Dragon's Tiger Turrets

by Rob Haelterman & Timothy Lau

The Tiger I turret

It is well-known that

  • the Tiger I turret has a slight asymmetry built into it, which has eluded many manufacturers;
  • Dragon retooled the kit parts for the turrets in their Tiger I kits (actually more than once).


Dragon's Tiger I kits

I currently own four Dragon kits that use a Tiger I turret:

  • 7210 "Bergepanzer"
  • 7251 Tiger I Ausf.E
  • 7357 Tiger I "Gruppe Fehrman"
  • 7370 Tiger I "Initial Production"

The first two have a very similar sprue for the turret, apart from the fittings for the crane on the roof of the Bergetiger turret, while the third one is clearly different (sprue lay-out, open loader's hatch, ...), and from a later production date.The last one is different still, and from an even later date.

The earliest sprue is generally labelled "A" in Dragon's instructions, while the middle one is labelled "H", and the last one "B", which is how we will call them here. Fellow modelers have pointed out that there are at least one other turrets (or at least turret roofs) out there. (For all intents and purposes in this discussion, the Bergetiger turret is the same as that in kit 7251.)

The complete list of Dragon Tiger I kits, as of December 2018, stands as follows. I've identified the turret sprue in each kit,

Kit Number Kit Name Turret sprue
7203 Tiger I Ausf. E Late Sprue A
7209 Sd.Kfz. 181 Panzerkampfwagen VI (P) Sprue G
7210 Bergepanzer Tiger I w/Zimmerit Sprue A (slightly modified)
7251 Tiger I Ausf. E Sprue A
7357 Tiger I Gruppe Fehrman  Sprue H
7370 Pz.Kpfw. VI Tiger I Ausf. E (Sd Kfz 181) "Initial Production" Sprue B
7376 Tiger I, Initial Production s.Pz.Abt.502 Based on information on Henk of Holland's site, this kit contains
Sprue B
7434 Sd.Kfz.181 Tiger I Mid Production with Zimmerit and Kubelwagen Sprue A
7440 Pz.Kpfw.VI Ausf.E Tiger I Late Production w/Zimmerit + Tiger Aces
7482 Tiger I Early Production The same as
Sprue H

in 7357 but without the hole for the loader's periscope.
7575 Pz.Kpfv.VI Tiger I early production Wittmans command tank
Based on information on Henk of Holland's site, this kit contains
sprues "A" and "H".

More details about the other sprues can be found here.

Note that Dragon's Sd.Kfz 181 Panzerkampfwagen VI (P) contains sprue "H" and a sprue "G Tiger (P)", which Simon Barnes claims to have the correct symmetry. It keeps only the turret sides fom sprue "H", though.



Below is a more detailed scan of the turret roofs I own, cut from the sprue, so they are lying flat on the scanner. (I know that I should base my assessment on assembled turrets, including the turret walls, but I am not building my Tigers just yet.) To the left, sprue "A", in the middle sprue "H", at right sprue "B", i.e. in chronologocal order.
We clearly see that the three parts are different. So, that's a sign that Dragon realized the problem and took corrective measures when releasing sprue "H", right ?

Well, not quite.... and this is actually surprising. The old sprue "A" was asymmetrical all along, while the new roof is symmetrical. So, this means that Dragon made things worse when releasing sprue "H"?

From http://tiger1.info/EN/Turret-asymmetry.html, for discussion purposes only.

Well, not quite. The old sprue "A" was asymmetrical, but on the wrong side.... Sprue "H" is thus only a little bit better than the old one. Sort of.

Only in the most recent Dragon kits with Sprue "B" (7370 and 7376), did Dragon get it right. Robert Kru adds the following about these "Initial Tiger" kits:

In these kits David Byrden was involved and it has the correct asymmetrical turret. From my feeling this was the last newly designed kit. The rest are just spinoffs from the earlier kits.

As Dragon tends to rebox their kits, modelers should verify on which of the three declinations the "new" boxing is based.


Dragon's ready-made Tigers

Timothy Lau also takes a look at Dragon's ready-made Tigers:

Dragon's ready-mades are the easiest way to track Dragon's alterations over time because the ready-mades, unlike the kits, never get reissued and therefore have a definite timestamp. Also, because ready-mades are built OOTB, we can be sure the build result isn't affected builder modification or skill. These are the three kits I have.

Anyway, the white tank is built from the initial Tiger kit. The grey one is built with Dragon's early hull (never released in kit form) with a diecast metal turret (also never released in kit form). The yellow one is built with Dragon's late Zimmerit hull and Dragon's mid turret, I believe.

The white tank has the asymmetric turret, which confirms Robert Kru's feedback that it is the only one that is correct. Using it as standard, it seems that the other two turrets are correct on the starboard side. The grey turret may have some asymmetry on the port side but it doesn't look as "extreme" as the white one. The yellow turret looks symmetric.

By the way, if you compare the hulls from the ready-made, do you notice that the hulls of the early and the mid/late are longer than the initial?

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Article Last Updated:
05 March 2019
23 May 2020