Reviewed by Cookie Sewell
|Stock Number and Description||cyber-hobby.com 1/35 scale Kit No. 59 (Dragon Models Limited ‘39-‘45 Series No. 6613); VK.45.02(P)V|
|Media and Contents:||460 parts (326 in grey styrene, 106 etched brass, 23 clear styrene, 2 twisted steel wire, 2 DS plastic track runs, 1 turned aluminum barrel)|
|Price:||pre-order price via Dragon USA Online US$50.99|
|Review Type:||First Look|
|Advantages:||First kit of this vehicle in styrene|
|Recommendation:||Recommended to all “Panzer ‘46" and Tiger II fans|
The latest “Paper Panzer” kit from DML’s cyber-hobby.com boutique affiliate is one of the prototype versions that eventually turned into the Tiger II super-heavy tank. Based on the failed VK.4501(P) design which eventually became the Ferdinand/Elefant heavy tank destroyer, the new design tried to meld the electric drive of the former with a new turret and hull design.
Designated the “Type 180" Porsche proposed five different test variants to find the most suitable and useful one for fielding. It required a new turret since the big L/71 gun would not fit in the VK.4501 turret (the L/56 gun pretty much maxed out the space available and still permitted it to be worked by the crew). Two options were surveyed: a “V” model (vorwarts) with the turret mounted in front of the engines and a rear mounted turret position behind the engines. Apparently only the V model was proceeded with.
Authorized for production in April 1942, a preliminary order for 200 was made but due to engine problems the contracts were cancelled in November 1942. But since Porsche had already built 50 turrets, these were transferred to Henschel and used on their successful design where they became the turrets on the first 50 production Tiger II tanks.
Reportedly three prototypes were completed and at least one was used at the end of the war in combat.
The new kit from cyber-hobby combines bits from the DML Tiger II kits with bits from the Elefant kit and a selection of new and generic parts to arrive at a model of the VK.4502(P) tank with the “vorwarts” turret mounting. At least in the case of this vehicle there is more documentation available and Porsche’s steadfast devotion to his engineer solutions has made it a simpler conversion than some other kits.
The model comes with a completely new upper and lower hull to which the Elefant suspension is used with no changes. It also comes with a set of DS plastic tracks, apparently from the last iteration of the Elefant/Tiger (P) kits, so track assembly is simplified.
The turret is based on the Tiger II turrets but has a new shell with an insert on the side of the commander’s cupola bulge for a detail found on the prototypes (it appears to be a pistol port). The model comes with two plastic barrels as well as a turned aluminum barrel with a generic 8.8 cm L/71 muzzle brake. It also comes with two different commander’s cupola castings, each of which can hold clear styrene viewers (the original Tiger II cupola with single piece viewer ring is also included).
The kit has a relatively large set of etched brass covering all of the radiator intake and exhaust screens and all of the external tool and fittings mounts. I have no clue how the exhausts were run on this vehicle, but as far as I can tell none are visible anywhere on the model.
Tom Cockle and Gary Edmundson are listed as the technical consultants.
Your choice of finishing is simple: overall sand brown or a tricolor red/green/sand finish that is presumed from the end of the war. Four small crosses are provided on a tiny Cartograf sheet.
Overall I personally find kits like this of greater interest than the pure “paper panzers” as they show the engineering evolution of vehicles and have a basis in reality rather than “What Might Have Been” conjecture. This is a nicely done kit and should fit in with a collection of Tigers very well.
A 35 VK.4502 - upper hull, hull details
E 35x2 Elefant - drivers and hull details
F 18x3 Elefant - road wheels and suspension arms
H 28 King Tiger turret base and two types of 8.8 cm barrels
K 9x2 Tiger II details - lights, hooks, engine crank
J 8 German MG34 and ball mount
L 15 Clear styrene
M 6 Early production Porsche Tiger II turret shell and details
N 47 King Tiger turret details and hatches
S 8 Clear styrene
U 2 Turret cupola rings
W 2 Twisted steel wire
X 1 VK.4502 lower hull
X 2 DS Plastic track runs
TA 8 German generic - pioneer tools and OVM
TB 9 German generic - towing rigging and jack
TC 4 German generic - tow cable heads
TD 4 German generic - track recovery cable heads
TF 3 German generic - 8.8 cm L/71 muzzle brake
TG 3 German generic - close-in defense weapon
TH 2 German generic - hatch booster and lock
TJ 10 German generic - commander’s hatch details
TK 3 German generic - ball mount
TL 7 German generic - armored exhaust covers
MA 106 Etched brass
MB 1 Turned aluminum barrel
MB 1 Stiff wire
Thanks to Freddie Leung for the review sample.