by: Jan Etal [ ]
With this kit release, Dragon has once again treated the modeller to another combo or “1 1” kit containing two vehicles. In this case we are presented with a Tiger I Mid Production variant with Zimmerit and a brand new model in the form of the ubiquitous Kübelwagen, sold together as kit #7434.
The Tiger is the same one that was previously offered on its own as a separate kit, #7251 in the Armor Pro series. That model was also identified as an Sd.Kfz.181 Ausf. E.
As mentioned earlier, the Kübelwagen is a new release and I am sure that we will see more versions released in the future. The vehicle itself is a light military car that many consider the German equivalent of the famous Allied Jeep. The first prototypes were produced by Volkswagen in 1938 and the first unit was delivered to the German army in December 1939. Various sources note that between 50,000 to 55,000 vehicles were produced by war’s end.
On opening the somewhat larger than average box one is immediately aware of a plethora of parts. Present are two larger sprues in light grey styrene, one medium sprue, a Tiger upper and lower hull, a bag containing all the wheels for the Tiger’s suspension, the Kübelwagen upper body and two smaller sprues of Dragon DS plastic in light tan colour meant for the Kübelwagen.
A standard Dragon accessory card is present and positively loaded with items. On it, one will find two Dragon DS track lengths, a small sprue with plastic lifting shackles, a small sprue of clear plastic with the Kübelwagen windshield, a 25 piece PE fret, two pre-formed PE muffler shields, a length of wire tow cable and a small sheet of Cartograph decals.
A six-sided instruction card is provided displaying a parts diagram, four sides with nine assembly steps, and one page showing the painting and marking scheme. The assembly instructions for the Tiger are in the form of exploded view pictographs while those of the Kübelwagen are line drawings; both using arrows to indicate parts placement. The painting and marking pictures are provided for vehicles of the 1./s.Pz.Abt. 506, Ukaine, 1944. The colour references provided are for the GSI Creos Corp Aqueous Hobby Color, the same company’s Mr. Color, and Model Master enamels.
All told this kit contains no less than 146 parts. Those pertaining to the Tiger number 77 and the remaining 69 relate to the Kübelwagen. As with many kits, there are a few unused parts and the totals of these are six and ten respectively.
Essentially this is two individual kits in one box. The styrene parts of both are moulded in lighter grey coloured plastic and the DS-100 parts in a light tan colour. As with most Armor Pro kits that I have seen, this kit(s) looked promising from the point that the box was opened. Considering the scale, the details on the individual parts are impressive.
Ejector marks are minimal and where they do appear they are mostly on internal surfaces that will not show after construction or will be otherwise hidden after the addition of extra parts. Some flash was present on some of the Tiger parts and also in evidence on the DS-100 sprue C which is meant for the Kübelwagen. This flash and most seam lines were generally light and could be taken care of with a scraping of a sharp hobby blade.
The Tiger in this kit was previously released as Kit No. 7251; Sd. Kfz. 181 Ausf. E Tiger I Mid Production w/Zimmerit. There are a few reviews of this kit (or similar Dragon versions) available on various Websites. The first four steps in the instructions deal solely with the Tiger’s construction.
For those appreciative of even more supplied detail, a 25 piece photo-etch fret is provided for this tank, as well as two pre-formed brass muffler guards. The bulk of the vehicle tools are moulded on the hull with the exception of a jack and a towing shackle. While the moulded-on tools have rudimentary attachment brackets, the brass set also includes a number of very tiny brackets and tie-downs to at least dress them up. There is also a hatch seal ring for the commander's cupola, engine screens, and hatch handles.
Another pleasant surprise is that this kit comes with metal tow cables but there are no plastic alternatives for those preferring them. For those liking the option to build tanks with open hatches this one will disappoint them as only the commanders hatch is a separate piece.
This Tiger I kit is also one where the road wheels are moulded in sets that interlock with each other making for a more simplified and accurate build.
The Kübelwagen assembly is the focus of steps five through nine. There are quite a few parts for such a small vehicle and except for some vagueness in the instructions it looked straight forward. The tires, headlights, engine mufflers, canvas top and interior door side panels are all made of the malleable DS plastic. These parts exhibit some nice detail but my sprue did have some flash and a rather prominent seam on the canvas top.
After reviewing the sprues it became apparent that there were potentially two sets of headlights. Parts A16 on the Kübelwagen sprue are crisp grey styrene examples and parts C1 on the DS sprue are less crisp. After a bit of research and finding a photo or two it appears that these DS versions are meant to represent headlights with a protected canvas (or other such material) cover over them. While not listed as an option in the instructions, the modeller obviously would have a choice over which to use.
Decals for these two vehicles are provided for the 1./s.Pz.Abt. 506, Ukraine 1944. As with the decals, the painting instructions only have one option. The scheme for the Tiger is an overall three colour camouflage using a dark yellow base and the Kübelwagen in plain dark yellow.
The Tiger I
As mentioned above, the Tiger I and it’s fellow Dragon cousins have reviews here on Armorama as well as other sites. Rather than go into extensive detail this reviewer will just present quick observations from his experience.
Step 1 was the assembly of all the suspension components onto the lower hull. All these pieces, including the sprockets, are one piece slide-mouldings. Fit overall was good although it can take a bit of fiddling to get everything lined up to fit on the respective shafts. Due to all the interleaving of the pieces it would probably be best to paint the pieces separately beforehand.
In Step 2 the turret is constructed and should present few problems for an experienced modeller. The only issue might be the seam at the back of the turret. Due to the moulded-on Zimmerit there is a visible partition line between the two turret side halves. As there is a turret rear storage bin, the area it covers could be ignored. That just leaves small areas at the top above the bin, and below it to be taken into account.
With Step 3 the upper hull is assembled and detailed and from previous builds of Tiger I kits I foresee few issues.
Construction is completed in Step 4 with the attachment of the tracks and then the three main pieces of lower hull, upper hull and turret.
Step 5 is the start of construction of the Kübelwagen. Most of the work here focuses on the underside and suspension. Parts fit was good for the most part but the DS plastic tires and mufflers may seem a bit unusual for some to work with. The material is quite elastic and in the case of the tires being placed over the styrene rims, the fit is a bit tight. Similarly the mufflers’ fit required some concentrated pressure to get the DS lugs to insert into the styrene holes meant for them.
With Step 6 the builder attaches a fuel tank, instrument panel and steering wheel to the underside of the hood. Care will need to be taken with the fuel tank (A13) as the locating features for it are very light.
In Step 7 several parts are added to the upper surfaces of the vehicle and it’s interior. One concern here will be that the builder will be working with some extremely small parts. The four tow hooks (A7) and the fuel tank filler cap (A3) are examples. A major thing to note in this step is that the instructions for the folded roof supports have the parts numbers transposed. Part A36 belongs on the passenger side while A31 attaches to the drivers side.
Step 8 adds more pieces to the upper body and interior of the Kübelwagen. The instructions specify the DS covered headlights, parts C1, be placed on the front fenders. These parts have a tight fit due to the nature of this plastic. As an alternative the builder might prefer to use the styrene uncovered headlights (A16). While the instructions show the front windshield being mounted in the ‘up’ position there is no reason that it could not be posed folded down on the front hood.
In Step 9 we see the completion of the Kübelwagen with the attachment of the last three parts. These are the license plate mount and an accompanying light box and a frame in back of the front seats.
This is both an interesting combination and method to introduce a new vehicle subject (the Kübelwagen). Dare it be suggested here that we may see even more of these combination kits in the future? Overall both these kits have their pluses and minuses but I experienced minimal difficulties with the review sample(s).
Having built earlier Dragon Tiger I models in the past, I can attest that this version went together with far less problems than the previous ones. The joined and interlocking road-wheels made the suspension a breeze. The large number of PE parts will most certainly be welcome by some.
To me the diminutive Kübelwagen was the star of this review. Having build nearly a dozen versions by numerous manufacturers in the past the Dragon offering proved to have the most potential and also was enjoyable to build.
Included on the Kübelwagen’s ‘A’ sprue were a number of parts marked as unused. Several of these were parts for a motorcycle including frame, handlebars, individual seats, exhausts and whatnot. Also present were duplicate sets of Kübelwagen side-view mirrors and headlights. I am sure that the readers' imagination and mine will run the gambit of possibilities (recon set with two Kubels and motorcycle, SdKfz 2XX with Kubel and motorcycle, etc).
Even if you are not enthusiastic about Axis subjects, this pair might be the one to give a try. The only real down-side for many may be that the kit would have been more complete with at least a driver for the Kübelwagen if not a few other figures. Otherwise, no need to not recommended this kit.