Sd.Kfz.182 King Tiger
Henschel Turret w/Zimmerit

Dragon Kit No. 6303
1:35 Scale
Review by Terry Ashley

The application of the Zimmerit coating to applicable German AFVs is one of the most daunting tasks for many modellers and has seen numerous resin Zimmerit sets released from the likes of ATAK and Cavalier as well as different modelling tools for applying the Zimmerit using putty or epoxy compounds with varying results.

Zimmerit was applied to all German tanks and self-propelled guns produced from late 1943 to September 1944 but not to open topped APCs and was mostly factory applied resulting in pattern variations between vehicle types.

Dragon has now released this kit of the King Tiger based heavily on the previous King Tiger with Henschel Turret (kit #6232) with the inclusion of the Zimmerit coating on the hull and turret mouldings. This is not the first time a kit has included moulded on Zimmerit with a number of Italeri kits such as the Tiger and Sturmtiger having this included but this new kit from Dragon uses the latest moulding technologies to produce a finer Zimmerit effect than previously achieved.

The kit represents a late 1944 production type with details such as the late hull tow eye brackets, late style drive sprockets and 40mm thick loader’s hatch although the hull crew hatches are the earlier configuration.

The kit:
Much of the usual pre-release hype has been centred on the Zimmerit coating so before looking at this aspect directly we will look at the kit itself to see what we get but as mentioned most of the kit is from the previous King Tiger with Henschel Turret (kit #6232) for the lower hull, running gear and suspension, main gun and smaller items as well as parts from other Tiger and Panther kits for the tools, MG34 and towing cable eyes.

New parts for this kit are the individual “magic track”, a revised etched fret as well as the reworked upper hull and turret to include the Zimmerit, it should also be noted there are unused parts for the Porsche turret version which is obviously to follow this kit and these parts also include the Zimmerit coating.

The kit consist of 425 parts in the usual light grey plastic with a further 240 individual links for the “magic track”, the etched fret, a metal 88mm barrel, 3 turned brass 88mm rounds with etched base caps, 2 lengths of braided metal wire for the tow cables and a short section of chain and pre-formed metal “cable” for the front headlight. There is a single decal sheet plus the instruction sheet which unfortunately still retains the colour photo type instructions instead of the usual line drawings and for mine these are not as clear and easy to follow as the line drawings.

Metal and Etched parts

The standard of moulding is again excellent with virtually no pin marks to contend with due to the now standard plastic “nodes” on the parts which will require care when removing from the finer parts but are worth the effort for the blemish free parts. The standard of the etched and metal parts is also very good with cleanly rendered parts and the usual bending lines on the etched parts to aid in bending to shape.

Dimensionally the kit measures up well against available plans and data with just very minor variations probably as much a fault with the plans as with the kit parts.

Lower Hull:
The lower hull tub is straight from the previous kit and has raised access panel detail on the undersides with separate front and rear panels plus separate final drive housings, axles and the running gear with the lower front plate having Zimmerit coating as does the rear hull plate.

Detail on the two part drive sprockets is well done with well defined rim and hub bolts as well as detail on both sides of the sprocket disks with the detail on the three parts idler wheels also well done although the final drive housing detail is a little basic but not easy to see after the sprockets are fitted.

The steel road wheels have nice rim contours and bolt head detail and are designed to be glued to the separate axle arms which also have nice details included. Note there is a weld seam down the middle of each axle arm which should be there so don’t sand this off thinking it is a mould seam line.

Additional details on the rear plate are exhaust pipes with hollowed out ends to the pipes and the jack brackets are provided in plastic and etched parts depending on your preference. The jack itself is made up of 6 parts for good definition and finally there are the 2 towing clevis, the wooden jack block and the fender extensions added to each side. The tail light also has to be added but this doesn’t get a mention in the instructions which happens a bit with these type instructions, so watch this.

Upper Hull:
This is again the hull from the previous kit #6232 with Zimmerit added to the side and front glacis plate and to achieve this the width of the side panels has been increased by about 1mm (.5mm each side) but the overall width still matches that shown in the Achtung Panzer 1:35 plans.

The detail on the top plate is the same as before with engraved panel details and separate driver’s periscope and crew hatches as well as open grills on the engine deck and central engine access door as a separate part.

On the front plate the machine gun ball mounting is a separate part that also includes the Zimmerit and has full MG34 and inner mounting to add to this before fitting to the hull. There is a lip without Zimmerit around the ball base and most photos show the the lip covered along the rest of the glacis.

Hull MG ball mounting, note the lip which is usually Zimmerit covered in photos.

The front head light is in two parts with a clear light lens inside as well as the pre-formed wire cable to add leading the hull top electrical junction while the crew hatches have separate small grab handles and the central ventilator has a choice of two cover with different contours but you should use part O19 for this version.

Along the sides are the full length fenders in one piece per side as well as separate front hull fender extensions and all the hull side mounted tools have separate etched tool clips consisting on three small etched parts each for good definition and the wire cable supplied is used for the tow cables with additional etched clips, plastic end connectors and barrel cleaning rods.

On the engine deck there is the separate engine access door as mentioned which also has separate round intake covers and grab handles with the two rear intakes also having separate covers.
All the engine intake grills have etched mesh screen covers provided as well as the additional raised guards over the forward two intakes and these have plastic frames over which is added the etched mesh. This will need care when bending over the frames to not damage the mesh in the process and bending the mesh separate from the frames and adding the two together after would be the better option.

Added to the front and rear tow brackets is a choice of plastic or formed metal U shackles but the metal ones would be the obvious choice. There is a minor issue with the rear hull tow eye as the increase in hull side width mentioned above means the metal U tow eye is slightly too narrow to fit over the hull bracket. It is not easy to bend out the metal U shackle and reducing the thickness of the hull extension from the inside would be the best option.

This kit has the separate link “Magic Track” formed with little if any cleanup required apart from three small pin marks on the inside of each link which should be easy enough to clean up and are not workable but designed to be glued together which shouldn’t pose any real problems due to the larger size of the links.

Detail on the alternate style links is nicely done and again due to the larger size you shouldn’t have any problems forming these around the drive sprockets or idlers with the only “sag” being the subtle curve from the sprocket to the second road wheel which is all but hidden by the fenders in any case.

Magic Track

The Turret:
This has the large upper shell with Zimmerit coating and a separate lower turret ring as well as a separate front panel and the separate large rear access door both with Zimmerit coating.

Turret roof detail has been enhanced quite a bit from the previous kit turret with better defined weld seams including around the cupola/roof join as well as the smaller details. There are actually two cupola rings provided with the only difference being the three small slits added around the rim on one and this is more applicable to the later 1944 version. Added to the cupola are clear periscopes on the inside and top MG ring with AA MG mounting and the two part hatch with arm which you can show open or closed as you wish.

The loader’s hatch is the later 40mm thick type with a separate inner panel that helps eliminate any pin marks and added to this is the inner locking wheel and two grab handles as well as the linkage arm if you show the hatch open for nice details. Also added from inside the turret shell is the inner hatch rim and hinges to again give good definition to the final hatch assembly.

Additional items added to the roof include the central ventilator cover including the sealing cover added when not in use and the rear facing periscope cover and the forward signal port cover.

Inside the turret is a full gun breech and top recuperators and side guards but no actual breech block and this is added to a basic but robust forward gun mounting that extends through the turret front panel to take the barrel assembly and also allow the gun to elevate after assembly.

The gun itself is provided in normal two part plastic or a one piece metal barrel with both added to the three part gun collar/mantlet assembly while the muzzle brake is in three parts with the main brake formed in one piece eliminating any joins seams, just the usual small mould seam with a separate inner grommet and muzzle brake cap. The gun collar/mantlet lacks the prominent weld seam on the side which can easily be added from stretched sprue or similar and the surface texture could do with a coating of Mr.Surfacer to roughen it up a little.

The large rear door gives you a choice of two with different Zimmerit pattern, one the same vertical pattern as the turret and other circular but from photos the vertical would be more appropriate for this kit.  The door has a separate inner panel to which is added additional detail in either plastic or etched parts that will only be seen if the door is shown open and so can be skipped if the door is to be shown closed.

Added the middle of the door is the separate port lug with the fine chain added if you want to show this separate and this plug also has Zimmerit added to blend in with the door texturing.

Added to the turret sides are the eight spare track links with 24 small plastic hooks provided but there are no locating holes or positions indicated due to the Zimmerit coating and it would be best to fit the mounting hooks to the track links and then fit them as one to the turret or it will be very difficult to line up all the hooks correctly to mesh with the track link openings.

As mentioned this has been the biggest selling point for this kit and overall the techniques used by Dragon to achieve the typically uneven Zimmerit pattern has produced very good results in the main.

The pattern is uneven and irregular enough to give a good impression of factory fresh Zimmerit. The only minor nit pics would be the edges to all the panels are smooth and real panels typically show some excess paste ridges or chipping but noting to get excited over. Some of the ridges may be a little high when compared to photos of more worn Zimmerit but a quick pass with wet and dry will remedy this if needed.

The final appearance of the Zimmerit should satisfy most as it is well done overall especially for injected moulded Zimmerit and is a vast improvement over other kit presented Zimmerit. There are only a few minor issues such as the hull MG ball mounting fit and the lack of turret side locating points.

The single well printed decal sheet proves turret numbers and balkenkreuz for 8 Tigers IIs in a variety of camouflage schemes for plenty of choices.
4 of the marking options are for circa 1945 and it is possible these vehicles would not have Zimmerit added as this ceased in September 1944 and checking references for these marking options would be best.

s.Pz.Abt.503, France 1944
Dragon1./s.Pz.Abt.501, France 1944
Dragon3./s.H.Pz.Abt.501, Ohrdruf 1944
Dragons.Pz.Abt.506, Germany 1945
  • 1./s.Pz.Abt.101, France 1944
  • 1./s.H.Pz.Abt.FHH., Hungary 1945
  • 3./s.H.Pz.Abt.506, Germany 1945
  • 3./s.H.Pz.Abt.506, Germany 1945
Clear parts

Overall this kit will build into a good representation of the later 1944 Tiger II Ausf.B and the inclusion of the nicely done Zimmerit will be welcomed by most and will take the fear out of building this kit for many modellers.

There are a few issues such as some fit issues due to the added Zimmerit but nothing that should be too difficult for most modellers and the metal parts adds a final touch to the kit.  

As mentioned the Porsche turret King Tiger will follow this kit with some parts already in this kit and the possibility for Dragon to redo other kits that should have Zimmerit such as the Panther Aust.A is almost endless.

Highly recommended 8/10

The Sprues:

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Detail Images
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The Tiger I & II has been covered in many publications over the years but some earlier references have information that has been updated in recent books as more accurate information has come to light.
book Panzerkampfwagen Tiger
Actung Panzer No.6

Modeler's Guide to the Tiger Tank
A complete and comprehensive guide to modelling the Tiger I and Tiger II in 1:35th scale

Military Miniatures in Review.
Ampersand Publishing.

Thanks to my credit card and the excellent service fromRainbow Tenfor the review kit.

Page created September 20, 2007