|Sd.Kfz. 186 Jagdtiger w/Porsche Suspension|
|Kit No. 7250||Review by Doug Chaltry - doug(at)ontheway.us|
Although this is not the first Jagdtiger kit made in this scale, it is the first one with the Porsche suspension. There were originally two prototype Jagdtigers built in February 1944, one with a suspension by Porsche, and the other with a suspension by Henschel. The first 10 production vehicles were equipped with the Porsche suspension, but then production switched over in September 1944 to the Henschel suspension for the remaining 73 vehicles built. Other Jagdtigers in this scale include a plastic kit from ESCI (soon to be released by Italeri), a resin conversion by Al.By meant for use on the ESCI kit, and recently a new complete resin kit from MR Models. All of those other kits have the Henschel suspension.
This new kit from Dragon is a very fine model with only a few weak points. As with many of their earlier kits, this one was once a die-cast toy, but here, the metal hull has instead been cast in plastic like the rest of the kit. The detail on the hull is quite good, although the driver's hatch is molded closed. I wonder, if they wanted to mold only one front crew hatch open, why wouldn't it have been the driver's? Regardless, several spare hatches are included, so we can open the driver's hatch if we so choose. The commander's hatch is open, but the loading hatch on the rear of the superstructure is molded closed, and detailed on the inside for some reason. I think this hatch was originally supposed to be open, but they decided to close it with hatches that had already been detailed on the inside and out. Opening these doors will take major surgery. The three crane mounting sockets (pilze) on the roof need to be removed, as they were seen only on the Henschel vehicles.
Most of the pioneer tools are molded into the hull, but some of them are separate. As with their King Tiger kits, Dragon includes many optional parts with this Jagdtiger, which will provide plenty of spare parts for other projects, including an extra 88mm gun barrel (this was used on a very small number of the final Henschel version vehicles). The gun travel lock is provided in both traveling and firing positions, and an anti-aircraft machinegun mount is included for installation in the engine deck, though I believe that this machinegun was only added to the later Henschel versions of this tank hunter, not this Porsche version.
Like the other Dragon Tiger kits, this one includes a flat engine insert for under the engine deck. The engine access hatch is molded open, so if one wanted to add a completely detailed engine compartment, it would be easy to do so. In fact, the following sprue of parts is the same as included with the King Tiger kits, so that there are many spare parts included here.
Regarding zimmerit, I believe the prototype vehicles lacked this protective coating, but all production Porsche vehicles should probably have zimmerit applied. They stopped applying this coating at the factory in September of 1944, which is the same month that they switched to building vehicles with the Henschel suspension, so it's likely that few, if any (other than the prototype) Porsche Jagdtagers were without zimmerit. Similarly, I don't think that any of the Henschel vehicles had zimmerit applied.
The wheels are very detailed, and I think they look fantastic. Wheel suspension arms are included as separate parts, and not molded directly to the hull, which will make it easy to articlulate the wheels, and represent the vehicle traversing rough terrain. The sprocket wheel has the correct numberof teeth (18), though again, they switched over to the 9-tooth wheel and new tracks in September, so it's possible that there may have been a couple of Porsche Jagdtigers with the later sprocket and tracks, though I doubt it.
The tracks are highly detailed vinyl, but are extremely soft and bendable, so I think it will be difficult to keep the links from bending in the middle, as they wrap around the sprocket wheel. Pins, glue or other tricks will be needed to help replicate the weight of the tracks over the tops of the wheels, because the side skirts don't completely hide the tracks as they do on other vehicles.
A small fret of etched brass engine vent screens is included, and is a very nice touch.
Decals consist of crosses and numbers only, but with plenty of each for many marking options.
I've measured the kit and compared it to drawings in the references listed below, and it scales out very well to 1/72nd. Unlike the ESCI Jagdtiger, this kit accurately represents the increased hull length over the Tiger II. I'm sure that with some creative cutting, one could kit-bash this kit with the Dragon King Tiger in order to make the version with the Henschel suspension, but I assume that Dragon will eventually release that version too, considering the extra parts that are included with this kit.