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In-Box Review
135
Henschel King Tiger
King Tiger with Henschel Turret
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by: Matt Szefer [ MATTSZ ]

Introduction

The Tiger tank is one of the most recognizable German tanks of WWII. Anyone who is interested in German armor knows a King Tiger Tank on sight. Zvezda released a new model kit of this popular vehicle in 1/35th scale. This is what the Zvezda instruction state : The King Tiger was the heaviest production tank of World War 2. With its powerful long barrelled 88mm gun it was capable of destroying a Sherman tank from a 3,500 metre distance. The King Tigers were issued to the army In February 1944 and were first used in combat In May, In battles near Minsk. Two companies equipped with these formidable machines participated In the Battle of Normandy during the D-Day landings. The King Tiger operated by an experienced crew was the most dangerous enemy for any tank to meet.

This kit is re-boxed Dragon King Tiger No 6208 from 2004. All parts are exactly the same, theonly difference is that the PE grills are not included in the Zvezda kit and decals are provided for different vehicles. Being a re-release of a Dragon product detail and molding is excellent. There are no visible pin marks or any other issues, just typical Dragon quality. After seeing the parts I think the assembly process should not generate any problems.

Contents

This model kit contains 423 parts. Inside Zvezdaís box you will find:
21 tan sprues
Lower Hull
Big decal sheet
Instruction sheet
One piece of mesh for grill covers
One piece of string for tow cables
The sprues are packed in a large sturdy cardboard box, which protects the contents well. It is much bigger than most of other producer boxes. Despite the large size of the box the contents fill the entire space inside. The sprues are packaged individually in plastic bags, except where the sprues are duplicated. On top of the box there is a nice color box art, on the back, as in the case of Dragon, there are images of an assembled model.

Review

Instruction
Black and white color manual contains 19 steps. All information and tips, except short tank description on main page, is in the Russian language. On the first page you will find a sprue map which shows all the frames and parts distribution. The instructions are clear and easy to follow. Steps 1-10 are focused on hull, suspension and track assembly, the remaining 9 shows how to make the turret. Nice attention has been paid to the drawing of grill parts that you have to cut from a piece of mesh.

On the last page Zvezda offers paint schemes for five vehicles.
The first two are from 505th heavy tank battalion, Eastern Front, 1944.
The third scheme is for a tank from 501st Heavy Tank Battalion which was captured In August 1944 near Sandomiersk.
The fourth scheme depicts King Tiger No 121 from Leibstandarte SS Adolf Hitler Division.
The last scheme shows a tank from 503rd Heavy Tank Battalion, Eastern Front, 1944. There is also a list of the necessary paint colors, with the numbers of Zvezda and Humbrol paints.

Lower Hull
A single piece lower hull is nicely molded with sharp details like two bumpstops on every side. The welds are really nice, visible but no over scaled. Details on the bottom of hull are well made, twelve hatches or openings are exactly where they should be.

Wheels and Suspension
The suspension in this kit is well detailed, but not workable. Steel road wheels are nicely done, and include such subtle details such as the strips attached to each pair of rim bolts. The kit provides the nine-tooth drive sprockets that look really massive. On the back side of idler wheels there are three ejector pin marks, but after assembly these are invisible. Overall this part of Zvezda King Tiger is well made and I think this area will assemble without any issues.

Tracks
The tracks included with this model are individual track links moulded on the sprue in sand styrene. These consist of a main link and a smaller bridge, they need glue to keep them together and each link must have the sprue attachment points cleaned-up prior to assembly. The tracks in this model are the most time consuming part, but the final result should be pleasing. These track have one issue, on every second link are two ejector pin marks to remove. I know that part of the track is hidden but for good effect some putty and sanding will be needed.

Upper hull and rear plate
The upper hull is a single piece with a separate engine deck access hatch lid, as well as separate driver and radio operators hatch lids. Details on the front of hull are pretty well done, Zvezda has provided two different versions of ventilator covers and rain guards for vison blocks which are made of opaque plastic. The only thing to add is the cable to the Tarnscheinwerfer-Bosch head-lamp on the front. The side fenders are nicely molded in one piece and have good detail on the upper surface, but they are a little bit thick and have ejector pin marks on the underside that will need to be fixed.

The engine deck is nicely detailed and the engine access hatch lid is separate, this can be left open if wished. All parts for this area are nice looking, I think that only PE parts for grills covers instead of mesh will be a really welcome addition.

The separate rear plate mounts the exhaust pipes and cast armored guards. C-shaped tow hooks are provided as separate parts, complete with molded-on mounting brackets. The three-part jack looks pretty good too. The rear plate is finished off with one-piece extended mud flaps and U-shaped tow shackles. In my opinion the jack block need some work, it is flat, without any wood texture, except for that I have no other issues.

Tools and cables
The tools are a little bit old-school. They have moulded-on clasps, but without any details seen on current models from other manufacturers. In my opinion sanding these off and replacing them with PE ones will be needed. The two tow cables are created by connecting metal cable and styrene eyes with mounts. The plastic ends are nicely done but rope is rather average quality and I am going to replace it with aftermarket copper wire. The track changing cable are nicely made from styrene and have moulded-on mounts too but looks reasonable.

Turret
The turret is very well done and is a multi-part offering. The separate front plate has slots for the co-axial MG34 and the gunnerís sight. All detail parts are separate and include parts for the loaders hatch lid, two types of fan armored covers are included too. Separate lift hooks are also provided. The rear escape hatch lid is very completely detailed inside and outside. Multi part commander cupola looks pretty good. There is also an anti-aircraft mount for an MG34 for the cupola ring, however no MG34 is provided for it. As with the other parts of the vehicle the welds are nicely made. On the sides of turret there are location marks for spare track hangers, in the box the modeller can find two styles of them. Some are very well made (from N sprue), and the others (placed on B sprue) are flat on one side, which would spoil the final effect, so you must be careful to use correct parts. The main gun has basic internal details, this includes the recoil cylinders and breech guard. The 8.8cm L/71 gun consists of two styrene halves. To obtain a good effect sanding will be needed, especially on muzzle brake.

Decals
The decal sheet is quite large and as I wrote before, provides markings for five vehicles. The decals are crisp, thin and have good colors. Itís hard to write something more about them, before using it but I do not expect difficulties during using them.

Conclusion

An initial inspection of this kit indicates that it is well made. The molding are done very well, there is a lot of nice clean details. It is a combination of Dragon styrene parts with Zvezda decals, so we can expect good quality. Ejector pin marks are placed where they won't be an issue (except the tracks) and the parts count isn't needlessly high which is good for less experienced modellers.

The build instructions are clear and easy to follow. The decals and painting instructions provide a wide variety of painting options. The decals are well designed and provide the required markings for numerous vehicles.

Despite a few small issues (tools clasps, rope for tow cable) I highly recommend this kit for all levels of experience. The kit contents is really enjoyable and I expect to build this kit without any difficulties
Good job, Zvezda!

SUMMARY
Highs: -low price -good quality, sharp and nice molding -separate track links -decals for five vehicles
Lows: -rope for tow cable -moulded clasps on tools -no PE grills -gun barrel of the two halves
Verdict: Zvezda's King Tiger is really nice alternative to expensive models. If someone is looking for good base kit and wants to use aftermarket itgems like metal gun barrel, PE sets etc this kit is perfect because the price of this kit is low.
Percentage Rating
90%
  Scale: 1:35
  Mfg. ID: Zvezda 3601
  PUBLISHED: Apr 25, 2016
  NATIONALITY: Germany
NETWORK-WIDE AVERAGE RATINGS
  THIS REVIEWER: 91.14%
  MAKER/PUBLISHER: 82.86%

About Matt Szefer (MattSz)
FROM: CALIFORNIA, UNITED STATES

My name is Matt Szefer. I'm doing scale models from six years. Most of them is WWII millitary vehicles in 1:35 scale.

Copyright ©2019 text by Matt Szefer [ MATTSZ ]. All rights reserved.



Comments

Just curious about the plastic, in the past I have found variations in the plastic that comes from Zvezda, from brittle to soft. Nice to know it is the Dragon molds, just wonder on the quality of the plastic.
APR 24, 2016 - 08:48 PM
Nice review Matt, Looks like I got a dud kit as mine was full of molding problems, particularly on the turret roof which suffered from many sink marks. I don't think the turret sprue is from kit 6208 as there is a molded on weld seem around the cupola which is not present on the dragon kit. Just a note on the decal options and marking guide. They are pretty much fit for the bin if accuracy concerns you. For example, the 505 option should indicate a tri-colour scheme and 332 had a yellow outline to the numbers, not white. Most of those marking options will also require zimmerit. Still, for the price it is a good kit.
APR 24, 2016 - 08:58 PM
That is a problem I have found with Zvezda kit, inconsistency. I have read that obtaining good plastic in Russia is difficult.
APR 24, 2016 - 09:12 PM
It is just the old, original Dragon King Tiger, looks like, with the not great wheels, and those tracks! Much better off getting a more recent Dragon kit.
APR 24, 2016 - 11:19 PM
And from past experience i could get two Zvezda kits for the cost of one of the more recent Dragon kits. Some of us just can't afford the high quality and instead want the best value. From past experience I can say Zvezda kits are a good value with even the ancient crappy ones being a fun build.
APR 25, 2016 - 12:30 AM
Nice review, thanks. This kit is not a mystery anymore
APR 28, 2016 - 06:46 PM
I bought a few Zvezda kits, this one looks ok. You need to put extra work into their kits to "doll them up", but, that's the fun part of it.
APR 28, 2016 - 07:35 PM
   

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