For those who think Dragon’s Tigers are too expensive, Zvezda prepared the cheapest version of this tank. The early production Tiger I Ausf.E offered by Ukrainian manufacturer is a good choice for newbie modelers. The experienced professionals should be prepared for opening their wallet and spending a lot for aftermarket parts.
I don't want to write a full review - it could be found in other pages, but only couple sentences about the kit.The cover with Cyrillic and English captions shows the typical Zvezda’s box art and the pictures of the built kit. First thing I noticed was the picture with side view – the rubber trucks are not glued to the wheels! They are floating in the air! Ups, mistake or deliberate action? It was incomprehensible for me.
The wheels seem to be good. I am sure they are much better than Italeri’s. Even if they do not meet the somebody’s requirements they could be covered by dust and mud. One thing is eyecatching – “Continental” on the rubber rims, not the “Continentau” which is remembered from Dragon’s kits.
My own thought about this kit allows to said it is close to Italeri products but far away from Dragon. The price is not so high so this is the main reason that I think that this kit is especially for low budget modelers.
Before I started to cut the parts from the sprues, I ordered a sort of PE parts and other aftermarket elements:
- Friulmodel tracks for early model,
- RB Model metal gun barrel, antenna rod and shackles,
- new cleaning roods, grills, front and rear fenders from Aber,
- side fenders from Part,
- Eureka XXL towing cables,
- Archer dry transfers.
I prepared the tool clamps too (the kit’s are below the limit).
I was thinking about the other parts – there are hundreds elements to use in this kit but the question is if this kit is worth of it? To have a quite accurate replica the amount of parts I prepared are good enough even if I paid almost 3 times more than the kit is worth. I could buy more the exhaust cover shields and rear stowage box for turret but I decide to use the kit’s parts.
Writing this words I’m after 3 days of playing with this model so I can say honestly – prepare for hard battle from the beginning!
I used great reference book – The Modeller’s Guide to the Tiger Tank written by Patrick A. Stansell from Military Miniatures in Review.
The couple shots from the workbench:
Before the main painting I covered the whole kit with Vallejo Black Primer to achieve smooth surface for paints application. The lower hull was painted with Vallejo 982 Cavalry Brown to simulate the minia red. With the Tamiya acrylics I prepared the main colour – dark yellow. Then brown shades were airbrushed. Because Tamiya’s green paint did not arrive on time I had to use Vallejo 888 Olive Green. In the end the main gun was painted with 866 Grey Green to simulate the heat resistant primer. To finish the other of details I used a wide selection of Vallejo paints.
Before whitewash was applied I covered the whole kit with AK Worn Effect to have an easy solution to wipe off the winter camouflage. The 2 coats dried quickly and I sprayed mix of white and grey (5:1 ratio). For varied finish, the paint coat had different volumes. The toothbrush and water were main tools for destroying the fresh layer. The result was promising and I started with the next steps.
During the building I knew that one cover will be off to show the rusted muffler and the second will be shot by small caliber bullets. To paint them I used only Valejo paints – started with Black Grey base, then with different red and orange shades and sponge I created rust effect. In the end with Black I simulated the fumes. It was increased by a black pigment applied on the muffler and the surroundings.
Thanks to Winter Streaking Grime we can prepare very nice traces of battlefield filth and this is much faster than typical oil fading. Since I started using this liquid I think is one of the best inventions prepared by the AK. With the help of White Spirit I painted them on all surfaces.
I decided to prepare the chassis so first the wheels (which were painted first in minia and camo colors) were glued on their places. But before it happened I started to mix and apply the fresh mud. With Russian Earth, Volcanic Sand, plaster, acrylic resin, sand, grass mixed with satin varnish I created a dark shade suitable enough for the eastern front weather and terrain conditions. The Friul tracks were treated in the same way. They were sanded on the edges and then fixed to the kit.They gave the model a bigger weight and laying them on the wheels was much easier than laying the rubber ones.
From the beginning I was wondering how to create something interesting with this kit. During the painting stages I Came up with the idea that the kit could present the tank after the refueling. To confirm my idea I looked for inspiration in my references books and found a nice picture with a column of Tigers with barrels attached to the turrets. So with Tamiya barrels and jerry cans I realized my concept. I prepared a lot more elements but in the end I added only some of them - towing cables from Eureka, some helmets, a bucket, a pick, a chain and a scratch build ladder.
And here is the result!
The kit was published in May and June Issues of Military Modelcraft International.