by: Jan Etal [ ]
In the beginning of 1945, Kampfgruppe Schulze and Oberleutnant Fehrmann formed a combat unit of six Tiger I and five Panther tanks with the intention of going into the Ruhr area. The Tiger tanks were commanded by Oberleutnant Ferhmann and were designated with 'F' to denote their 'Gruppe' commander.
On 11th April 1945, two of the Tigers were involved in a tank battle with US tanks, F13 (commanded by Feldwebel Bellof) was destroyed along with her crew. F05, commanded by Kampfgruppe Schulze destroyed 3 Shermans and a scout car.
The Tigers of this unit were what many refer to as hybrids. From my research it appears that no two tanks were alike. Road wheels, cupolas and even where Zimmerit (if any) was applied varied. The Dragon kit 7357 is meant to portray Tiger F13.
The kit contains three large sprues consisting of 144 Dragon grey plastic parts with the upper and lower hull bagged separately, and one small sprue containing a length of track. There are 16 PE parts on one fret plus two metal pre-formed exhaust guards, along with a length of multi-strand wire cable and 2 lengths of DS-100 track. Decals for one vehicle and a single, 2 page, four sided instruction sheet with parts plan, 4 sets of build diagrams and one page of paint/decal instructions are also included. As with most recent Dragon kits there will be a number of extra parts that will find a home in your spare parts container.
As with most Armor Pro kits that I have seen, this kit looked promising from the point that the box was opened. Considering the scale, the details on the individual parts are impressive. As an example, the turret hatches have interior details even to the point of a hatch closing or locking mechanisms. This will add greatly to the effect of those desiring to model them in the open position.
Ejector marks are minimal and where they do appear they are mostly on internal surfaces that will not show after construction. Unfortunately, several parts did possess some flash but it was generally very thin and fairly easy to remove. I believe that the sprue that these parts live on are from previous older Tiger kits. Part H19, the turret rear storage bin, will require some careful surgery with a hobby knife to remove a large, and somewhat thick, piece of flash from its top. The instructions also contain one glaring omission pertaining to assembly of the gun mantlet. Nowhere in my instructions was mentioned that part H4 (the inner piece of the mantlet) should be attached to the back of part H7 (the actual mantlet). Builders should be forewarned that a number of holes will need to be drilled out to accept the pins of certain parts. This is particularly the case with the turret spare track links, the jack and a box for the rear body plate.
From looking at the suspension I would suggest that it may present some problems for newer modelers. The instructions call for all the road wheel pairs, sprocket and idler to be glued together before being placed on their locating pins. Considering that all ten sets must interlock or overlap, this could present an extremely difficult operation. One final observation is that the rear idler pair of wheels will require some major surgery. The combined pair sit far too high on their locating pin. This will lead to the last outer road wheel of the suspension sitting at an odd and unrealistic angle compared to the others. It will also not permit the track guide horns to align properly with the rest of the suspension.
A very interesting feature of this kit is that all the tools are molded and attached separately, as opposed to being molded on the hull. Separate individual track links are provide for placement on the turret sides. Additional track runs are also provided for placement on the lower hull front and the plate in front of the drivers and radio operators positions.
The photo etch fret has four nicely detailed engine screens or grills, two disks for the exhaust tops, an engine deck box and a number of grab handles.
The Cartograph decals consist of four black on white crosses and a large ‘F13’ decal for the turrets sides. The ‘F13’ decal has a nicely distressed appearance to it.
Purists may find some inaccuracies in the tank being represented by this kit but this should not detract from an otherwise very serviceable kit. Generally the detail on this small scale kit is impressive. Except for the issue with the rear idler the kit should go together quite nicely and be an interesting addition to any Braille scale collection. Recommended.