The Tiger II tank had two contenders, one from Porsche and the other from Henschel. The Henschel vehicle won the design competition and was put into production. Porsche, however, had been convinced of their design and had produced a number of turrets, rather than waste these turrets they were mounted onto Henschel hulls and that is how you get what is known as the Porsche Tiger, at least that is my understanding.
This release from Hobby Boss of a 1/35th scale Tiger II arrives in a substantial cardboard tray, with a partition at one end and a substantial card lid with the artwork upon it. The parts are packaged in their own plastic bags, unless duplicated or protected by a card between the sprues. An examination of the parts reveals no areas of concern at this time, and one aspect that quite excites me, which is unusual in this day and age - We will get to this further in the review.
The lower hull of this model has been produced as a single piece tub, with a separate rear engine wall. Moulded on detail appears accurate to me, as I see no reason why you should not be pleased with your purchase. The torsion bar suspension system has been faithfully replicated to a degree, and should or could be workable - if that is your desire. However, the tensioner on the rear idler wheel is not functional and due to the tracks being individual link I would consider leaving the addition of the idler wheel and arm until the tracks are ready to be added as the tension of the track could vary depending on your modelling ability.
The steel road wheels have been faithfully reproduced, with nice crisp detail on the visible areas. The drive wheel and bell housing also have a nice lot of detail present, but be careful not to damage the cog teeth during removal from the sprue. The tracks provided for the model are extremely well detailed, but will drive many to drink having separate guide horns and the inner link of every other track being an individual part. If you take your time the result should be pleasing. The rear wall looks to be well detailed, but contains a muffler of a design I am unfamiliar with. I have seen the early Porsche turreted Tiger II at Bovington Tank Museum, but this aspect of the vehicle is missing.
The upper hull is where you need to decide if you wish to use the Zimmerit that is provided or not. Hobby Boss has taken the time to provide some pre-Zimmerit parts or clean parts allowing for an accurate representation of either finished vehicle, without the fit issues that used to occur with Dragon model offerings, where the Zimmerit finish used to make clean application of parts difficult. I should say that Zimmerit is also supplied for the wall to which the suspension arms attach, and again if you use the Zimmerit it will need to be added at the start of the build. The bow machine gun has been nicely replicated in all regards, both inside and out although seeing the detail on the interior will not be an easy thing.
The engine deck of the model has been provided as a single separate moulding, with just the main engine door provided free. There is no detail under the engine deck vents, which means if any light gets into the lower hull it could result in a disappointing finish, with light being seen through these vents that should not be visible. All of the various handles, lifting hooks and details are present as you would expect. Photo etch mesh has been provided to go over the vents. I do like that the periscopes for the driver and radio operator have been provided with a mix of clear parts, where needed that adds a nice level of detail to the model. All of the tow cables and pull through have been moulded in plastic and so fitting them should be without issue. The tools that go around the vehicle have a mixture of moulded, and photo etched clamps provided. The track guards have all been provided as a single piece except for the very first panel, and a number of small photo etched elements are added to this area to improve the detail.
The turret of the model has the correct shape as far as I can tell, and again the option of adding Zimmerit has been included. The cupola has been provided with clear periscopes and a surprising amount of separate details making this a challenging build in its own right. The mantlet for the barrel has again been provided with or without Zimmerit. The muzzle break has been provided in three parts, avoiding the half seams and so should result in a pleasing finish, without having to result to aftermarket. Some interior detail is provided for the main gun, which will only help if you fill most of the hatches with figures. I also like that the barrel itself has been moulded as a single piece. There are some interior details that protrude out into the exterior detail, but you will not see what is on the inside.
Two machine guns are provided, one for next to the main gun and one for the Commander’s cupola - make sure you use the correct one in each case as the barrel design is different and if done correctly is accurate. All of the hatches where needed have interior detail, which is a pleasing aspect for the modeller. One other thing I would like to add reference the turret, is that the sight and ranging machine gun openings are stepped as they go into the turret outside to inside, and this has been accurately replicated in this release. The thing that got me really excited about this model is the injection moulded Zimmerit. The sheets are presented in a similar style to the old Cavalier resin offerings, but in my opinion are thinner and easier to use. Removal from the carriers will be a simple affair and the use of a Sharp knife will allow you to easily replicate damage to the finish. The detail is uniform, which will not please everyone, but the ability to add this with standard plastic cement pleases me greatly. Two finishing options have been provided by Hobby Boss, both are plain dunkelgelb with the only details provided Fgst.Nr.280011 and Fgst.Nr.280009.
This release from Hobby Boss in 1/35th scale, is a release that I am very pleased with. I am aware that Hobby Boss often cops flack for accuracy issues, but nothing really stands out to me as being wrong with this release. I admit that I have tended to concentrate on the smaller fittings, which means I may have missed something with the larger areas - But again nothing has jumped out at me. So the result is a model I am very pleased with in all regards. The zimmerit is a great inclusion in my opinion.