I guess I
need't say much about the original Tiger, so we get straight to the model.
I would like to answer one of the most frewuent questions right away:
No - it is not the Tamiya model!
The first 3 of the total 28 construction steps contain the Tiger's running gear. As I paint the running wheels while they are still on the sprues, I only attached teh supension arms at this stage. Their fitting is very well, all arms touch the ground with complicated alignment.
After finishing the vehicle's rear section - both versions of the Feiffel air filters are included - we move on to the hull's interior in the next six steps. We start with the nicely detailed Maybach engine and Olva transmission unit. A bit of attention is needed before painting the instruments, as Academy's color recommendatiosn seam to be wrong - at least to my knowledge. The instruments should have white cifers on black ground and not vice versa as in the construction manual. As we are dealing with color miracles we can directly move on to the recommended interior color. Academy proposes a mixture of 9 parts white and 1 part green. More probable should be a light beige tone as can be seen on respective paintings. However, I can not proof that the greentone is definitely wrong.
completion of the engine compartment, batteries, driver- and radiooperator's
seat, control elements and ammo magazines find theri way into the hull.
Same is valid for the engine-transmission assembly, which fits nicley
and without any problems.
After finishing the lower hull, we move on to the upper hull. Academy provides several variation possibilties, you can open the engine deck and/or the radiotor compartments seperately - nice opportunities for diorama builders. There is not much more to be said aout this stage besides: "Fits!"
In step 19 we start with the construction of the turret, or better it's interior. Looking at original drawings shows the turrets interior is resembled completely. I could not avoide some problems however. Obviously Academy run out of space for parts F10, F11 and F13 . The overview drawing shows the correct offset placement, but in steps 20 and 21 we are supposed to align them vertically under each other. If you want to go for the correct offset alignment, you'll run out of space for the power distributor. For the rest of the parts the same is valid as allready said about quality and details, strictly great. The main gun and remaining components are resembled very good. A major problem came up when fitting the turrets roof. Quite some sanding was needed to make it fit on the turret.
The roof is not the only thing that would not fit on my turret. The turret could not be persuaded to turn into the 12 or 6 o'clock positions. Reason ? The small noses designed to keep the turret on the hull could not pass the side ammo-storages. A simple cut with the hobby knife could solve this problem quickly.
I would like
to point out one thing - the mentioned problems do not reduce the kit's
overall high quality! All prblems can be solved easily (roof, turretring)
or could have been prevented by thorough dryfitting (fueltanks, transmission).
As mentioned above, Academy offers the chioce between five vehicles in
four cammo schemes. Two vehicles of the 2nd SS Panzer Division "Das
Reich" during the battle of Kursk in a three color scheme, a grey
"Leningradtiger" of schwere Panzer Abteilung 502,
Tiger of the 504th belonging to the Afrika Korps, as well as the probabyl
most famous earyl Tiger - Michael Wittmann's Tiger, thus in winter white
wash. At least the latter does not really convince me, as the markings
and painting instructions are in doubt. The vehilce is named "S03"
by Academy, in reality it was the "S04" - that the turretnumber
was not red doesn't matter anymore... Moreover the colors black and white
of the kill rings on the barrel seem to have been swapped. The decal sheet
from Tamyia's early Tiger looks more realistic here.
my Tiger I chose a panitscheme from the Ledwoch Tiger book - narrow green
stripes on dark yellow ground. The vehicle is said to be part of 3rd SS
Panzer Division "Totenkopf" and does not carry any further markings.
As this seemed a bit too boring to me, I added Balkenkreuze and turretnumbers.
was primed with black airbrushcolor from Revell, which had to dry for
half a day. After the color was set, the basecolor followed. I used Tamiya's
XF-60 Darkyellow, which was thinned at a 1:1 ration. I sprayed it carefully,
as I wanted the black primer ti shine through at the edges. Now it was
time for a longer session - the cammo stripes. How nice were the times,
when I applied such stripes by normal brush... In two hours filled with
adrenaline I tried to copy the scheme with my Aztek from the drawing.
The green I used consists of 7 parts Tamiya Japanes Army Green and 3 parts
my Tiger should not catch attention by it's painting, but by his interior.
I therefore only applied a light washing mixed from ivory black, burnt
umbra and burnt sienna, which was applied to the whole vehicle. Subsequently
I did a detail washing with a less thinned mixture.
After the model was dry, a again only slight drybrushing followed, using
a light green tone mixed from artists oil colors.
convinces all the way. The price is good, compared to Tamiya Tigers, the
quality is above the average (in my eyes better than DML!), details and
fitting leave almost no wishes.
The Academy Tiger wins our Gold Award. One could almost say "only", as without the problems with the turret, it might have been our first platinum award ever! maybe Academy secures one of them with their latest kits...
Let's put this whole review into one sentence: if you don't buy this kit - no one can help you!
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