DML 1/72 Tiger I Sd.Kfz. 181 Ausf. E Late Production w/Zimmerit


reviewed by Scott Taylor

 

There was much excitement in the small scale world when DML announced that they would be entering the field of 1/72 scale armour.  DML has developed a reputation for being quite innovative with its kits of late, choosing interesting subjects and including all manner of items that would typically be considered the domain of aftermarket companies.  Sadly, their initial releases were something of a mixed bag, compromised by gimmicks like die-cast metal lower hulls that needlessly complicated construction and detail that was not up to the standard set by some of Revell Germany’s best kits.  Nevertheless, DML’s presence in the 1/72 scale armour market held the potential for great things. 

The announcement by DML of a new-tool 1/72 scale late production Tiger I kit sparked considerable interest, since they advertised that this kit would include “the world’s first 1/72 injection zimmerit paste.”  I hadn’t built a braille scale late Tiger I since Airfix’s monumentally bad effort that dates back over forty years, so I picked this one up on a whim (I admit that both the box art and the zimmerit sucked me in).  Besides, I knew that my sons would appreciate having Tiger ace Michael Wittman’s mount available for wargaming purposes.

Inside the box are three sprues of light grey parts (including some redundant ones from previous, non-zimmerited versions of the Tiger), plastic upper and lower hull parts, rubber tracks, metal cable, waterslide decals for two vehicles, and a pair of beautiful preformed brass exhaust shields.  The instructions are in the full colour photographic style that DML uses on some of its new kits.  While this approach has some advantages (the marking and painting guide looks very nice in colour, for instance), using photographs in place of well-drawn diagrams for the actual construction can be unclear.

This kit has many good features.  First off, the injection-moulded zimmerit looks excellent, and the moulding quality overall of the kit is very good.  The steel wheels have decent detail, as do the tracks.  The brass exhaust shields rival the zimmerit as a highlight of the kit, while the metal for the tow cables is surprisingly effective when mated with the cable ends.  The overall dimensions and outlines of the Tiger are captured well (although, to be honest, I cannot tell you whether this model has the proper asymmetrical turret in this scale).

Fit of the kit is, by and large, good (which is a blessing, since one wouldn’t want to deal with serious fit problems while trying to preserve the zimmerit), although I had some problems mating the front upper and lower hull.  The most serious construction problem I had was with the suspension.  The torsion bar suspension is moulded integrally with the hull, so there is no easy way to articulate the suspension.  That’s not a problem unless you are planning to put the vehicle into a diorama.  However, the rear idler sits too far out on the idler arm and is much too thick to fit in between the two rearmost wheels, which has the effect of pushing the outer rear road wheel far out of line with the rest of the wheels.  In fact, without correction, the outer wheels sit outside of the tracks!  I both cut back the idler arms and trimmed the inner portions of the idlers to make them thin enough to sit in between the rear road wheels.  Unfortunately, the suspension problems don’t end there, since the tracks are very tight.  Installed without modification, they lack the characteristic sag of Tiger tracks.  However, the tracks can, with care, be stretched enough to not look totally unnatural.  Regardless, I wish that DML would include link and length tracks at least as an option with their 1/72 scale kits.

There are a few outright omissions in this kit.  Perhaps most noticeable is the lack of the track-changing cable that should be prominently stowed on the left side of the hull.  Almost as important (and something that is shown in the box art) are any spare track links at all.  I looked through a great many photos of late-production Tiger Is, and every single one had at least some track links stowed on the turret sides.  This kit has neither spare track links nor the mounts for them.  Without these links, the turret looks strangely bare.  As well, the kit includes some options for building a command vehicle (the antenna stowage tube on the hull rear, along with instructions for rearranged stowage on the rear plate), but does not have the extra antenna mount needed on the turret roof, nor do the instructions tell you to blank off the coaxial machine gun.

While the zimmerit and some of the other details are very nicely detailed, other aspects of the kit are rather clunky.  For instance, many of the tools are moulded on and look quite archaic, while the commander’s cupola is pretty poorly defined.  No AAMG or mount is included, and the rail for the MG mount is moulded integral with the cupola, which results in a crude appearance.  Only the commander’s hatch can be positioned open, although the (very poor and extremely thick) loader’s hatch has interior detail.  What is strange about this is that the loader’s hatch is moulded as part of the turret roof; even more strangely, the loader’s hatch is shown installed inverted in the kit instructions!

As mentioned earlier, the kit includes markings for two vehicles: one from SS-s.Pz.Abt 102 in Normandy, and the other the famous “007” in which ace Michael Wittman from SS-s.PZ.Abt. 101 met his demise on August 8, 1944.  To their credit, the decals settled down very nicely over the zimmerit.  I am not certain about the specifics of either vehicle, but DML would have been well-advised to include the options for both large and small muzzle brakes, monocular or binocular gunner’s sights, and early or late idler.  Sadly, none of these are present, as they would have increased the flexibility of the kit significantly.

While I would certainly recommend this kit I have to admit to a bit of disappointment with the 1/72 DML Tiger I.  While it was an enjoyable build and makes a convincing Tiger I, it also had some shortcuts and avoidable problems (especially with the idlers and tracks) that prevent this kit from being considered a classic.  The zimmerit and the exhaust shields are amazing, but the omission of the track-changing cable and spare track links counteract part of that, as do the soft or clunky details.  I would have also liked to see a figure or two included with the kit, as well as photoetched engine screens and more positionable hatches.  In short, this is a good kit that could have been great.

Note: The photos show the kit completed, painted, and with decals added, but before final detail painting or any weathering has been done; I also intend to add antennas.  Nevertheless, they should give you a good idea of what’s in the box and what the kit builds up like.

 

        

 


Warning: mysql_connect() [function.mysql-connect]: Access denied for user 'a0014370'@'69.160.68.37' (using password: YES) in /usr/home/web/users/a0014370/html/common/connect.php on line 2

 

Models and Accessories:



Warning: mysql_query() [function.mysql-query]: Access denied for user 'ljames'@'localhost' (using password: NO) in /usr/home/web/users/a0014370/html/nreviews/armor/72DML_TigerI/DML72Tiger1LateProd.php on line 164

Warning: mysql_query() [function.mysql-query]: A link to the server could not be established in /usr/home/web/users/a0014370/html/nreviews/armor/72DML_TigerI/DML72Tiger1LateProd.php on line 164
Error: 1045; error description: Access denied for user 'ljames'@'localhost' (using password: NO)
Item: Description: Price:
(click to order)

I'm sorry, but since the review has been published that product appears to have gone out of production.


Warning: mysql_query() [function.mysql-query]: Access denied for user 'ljames'@'localhost' (using password: NO) in /usr/home/web/users/a0014370/html/nreviews/armor/72DML_TigerI/DML72Tiger1LateProd.php on line 217

Warning: mysql_query() [function.mysql-query]: A link to the server could not be established in /usr/home/web/users/a0014370/html/nreviews/armor/72DML_TigerI/DML72Tiger1LateProd.php on line 217
Error: 1045; error description: Access denied for user 'ljames'@'localhost' (using password: NO)
I'm sorry, but since the review has been published that product appears to have gone out of production.


Warning: mysql_query() [function.mysql-query]: Access denied for user 'ljames'@'localhost' (using password: NO) in /usr/home/web/users/a0014370/html/nreviews/armor/72DML_TigerI/DML72Tiger1LateProd.php on line 269

Warning: mysql_query() [function.mysql-query]: A link to the server could not be established in /usr/home/web/users/a0014370/html/nreviews/armor/72DML_TigerI/DML72Tiger1LateProd.php on line 269
Error: 1045; error description: Access denied for user 'ljames'@'localhost' (using password: NO)
I'm sorry, but since the review has been published that product appears to have gone out of production.


Warning: mysql_query() [function.mysql-query]: Access denied for user 'ljames'@'localhost' (using password: NO) in /usr/home/web/users/a0014370/html/nreviews/armor/72DML_TigerI/DML72Tiger1LateProd.php on line 322

Warning: mysql_query() [function.mysql-query]: A link to the server could not be established in /usr/home/web/users/a0014370/html/nreviews/armor/72DML_TigerI/DML72Tiger1LateProd.php on line 322
Error: 1045; error description: Access denied for user 'ljames'@'localhost' (using password: NO)
I'm sorry, but since the review has been published that product appears to have gone out of production.