Eduard 1/35 Pz.Kpfw.VI Ausf.B Tiger II Kit First Look
|Date of Review||July 2014||Manufacturer||Eduard|
|Subject||Pz.Kpfw.VI Ausf.B Tiger II||Scale||1/35|
|Kit Number||3715||Primary Media||Styrene, Photo-Etch|
|Pros||Beautiful detailing||Cons||See text|
|Skill Level||Experienced||MSRP (USD)||$75.00|
The Sd.Kfz.182 Königstiger would be the last tank series to reach production and combat operations before the end of the war. The design was an evolutionary development of the Tiger I featuring thicker armor than the Tiger I while also incorporating the sloped surfaces of the Panther series for more effective protection. The main gun was the 8.8 cm KwK 43 L/71 which provided the already formidable 88mm projectile with even greater muzzle velocity. While impressive in specification, the vehicle had its faults which included reliability and production quality, both of which suffered from the continuous allied bombing of Germany's production capabilities.
Eduard announced a few months ago that they would be releasing a number of armor kits in Eduard boxes starting with this gem, the Academy tooling of the Sd.Kfz.182 Tiger II Ausf.B in 1/35 scale. Let's take a look:
Unlike most armor kits, construction here starts in the turret. The interior of the turret has details inside. The main gun assembly is a detailed affair complete with boresight telescope on one side and coaxial machine gun on the other. The breech detailing is nicely done and will look good through the open hatches.
Periscopes are provided most of the crew positions though these are not clear parts. Actually this isn't a bad thing since you'll want to use some of the Alclad colors for replicating different types of periscope coatings.
The commander's cupola has 360 degree periscopes as well as a gun ring for his machine gun.
Next up is the upper hull and there is a good selection of pioneering tools and positionable engine deck hatches to install. Since there is no engine compartment provided in this kit, you can glue it closed or add an aftermarket engine compartment.
The lower hull is quite interesting as the suspension is torsion bar just like the real vehicle and is replicated nicely here. There is a bulkhead to divide the engine compartment off from the crew compartment, but all of that great suspension detail will be visible. No other interior details such as crew seating, driver's or bow gunner's stations, interior stowage, etc., are provided but this kit is laid out for you to add aftermarket details should you choose.
The tracks are different. They aren't individual track links like DML nor are they rubber band tracks. These are more like the track segments used by ESCI to make assembly easier while not compromising on detail where the tracks articulate around the drive sprockets and return rollers.
Two optional figures are included in the kit - one is a tank commander and the other an infantry soldier.
In the past, Eduard has put some nice enhancements in the boxes of their kits that are reboxings from other manufacturers. One good example is another Academy tooling, the 1/48 F-4B Phantom II kit released a few months ago. With that in mind, I had hoped to see what Eduard would bring to this already nice Academy kit - perhaps a turned aluminum barrel or more photo-etched details?
This kit consist of the same set of sprues out of the Academy release with Eduard simply substituting their photo-etch fret for the Academy photo-etch provided in the original kit. Eduard also provides new tactical number decals (not imaged here) which is a smaller set than Academy's kit. So for an additional $25 USD (MSRP), you get essentially the same kit as the Academy boxing (which is still available) plus an advertisement for the enhanced photo-etch detail set and a resin machine gun that should have been in this box at this price. I hope Eduard will consider treating these armor subjects with the same enhancements that they provide to their aircraft kit reboxings.
My sincere thanks to Eduard for this review sample!