Sd.Kfz.186 Jagdtiger Porsche Production w/Zimmerit
|Kit #: 7291||
- Al Magnus
The Jagdtiger has always been one of my favourite armoured vehicle subjects. I have been wanting to build this kit for over a year now, but I also wanted to make a fairly accurate Jagdtiger and until I could find more information on the Porsche versions and their use in combat I was willing to wait until the time was right. Fortunately I recently discovered that a fellow armour modeller in my local club possessed a copy of the Münch book detailing the history of s.Pz.Jg.Abt.653 and was willing to loan it to me for awhile. With this excellent reference at hand I proceeded to try my hand at building not only a Jagdtiger but one with DS tracks, something I had never tried before.
Inside the box you get 125 beautifully molded light grey parts, exhibiting no flash and hair fine cast lines, two runs of Dragon's trademarked DS flexible tracks in a light tan colour, an etched brass fret containing 21 exquisite parts, a small decal sheet and an instruction sheet printed in colour on glossy paper.
Decals cover six marking options, all for s.Pz.Jg.Abt.653. Now, not being a Jagdtiger expert in any sense, I would like to
offer some comments on the markings supplied by Dragon as compared to what I could find in the Münch book. My comments will be enclosed in square brackets
following each option listed below.
Of the 125 plastic parts, 30 of them are marked with a light blue on the sprue diagram to indicate that they are not for use.
These include, amongst other things, a set of 6 small tow loops, a nicely cast MG42, tow cables, spare track links and an 88mm gun barrel for the undocumented
(as far as I have seen) and probably fictitious 88mm armed Jagdtiger. When you actually build the kit you will discover that there are more parts, all
duplicates of each other that are not necessary for the build and have not been marked as such on the sprue layout. These include:
Dragon provides the option of mounting the gun with the travel lock on the gun barrel (part C41) or not on the barrel (part C42). Whichever option you choose you can dispose of the other unused travel lock.
As indicated in the sprue layout the spare track links are not to be used, which is debatable. If you wish to build Jagdtigers 305009 and 305010, photographs in the Münch book actually show these two vehicles with spare tracks. If the spare tracks are left off the side of the casemate, there is the problem of what to do about the very prominent hangers used to hang the spare tracks, which would be visible when the tracks are missing, but are not provided by Dragon.
After a lot of perusing and reading of the Münch book I settled on trying my hand at modelling black 102 of the Stab unit of schwere Panzerjäger-Abteilung 653. With no photographic references in the book on this particular vehicle before its destruction, I figured 102 would make the perfect subject as I could build it as I wanted/desired with not too many worries about it having to match what was seen in some photograph.
Outside of the marking doubts and the spare tack issue, this is an excellently molded kit and would make a great model straight from the box.
Some engine detail is included on parts C53 and C54 but it pretty much disappears after the deck (part C18) and all the photo-etched screens (parts MA1, MA2 and MA4) are in place.
One thing took look out for is Part C54, which is too long by about 2mm and prevented the rear panel (part A6) from fitting. I discovered this after I had glued it on the hull so I had to trim it in place. The trimming must be done at an angle that follows how the rear panel mounts.
There are very few ejector marks to worry about. The only marks I had to deal with, because they would be obvious, were the ones on the jack (part C10) and on the mantlet lift point (part C36). The fine mold seams were easily removed with a quick scrape from a hobby knife or by a little sanding.
A bit of extra detailing was done to make Dragon's excellent effort just that much nicer and to make it how I wanted it to look.
The decals are perfect. The images were well printed, the transfer film was nice and thin and they went over the molded on zimmerit without any fuss. Just a couple of soakings in Microsol solution and they settled down well enough to look like they've been painted on the model.
I had never before used Dragon's DS style tracks which was another reason for my delay in building
this kit. After conferring with various modellers I decided to mount the tracks with what I will now call the Treadway/Barker method
(named after Tim Treadway, fellow Braille armour modeller, and Cam Barker, local club member and a superb 1/35 scale armour builder)
for attaching the tracks.
The DS tracks were a pleasant surprise and glued together easily with MEK. As far as painting is concerned, I will have to try using acrylics on the next set I build. Enamels just didn't like a lot of handling and rubbed through a few times requiring a touch up here and there. The only thing I really didn't like about the tracks was their flexibility which caused them to move around too much when I tried rubbing some pencil lead over the raised portions of the track links. All that flex didn't allow me to press down hard enough to transfer the graphite to the tracks, which wasn't an issue when I tried this on the hard plastic tracks of my Trumpeter Ferdinand. In the end I dry brushed them lightly with a mix of Testors chrome silver mixed with some flat black.
A small set of lift hooks for the engine deck (parts MA7 & MA6) are supplied as etched brass pieces. These are best left off until after the painting is done. I sprayed them while they were still attached to the fret then super glued them to the kit and touched them up with some paint where it chipped off as I was applying them to the kit.
Well, in the end I'm happy with my first try at Dragon's DS tracks, and my first Dragon kit overall. I think that another DS tracked vehicle may be in my future soon. And this is also the first vehicle I have painted entirely using my new Aztec airbrush. My old faithful Badger 350 will still be kept for other uses and as a backup but the Aztec will now pretty much replace it for most painting tasks. Just need to work on the dexterity a bit!
Review sample purchased by the author.