Tuesday, January 24

Build Guide Pt I: Takom’s 35th scale Sd.Kfz.182 King Tiger Henschel Turret w/Zimmerit – “Abt.505”

Here on TMN we have three builds going on right now of the new King Tiger from Takom in 35th scale. Today Clayton guides us through his own construction & paint tutorial of the interior of his own build of the “Abt. 505” Heavy Tiger II. See his path through to the exterior paint stage in today's article...

Build Review: Sd.Kfz.182 King Tiger Henschel Turret w/Zimmerit – “Abt.505”
From: Takom
Kit# 2047
1/35th scale
Plastic sprues,
photo-etched details
Individual track links
Full interior
Hatches can be built open and closed
Decals for 2 variants inside
Price - £57, ¥7,520, US$72, €64 from Hobbylink Japan
Soon to be available from Takom’s Distributors Worldwide.

"In-Boxed" review of this kit.

This instalment: Build guide Pt. I by Clayton Ockerby

History of Hitler’s "Wunderwaffe"
Through the mid part of the Second World War, the German military highlighted a need for a weapon that could house a high muzzle velocity gun, such as the 88mm Pak43 L/71, in order to take on some of the Soviet heavy tanks of the time.

The existing Tiger I chassis was unsuitable to house the turret required to take such a weapon, and in January of 1943, Porsche and Henschel were given the brief to produce the new tank, capable of delivering the punch the Germans’ were so desperately looking for.
After a number of prototypes were delivered with little success, the design for the new tank would be awarded to the Henschel factory in October of 1943, with mass production beginning in December, later that year. The design had sloping armour, with the frontal armour increased to 150mm thick, and 80mm on the sides. 

The Königstiger (Bengal Tiger), Tiger II, or King Tiger was powered by a V-12 Maybach HL230 P30. It had an output of 700hp at 300rpm, with 8 forward gears and 4 reverse. The 69 metric tonne tank could reach speeds of up to 35km per hour, and despite it’s size, accounts would suggest the tank was reasonably easy to drive. 

The Tiger II saw two different turret variations. The first 50 models had the one designed by the Porsche project, and the remainder would see the Henschel turret fitted. Hitler saw the King Tiger as his “Wunderwaffe”, or ‘miracle weapon’, and on paper that may well have been the case. Its’ 88mm gun had an effective range of 3km, and could hit and kill just about anything, and the bulk of its’ armour meant it was virtually impregnable from a frontal attack. Unfortunately, the tank was costly, expensive to run and maintain, over engineered and prone to failure.
As an interesting comparison, for the cost to produce one King Tiger, the Soviets were able to produce ten, highly effective T34/85’s.
The Build
I won’t go into part counts and kit reviews, as that has already been addressed in an earlier article seen on The Modelling News. I will simply run through my experiences with the build and the steps I took to complete it.

As with most of my reviews, I will start with a disclaimer. I am not, and have never confessed to being an authority on this subject. If something is obviously incorrect, then I will call it out, but other than that, I am just calling it as I see it. I did jump from step to step to keep in front of the build and paint order from time to time, so will try and keep on track as best I can.

Initial steps were setting the foundations of the chassis and setting up the internals. Everything was straightforward and fit well.

Next, the running gear was assembled. This would be pre-painted and assembled at a later time, although there was no real reason I couldn’t have fitted it off then and there…
Building the engine block is a model in itself. I did start to research and consider wiring up the piece to better replicate the actual engine, but thought better of it as it was really just a pointless exercise and it wouldn’t even be visible once installed.
More sub-assemblies of the internals and the backside of the tank.
The internals now took a hit of Rotbraun from the new Ammo paint set. The paint was surprisingly easy to use and sprayed straight from the bottle. Fantastic coverage and vibrancy of colour. 
The basic internals of the turret and the topside of the tank are now sprayed using Cremeweiss from the AMMO range. You can see here the pre-shading I had done earlier, but in reality, this will be just about invisible. The base colour was also lightened and highlight patches were blown in.
The Engine block is now painted in Schwartzgrau from the AMMO set.
The interior slowly came together. The sub-assemblies are sprayed and painted and ready to fit. Everything was snug, but found it’s place.
With the majority of the innards of the tank now fitted, it was easy to appreciate the complexity of this kit. Some of the positioning of parts seemed a little ‘clumsy’ for want of a better word, and I should have been a little more careful knowing that it was all going to have to squeeze into the top section.

Weathering was done with the usual mix of thinned oil paints. Slight chipping on the fuel tanks was done with a fine brush and sponge. The Matte Aluminium colour acrylic from AMMO is the easiest silver paint I have ever used with a brush…

Painting on the wheels and generally is reasonably ‘loose’ at this stage but it will be revisited later.
The ammunition pieces are now undercoated in a white Alclad primer. I was intending to use the Steel and Polished Brass from the range to achieve the metallic look. I was pretty disappointed with the way these parts were presented. It would have been far nicer to have the rack sections and ammunition as separate pieces. Painting would have been a lot easier, and it would have given you an option rather than presenting a KT fully loaded.

Once the colours were sprayed over, I had to mask them up and respray the white in order to clear it all up. I found this whole concept frustrating.
I did have a set of metal tracks for the King Tiger, but in the interests of the build, I went with the kit supplied tracks. Lengths were glued together using liquid cement, and then before they had time to dry, were wrapped around the drive sprockets and other running gear on the model. The wheels were loosely fitted using Blu-Tack at this stage, although I would have been better to just have glued them on by no I think.
Here you see the ammunition fitted in place. Again, I found the positioning of these parts to be ‘clumsy’ at best, so be mindful that the top piece is going to have to sit over everything on the inside.
All the internals in and ready to go. Will be sad to see them go… I was really liking some of the shading in that transmission block at the front. Alas, soon never to be seen again...

I did have some fit issues with the floor section. It was far too tight a fit, so it needed to be clipped in one of the thin sections and man-handled into place. I suspected I was going to have fit issues down the track with the bottom ring of the turret. My suspicions were confirmed later in the build, and I needed to scrape away a millimetre or so around the inside of the floor section in order for the turret section to sit correctly.
I have to share this blurry picture with you. I was toying with the idea of lighting the internals. This was the test shot. After hours of mucking about with LEDS, wire, solder and cable, it all got a bit hard. My main challenge was the lack of space in which to hide wiring and still be able to access and service it. I am sure, if you had a little more patience than I, this would make for a really nice addition to the model. Back to the drawing board for me…
To add a little more interest to the model, I added some lead wire to the radio. It is completely over-scale and inaccurate but will add a nice bit of visual ‘noise’ to the interior when you look through the hatch. A set of headphones will also be added and draped over the seat.
The completed tracks are now removed and sprayed using Dark Tracks from the Ammo Range
The turret assembly has now begun. The positioning of the spare track brackets was again a little open to interpretation for my liking, but it wasn’t so bad.
Now - this is where things got a little ugly...

When I tried to fit the top half of the model over the newly constructed base, it was obvious there was an issue. The main culprit seemed to be the ammunition racks along the sides of the interior. A few of them had to be forcefully removed and reseated. Furthermore, the actual top piece seemed to have a slight, upward warp to it, and just didn’t want to sit cleanly with the base piece.

After some ‘persuading’, and some coarse language, I ended up using Superglue to fit the pieces. I needed something that would grab quickly and be strong, and this seemed to hold it all together. I was obvious a great deal of filler would be required also.
It is also worth mentioning the wheel alignment at this point. I had heard a couple of people complaining online that they were badly out of alignment, but for my model, they seemed to be perfect. There is a small locator pin that took a little force to make the parts connect nicely, but that did seem to keep everything tidy and in line.

I then moved on to fitting the back piece, and that just didn’t want to fit. There were massive gaps and it was sitting horribly. It was clearly being interfered with by the internal workings of the engine bay. This is where some of the ‘clumsy’ positioning from earlier in the build will come back to haunt you.

I ended up going at the engine bay walls with a pair of sprue cutters as well as filing all the detail of the internal side of that rear plate. That made a huge difference, and at least allowed me to get it to fit, at least enough to be able to chock it full of filler.

The gun assembly has now been completed and painted and ready to be closed up. Positioning for the mounted machine gun and the gunner's sight were very ambiguous and quite hard to accurately follow. Never the less, I did the best I could after looking over references.

An oil wash help bring out the details, and light chipping was undertaking using the sponge technique using Dark Tracks colour from AMMO. My apologies there at not more photographs of this stage. I had an issue with vanishing files.
Turret assemblies are now complete and PE grills are set in place. 
With the openings closed over with some makeshift masking, the entire model was then treated to a primer coat of Alclad Microfiller, and ready for paint.
The build phase in conclusion...
There is plenty to love about this kit, but a number of things that I found disappointing. Although I haven’t really highlighted it overly in the build review, there was a lot of cleaning up of injection marks in the pieces. If you look closely at the pictures, there are a number that I let slip through, but there was a lot of sanding and filling required along the journey.

The ‘clumsy’ positioning was also a source of frustration and something that the modeller is just going to have to deal with. Maybe it was just me, but there were a couple of quite crucial parts that just didn’t sit where that perhaps should have. Given how tightly everything is packed into the shell, accurate positions are so important, so be warned, take care in your placement of parts.

My other gripe with the kit was the ammunition and the stowage racks all being supplied as a moulded piece. That would have been so easy to have these as separate parts and would have given the modeller more options. Even adding aftermarket brass rounds then comes into the equation…. Heck, Takom could have even released that set! I would have bought them.

On a brighter note, these minor complaints fade away once you get your head around them and the model starts to come together. There is a heck of a lot of building and painting that goes into this kit. It really is like running a marathon. It is a real learning experience, and I did enjoy learning about the internals of the King Tiger.

It is really easy to get tied up in sweating the small stuff on a model like this. The hours I spent thinking about paint order, sub-assemblies and weathering techniques really amounted to a waste of time. Some of the parts that I was most invested in will never see the light of day. Thank goodness I didn’t subject myself to wiring up the engine.

This model for me, was all about momentum and keeping on moving with it. If you start to overthink it, it will be destined to end up on the shelf of doom.

The kit is huge, complex and complete. Yes, a metal barrel would have been the cream on the coffee, but the supplied one is just fine. I can’t vouch for the accuracy of the kit, as I am no authority on the vehicle, but from what I see, the engine and the interior are very nicely detailed and really compliment the kit.

This kit lends itself to the modeller who wants to cut parts away, and show off the insides, but for me, I am happy with the little glimpses of interior you catch through the hatches. It is a really beautiful, complete kit, so if you are thinking of buying this kit, just prepare yourself for the marathon ahead. I think you will agree with me, that when all is said and done, you end up with a pretty impressive looking model.

Keep tuned for the full painting and weathering of the exterior of the kit to follow in the next part…
Clayton Ockerby

See more of Clayton’s work at his website “Workbench Hobbies” or join him on his Facebook page
Thanks of course to Takom for sending this model to Clayton to build
And last but not least thanks to AMMO for providing the paint and weathering supplies to this model build...