Kit, Cyberhobby 6650, Tiger I Feb. 1944 Production
September 24 2011 at 10:32 AM
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6650, Tiger I Feb. 1944 Production Smart Kit. 1/35th-scale styrene/multimedia kit containing 734 styrene parts (including 21 clear), one etched brass fret, two DS-100 track lengths, five stamped/etched brass parts, one metal spring, one piece of pre-formed metal wire, two pieces of braided metal wire, five water-slide decal markings schemes and eight pages of instructions in 20 steps.
The most recent limited edition release from DMLs subsidiary, Cyberhobby, will allow the modeler to construct a Tiger I with features seen on a vehicle produced in February of 1944. Based upon their well-received Tiger I series, this latest release has some new features as well as some recently-introduced incremental detail improvements.
The first things the modeler will note are the two lengths of tracks made from DS100 flexible styrene material. These are packed in a separate channel-shaped card, so the guide horns are not distorted. One advantage of this material is that it can be pulled from a multi-part (slide) mold with no loss of detail on any face of the part. In this case, that advantage has been used to mold guide horns with the proper openings and to have very fine detail on the edges of each link, particularly the connecting pins. Overall, the detail is very crisp, and the lengths can be joined together with standard styrene cement. This last attribute will also allow the modeler to glue the tracks down on top of the road-wheels so that sag can be easily introduced. Finally, with very little effort from the modeler, the finished tracks will rival many individual-link after-market tracks (as well as DMLs own Magic Tracks) in overall appearance.
This variant mounted the so-called Gummigefederten Stahllaufrollen (rubber-cushioned, steel-tired road-wheels) as well as the smaller-diameter idler wheel. These are nicely represented with crisp details and there is also a set of the larger-diameter idler wheels so the modeler has maximum flexibility regarding the finished display piece. Likewise, there are also two variations of drive sprocket. All torsion bars are separate; they are designed to allow for movement similar to the prototype, so the modeler can make the suspension system conform to irregular terrain on a diorama base. The idler wheel has a cranked axle, which can be adjusted so that the track tension can be easily manipulated for the proper finished appearance; this is now noted in the instructions. I strongly recommend that it is not fixed in place until the modeler is satisfied with the look of the tracks. The last items related to the suspension system are the separate, well-detailed final drive housings.
The hull pan is from a slide mold; its sides feature molded-on details for some torsion bar bump-stops, as well as the holes to mount the swing arms. The flange seen between the hull sides and the pannier bottoms is also well-represented, while the step seen in that area is also properly depicted. The belly plate has panel details molded in place as well; this is one of the areas that have been improved compared to earlier releases. In particular, some of the round access plates that originally sat proud of the belly plates surface are now flush, with recessed separation lines. Up front, there are two contour variations where the U-shaped tow clevises were fitted. These are separate parts as are the tow clevises. The final items on the hull sides are the separate inner sections of the final drives and separate track pin retaining plates.
The rear plate now includes the mounts for the Heckzurrung (gun tube travel lock) molded in place. There are four options connected with this device. The first shows the unit in the open position, the second shows it closed over the gun tube. The third option shows it closed without the gun tube, while the fourth has the entire unit removed, with etched brass mounting pads fitted.
There are a number of separate fittings such as multi-part exhaust stacks, mounts and heat shields to be fitted. Mounting pads for the exhaust stack heat shields are molded in place, while a separate port for the Kuhlwasserheitzgerät (water coolant heater) is also provided. To compliment this, a blow-torch and mounting bracket (also part of the cold weather starting system) has been included. The separate armored guards for the pipes also have separate lifting lugs and when fully assembled, have the proper appearance
Other separate parts include rear mud-flaps and a multi-part vehicle jack with separate mounts (and foot-pad options). A C-shaped tow hook with separate mounting brackets, U-shaped tow clevises and two different starter crank cover plates, plus a two-part tail-lamp with clear lens completes the separate added parts. Everything else is molded in place including the idler wheel adjustment port covers and other small detail items.
Assembly of the superstructure begins with the placement of the side plates upon the hull molding. These are complete with mounting pads for the separate, one-piece side skirts. The latter can be damaged or cut apart by the modeler to depict a combat veteran. The port side mounts a multi-part styrene, etched brass and metal wire track changing cable; it can also be replaced by a one-piece, all-styrene assembly. The glacis plate has nicely-rendered front mud-flaps attached. The final detail for that item is a separate shell splash guard in front of the drivers vision port.
Working up and aft, the next item is the separate superstructure front plate. It mounts a multi-part Tarnscheinwerfer-Bosch head-lamp and base in the center, which is complimented by a pre-formed metal wire part to represent the electrical conduit. A multi-part, slide-molded, movable MG34 and ball mount is fitted on the starboard side; a Gen2 item, it includes a pre-bored muzzle and cooling slit on the barrel. The original slide-molded item is also included, so there are actually two MG34 in the box. On the opposite side is the armored view-port flap; this comes in two versions, one of which is completely opened, while the other is a multi-part item that can have the flap in any position from fully opened to fully closed. There is also a clear part for the internal vision block.
All tools and fittings for the (separate) superstructure roof plate are separate parts. There are options as well. For example, there are two sets of tools; one has molded on clamps and brackets, while the other set is bare. The latter has etched brass clamps for the modeler who wishes to go that route; these clamps are complimented by a section of sprue that has bending guides molded in place. The tow cables are presented as one-piece all-styrene moldings with separate mounting brackets, or multi-part etched brass, styrene and metal wire assemblies. The separate drivers and radio operators hatch lids have internal hinge detail, separate armored guards for the periscopes and clear styrene parts for the scope heads themselves. Between them is a separate dome-shaped cover for the fighting compartment vent fan. The turret ring has no armored guard and now features a properly detailed race. The openings for the lugs that mounted the turret have been covered over, presenting a more authentic appearance.
The engine deck has a separate main access hatch lid, with a host of separate detail parts to include dome-shaped vent cover, lift handles, hold-open latches, etc. When the deck part was modified by the manufacturer, all of the filler cap openings now received separate caps. The forward-most engine air grills are molded with the roof plate; those towards the rear are separate and are two parts each, so as to properly render the angles of the cooling slots. Above them all are pre-shaped etched brass screens, while below the grills are multi-part fuel tank/radiator assemblies, which include etched brass parts. Other separate items for that area include a fire extinguisher (now with a decal for a label) radio antenna base (but no rod antenna) and flap for the deep-wading port.
This is based on a one-piece, slide-molded shell to which a choice of roof plates can be attached. These include either the 25mm or 40mm types, complete with different loaders hatch lid configurations. Neither plate has Pilze mounts for the jib crane molded in place, but there are separate Pilzen for use if the modeler wants that particular combination on his Tiger. One slide-molded commanders cupola without rain gutters is given; it includes a multi-piece hatch lid, separate clear styrene periscope heads and a Fliegerbeschußgerät (anti-aircraft machine-gun mount) for the (not included) MG34. Variations on the loaders hatch lid are given (with internal detail), while a separate cover and clear periscope head are provided for the loader. The roof vent has a standard armored cover, or it can be fitted with a deep-wading sealing cover. The Nahverteidigungswaffe (close defense weapon) is provided with an opened or closed port and a slide-molded internal mechanism. It is only used on the 40mm-thick roof plate.
The usual Gepäckkasten (baggage bin) is provided for the rear face of the turret; it too uses slide mold technology for enhanced detail, while the lids for it are separate so it can be depicted opened or closed. The latches for the lid are molded in place, but they can be removed and replaced with the provided etched brass parts. Also included are styrene and etched brass pad-locks. Spare track links are provided for the turrets side. Each link is slide-molded so it has crisp connecting pin details; there are separate guide horns with the proper openings for a completely authentic appearance. The escape hatch lid behind the loader is separate and can be depicted opened or closed. It has also been revised so it sits at the correct angle when opened.
The 8.8cm KwK L/56 is based around an all-styrene assembly (there is no turned aluminum gun tube) that is capped-off by a slide-molded multi-part muzzle brake; there is also a steel spring included so the recoil of the gun can be mimicked. Internal detail is given to include the breech-block, spent shell catch-bag, recoil guard and recoil cylinders. The commanders seat is a three-part assembly, while a newly-configured loaders seat consists of six parts; there is also a new internal ring for the turrets circumference. The gun mantlet has the binocular sight openings; the mantlet with monocular sight is also included but is not for use on this particular version. In fact there are a total of four mantlets in the box, providing more options.
Molding, Fit and Engineering.
DML has paid a great deal of attention to these kits so the fit is really very, very fine. There are no sink marks anywhere and ejector pins do not mar any visible or critical surfaces, except for the inner face of the engine deck access hatch lid.
Scale drawings in references 1 and 8 show the kit to be extremely accurate, with no major issues as all. The only issue is that schwerer Panzer built in the February 1944 time frame were coated with Zimmerit anti-magnetic mine paste, which is not included in the box. Furthermore, the modeler is not instructed to apply it himself.
These are of the line-drawing style and are typically complex, due to the sheer number of parts and relatively few steps. There are also sub-steps and options spread throughout, so the modeler should study these things carefully, plan ahead, and test fit before the glue is used. As usual, colors are keyed to Gunze and Model Master paints. However, some called-out paint numbers are not listed in the color key, which may cause some confusion, as may the use of color names that do not duplicate the proper German names.
Decals and Marking Information.
Water-slide decals by Italys Cartograf are included for five tanks. The decals themselves are well-printed, with excellent registration, fine color saturation, and thin carrier film. These tanks are painted in a base color of Dunkelgelb RAL7028, with patterns in one or both supplementary colors, Olivgrün RAL6003 and Rotbraun RAL8017. The units covered are:
White 114, 1.Kp./s.Pz.Abt.507, Ukraine 1944.
White 7, 1.Kp./s.Pz.Abt.506, Poland 1944.
White 111, 1.Kp./s.Pz.Abt.504, France 1944.
White 133, 1.Kp./s.Pz.Abt.504, Italy 1944.
White 222, 2.Kp./s.Pz.Abt.504, Italy 1944.
Aside from the typical three-digit tactical numbers, all of these Tiger Is have unit insignia, with that from s.Pz.Abt.506 features a tiger, shield and large W on the rear face of the Gepäckkasten. Sources indicate the schemes as given are substantially correct.
While many modelers will decry yet another Tiger variation at the expense of a release of their favorite subject, others will gladly accept this latest variation. It is a shame that no molded-on Zimmerit is included, and that the manufacturer still has not included a proper rod antenna in the box, because that detracts from an otherwise extremely well-done offering.
Frank V. De Sisto
References consulted for this review included, but were not limited to:
1. Schwere Panzerkampfwagen; Panzer Tracts No.6, by T. Jentz & H. Doyle.
2. Encyclopedia of German Tanks of World War Two, Revised Edition; Arms and Armour Press, by P. Chamberlain, H. Doyle & T. Jentz.
3. Tigers in Combat I; J.J. Fedorowicz, by W. Schnieder.
4. Tigers in Combat II; J.J. Fedorowicz, by W. Schnieder.
5. Tiger, The History of a Legendary Weapon 1942-45; J.J. Fedorowicz, by E. Kleine & V. Kühn.
6. Michael Wittmann and the Tiger Commanders of the Leibstandarte; J.J. Fedorowicz, by P. Agte.
7. Armor Battles of the Waffen-SS 1943-1945; J.J. Fedorowicz, by W. Fey.
8. Germanys Tiger Tanks, D.W. to Tiger I; Schiffer, by T. Jentz
9. Germanys Tiger Tanks, Tiger I & II Combat Tactics; Schiffer, by T. Jentz
10. Tiger I; Squadron Armor in Action No.8, by U. Feist & N. Harms.
11. Tiger; Squadron Armor in Action No.27, by B. Culver.
12. The Tiger Tanks; Osprey Vanguard No.20, by B. Perrett.
13. Tiger I Heavy Tank 1942-1945; Osprey New Vanguard No.5, by T. Jentz & H. Doyle.
14. Panzerkampfwagen Tiger; Achtung Panzer No.6, by M. Bitoh, H. Kitamura & M. Udsuki.
15. Pz.Kpfw VI Tiger I and Tiger II (Kingtiger); AFV Profile No.48, by P. Chamberlain & C. Ellis.
16. Pz.Kpfw.VI Tiger, Vol.1; Tankpower No.13, AJ Press, by T. Melleman & W. Molski.
17. Pz.Kpfw.VI Tiger, Vol.2; Tankpower No.14, AJ Press, by T. Melleman & W. Molski.
18. Pz.Kpfw.VI Tiger, Vol.3; Tankpower No.15, AJ Press, by T. Melleman & W. Molski.
19. Tiger; Sturm & Drang No.1.
20. German Heavy Tanks; Decimus, by P. Chamberlain & C. Ellis.
21. Panzerkampfwagen VI, Tiger I and Königstiger; Aero by W.Spielberger & U. Feist.
22. The Tiger Tanks; Aero-Armor No.1, by H. Nowarra, U. Feist & E. Maloney.
23. Tiger I on the Western Front; Histoire & Collections, by J. Restayn.
24. Tiger I on the Eastern Front; Histoire & Collections, by J. Restayn.
25. Tigre 1; Focus No.3, Editions du Barbotin, by P. Danjou & E. Schwartz.
26. Panzers in Normandy Then and Now; After the Battle, by E. Lefèvre.
27. www.Tiger1.info, by D. Byrden.
Note: Since May of 2005, I have been working on books for Concord Publications, a sister company to Cyberhobby. The reader may wish to take this into consideration. For my part, I will attempt to maintain an objective viewpoint when writing these reports.
Cyberhobby kits are available from retail and mail order shops. For details see their web site at: www.cyber-hobby.com.