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Tiger I 'Gruppe Fehrmann Essel 1945' Kit

Academy 1/35 Tiger I 'Gruppe Fehrmann Essel 1945' Kit First Look

By Michael Benolkin

Date of Review December 2015 Manufacturer Academy
Subject Tiger I 'Gruppe Fehrmann Essel 1945' Scale 1/35
Kit Number 13299 Primary Media Styrene, Photo-Etch, Resin Decals
Pros Nice details and options, new zimmerit solution, four markings options Cons Nothing noted
Skill Level Experienced MSRP (USD) $69.00

First Look

Tiger I 'Gruppe Fehrmann Essel 1945' Kit
Tiger I 'Gruppe Fehrmann Essel 1945' Kit
Tiger I 'Gruppe Fehrmann Essel 1945' Kit
Tiger I 'Gruppe Fehrmann Essel 1945' Kit
Tiger I 'Gruppe Fehrmann Essel 1945' Kit

As the allies pushed east into Germany, available Wehrmacht forces were mobilized to delay and degrade British and American groups. One such force was a detachment of six Tiger and five Panther tanks which were dispatched in early April 1945 to face allied forces that had crossed the Rhein and were advancing along the Ruhr river. Oberleutnant Ferhmann led the six Tiger tanks in a series of skirmishes with British and American armor with the Tigers exacting serious damage to allied forces. The Panthers were lost early to British defenses while the Tigers were gradually lost to anti-tank defenses including an ambush by one British Comet tank.

A few months ago, Academy reissued their late-production Tiger I kit and it is a great alternative to some of the other Tiger kits on the market. The kit isn't over-engineered with lots of tiny parts and details where you won't see them. What was interesting about that release was the tool and tutorial on how to apply the zimmerit during the assembly process so you don't obscure or block details that should be present.

Here is that same kit with some interesting new features that eclipse even that nice kit. First, the kit features the same parts trees molded in tan styrene and presented on 11 parts trees plus the lower hull. In addition, there is one new parts tree molded in black styrene with supplemental track links, a new photo-etched fret, and a sheet of resin-printed decals.

The resin-printed decals are produced by DEFModel and are waterslide zimmerit textures pre-shaped to fit where needed on the turret and hull. Where the previous release showed you how to achieve this effect using an included tool and putty, this one renders the zimmerit as decals which are applied during the assembly process. Nice!

The other major difference is the fret of photo-etched parts. Where previous Tiger releases offered engine deck grilles as photo-etched parts, this set does provide you those grilles, but also adds tool brackets to bring the kit up to AMS modeler's standards, again without going overboard on complexity.

Among the features and options:

  • Detailed suspension
  • Nice hull details including photo-etched engine deck grilles
  • Full compliment of pioneering tools and external details
  • Separately molded (not clear) periscopes and guards
  • Positionable crew hatches
  • Choice of muzzle brake
  • Stowage box on rear of turret
  • Supplemental track link stowage (additional armor) on turret
  • Optional crew figure

Markings are provided for four examples:

  • Tiger I, F01, Gruppe Fehrmann, Essel, Germany, April 1945
  • Tiger I, F13, Gruppe Fehrmann, Achum, Germany, April 1945
  • Tiger I, 111, Gruppe Fehrmann, Achum, Germany, April 1945
  • Tiger I, 411, Schwere Panzer Kompanie Hummel, Ardennes, Belgium, Dec 1944-Jan 1945

Take a closer look at the markings decal sheet and you'll see that Academy has included shoulder boards and collar insignia options for the optional commander figure so you can depict him with greater visual fidelity.

This kit will build up into a nice late-production Tiger I which can be depicted as one of the Tigers of Gruppe Fehrmann in their hit-and-run defense operations or as one of the Tigers taking part in the seige at the Battle of the Bulge. In any case, these DEFModel zimmerit decals are a nice option to achieve that unique visual detail that was used to keep magnetic mines from sticking to the sides of the Tiger.

My sincere thanks to MRC for this review sample!