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Dragon 1/35 scale Tiger I Late Production

RELATED TOPICS: ARMOR | MILITARY
Kit: No. 6406
Scale: 1/35
Manufacturer: Dragon, from Dragon Models USA, 626-968-0322, www.dragonmodelsusa.com
Price: $39.95
Comments: Injection-molded, 684 parts (4 metal, 103 photoetched-metal, 2 vinyl), decals
Pros: Excellent detail and superb fit; simpler construction than original release
Cons: No Zimmerit; instructions don't mention which variant matches which marking option
Dragon has re-released its "3-in-1" kit of the late-production Tiger I - but without many of the photoetched-metal parts, the turned-metal barrel, metal tow shackles, and the individual plastic-link "magic" tracks. Instead, Dragon has made a few minor changes to the hull castings and added one-piece DS plastic tracks. The kit still contains the essential photoetched-metal engine screens and a new Cartograph decal sheet with markings for six different vehicles. Molded in gray plastic, the kit features excellent detail throughout. Dragon's standard two-color instructions can be a bit confusing in dealing with three different variants as well as several optional parts. Also, the instructions don't tell you which variant to build for the different marking choices.
I started assembly with the hull, leaving off the running gear until the main painting was finished. The torsion bar suspension works just like the real tank. Dragon would have you add all of the details to the hull top before installing it, but I found it better to install the main hull parts and add the small parts later.

Dragon's design makes fitting the hull top and front a bit tricky. They must be flexed to be installed, but once they are in place everything fits snugly and no filler is needed. Basic detail is provided for under the engine grates, but unless you leave them open you'll never see it. Two sets of tools are provided, one with molded-on clamps and one without. Photoetched-metal tool clamps are provided, but the molded ones are also very good. Likewise, while twisted wire is provided for tow cables and track cable, the injection-molded cables are excellent.

The turret goes together easily; again, the fit is excellent. Only the very basics of the turret interior are provided. I didn't bother installing the gimmicky recoil spring on the main gun, opting to glue my barrel in place. Hatches can be left open and have excellent detail on their inside faces.
While most of the references on PzAbt 505 vehicles show the camouflage bands are red-brown, I painted mine in green bands as shown in the instructions. As far as I can tell, all the late Tigers came with a factory-applied coat of Zimmerit. Dragon does not mention Zimmerit in the instructions but shows it on the box art.

The DS tracks fit well; I used the large idler wheel and adjusted it as far back as possible. But if you choose to use the smaller idler, you might have to shorten the tracks a link or two.

It only took me about 22 hours to build my Tiger. You could add several hours to the build time if you added Zimmerit.

The finished model matched the dimensions in David Doyle's Standard Catalog of German Military Vehicles.

If you already own the original release of this kit, you probably don't need this version. But if you are looking for a late Tiger with good detail, and one that is a little easier to build, this is the kit for you.

- John Plzak

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