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1945 King Tiger. Limited Edition. 1:35


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1945 King Tiger

Takom/Ammo 1:35

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Hitler, and therefore Nazi Germany was obsessed with bigger which they equated with better, and this was reflected in almost every aspect of arms production in the run-up to, and throughout World War II.  After the Panzer IV had been matched by Allied designs, the Tiger addressed the balance back in their favour, becoming the most feared combatant from any force, despite several draw-backs of its design, such as a weak transmission, and a level of complexity that meant it was slow to manufacture, prone to break-downs and expensive to repair.  Expecting the Allies to bring heavier tanks to the field before too long, the King Tiger, Tiger II, or Königstiger as the Sd.Kfz.182 was known came into existence, having begun development even before the war started.

 

Porsche's ground-breaking and complex design was unsuccessful for this reason, while the Henschel proposal was taken forward to production, using the same underpowered Maybach engine that was barely adequate for the Tiger I, and taking on the sloped armour of the successful Panther to significantly increase the effective thickness of the armour whilst keeping weight down to a staggering 70 tonnes.  The initial turrets had curved surfaces that were difficult to manufacture, and a redesign was necessary to cure this and remove the shot-trap under the mantlet, with the new design being known today as the Henschel turret, while the old design became the Porsche turret, although both were designed by Krupps.  A weak transmission design, coupled with the underpowered engine ensured that many vehicles broke down in the field, and plans were in progress to improve both aspects with fuel-injection and a new drive-train, but were curtailed by the end of the war.

 

Most of the initial order of 1,500 units were built under difficult circumstances due to bombing of the factories and the encroaching Allied forces, and despite its problems it became one of the icons of German tank design of WWII, with a number surviving to be placed in museums, with some still running.

 

The Model

We have had a few King Tiger (KT) kits in 1:35 over the years, but nothing new for quite a while, and at times the preferred brands have been hard to come by with prices reaching silly levels on eBay.  Takom's new range of KT kits aims to provide a full set of these imposing tanks, with and without Zimmerit anti-mine coating, with Henschel and Porsche turrets, and with or without interiors.  This should cater for almost every possibility, and if you like your tanks buttoned up, you won't be wasting the interior if you buy wisely. This special edition kit has been produced in an alliance with AMMO by Mig Jimenez. The types included from the box haven’t been released by Takom before, so you can add it to your collection without fear of duplication. It is ostensibly a 1945 King Tiger Ausf B with a Henschel Turret, but one of the options is to build it as a July 1945 Project with Infra Red sights, whilst the other is for a Standard March 1945 Late version.

 

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Inside the box are a lot of sprues, taking up almost all the available space.  There are ten sprues, two hull parts and upper turret in a grey styrene, one sprue of clear parts, one small sheet of Photo-Etch (PE) brass, and decal sheet.  The instruction guide is in the by-now-familiar Takom format, in landscape A4, with a separate booklet for the painting instructions. All the parts are beautifully moulded with no sign of flash or other imperfections, but there are quite a few moulding pips, and for those modellers who have an aversion to indie link tracks, look away as, although these are link and length, each individual link is connected to the sprue by no less than six gates which will require the nice tedious job of cleaning them up before fitting.

 

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Construction begins with the rather unusual start point of the upper hull and the fitting of the towing cables, pioneer tools, and the separate panel for the drivers and bow gunners hatches. Inside, there is a large panel glued to the inside of the glacis plate, along with the two periscopes. The three piece bow machine gun is then assembled and glued into the ball socket in the bow plate. Then, on the outside the rest of the ball mechanism is fitted, along with the armoured hood. The track guards are also added at this point, although I’d probably leave them off until the entire hull is complete and the tracks fitted.

 

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Each of the road wheels and the sprockets are made up from two parts whilst the idlers are three part units. Once the gearbox covers and axles have been fitted to the hull all the wheels can be attached to their relative axles. There is a separate lower glacis plate to be attached as well. With all the track links and lengths cleaned up it’s just a case of patience and following the build guide carefully, ensuring it sags in the correct places. If you’re following the instruction rigidly then you will be fitting the upper hull to the lower at this point then adding the upper bow mounted track guards, three piece bow mounted light and lower, inner gearbox covers, to which the towing shackles are attached.

 

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The rear bulkhead is fitted out with the engine gearbox cover, a smaller access hatch, two, three piece exhausts, exhaust covers, track puller, the two rear mudguards and rear mounted towing shackles. The completed bulkhead is then attached to the rear of the hull. On the rear upper hull alternative centre engine covers, one is fitted with three individual engine hatches each fitted with a ventilation style dome and two other access hatches. The alternative centre hatch is fitted with a single large hatch each with two ventilation domes. There are also alternative radiator covers, attached each side of the centre hatch, there have different grilles and on one style the grilles are covered by armour plate. Each of the centre mounted circular opening is covered by PE grilles.  Each assembly is then glued into position.

 

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The turret is assembled next, with the single piece centre section of the turret fitted with the roof, inner rear bulkhead, gunners internal hatch framing, inner section of the commanders cupola, outer rear bulkhead gunners hatch actuator, in open or closed position, three piece gunners hatch, periscope cover, small access hatch and grab handles. The large eight piece rear mounted hatch is then attached with its hinge covers, along with the roof mounted ventilator cover or alternative cover plate. The turret base is fitted with the gun trunnion section via two trunnion mounts and then glued to the turret.  The outer commanders cupola is fitted with the seven periscope covers before being glued into position.

 

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The turret is then further detailed with four sets of six track link brackets and ten links, two at the front and three at the rear on each side. The March 1945 version is fitted with the commanders four piece hatch and a four piece MG34 machine gun. The July 1945 is fitted out with the same style hatch, but instead of the machine gun there is an eleven piece infra red sight and searchlight, plus on each side of the turret there are covers for the new rangefinder.  The five piece gun barrel is the same for both versions, but the mantlet is slightly different, each version made from three parts, but make sure you are using the correct mantlet. The completed turret is then attached to the hull, completing the build.

 

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Decals

Since there are four decal/paint schemes for each of the two versions the paint instructions is quite large, but very well printed. So good in fact you could possible separate them and frame them should you wish. All the paint codes are for AMMO paints, but with the German names for each colour. There are six schemes with vehicle numbers; the other two just have generic crosses etc. The decals have been printed by AMMO and although only a small sheet they are nicely printed, in register with good opacity.  The larger numbers though have quite prominent carrier film, so will need a good gloss coat before applying. The options are by the town they served in and include:-

 

Standard

  • King Tiger from Paderborn 1945
  • King Tiger, No. 304 based at Hamm 1945
  • King Tiger, No. 421 based in Koln 1945
  • King Tiger, No. 235, found at the Henschel Plant, February 1945

 

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Infra Red fitted

  • King Tiger, based in Wildau 1945
  • King Tiger, based in Gorlitz 1945
  • King Tiger, No 502, based in Saltsburg, Austria 1945
  • King Tiger, No 232, based in Kassel 1945

 

Conclusion

This is a very nice kit, as we have come to expect from Takom, and it is an interesting alliance with AMMO. Although, if you’re going to do something with a paint company, at least include some paint in a special edition like this, even if it was of only one or two schemes. As a marketing ploy, which it after all it is having some paint in the box may have got some modellers moving over to those paints rather than just sticking with what they know. The track links are also a bit of a letdown, since the previous release, with interior had the links separate in poly bags, it’s strange Takom went with the link and length approach.  Other than that a fairly easy build and will look great in any collection.

 

Review sample courtesy of

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UK Distributors for

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