German Heavy Tank 8.8cm Type 180 Prototype VK4502 (Porsche) - Front turret
Kit # 72001 Preview by HenkOfHolland (Henk Timmerman) - contact(dot)henkofholland(at)gmail(dot)com
Edited by Rob Haelterman

History of the VK4502(P)
This vehicle is another legacy of Porsche's failed attempts to win the Tiger contracts. Using the early style suspension from the VK4501(P) and with a more ballistic design, this was put forward for the Tiger II contract. Again believing that the contract bid would be successful, fifty turrets were supplied by Krupp. These were subsequently used on the "Porsche" Tiger II but were criticised for their "shot trap" at the turret ring, but as is evident on this hull, this problem did not occur on the hull for which it was designed.
Only one complete vehicle was built and according to authoritive sources this vehicle saw action, albeit briefly, at Kummersdorf in 1945.

Porsche and Henschel were once again in competition on this project. Porsche offered two versions of its prototype VK 4502(P), one with a turret at the front as the Tiger(P) Type 180, the other with a rear turret, the Type 181. The turret was developed by Wegmann. Both versions retained the electric transmission developed by Porsche. Very confident in himself and in its success, Porsche immediately began to build a batch of 50 turrets. This was hardly prudent in view of the harsh realities of war and the consequent supply of raw materials. Indeed, Germany at that time was already cut off from everything and shortages were frequent. Copper needed for any electrical equipment did not escape that reality, making it impossible to mass produce this vehicle.

The kit is packaged in a strong cardboard box (20x13x6 cm). There is no instruction sheet; the only reference is the color picture on the box.
The kit is cast in a hard yellow resin and contains 34 parts. The parts are separately packaged in sealed plastic bags. The casting of the turret and hull is without air bubbles. Tracks are poorly cast, have some small air bubbles and are easily broken.


The Kit
The kit is available by the manufacturer www.7starhobby.com and from time to time also on E-Bay.
A distributor is unknown. The master is made
by Zhenmin Han.

The lower hull, gun, tracks, wheel units and springs are based on the 1/72 Trumpeter Elephant kit (or possibly the Dragon kit).
The rest of the kit and details are built from scratch by 7Star.


(source German Tanks of World War II – F.M. von Senger und Etterlin)



  Original vehicle 1/72 Kit


94.4mm 98.0mm
Height 2.97m 41.2mm 45.0mm
Top hull to ground   25.0mm 28.5mm
Width 3.43m 47.6mm 46.5mm

Note that the height of the hull itself ought to be around 19mm.

The hull:
The kit pretends to be a copy of the VK4502(P) with the front turret. But we can speak more about a “lookalike” kit. The hull is a disaster. It is too high (around 22.5mm while it actually must be around 19mm), warped and damaged. The layout of the rear is absolutely wrong. The model has the rear from the Elephant/Ferdinand and not the layout of the VK4502. The front angle is around 43 degrees while it must be around 35 degrees.

The hull is around 3.5 mm too long. As a result the overhang of the rear is too big in comparison with the length of the track units.

This seems extraordinary to me. The master maker Zhenmin Han has shown me pictures of the VK4502 with a correct rear layout and with correct length of track units. (See http://henk.fox3000.com/Han.htm.)
It seems to me that the master which is used for this kit is different from the VK4502 pictures I received (and different from the vehicle pictured on the box).

Another and bigger mistake is that the master, possibly due to earlier mould makings is damaged and was used to made new moulds without repair. As a result the cast hull has many problems which are difficult to correct. In fact, the hull is not usable and you have to rebuild the hull completely to make it a correct one.

Other parts
The other parts as turret, barrel and wheels are acceptably casted, but the tracks are poor and are broken quickly.

Building the kit
In first instance it looks as if it is impossible to build a correct kit with the provided parts.

Rebuilding the kit
To show that it is possible, I have reworked and rebuilt the kit to an acceptable and more correct model. I started by lowering the hull from the top by around 3.5mm. Then I reshaped the front angle and rebuilt a correct rear. I also rebuilt all details on the model as engine deck etc.
I also added some tools as towing cables and other tools, which are not included in the kit.
Working with the tracks was hard. The tracks were a little crudely casted and had small air bubbles. The resin was a hard quality. It was necessary to heat the tracks to a high temperature with a hairdryer, but the tracks broke quickly nevertheless.

My opinion
I hope that other hulls for this kit are correct. In the kit I have received the hull is not acceptable.
Note: The hull in kit 72011 (VK4502(P) model with rear turret) has the same problems.


Advice to 7StarHobby – 5MHobby
Check if the master of the mould is correct before using it to construct the moulds.
Customers pay money for a model and expect a correct kit. If the master is broken or damaged by making earlier moulds, repair or rebuild the master correctly and control the quality of the parts after casting. Don’t use damaged parts for new moulds; that’s just not acceptable!
Thanks to 7Starhobby – 5Mhobby for the review sample.

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Article Last Updated: 08 March 2010