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Pz.Kpfw.VI Ausf.E Sd.Kfz.181 Tiger I Mid Command Version

DML 1/35 Pz.Kpfw.VI Ausf.E Sd.Kfz.181 Tiger I Mid Command Version Kit First Look

By Cookie Sewell

Date of Review December 2010 Manufacturer DML
Subject Pz.Kpfw.VI Ausf.E Sd.Kfz.181 Tiger I Mid Command Version Winter 1943 Production Scale 1/35
Kit Number 6660 Primary Media 809 parts (657 in grey styrene, 123 etched brass, 21 clear styrene, 2 DS plastic track runs, 2 prebent wire, 2 twisted steel wire, 1 prebent etched brass, 1 spring)
Pros Yet another Tiger I variant with changes in the molds and components offered Cons The 11th Tiger I (and more expensive than the rest) from DML
Skill Level Experienced MSRP (USD) $65.99

First Look

I give up. As I am not a Tiger I connoisseur other than the early and late cupolas and rubber-tired and steel wheels I cannot tell them apart, and yet DML and its botique subsidiary have seen fit to provide us with at least 12 different models. To wit:

  • 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)
  • 6600 Pzkw. VI Ausf. E Tiger I Initial Production - s.Pz.Abt. 502 - 3-in-1 Smart Kit (2010)
  • 6610 - “Wittmann’s Last Tiger” Normandy 1944 - Dragon Zimmerit (2009)
  • 6670 - Pz.Kpfw. VI Ausf. E. Sd.Kfz. 181 Tiger I Mid Command Version Winter 1943 Production

Okay, so at least so far they have not done a mid-production model. Basically this kit combines bits from the “Late” production kits with a number of new cut sprues and details as well as a new decal sheet. It does not come with zimmerit which from what I can gather is not correct for this production cycle.

While some of the details appear to have improved 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.

But modelers need to note that with all of the sprues swapped around and added there are a very confusing number of repeated parts options in the box which require sharp attention - these include three different mantlets, two different sets of side plates, three different sets of drivers, and numerous small detail changes.

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. Note these jigs are on top of one of the smaller sprues for the kit with 2 point type size indicators!

The turret is either new or from later kit molds and comes with a one-piece shell, one piece roof and separate turret race. The commander’s cupola is a single molding with added viewers and details Casting numbers are included on one sprue for the mantlets.

The kit comes with one-piece cleanly molded (e.g. hollow guide teeth) DS plastic runs but 14 extra track links are provided for OVM mounting. An antiaircraft mount is shown on the side views but is not included.

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

Marking and finishing instructions are provided for four/five tanks: s.Pz.Abt. 508, central Italy, 1944 (tricolor, white A2); s.Pz.Abt. 507, Tarnapol 1944 (tricolor, choice of Tigers A, B or C); and s.Pz.Abt. 503, Panzer Regiment “Baeke”, Balabonowka Pocket, January 1944 (white, black 1). A small sheet of Cartograf decals is included.

Overall, by this time – after 12 releases – I am sure only Tiger I fans will appreciate the differences and changes. I think the rest of us non-Tiger I fans are stunned into silence. (Note: from comments on the Internet many are squawking about the price; if you are not happy, blame the people who bought the other 11 kits and showed the market demand for the product was there.)

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 39 (Tiger I Late) drivers, skirts, exhaust shrouds, details
  • D 28 (Tiger I Late) mantlet, smoke grenade launchers, details
  • G 45 (Tiger I) drivers, details, engine access hatch, Feifel air cleaners
  • H 50x4 (Tiger I Late) spare track links, torsion bars
  • J 39 (Tiger I generic) interior components
  • J 8 German Generic - MG34 ball mount
  • K 8 (Tiger I Late) OVM and grilles
  • L 2 DS Track Runs
  • L 12 (Tiger I generic) clear blocks
  • N 9 German Generic - command antenna set
  • P 39 (Tiger I Late) hull sides, mud flaps, tow cables, hatches
  • Q 32x2 (Tiger I) road wheels
  • R 15 Tiger I turret stowage bin
  • S 9 Clear styrene
  • U 3 (Tiger I) hull frame, sides
  • U 1 Tiger I vision cupola shell
  • V 31 (Tiger I) glacis, turret shell, turret race, small details
  • W 21 (Tiger I) turret roof, hatches, mantlet, rear plate, details
  • X 1 (Tiger I generic) hull bottom
  • Y 33 (Tiger I) tow cables, OVM, hooks, pioneer tools
  • Y 10 Tiger I radiator air exhaust shunts
  • Z 2 Twisted steel wires
  • MA 46 Etched brass
  • MB 4 Etched brass
  • MB 1 Preformed etched brass
  • MB 2 Prebent wire
  • MB 1 Spring
  • TA 8 (German OVM) pioneer tools
  • TB 11 (German generic) jack, S hooks
  • TC 4 (German OVM) cable heads
  • TE 4 (German generic) pads
  • TK 3 (German generic) machine gun ball mount