The successful introduction of Dragon’s Königstiger Henschel Turret w/ Zimmerit (#6303, nicely Reviewed by Scott Espin
) has resulted in the usual “line extension” into specialty kits that allows a manufacturer to get a greater return on its die & tool investments. Dragon has already released numerous versions of their non-Zimmerit Tiger I (usually associated with a famous tank commander), and is now doing the same thing for their Zimmerit Tiger II. The first extension is a Cyber-hobby.com release based on the colorful s.Pz.Abt. 505 with its distinctive mounted knight insignia placed in the center of a square “cut out” of the Zimmerit coating.
The box contains 22 sprues with over 650 parts, including 240 Magic Tracks and links. Although the directions show the model in dunkelgelb plastic, it’s actually molded in Dragon’s usual light-gray. The kit, like 6303, also includes a sheet of PE brass grill covers, misc. parts including light and heavy metal tow cables, a metal chain for the pistol port in the rear turret escape hatch, and two sprues of clear vision blocks.
The decal sheet allows for recreating any of the tanks from the s.Pz.Abt. 505’s three Tiger II companies, and includes the famous mounted knight in both green and red. The decals and painting scheme offer two variants: Trakehnen (East Prussia) 1944 and Poland 1944. An additional distinctive feature of the s.Pz.Abt. 505 Tiger IIs is the placement of the tank company numbers on the barrel and mantlet tube. The water-slide decals provided look clean and crisp with a minimum amount of selvage.
The plastic parts are crisp with little or no flash. Some design shortcuts have been taken, including a two-piece plastic barrel, though the mantlet is slide-molded. The kit offers some nice additions to any OOB build, including PE tool clamps and grill covers, but unfortunately lacks some of the extra features from #6303 such as a turned metal barrel, the brass rounds, and the metal tow hitches included in that release. If this is your first Tiger II Zimmerit kit, I would suggest looking at one of the AM barrels available on the market if you're so inclined. A plastic barrel is a real disappointment in my opinion, though the Magic Tracks are an improvement over the rubber band ones included in Dragon’s first Zimmerit Panther (#6428). As per Scott’s review of the kit #6303, many of the parts are themselves taken from Dragon’s non-Zimmerit Tiger II Henschel (kit #6232), so any issues with accuracy and fit should have been worked out by this point.
Overall detail is excellent and things like the side skirts are reasonable in thickness, though purists may want to purchase one of the PE _Kettenabdeckung_ sets from either Griffon model or Voyager. Purists may also squawk about factory-applied Zimmerit, but I’m one of those modelers who’d rather let Dragon add the Zimmerit in the molding process than struggle with mastering the technique myself. The execution here is superb and the zimmerit can be damaged or chipped using tools like a Micro Chisel if desired.
In terms of value for money, kit 6303 is a better bet, especially if you’re comfortable cutting out the distinctive square on the side of the turrets for the mounted knight icon (available from Archer dry transfers on sheet AR35135). But as a kit on its own, it continues the excellent quality we’ve come to expect from Dragon, and has few, if any, accuracy issues.