German Tiger I Early Production (1/16)
Model Number: 56011





6/16/2005 7:38:08 PM

Tiger 1 Tank

I have been spoiled.... There are 5 Full Option Tank kits (FOTK), my first was the Pershing, which was a dream to build, the after that, it was the Leopard, which is a marvel of miniature engineering, and to build it is superb. I then went to start my third FOTK, which was the Tiger 1.

Don't get me wrong, its not a bad kit, but compared to the other 2 I have built, its design and build just aren’t in the same league as the other 2. I suppose if this was the first one you have ever built, then you would think it was a great kit, and then you move onto the other 2, but that’s not what happened.

First up, is the chassis, a strange combination of pressed steel bottom, which is then inserted into a plastic outer bottom hull shell. The suspension is torsion bars, but these are difficult to insert, and by the time you reach the last one you have discovered the knack of doing them. Once the hull is complete, it’s a very rattly affair, but once you have done all the wheels... and attached them you realise all the effort is worth it.

The suspension is functional, and the wheels do look good, then add the tracks, which do seem plasticy, if you know what I mean, and then its onto the rear detailing work, and the inner workings of the electrics. My painting of this seems to have gone astray for me for some reason. I sprayed it exactly the same as my other tanks but the paint went a funny white in part, so when built it will be weathered heavily.

So far I have cross threaded 2 grub screws, which for a Tamiya kit is unheard of, luckily I have an excellent Allen key screw driver which helped some of them as they were tough, and the ones that cross threaded I used a larger grub screw from my 'collection'. Rear detailing is as ever a quality affair, with most of that requiring painting prior to assembly. Once complete it’s onto the upper hull and turret.

Stuff goes into the hull as usual, plenty of room. The DMD is not locked in by either screws or tape, and neither is the speaker unit. The hull top goes on but this seems a flimsy affair, given what its going to do, its also rather flexible unlike the pershing and Leopard which are tough ABS. Onto the turret, no major problems here, the detailing on the model is good especially the cupola, etc and the figure. The barrel of the gun is plastic unlike the later models which are aluminium.

So far its been a difficult build, compared to the later tank kits its basic, and sometimes not like Tamiya, but when the turret goes on and you take a look at it, you think wow, and it was worth it. It looks brilliant, and when weathered down, and the figure is painted up well, it looks awesome.

Its not as good a kit to build compared to the others, for me at times it didn't even verge on enjoyable, the pershing was the best to build, but the result is worth it, it looks like a piece of history on your shelf, and it looks menacing.

You can see the evolution of the build from the Tiger to the other kits, I will be interested to see how the Sherman and Tiger 2 compare when I get round to those.

So if your gonna build the tanks, build this one first, and all the rest later, you will enjoy the build better that way. If you have already done the 'better' kits, then just don't expect the same level of sophistication, but the end result is totally worth it.