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

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

By Cookie Sewell

Date of Review May 2010 Manufacturer DML
Subject Pz.Kpfw.VI Ausf.E Sd.Kfz.181 Tiger I Initial Production s.Pz.Abt 502 Leningrad Region 1942/43 - 3-in-1 - Smart Kit Scale 1/35
Kit Number 6600 Primary Media 532 parts (410 in grey styrene, 85 etched brass, 18 “Magic Link” track links, 12 clear styrene, 3 DS Plastic track runs, 2 pre-bent wire, 1length twisted steel wire, 1 coil spring)
Pros A more detailed version of an earlier kit; DS plastic tracks will make assembly much faster Cons Redo of a previous kit adds confusion to a crowded suite of kits
Skill Level Experienced MSRP (USD) $51-$60

First Look

Okay, let me get this straight. Since 2005 either DML or its boutique affiliate have released the following kits of the German Tiger I tank:

  • 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 Pzkw. VI Ausf. E Tiger I Initial Production - s.Pz.Abt. 502 - 3-in-1 Smart Kit (2010)

Since this one basically redoes Kit No. 6252 from 2005, and while it does have some nice touches, I plead ignorance to why on Earth DML would release a tenth kit of the Tiger I. Yes, I am well aware of the fact the Tiger I is “iconic” and has a great fan base, but for the life of me I cannot see what makes a vast difference between this kit and 6252 other than some different detail parts and decals. (I can see they have added a number of “fiddly bits” which have either been changed over five years or discovered to match the specific prototypes cited here but as I do not have the original kit from 2005 any more you have me at a loss as to what all of them would be).

Given that, DML has produced a “3-in-1" kit of an early production Tiger I with a choice of either the twin “ear” turret bins or a jury-rigged Pzkw. III bustle bin, different exhaust shroud options, a cover for the bow machine gun, and most interesting of all THREE DS Plastic track runs. These provide for either the original “handed” tracks or the later version running two left-hand track runs (right side reversed). The kit also provides an optional position snorkel (which I seem to recall from 6252). Specific instructions are given within the directions for each one of the three possible Tiger I tanks presented in the kit, and unique details for each one (including a horseshoe welded to the front of one tank) are included.

The original kit (6252) stated it will could also produce three different models: Tank 100 from s.Pz.Abt. 502 with twin lateral turret bins, Tank 121 with a Pzkw. III style bustle bin, or a straight early Tiger I in grey with the snorkel erected. It provided for three different style fenders in etched brass (and one in styrene) as well as three different mantelets (one with and two without the rain guard over the gunner’s binocular sight apertures). Other parts with options included metal or plastic smoke grenade launchers, metal or plastic tow shackles (two styles in white metal with aluminum pins are provided), and two muzzle brakes and three different barrel options.

This kit does away with most of that, but permits making either Tank 100, Tank 123 with the Pzkw. III bin, or Tank “3" in winter camouflage of white over grey. But most of the options are now gone or only styrene parts are provided.

Alas, not all good ideas are carried forward, for it still 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 (parsts P11/12 and P16/17) from the original kit are retained and have the curved louvers found on the original, and based on the use of the snorkel may be shown open or closed.

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 from the original has been replaced by that from the Porsche Tiger P and while it retains some bits now consists of left and right halves. The commander’s cupola can be built up from component parts or a one-piece unit, complete with view slits, is also included. The snorkel comes in one piece but all of the special covers and blanking plates are also provided to set it up correctly by the manual. Casting numbers are included on one sprue for the mantlets.

A small Cartograf decal sheet provides the markings for the previously mentioned options, and a color painting chart is provide – no explanation why since the tanks are white and dark grey!

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

Overall, while this is a lovely kit and very nicely done, after ten releases of Tigers with the major variants thoroughly covered one could hope for something new – while I would prefer a new line of T-26 light tanks even a “Neubaufahrzeuge” would be appreciated.

Thanks to DML for the review sample.

Sprue Breakout:

  • A 26 (Tiger I generic) 8.8 cm gun
  • B 40 (Tiger I generic) drivers and idlers
  • C 46 (Tiger P) turret, turret details
  • E 53x2 (Tiger I Early) Road wheels and details
  • F 21 (Tiger I Early) upper glacis, cupola top, OVM
  • G 46 (Tiger I Early) hull sides, stern plate, turret bins, track setting guides
  • J 39 (Tiger I generic) interior components
  • K 12 (Tiger I Late) hull roof and grilles
  • L 2 DS Track Runs
  • L 12 (Tiger I generic) clear blocks
  • P 31 (Tiger I generic) Torsion bars, engine deck grilles, raised fording tube
  • R 1 DS Track Run
  • S 33 (Tiger I Initial) OVM, exhaust extension shrouds, Pzkw. III bustle bin
  • W 18 “Magic Link” single track links - 9 x Left, 9 x Right
  • X 1 (Tiger I generic) hull bottom
  • Y 10 (Tiger I Generic) radiator shunts, details
  • Z 2 Twisted steel wires
  • MA 46 Etched brass
  • MB 34 Etched brass (OVM mounts)
  • MC 4 etched brass
  • MD 1 Preformed etched brass
  • MD 2 Prebent wire
  • MD 1 Spring
  • TA 5 (German OVM) pioneer tools
  • TC 4 (German OVM) cable heads