Sd.Kfz.181 Tiger I and variants

Kit # 7204, 7210, 7251, 7357 Review by Rob Haelterman - heman_148(at)hotmail(dot)com
and
Timothy Lau - weeoih(at)outlook(dotcom



Pictures of kits 7203, 7370, 7376, 7434, 7440, 7482

and 7575 taken from Henk of Holland website, used with permission.

 

As of the end of 2017 the series comprises the following kits.

  • 7203 Tiger I Ausf. E Late (see here)
  • 7204 38cm Assault Mortar Sturmtiger (see here as well)
  • 7210 Bergepanzer Tiger I w/zimmerit
  • 7251 Tiger I Ausf. E mid production with Zimmerit
  • 7357 Tiger I Gruppe Fehrman
  • 7370 Pz.Kpfw. VI Tiger I Ausf. E (Sd Kfz 181) "Initial Production"
  • 7376 Tiger I, Initial Production s.Pz.Abt.502
  • 7434 Sd.Kfz.181 Tiger I Mid Production with Zimmerit and Kubelwagen
  • 7440 Tiger I Ausf. E Late with Tiger Aces
  • 7482 Pz.Kpfw. VI Ausf. E Sd.Kfz.181 Tiger I Early Production
  • 7575 (TBA)

 

While some of these kits were already the subject of a specific review, as mentioned above, we will only outline the differences between the different kits in this article.

 

Overview

7482
Pz.Kpfw. VI Ausf. E Sd.Kfz.181 Tiger I Early Production

(Based on information by Timothy Lau. No scans of particular sprues available)
7357
Sd.Kfz.181 Ausf. E Tiger I "Gruppe Fehrmann"

7251
Sd.Kfz.181 Ausf. E Tiger I Mid Production with Zimmerit

 

7434
Sd.Kfz.181 Tiger I Mid Production with Zimmerit and Kubelwagen

(Based on information by Timothy Lau. No scans of particular sprues available)

7203
Tiger I Ausf. E Late

7440
Tiger I Ausf. E Late with Tiger Aces
(Based on information by Timothy Lau. No scans of particular sprues available)

7210
Bergepanzer Tiger I

 

7204
Sturmtiger

Tracks

DS

Running gear

Lower Hull
Upper Hull

Mid type without Zimmerit and with molded on tools

Mid type with Zimmerit and molded on tools (and also holes for the cables)
MID with Zimmerit and molded on tools (and PE TURRET RING - and also holes for the cables)
Turret

Part of Sprue H (which is actually four sprues). It's the same as 7357 but without the hole for the loader's periscope.

Part of Sprue H (which is actually four sprues and not completely as marked in the instructions, i.e. some "blued out" parts not present)
Sprue A (with exhaust shrouds removed)
Sprue A (with exhaust shrouds removed)
Sprue A (with exhaust shrouds removed)
Sprue A (with exhaust shrouds removed)
Sprue A (slightly modified and with exhaust shrouds removed)
N/A
Other Sprues

Other parts of Sprue H (which is actually four sprues).

8 tow shackles

Sprue "C" (entirely)

Other parts of Sprue H (which is actually four sprues, and not completely as marked in the instructions, i.e. some "blued out" parts not present, and lay-out different)

Sprue "C" (with spare tracks removed)

8 tow shackles

Sprue "C" (with spare tracks removed)

 

Sprue "C" (with spare tracks removed)

8 tow shackles

Kubelwagen

Sprue "C" (with spare tracks removed)

Sprue C

8 tow shackles

Figures

4 tow shackles

Sprue "C" (gun and rear plate removed, but shown in instructions as "not for use"; spare tracks removed)

Specific sprue

Sprue A (typical for Sturmtiger)

Sprue "C" (gun, turret basket and jack removed; spare tracks removed)

Metal
 
PE
None
Turret ring
 


Notes

  • The DS tracks and the black vinyl ones are remarkably similar except for their color, material and the fact that the black ones are (for one reason or another) markably shorter.
  • Timothy Lau points out that kit 7209 (Sd.Kfz 181 Panzerkampfwagen VI (P)) also has some parts of Sprue H, which really should be used to improve any of the other models without Sprue H.

 

7482 Pz.Kpfw. VI Ausf. E Sd.Kfz.181 Tiger I Early Production

(Comments by Timothy Lau)

This kit is essentially a model of a mid Tiger I without zimmerit and is useful because it includes all parts of the four sprues labelled "H". Parts of sprue H were previously made available in kits 7357 and 7209, and it is a refinement on earlier parts, incorporating the latest research. Now, the entirety of sprue H is available, and will really be useful to help the builder make "any" Tiger. However, what is tragic is that the mold has badly deteriorated since the first kits with sprue H (7357 and 7209) were made. Do not expect that sprue H of this kit is as good as that of 7357 and 7209, even though it has all the parts. There may be some sample dependent molding issues. The axe on my kit was badly molded, for example. I cannot say whether all kits have the same problem.

Now, because this kit has multiple sprues from multiple older kits, the kit has multiple parts that represent the same thing. For example, the kit has multiple jacks, multiple axes, multiple turret bins, multiple fire extinguishers, etc. Where possible, the user should try to use the part from sprue H because sprue H is of a later and better design than the other older sprues. For example, you can easily appreciate the superiority of sprue H by comparing the bow machine gun of sprue H and of sprue A. However, the builder may still be forced to use the parts from the other sprues because, as noted above, the mold for sprue H has deteriorated.

The instructions of this kit itself are completely useless. As David Byrden has observed in a private email to me, the hull top is of a mid Tiger. If you build the kit using the instructions, you will get something that looks like a pre-Zimmerit mid Tiger that may not actually be representative of any actual vehicle.

If you are going to build an early Tiger, and, in particular, if you want to use the decals that are in the kit to build either "131" of s.Pz.Abt. 503 (the Bovington Tiger) or "01" of s.Pz.Abt. 502, you should consult the instructions from 1/35 kit 6820. The instructions of kit 6820 detail how to build either tank. You will definitely have to use parts that aren't called for in the instructions and to not use parts that the instructions tell you to use. For example, for the "131," you need to use the earlier two Feifel canisters, which is not what the instructions tell you to install. You should also expect to do some surgery. David Byrden told me that, at the least, the builder will need to slice off the C-hook on the hull to turn it from mid to early. In my view, the builder should actually slice off all the tools from the top of the hull. There are parts from sprue H that can replace all the molded-on tools. Also, if you do this, you can actually faithfully replicate the layout on an early Tiger I. However, you may want to note that, if you do slice off the molded-on jack box, you will have to fill a somewhat substantial hole. Finally, qlso, for help with marking instructions, you may find it helpful to read David Byrden's site on kit 6820.

Sprue H is crucial to making a good model out of this kit; however, the instructions give you very little guidance about the parts that are on the sprue. Unless you know the Tiger I very well, you may find it helpful to use the instructions of 7357 and of 7209 to see how the parts of sprue H are used. For example, if you look at the instructions of both 7357 and 7209 carefully, you will see that that H8 is the Tiger (P) mantlet and that H7 is the "regular" mantlet. If you are to build any standard early Tiger, you may want to ignore the instructions of the kit and use H7. But if you want to build "131," you will want to use H8 because Tiger "131" has the Tiger (P) mantlet.

In all, this kit will allow you to build many versions of the early Tiger provided you put in the time and effort to understand the kit. But you must expect to do a lot of research work.



7251 Sd.Kfz.181 Ausf. E Tiger I Mid Production with Zimmerit


The carpet monster must have been extremely hungry the day I opened this kit, or the quality control guy from Dragon fast asleep when this kit was packaged as in my example the complete suspension is missing. With an already low part count, this makes for a very sparsely filled box. Dragoncare promised to dispatch a new suspension. I am not sure if, one year later, I still have to keep my hopes up.

You get 4 marking options:

  • s.Pz.Abt.510, Kurland 1944
  • s.Pz.Abt.505, Nowe Koszary, 1944
  • s.Pz.Abt.502, Latvia 1944
  • s.Pz.Abt.510, Kurland 1944.
    Timothy Lau adds:
    This is most likely a vehicle of s.Pz.Abt. 509, seen here. This vehicle did not have Zimmerit, however. This makes the 7482 quite useful for making Tiger 122 of s.Pz.Abt. 509. Parts like H57, H39, H26, which are not used on either 7357 or 7482 are now useful. David Byrden noted on Missing Lynx that t
    he Tiger seems to have been built in August, and in that month the slit in the vision ports was made wider. Tiger 122 has the wide slot, so it's not a July Tiger and it doesn't have the reversed cupola. It does have the pistol port on the turret, one headlight on the hull top, the old tracks, the disc on the loader's hatch, no C-hooks, the full Feifel system, S-mines, and very probably the early track cable on the side.
    The decals for 122 can be used with kit 7482.

 

7210 Bergepanzer Tiger I

Another victim of the carpet monster, as one of the final drives was missing. It seems I will be needing my "Repairing the Panzers" book to finish some of these kits.
I should check more thoroughly, but it seems that you can build this kit as a gun tank with the available parts.


Two marking options, even if one of the marking options doesn't have any markings at all.
- s.Pz.Abt. 508 Italy, July 1944
- s.Pz.Abt.102, Normandy, June 1944

 

7357 Sd.Kfz.181 Ausf. E Tiger I "Gruppe Fehrmann"

The hybrid character of this Tiger variant is reflected in the sprue lay out as it seems that sprue H comes from various other kits, which might be the reason it is broken in four subsprues, while the manual shows it as one. Based on the manual you might be expecting a substantial addition to the spare's box, but the "parts not for use" are not all provided.
(As a historical note: Gruppe Fehrmann used remanufactured Tiger's at war's end. The vehicles were basically Ausf. H with Zimmerit and late all-steel roadwheels. Yes, it seems they had Zimmerit, which the kit hasn't, which means a trade with another kit might have to be considered.)

Note that the turret in this kit has been retooled with respect to respect to the earlier releases. It has a separate cupola and loader's hatch; there might even be a slight asymmetry in the turret. The hull has also been retooled: the tools are no longer integrally molded, and the engine hatch can be opened.
Spare tracks for the turret and glacis, and smoke dischargers and mine throwers are provided.
The modeler can choose between plastic and metal tow cables, and between two types of gun mantlets.

Timothy Lau points out that the instructions forgot to tell the builder to glue part H4 behind part H7 and that the hull of this kit itself is actually perfect for building an early Tiger I using the decals of 7482.

 


Only one marking option for Gruppe Fehrmann in Germany, 1945.

 

7204 Sturmtiger

One of the earliest Braille kits from Dragon, which explains the dreaded metal parts. In this kit this limited to the upper hull. Apart from the running gear parts count is quite low.

One marking option without any explanation whatsoever. Being one of the first kits Dragon released, it is clear they still needed to learn some tricks of the trade at that time (and they actually still do).

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Article Last Updated:
30 April 2012
04 December 2012