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Tamiya's all-new 1/48 scale
Tiger I Ausf. E

Early Production

 

 

S u m m a r y

Catalogue Number: Kit No. MM32504
Scale: 1/35
Contents and Media: Grey high-pressure injection moulded plastic; one die-cast, pre-primed part for main hull
Price: 1,800 yen
Review Type: FirstLook
Advantages: Great fit and easy build; crisp detail; accurate asymmetric turret; includes two types of drive sprockets; four marking options; hub detail included permitting the omission of outer road wheels; cast lower hull with torsion bars and axles add strength to assembly; well detailed link and length tracks.
Disadvantages: Track guide teeth not hollow; no rear deck screens; ejector pin marks on inside of tracks and hatches; top of exhausts moulded solid (not as individual rods); no spare link mounting brackets for turret (although shown on painting instructions); no scalloped line below sponsons; intakes for sand filters moulded solid; bottom of the turret stowage bin left open (ie not boxed in); no hinges for hull hatches; some tools moulded onto deck; no interior detail (not even a breech); no figures.
Recommendation: Highly Recommended

 

Reviewed by Steve Palffy


Tamiya's 1/48 scale Tiger I Early Production will be available online from Squadron.com

 

FirstLook

 

Okay, the Tiger I has been done to death, but not in 1/48 scale.

I now wish that I had ordered Tamiya's 1/48 scale Tiger I as soon as it was released in Japan. As soon as I opened the box, the contents seemed to plead "build me, build me!"

I could not resist the temptation.

Tamiya's 1/48 scale Tiger I is very well detailed, including link and length plastic tracks, separate hatches and even hub detail to permit the outer row of road wheels to be left off. This suggests that we will see a set of transport tracks in the near future from aftermarket sources. Two types of drive sprockets are also included.

 

 

Another nice touch is that the turret is asymmetric when viewed from above - a detail missed on most of Tamiya's 1/35 scale Tigers.

Surprisingly, the lower hull, hull sides, suspension and axles are supplied as a single, solid metal casting. This certainly lends weight to the overall model, but with the fixed suspension and the link and length tracks, the model would look exactly the same weight with or without the cast hull. I cannot really think of any great advantage to using metal for this assembly unless it has reduced tooling or production costs considerably.

The tracks are impressively detailed but the guide teeth are solid. The real guide teeth had an open hole near the base. Also, the inside of the track links suffer from some ejector pin marks, as do the inside of the track links.

 

 

Some short cuts have been taken in this smaller scale. These include simplified exhausts (the separate rods and the cap are moulded as one solid part with the muffler), some tools moulded straight onto the hull, missing spare track holders for the turret, no hinges for the hull hatches and an open-bottomed turret stowage bin.

I was also a little disappointed that there were no screens provided for the rear deck vents.



Construction

I commenced construction by assembling the lower hull parts, followed by the turret and mantlet.

Next, I glued together any parts that looked like they might need their seams cleaned up, such as the gun barrel, air cleaners and cupola. These sub-assemblies were then set aside to be filled and sanded after the glue had completely set.

Now I moved on to the wheels and tracks, starting with the drive sprockets and idler wheel then the wheels and track link/lengths. This part of the kit almost falls together, especially with the assistance of the track assembly jig included on one of the kit sprues.

With all these elements finished, the parts were put together for a fast completion of my 1/48 scale Tiger.

 

 

Conclusion

 

Tamiya has been effectively dead in the water as far as WWII armour/vehicles are concerned in the last couple of years. With their move into 1/48 scale territory we will hopefully see some of the subjects that have been neglected in 1/35 scale such as the Char B, Comet, Scammel Tank Transporter and many others. I genuinely believe that Tamiya's brand strength will command consumer attention to some subjects that might not be commercially viable for other manufacturers.

I would say to Tamiya, "if you build it, they will come"!

 

 

It is somewhat surprising that Tamiya has stated that one of the advantages of this scale is the ability to combine aircraft and vehicles for airfield support, because few of the announced releases will be relevant for genuine airfield use. Some fuel trucks, bomb loaders etc would be great to see .

Pricing, at least in Australia, has been surprising too. Tamiya's 1/48 scale models released here so far have been almost the same price as their 1/35 scale counterparts. It will be interesting to see what the Aussie retail price for the Tiger will be when it is released here in the coming months.

 

 

Having said all that, though, I was really very happy with Tamiya's first foray into 1/48 scale armour, and I am looking forward to seeing their Sturmgeschutz II and Sherman offerings.

Tamiya's 1/48 scale Tiger I is a well detailed, great looking kit that was fast and easy to build.

Highly Recommended.

 

 

Additional Images

 

Click on the thumbnails below to view larger images:


Review Text Copyright 2005 by Steve Palffy
Images Copyright 2005 by Brett Green
Page Created 11 January, 2005
Last updated 11 January, 2005

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