by: Vinnie Branigan [ ]
Dragon have quite a line up of Tiger II's, so why another? The answer of course, is that this is one of the new 'Premium' kits from Dragon, whereby they take popular kits from their catalogue and rework them with the addition of new mouldings made with modern state of the art technology, but also to take the opportunity to correct any inaccuracies, such as they did with their last 'Premium' release, the Elefant.
A set of instructions, a card with goodies, a bag of magic tracks, 21 sprues of light grey styrene, and 2 transparent plastic sprues! If that sounds a lot, then you're right........... after photographing the sprues, I had difficulty getting them all back in the box. Concerning the instructions, I find it a bit of a shame that Dragon hasn't re-designed the instruction sheet for this kit, sticking instead with the original photographic instructions that were issued with the original kit. Presumably, since the kit contains a lot of new parts, the instructions have been re-made, so why go back to the earlier, less successful photographic type?
The premise of these 'Premium' kits from Dragon, is to take an 'older' kit, and bring it up to modern standard with the addition of various parts and extras that are new. The actual main body of the kit should be the original parts. Well............ they are and they're not. Let's take a close look at what we get.
Looking at the main sprues first, most of them are identical to what was in the old Porsche turreted Kingtiger, kit #6189 that was released back in 2003. So we have sprue A, sprue N and sprue H which are identical to the original offerings. Sprue A (small) that contains the drive sprocket and idlers is also the perfectly adaquate old offerings, and is supplied joined to sprue B (small) that contains the exhaust and lots of other bits, most of which aren't used. Sprue M contains the turret and looks like the old one, but it has been reworked and now supplies the close defense weapon hatch as a separate part (see below). Also included on this sprue are 3 Pilze sockets.
Sprue G containing the road wheels is the same one as issued with the ĎArdennesí Kingtiger (kit #6254), and not the original Porsche turreted Kingtiger kit, which were inferior. Sprue D contains the hull roof, and whilst this too looks identical to the original moulding, the weld seams have been redone and look much better! In fact, the moulding of even the 'old' parts has been sharpened up and looks improved.
Onto the new stuff that makes this a ĎPremiumí kit! There are two new transparent sprues holding the periscopes for the commanderís cupola, in much the same way as the new Panzer IV kits from Dragon. There is also a choice of 3 cupolas, the only differences being the mounting of the MG ring (or not!). The co-driverís machine gun is now supplied complete on a new sprue J for which there is a brand new mount supplied, and there are 8 new tow rope ends, slide-moulded, 4 large, 4 small, which means no slots for the supplied metal tow ropes, but instead holes! There are new bit and pieces for the inside of the commanders and loaders hatches contained on new small sprues, and thereís even a Nahverteidigungswaffe grenade launcher for the new separate close defense hatch should you want to display it open! On sprue TH is a new muzzle brake for the aluminium barrel thatís supplied in the kit, and all-new MG ring and hatch for the commanderís cupola, featuring internal detail.
The photo-etched fret newly supplied also contains quite a lot thatís new to this kit. In the original release, the engine grills were supplied as photo-etch, but two of them needed forming over a styrene frame. Well, Dragon now supply these pre-formed, along with the other four rectangular grills, and two circular ones. The tools are now supplied without the moulded on clamps, and these are therefore supplied as photo-etch, along with a small grill for the snorkel hatch, and a plethora of other small items.
On a small photo-etch fret of itís own is the protective cover for the rear turret hatch, and Dragon also supply four metal towing shackles, and two new armoured exhaust covers.
The tracks supplied in the original King Tigers wer individual link, but contained on sprues, which meant a lot of snipping and cleaning up. This kit has two small bags of 'Magic Tracks'. One contains the main link, and the other the one-piece bridge link. There is a tiny circular ejector pin mark present which can be cleaned up should you feel so inclined, but it is really hard to see as can be told from the close-up photographs.
This kit offers 5 different marking options, one of which, 'Anneliese' was supplied in the original kit, but here is depicted in winter whitewash scheme from Hungary in 1945, whereas before it was depicted in a 3-tone scheme. The other schemes offer an all-over dark yellow Tiger II from France '44, a disruptive 3-tone scheme, Eastern front '44, green stripes over dark yellow ... Arnhem '44, and finally green and brown stripes over dark yellow, Normandy '44.
The original Dragon Kingtigers were already well thought of, but with all these extras in the box, this kit now provides a one stop solution for anybody who suffers from AMS. I really do think itís time to visit the IPMS rule on Out Of The Box builds in competitions!
Very highly recommended!
My thanks to Dragon for the review sample.