A Tale of Two Tigers, Part 2: Dragon Models Ltd Late Tiger I with Zimmerit
Here is my humble, “in the box” review of a pair of 1/72nd scale Tiger I models provided for your information and amusement. This is presented entirely as “my own humble opinion” of the kits.
Here in Part 2 we review Dragon’s new PzKpfw VI “Ausf E” Late Production steel-wheel Tiger I - with molded on zimmerit, kit #7203.
In Part 1, we covered Revell of Germany’s PzKpfw VI “Ausf H” Early Tiger I, kit #3108.
If you pay any attention at all to 1/72nd “braille scale” armor, then you are already know that Dragon gave us a Tiger I before – in the form of a little 1/72nd radio controlled tank.
Since then, Dragon has released a shelf full of 1/72nd armor. Some of these kits were directly based on R/C roots – like their Abrams, while others are new from the ground up, like their OIF Challenger 2 kit. And some aren’t even kits at all, but instead are pre-built, pre-painted “collectibles” as they say. Of their model kits, some are all injected plastic, while others are a mix of diecast metal and plastic.
Regardless, all so far have been pretty decent values for the money, and are usually less expensive than competing kits from Revell of Germany, Italeri’s re-released ESCI, the dirt-old Hasegawa kits, and even the new kid in 1/72nd armor – Trumpeter. Today we look at the latest in the Dragon 1/72nd line up…
The Dragon PzKpfw VI “Ausf E” Late Production Tiger I with Zimmerit
Counting RoG and Hasegawa, Dragon now offers us a third 1/72nd steel-wheel Tiger I kit to choose from. But Dragon’s Tiger comes with a twist: the “WORLD’S FIRST 1/72 scale Injection Zimmerit Paste” (Patent Pending).
True, Hasegawa offers a zimmerit gimmick too - in a pricey Limited Edition version… But of the three 1/72nd steel-wheel Tigers, the Hase kit comes in at 10th place in a 3-tank race regardless of gimmicks.
Dragon’s Late Tiger consists of four separately bagged parts trees molded in typical “DML gray”. A fifth bag contains nicely molded 1-piece black vinyl tracks and the decals - in their own little “sub bag”. And finally, a sixth small bag contains a length of wire to fashion the main tow cables from. Well protected parts!
One of the four parts bags are “compartmentalized”, with separate compartments for the upper and lower hull pieces and with another little “sub bag” inside – which has a pair of exhaust shields nicely pre-formed from scale-thin brass.
Given that the kit has nicely molded zimmerit in all the right places, there is not much left to add but perhaps engine deck screens and a metal 88mm barrel if you are so inclined.
As for the zimm, the texture speaks to the skills of the Dragon mold-engravers, and looks pretty good for the scale. The zimm is molded into the two turret sides, the mantlet, lower hull bow and stern, the sides of the 1-piece upper hull, the separate rear-hull plate, the separate turret escape hatch, and, the separate upper glacis plate part (with the driver’s visor and hull MG).
Of these locations, the turret sides suffer in that the round vision ports appear as raised roundish bumps; with no vision slit detail at all. The real deals were not so completely swollen with zimm.
And the zimm is almost too perfect; it will be difficult to show chips or damage since it’s molded directly into the parts. In fairness to Dragon, the “PART” brand PE-zimm sheets seen for the RoG Tiger would have a similar “too perfect” in appearance, but IIRC, the “PART” zimm may be etched to “look” missing in various places.
But then, the “PART” goodies cost almost as much as TWO of these Dragon kits!
And of the kit parts themselves…
There are no readily-visible sinkholes or knock-out blems. But in typical DML fashion, many of the parts do have heavy - or at least awkward - sprue-attachment points to deal with.
The late-style upper hull with zimm’d hull sides is a one piece molding, including the straight fenders – so no hull deck/hull side alignment issues here!. The various weld beads are nicely molded in the surface as is the (correctly represented) “pads” for where S-Minen dischargers would have been mounted. The turret “splash ring” seen on later prod Late Tigers is molded to the hull surface and the front fenders have the “pilzen” sockets.
As with the Hase or RoG Tigers, the “OVE” and pioneer tools are surface molded. The shovel looks a tad undersized too. These would be a pain to remove/replace with separate OVE bits. A fire extinguisher and a single axe (or sledgehammer?) are molded separately. Like the Hase and RoG, the driver and radio operator hatches are molded shut. But, each hatch has see-through 3-dimensional periscope visor guards, a nice touch and better than the other Tiger kits. A super-detailer could easily add some bits from underneath to represent the protected periscopes.
The engine deck grates are molded completely through for 3-D depth, but unlike some other 1/72nd Dragon armor, no “engine” piece is provided to place underneath the grill-work. The bolt and hinge detail of the engine deck is a bit soft, unlike the RoG Tiger.
The lower hull piece has the correct late Tiger “cut-out” front hull extensions, and like the RoG Tiger, has separate U-hooks to add to all four corners. The suspension area has the molded “scallops” underneath the sponson floors, and drive and idler axle parts are molded separate from the lower hull.
The second of the 4 sprue bags contains the axle bits, steel roadwheels, idlers and drive sprockets, and 4 U-hooks. The wheels and idlers look good, and while the drive sprockets aren’t as 3-D as a RoG Tiger, they are an order of magnitude better than Hasegawa.
The third sprue bag is quite busy and contains left and right turret halves, turret roof, mantlet and mantlet base parts, upper hull plate (with driver’s visor and hull MG), commander’s cupola hatch and turret escape hatch, turret roof vent, “close in defense weapon”, a jack, 2 hull MG barrels, fire extinguisher, C-hook, a roof vent for between the driver, co-driver hatches, the single front headlight, the vertical rear hull plate with attached fenders, 2 “elevation” pins that pass thru the turret front sides and into the mantlet base part, 2 unidentified parts (maybe for Dragon’s zimm’d “BergeTiger” kit, #7210??) , and finally, left and right tow-cable end details. What these tow cable ends amount to, is that you use some of the provided wire and glue the wire into the injected plastic tow cable parts to create the looped tow cables. Good in theory, we will have to see how this builds… Also on this sprue is the “Sternantenne” spare antenna holder, used to build up a command Tiger.
Items of note here is that the turret roof offers the “close in defense weapon” part, but the earlier (and tallish) raised loader’s hatch and no “pilzen” sockets. And the commander’s cupola is molded in-place, a la Hasegawa. The cupola has the MG ring molded directly to the tops of the seven periscope hoods – which are molded see-through for the 3-D effect. Nice touch. The roof also has delicate moldings to represent the eight counter-sunk bolts that would hold an internal piece in place on a real Tiger. Some 1/35th scale Tigers miss this detail!
The fourth sprue bag contains the 88mm barrel, the 2 exhaust stacks, the axe, turret storage bin, another smaller jack (unused), 2 side track guards, and a NON-zimm’d vertical rear hull plate with attached fenders (unused). This spare rear hull plate – could it be that there are some non-zimm’d Tiger Is coming from DML anytime soon?? Let’s hope so! Anyway, the exhaust stacks have decent 3-D depth at the tops, the kit barrel is OK, but would likely be replaced by those so inclined, and the side track guard details look pretty good. Otherwise, nothing else to say about this sprue.
For kit supplied decals; you get Tiger 007 of SS-sPzAbt 101, supposedly Wittmann’s last ride, and Tiger 134 of SS-sPzAbt102. We know of Wittmann and 007, but AFAIK Tiger 134 belonged to Willi Fey, another “Tiger Ace”.
The 007 are solid white and 134 are “sloped”, hollow white outlines. The instructions show the inclusion of divisional symbols and two Balkenkreuz.
Kit instructions are the now familiar Dragon color-photo style, showing build photos and constructed kit 4-view profiles of 007 and 134. The build steps show the placement choices between the jack location or the use of the “command Tiger” antenna holder.
If building this kit strictly OOTB, then your only option is a “Normandy” Tiger, 134 or 007 with the “command Tiger” antenna holder.
Also of note during the build are some glaring omissions in the kit; - No track cable is provided for the hull side. Fashion/obtain your own track cable, or show a Tiger with it missing from the hull side. - No spare track links – or even empty track hangers – for the turret sides. AFAIK, these track hangers were standard on EVERY late Tiger. Fashion the track hangers and/or use the unneeded spare track links from the RoG Early Tiger? - No spare track links or even an empty bracket provided for the hull front. Not that this is mandatory, but it was a common sight on later Tigers.
Note also that the commander’s cupola has the MG ring – but no MG34 or mount. If you have a Dragon KT, they have the spare parts to rob if this is wanted.
These issues aside, this is one fine kit and is years ahead of any 1/72nd Late Tiger we have ever had before. Highly recommended!
The Pros and Cons - IMHO.
Pros Nicely done 1-piece tracks for those of us that like a fast, simple build Great appeal to Tiger fans wanting a Late Tiger I that but without the zimmerit fuss Great appeal to Tiger fans who want a zimm’d Late Tiger I at a budget price Very appealing detail No tires on the wheels to paint
Cons NO spare track links provided for turret sides - or even at least the track hanger bits NO spare track links provided for front-hull, even if optionally seen NO track cable provided for hull side Molded-on tools and OVE – that’s decades-old Hasegawa technology Turret zimmerit overdone at vision ports No crew figures provided
The Dragon zimmerit effect may be considered by some to be a bit heavy and out-of-scale, but it does look nice, and with no extra effort on the builder’s part. This and the brass bits make this kit good value for the money, despite the missing spare track links and track cable. You can almost bet your airbrush that Dragon will look at re-tooling most of their post-43 German armor with zimm’d parts.
IMHO, build Dragon for your zimm’d Tigers and RoG for your Early Tigers!
And now for the inevitable comparison to the now-old Revell of Germany 1/72nd Tiger I kit… (This section repeated in the RoG Tiger I review)
IMHO, The biggest concern was a size differential between these two 1/72nd Tigers – as seen in past “same scale” braille kits. Not having a micrometer handy, the size guestimates noted below are within a paintbrush bristle or so of each other, and so IMHO, there would not be an issue with having both a Dragon and RoG Tiger on the same display shelf…
The Dragon seems to have slightly wider hull. The Dragon seems to have slightly wider mantlet. The Dragon seems to have slightly longer side track guards. The Dragon seems to have a slightly taller turret.
Barrel lengths appear to be the same. Wheel diameters appear to be identical. Hull sides appear to be the same length.
Not to be picking nits, but as for other “common-area” parts comparisons between the two Tigers:
The RoG 88mm barrel detail seems a tad nicer – which is not an issue to those who use aftermarket turned barrels anyway. The RoG front-plate with drivers visor and co-driver MG port looks nicer than Dragon’s. The Dragon hull MG is easily removed from the sprue, RoG’s MG is clumsily attached. The RoG rear hull plate has slightly crisper details – which will mostly be unnoticeable. The Dragon has a few OVE parts molded separately, such as an axe, C-hook, and a fire extinguisher. But - other OVE tools are surface molded as with all on the RoG. The Dragon is completely missing the track cable for the hull side, while RoG’s is molded separately. The Dragon is completely missing any spare track links for the turret, while the RoG Early Tiger has the unneeded links. The Dragon turret side vision ports are swollen blisters on the turret sides, missing any detail such as the horizontal vision slits. The Dragon tow cable-end details seem nicer, even discounting the included wire to create the cables – which may not be so great if you can’t match your wire twist to the molded portions of the tow cables!! The Dragon side track guards seem to have crisper details. The Dragon hull hatches have better 3-dimensional effects with hollow-molded periscope covers. The Dragon exhaust stacks seem to have better 3-D depth – which will mostly go unnoticed behind the formed brass exhaust shields included with the kit. The RoG drive sprocket has better 3-D molding, with see-through spoke details where needed and better looking guide teeth.
And finally; Given the parts commonality between the two RoG Tigers; if we speculate on an apples to apples comparison between a RoG Late Tiger and a Dragon Late Tiger: the heavy lifting of zimmerit has already been done for you by Dragon.