre-formed brass, 2 tracks in tan DS plastic, 1 section of twisted steel wire)
Pros Simplified version of Late Production kit with different molding and etched brass with the zimmerit paste application molded into the plastic Cons Some parts simplified, e.g. tools molded in place, one or two bad seams may be hard to align
Skill Level Basic MSRP (USD) $13.95

First Look

This is one of the better series of kits being released by DML right now. If you model German armor, especially the mid-war items that left the factory with the "Zimmerit" concrete paste on them to attempt to defeat Soviet magnetic mines and grenades, then you know that for years you have had to do it the hard way.

This is DML's second Tiger I kit with zimmerit paste applied. As such, all parts come with the surfaces engraved to represent the coating and appear to be very nicely done. (Realize in real life this coating was only about 3-6 mm thick on average, which amounts to about 0.04-0.08 mm in this scale.) The zimmerit is represented on the lower hull front, sides, rear plate, turret sides and mantelet, and upper hull glacis. All of these parts are new to the earlier "clean" Tiger kit and totally replace them.

The only bugaboo may be getting a good seam at the rear of the turret, but with some judicious use of a good slow-drying liquid cement like Testor's and a good Xacto knife, the seam should be easy to conceal.

As with other recent DML kits, it has a great deal of "slide-molded" parts. All of the running gear comes down to only four parts per side – drivers (one piece), idlers (one piece), and road wheels (nesting inner and outer sections interleaved and held together by styrene bands.) It also has a hollow-molded 8.8 cm gun muzzle brake and other niceties.

Unlike the first kit of this type – No. 7203 – this one comes with a 24 piece etched brass fret and pre-formed brass exhaust shrouds, as well as other niceties. But there is no option about using them if you want an accurate model. (Note that the "Armor Pro" series of 1/72 scale kits is an upgraded one which is designed for modelers who want more accurate kits with the "goodies" included.) All of the grille work is included, and while the "box" for an engine and radiator section is included it is not listed in the instructions nor is there any interior provided for it. The kit's engine deck comes sealed with open louvers but that is it. The brass also includes a number of very tiny brackets and tie-downs for the molded-on tools to at least dress them up, as well as the hatch seal ring for the commander's cupola.

The kit also ditches the first kit's black vinyl tracks in favor of the now-standard DS plastic ones in this scale, which will help modelers get the "sag" right by being able to simply cement them to the top of the wheel runs.

The model still has holes in the belly for attaching the model to a base, such as the pre-assembled kits.  

This looks an even easier-to-build model than the first Tiger I with zimmerit, and the only complaint I foresee from some more serious modelers is the fact that the shovel and other small bits are molded in place on the top of the hull. It does, however, include a scale thickness steel cable for the tow cables.

Four finishes are suggested: 2./s.Pz.Abt. 510, Kurland, Eastern Front 1944 (tricolor); the popular "charging knight" scheme of 3/s.Pz.Abt. 505, Nowe Koszary 1944; s.Pz.Ab. 502, Malinava, Latvia 1944; and 2./s.Pz.Abt. 510, Kurland, Eastern Front 1944 (two-color.)  in Normandy, June 1944, and s.Pz.Abt. 101 in Normandy, July 1944.

Overall, this continues the incremental improvements and "fine tuning" by DML in their small scale kits and one that should be well received, especially among new modelers not sure as to how to best replicate zimmerit. It also cries out for drybrushing!

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

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