The Base Kit
Dragon’s kit, number 6210, of the combat proven Porsche Tiger prototype is a beautifully detailed model which matches closely to the scale plans by Hilary L. Doyle in the Panzer Tracts book. It is based on the components of their earlier Ferdinand/Elefant releases. However, it does suffer from some problems which came to light after the model was issued.
In the kit, a photo-etched fret is included which has screens for the air intakes (parts L13 & L14). However, these are incorrect in that the separation if the fore and rear halves is improperly located. Unlike later Tiger kits from Dragon, there is plenty of room for improvement using the photo-etched metal recourse.
Looking over the instructions and checking them to the parts, it becomes obvious that Eduard is aiming at a particular niche of modelers. The items which would appear as many parts in other companies’ products are amalgamated in the one. For example, the tool clamps are made from one cleverly folded part. Keeping this target market in mind, I can proceed to see if they succeeded with an easy to use set aimed at the novice.
Eduard is now using a new package which is resealable. Turn the card over and on the bottom edge is the flap to open to carefully lay out the parts. There are cardboard inserts to help protect the two etched metal frets from inadvertently being damaged. Also included is a three page instruction sheets using their familiar multi-color format.
When using photo-etched sets, some tools will be needed. These include good tweezers, flat and round nose pliers, a sharp curved blade, a cutting board, and eye protection. To make my job easier by minimizing parts launch, I am using The Small Shop’s PE Parts Cutting Set (photo 1); their 2” Hold n Fold tool (photo 2), along with a scalpel with a number 10 blade.
To attach items, this set only requires liquid cement, Cyanoacrylate (CA) glue, and cellulose glue (such as Elmer’s White Glue). Very small items can be attached by softening the plastic with the liquid cement and then touching the edge with a micro-drop of CA. I use a darning needle to apply the micro-drop but a similar tool can be made by cutting or filing a tiny ‘V’ shaped cutout on the wide end of a flat toothpick. Elmer’s was used whenever a part was being tested for fit but needed to be removed. Using a cotton swab dipped in hot water usually releases the part quickly.
The Parts and their Use
There are 46 different parts on the two frets. The first page begins with new mounts for the vehicle jack. Parts 8 are supposed to be bent rods used as lifting handles on the real item. For my kit, I will not use parts 8 instead opting to bend wire. The mounts themselves have a flap which, when bent over, shows a piano hinge effect. Again, the PE medium is too flat for my tastes so I will use plastic rod scored to represent the hinges. Yet, with careful painting, the flap can be acceptable. The wing nuts will also be replaced on my model with some plastic ones from Grandt Line.
Next on the page are the jack blocks which Dragon omitted from their kit. A really nice touch is that Eduard gives dimensions for the modeler to make them from their chosen medium. I will make mine from basswood. After creating these, Eduard offers details and mounts. The locking clasps in the set are two part affairs which can benefit from a small piece of wire to represent the pivot pin.
New intake screens are offered with the center seam better placed. See photo 3 where the nickel plated item is Eduard’s screen. They are still slightly off but much better than the Dragon brass offering seen in the photo. A subtle woven effect has been achieved. The actual intake casting was two pieces. This effect can be achieved by gluing a plastic strip which is faired in and scribed to match the butt joint on the rest of parts L13 and L14. The screens had to be secured somehow and neither Dragon nor Eduard has shown this. Adding at least four bolts, one at each corner, should solve this issue.
The front mud flaps are to be cut off and the hinge and pin detail ground away in preparation for replacement. I suggest the modeler take the time to carefully shave off the hinges and bend wire to the shape of the hinge pin. The rear mud flaps get replaced by parts 6 and 7 which are bent twice to create the part along with the hinge and hinge pin detail (photo 4). The adventurous modeler now has a choice, to use the parts shaved off the kit, or just use a bent wire to replace the flat etched hinge pin. If doing the latter, first cut off the etched hinge pin and then trap the wire when folding over the hinges. The ends of the flaps are missing the curled over edges which act as a stiffener. There is an etched line which will control spreading if the adventurous modeler wants to use white glue to build up the edges.
The last items on page one are the mounts for the fire extinguisher, sledge hammer, mud guard stiffeners, and a replacement convoy light. Although Eduard advises that the modeler creates one, I prefer to use the one included in the kit. A note about the mud guard stiffeners. When folded, they look much better than the kit parts except that the bolts seem shallow. While not mentioned in the instructions, Eduard has thoughtfully included a tool on the edge of the larger fret for the modeler to push soften sprue through to create thicker bolts which can be placed over the shallow metal representations. See photo 5. Thanks Eduard!
Page two is where a lack of proper reference for the particular vehicle modeled by Dragon trips Eduard. We begin with the Bosch lamp cover straps and locking lever. I will replace the latter with a bit of wire. Front mud guard flaps and stiffeners are then added. Refer to my aforementioned comments on these items. A correction is offered for the Bosch lamp mounts. This is correct for the Tiger (P) when it first arrived on the Eastern Front but later photos show that one of the modifications was to use the Bosch lamp mounts in the hull side visors. The rest of the page deals with tow cable and tool clamps and mounts. Sadly, the pattern suggested for tool placement is for earlier prototypes as offered by Italeri. The Dragon kit pattern is correct for this example. Again, I will replace hinges and butterfly nuts with plastic versions.
The last page covers a mount and locking clasps for part B21, locking clasps and hinges for the stowage bin, signal basket (seen being rolled in photo 6 using The Small Shop’s Brass Assist Rolling Tool), loader’s hatch arm, locking levers for the commander’s hatch, and hasps and loops for the turret hatches. The commander’s hatch should only have one lever, not three. The levers are strange since they are round and I can not fathom how they can be used to lock anything.
An easy way to mount the hasps and loops is to NOT remove the hasp from the hatch. Instead, use this hasp to help locate the loops (parts 16). After the loop is in place, it is all a matter of shaving off the hasp from the hatch and replacing it with 23. A list of references is listed on this page and here we see why the errors crept in.
If aimed at ease of use, the novice modeler, it is recommended. Even though I will add my own changes, I am happy to see that I do not need to fight too much with the intake screens. However, there is an omission of the exhaust screens over Dragon part L10. Wire and netting will fix that. Remembering the jack blocks do make up for it somehow. As such, I recommend the set until someone else makes the proper screens.
AJ Press Tank Power No.13 - Pz.Kpfw. VI Tiger
Panzerkampfwagen VI P (Sd.Kfz.181) - Leopard and Tiger (P) by Tom Jentz
Combat History of Schwere Panzerabteilung 653