by: Talal Mashtoub [ ]
introductionThe Sd.Kfz. 182 Königstiger, better known to us English speakers as the King Tiger or Tiger II, was the successor tank to the infamous Tiger I and was the last German war-time heavy tank put into production. It was designed to carry a bigger and better version of the 88mm main gun found in the Tiger I and have increased amour protection up to 185cm thick to withstand anything the east and west had at the time of its design. As a result of these requirements the King Tiger weighed in at close to 70 tons and suffered from frequent breakdowns due to problems caused by its heavy weight and being severely underpowered. It used the same Maybach HL 230 engine found in the Panther tank which was 20 tons lighter than the King Tiger. Though it was considered to be too heavy and over engineered the King Tiger was still feared because of its armor protection and powerful main gun which could penetrate just about anything at ranges over 2 miles.
Meng Models kit # TS-031 is a "Henschel turret" variant of the King Tiger and unlike the recent Takom releases the kit does not come with a full interior or molded on zimmerit, giving modelers who want to avoid a complex interior build another option.
ContentThe kit comes in a well-packaged box with some superb art work on the front. The box includes 10 maroon-colored styrene sprues for the tank, 1 gray styrene sprue for the figures, 1 sprue of clear plastic, poly caps, a decal sheet, a photo-etch fret, and a metal barrel which according to the Meng website is only available for the first production batch.
ReviewRight when you open the box the first thing that jumps out at you - besides the number sprues Meng manages to squeeze in a box - is the color choice of the styrene used which comes in a reddish-brown maroon-like color very similar to the red oxide primer the Germans used on their vehicles. There are 10 sprues in the red oxide color that are used to construct the tank (Sprue A x2, Sprue B x 4, Sprue C, Sprue D, Sprue E, and Sprue F) and Sprue G with the clear parts for the vision blocks and periscopes. The hull parts are molded with a very realistic looking cast texture which is the most accurate representation I have seen in this scale. The parts are all nicely laid out with no flash whatsoever and hardly any ejector pin marks. The kit uses a link and length type assembly method for tracks which come with jig to help replicate the track sag, this will help you save a ton of time putting them together. The track molding is very nicely done and there are no ejector pin marks to worry about. Meng has put just the right amount of photo-etch in this model so those of you who struggle with it will be happy. They even added a photo-etch bending jig/tool to help bend the radius required on some of the engine grills! If you manage to get a hold of the first productions batches of the kit you will be given an option to choose from the very nicely detailed slide molded barrel or a turned aluminum barrel. The kit also comes with 2 crew figures molded on a gray styrene sprue, though they are a welcome bonus they are a bit subpar on detail for today’s standards even for styrene.
The instruction manual is a black and white booklet with no gloss cover like we have seen on previous Meng releases. The instructions are on par to the standard we expect from Meng and are very clear and easy to follow, there are 35 build steps in total to complete the model from start to finish. The instruction manual depicts four different paint schemes shown in black and white that you can choose from:
• Tank 334 of Pz.Abt. 503, Hungary October 1944 (tri tonal cammo scheme with zimmerit)
• Tank 124 of Pz.Abt. 505, Poland September 1944 (tri tonal cammo scheme with zimmerit)
• Tank 223 of Pz.Abt. 501, Belgium December 1944 (tri tonal dot cammo no zimmerit)
• Tank 324 of Pz.Abt. 509, Hungary March 1945 (white wash cammo scheme with zimmerit)
The box art on the side of the box shows two of these paint schemes in color and provides paint references from AK interactive paints.
ConclusionFor anyone looking to build a King Tiger without an interior or zimmerit this latest offering by Meng is probably the best one out the market. Meng does offer a separate interior kit as well a zimmerit one for this model that can be purchased separately. The level of detail in the molding and all the extra goodies packaged into this kit make it stand out in the crowded King Tiger segment.
I can’t really see anything I don’t like about this kit so far. I highly recommend it for anyone interested in this subject.