by: Sal [ ]
This is a review of Dragons newly released kit # 6797, Sd.Kfz.181 Panzerkampfwagen VI (P) w/ Zimmerit. Only five Panzerkampfwagen VI (P) were produced and only one completed Tiger(P) with chassis number 150013 saw combat service as a command tank – Panzerkampfwagen VI(P) with schwere Heeres Panzerjager Abteilung 653. It was used by its commander, Hauptmann Grillenberg (turret number 003), on the Eastern Front in early/mid 1944. This is the tank that Dragon reproduces in this kit as a follow up to their 2004 release kit # 6201, of a Panzerkampfwagen VI (P) without Zimmerit.
In the box you get 11 spruces of gray plastic, 3 smaller spruces of gray plastic, 1 clear plastic spruce, a fret of brass PE, 3 metal wire pieces, 2 lengths of DS tracks, a one piece lower hull and a one piece turret with Zimmerit molded into the sides. There is a small decal sheet which is the same as the one that came with kit # 6201, and the typical Dragon black and white instruction booklet with 22 steps. In addition to the instruction booklet is a small sheet of paper for extra stages of steps 11 and 14. The box art is pretty plain, featuring an artist’s rendition of the tank in a grassy field with all the hatches closed. I personally liked the box art on the older kit better but the bottom of the box on the new kit has the black and gray computer images of close up pieces of the kit.
As previously noted this is Dragons second release of a Tiger (P) and therefore all of the spruces from that kit are included in this kit. In addition you get a second spruce A which has the parts required to build the breech half of the main gun. The older kit only came with a barrel and mantlet. The barrel on this kit is rounded sections as opposed to the two piece side halves of the older kit and therefore nicer, and will not have that seam down the middle of it when built. However, a metal barrel would have been even better. The other added spruce M that you get is marked Elefant w/Zimm, and contains many of the outer body parts that have the molded in zimmerit. The zimmerit patterns on these pieces are purposely made to give an uneven look as would be on a real tank. But all of these pieces have those extra taps attached to them that need to be removed. Sprue T has only one part and that is the mantlet with molded in zimmerit. Here again the extra plastic tabs will require some cleanup. The hull and the one piece turret also have zimmerit molded in at the correct places and in a nice pattern that would have been very difficult to replicate if the modeler was making his own homemade zimmerit. The PE fret also is different in this kit as it contains addition parts with molded in zimmerit and screen covers for the rear engine vents.
The tanks suspension parts are the same as the older kit and while they are not super detailed each section is made up of 4 parts not including the steel rimmed road wheels. The road wheels and drive sprocket offer a fair amount of detail. The kit comes with 2 lengths of DS tracks which in my opinion are a little on the flimsy side. I would have preferred a set of Magic Tracks.
The only interior parts are the breach section of the main gun and a detailed section of the ball mounted machine gun. The 2 turret hatches also have some nice inner detail should the builder decide to leave the hatches open.
The instruction booklet has 3 added steps compared to the older kit for the construction of the guns breach and the added PE parts. The booklet also contains a paint guide for three brands of paint, GSI Creos Corp. Aqueous Hobby Color, GSI Creos Corp. Mr. Color and Model Master Color. The paint guide diagram offers only 3 views of the tank, the left side, front and back as opposed to the older kit that offered a forth top view of the tank. Markings are the same that are provided with the older kit for s.Pz.Jg.Abt.653, Eastern Front 1944.
If you are a fan of the Tiger Tank then this kit is a must have to round out your collection. The kit has the respectable quality that one would expect from a Dragon kit. While it is not overly detailed with a great amount of PE there is more than enough detail in the quality appearance of the molded in zimmerit and a fair amount of PE. The instruction booklet is simplified and this will go together with little hassle and build up nicely.