First published in the May 2009 AMMS Brisbane newsletter
I returned from New Zealand after spending Christmas and New Year with family to find Tamiya’s latest kit waiting for me. It was a sizable box with lots of plastic on 6 sprues (2 of which are duplicated) as well as an etch fret for the grills on the engine cover. It also included their "typical" rubber band tracks as well as optional link and length tracks with moulded sag on the "B" sprues. There was also a 2 page colour reference sheet of pictures from the tank displayed at the U.S. Army Ordnance Museum at Aberdeen Proving Ground.
The instructions are up to the usual Tamiya standard with no trouble in following them with only a couple of decisions to be made. Tamiya have given us 5 different build / marking options and there are a few optional parts depending on the version you intend building. They have also done their homework in relation to tank numbers and corresponding chassis numbers with a brief history of each build option.
The next thing was reference material; Peter Battle was able to supply me with a "Nuts and Bolts" volume on the subject as well as a 2nd book with lots of black and whites on the Jagdtiger. I downloaded and printed out the review from Perth Military Modelling as well as buying Tamiya Model Magazine, issue 161 which has a build article by Marcus Nichols. A special thanks to Craig Stratton for his wealth of knowledge and reference material as we were able to determine the authenticity of Tamiya’s build options.
So let’s get started. I had decided to build either option "A" or "B" from the instructions, the only difference between the 2 were the camo patterns and identification numbers as we discovered thanks to Craig’s material and version of chassis that Tamiya were basing their kit on. I also intended omitting all the fenders as per a lot of reference material showing them partially of fully removed. This would also enable me to show off the tracks with their moulded sag as mentioned above.
As per the instructions the front and rear towing lugs were added to the lower hull, the edges of these were ruffed up with a triangular file and a hobby knife to replicate the oxy cut edges of these plates. I also added weld seams using Evergreen products and scoring these with a micro chisel, I discovered how sharp these things really are. From there the wheels are assembled, some care is required here to get the outer dish of the road wheels to fit as the sprue gate has to be totally removed from the inner face for these to fit flush.
The drive wheel housings and Idler wheel axles were added to the hull and then onto the road wheel axles of which there are 2 configurations, 1 short and 1 long. Tamiya have got clever here in trying to make the kit idiot proof, the location holes on the axles are moulded in different positions so you can’t mix them up as they will not fit. At this stage I totally removed the moulded on hinges for the front and rear fenders as these were not going to be used. All other parts components were test fitted to the lower hull with no fit issues in sight. The heavy castings over the exhaust fit well but do not the have the lifting lugs so I will need to add these.
From here I started on the interior. Tamiya have supplied the 12.8cm Pak 44 in various parts as well as the gun mount assembly. Once again there were no fit problems. The barrel is supplied in 2 halves and the usual care is required to get it together and clean up of the join seam. I assume there is or soon will be a metal aftermarket version to suit the kit. The gun and mount assembly fit onto a floor plate using a polycap so the gun can be moved once kit is complete. Two plates have also been supplied to hide the wheels / tracks from the interior and vice versa so this is another thing they have improved on. There are no ammo racks or any other interior detail but I assume the aftermarket boys will take care of that.
It was now time to start on the upper hull. The large interlocking armour plates have been nicely produced and fit to upper hull very nicely. Oxy cut edges were added to these as they are very prominent in reference pictures as were the edges around the front deck, the engine deck and around the roof so these were all added as well as a few more weld seams. Tamiya have done a very nice job of adding casting texture to the curved surfaces on the large front plate of the upper hull but dead smooth on the flat surfaces. I stippled some "Mr Surfacer 500" onto these surfaces to continue the cast texture. The same texture has also been moulded to the barrel shroud and even has a casting number showing. The gun travel lock, Bosch headlight tools and lifting lugs were all added to the front deck area, again no problems. The spare track hangers have been added and the drivers hatch will be left open as a driver figure has been included as was a command figure.
The roof and all its parts have been assembled and will be attached later; the commander’s hatch also will be left open so the figure mentioned above can be added.
The rear doors on the fighting compartment are fully functional with hinge plates trapped between the 2 door halves and then trapped against the hull with a mounting plate, the doors actually interlock and once again the fit is perfect. The locking mechanism has been nicely moulded onto the inner face of the doors with separate handles for more realism. The interior can be shown by posing the doors in any position you want but still remain movable.
So that is as far as it has got for now, the engine deck has to be completed, there are some very small lifting lugs to be attached here. Tamiya have also included the machine gun mounting post for the engine deck as well as the grilles mentioned above. The tow cables have also been nicely reproduced with very fine clamp detail evident, this also applies to the tool clamps.
Following is a list of pending additions / modifications that I will make:
This now brings us to the painting, as fore mentioned I will be applying 1 of the tri colour camo schemes as per the instructions. The Marcus Nichols article in the Tamiya Magazine calls out colours RAL 7028 (dark yellow), RAL 6003 (olive-green) and RAL 8017 (red-brown), these are available in the Tamiya range of colours but intend to use paints from a "Lifecolour German WWII Tanks Set 1" set I have acquired, I will also be using RAL 8012 which is the red oxide primer. I would appreciate any hints as far as using these products or more importantly &ndash what not to do.
So that is it, as far as I have got and planned intentions. I just have to get it all to come together now.