SdKfz 181A sixty-ton ultrastylish machine, Panzerkampfwagen VI Ausf H or Ausf E Tiger (I), whichever way you referred to it, was Germany's questionable gift to the world, and it was the size of a small sauna cabin and for some obscure reason it's always been an extremely popular modeling subject. It definitely was a pretty thing, regardless of scale and material, right? According to Wikipedia they built something like 1347 of these legendary monstrosities.
Unit 4As you're most likely used to, I took the basic posing pics from the cardinal and ordinal directions, but also directly from above and even below, as the kitty's belly had been modeled so nicely. I just couldn't not show it. I couldn't tell if it was because of the misaligned subcomponents or what, but especially towards the end of the set, those three images showing the left side of the tank managed to make the tank look like it was really accelerating towards its target, pedal to the metal.
Odd angles againI didn't go and gimpify the reflections off the backgrounds. Maybe I would have to try that too, to judge wheter or not it brings something else than a pixelated mess and a bad experience.
The turretMy tiger's turret started finding its shape by its deck. A couple of simple bits were installed on it (the exhaust vent, the gunner's cupola and the gunner's hatch). The sides of the turret consisted of a single complicatedly shaped piece, that was fascinating to say the least and ended up looking pretty weird on the first attempt. As soon as I attached the rear box, the curvature settled in and the top of the turret locked it properly. That lower rim was what it was and I knew that it'd take its proper shape only when the turret was locked onto the deck so I didn't bother fooling with it at all.
88KwK36The cannon and its attaching was its own funny project! Somewhat surprisingly the solid barrel was just left floating freely into the first box, that was in turn tightly attached to the next box. And this kept the visible part of the cannon nicely and snugly in place.
It's always ridiculously complicated to take any photos of these, as the bits reflect the lights so that the cell phone camera just cannot grab a hold of anything. And no, I'm not going to take WIP images with the big camera.
The hullWisened up by a number of MEM sets I didn't follow the instruction's guidance of folding the hull at angles at this point. Instead I attached all the cables, cones, hatches and the radio operator's MG first. This way I had plenty of space to play with the attachment pieces as the walls were politely out of my way.
The cat's exhaust pipes were amusing. First I thought that the bits were to be bent 90° each and then connect together. Luckily I managed to revert my changes and the Auspuffröhr ended up nice. With both then done (again, the second one without stupid ideas) were then attached pretty damn tightly into the back armour and then the familiar roundish covers were sworn into place. I guess I could've left those off, but the metallic x's would've looked a bit goofy on their own.
It was a pretty pretty thing already, before the almost insane-looking road wheel setup. Just by looking at the instructions, they didn't look that bad, just a bit bothersome.
Roadwheels and tracks
IOh my. This was in a league of its own. I started by rolling up the cylinder for the idler wheel and then I attached it into the side plate. Next I fought the idler wheel's faceplate on that one. That was a fight indeed, as making these bits roundish wasn't too easy, as I've always complained, and then working on top of those was a bit complicated. As you could see in the photo, that the idler wasn't straight and flat anymore, after the forceful installation.
With the first important piece done I proceeded to roll up the four road wheel cylinders and to attach them to the side plate. After those I finished that up with the final road wheel's and the drive sprocket's axle cylinders. It got pretty tight in the end.
Now I had a bit of a moment, as the instructions were a bit ambiguous. I practically followed the principles of Flipism and started with the discs of the outmost roadwheels, then attach those to the faces of the innermost roadwheels and then slam the results onto the axles. That was my expected outcome, at least.
Before the final step the whole roadwheel setup looked a bit like the olympic rings and I really had to be careful with the directions of all the pieces. Otherwise they wouldn't have aligned with the attachment bits of the axles.
After about ten minutes of bending, twisting, rotating, forcing, sweating, light and gentle swearing and almost as gentle violence and such things the subassembly was secured in place. It was also a very healthy moment to call it quits for that evening. That had been awful, but luckily I was already halfway done.
II & IIIBefore I did anything else I attached the final wheel face on the previous setup. As you'd see in the photo, I had not had the time to add it with all the fighting with the roadwheels.
Wisened up, I built the right side in a slightly different order: first I attached all the cylinders. Then I attached the rims of the outer road wheels on the still unattached faceplates of the inner roadwheels and then fought this line of circles onto the axles. My idea was that this'd make it a bit easier as there was less stuff on the way.
I had been correct, it was easier that way. When that part was done the rest was like eating candy. Snap, snap, snap, I pressed the missing pieces on and bent the attachment pieces tightly shut. No, I'm not going to say it wasn't bothersome and complicated, but noticeably easier nonetheless.
Tiger's tracks consisted of two strips per side, both with two or four sideways-facing attachment pieces for the hull part. This way they couldn't have been installed in a wrong way or to the wrong hull piece.
My first track-part connection didn't end up looking too pretty, despite my attempts of tweaking them afterwards. The first one went how it went, the second one I tried to roll to a rounder shape with the assistance of a ball-point pen, but neither really looked better or worse than the other one.
What remainedAt this point I was left with two untouched pieces and the final joining of the sides with the rest of the tiger. I followed the (again somewhat ambigous, in my honest opinion) instructions and attached the front glacis plate over the front lip of the hull, after a good long staring at the imagery. In the end that was the correct choice, luckily.
Next there was little left, I just attached the side parts to the hull and while doing that I also bent the hull into its correct, final shape. The bottom armour of the tank was the final piece, it also settled in relatively nicely, the only issues came from the corkscrew-tightened attachment parts of the roadwheel axles because they protruded quite a bit as opposed to the bent ones. Should've thought of that earlier, but again I had just followed ord... the instructions. With a bit of working and swearing it all worked out in the end.
A birthday TigerTo celebrate the beginning of my latest circle around the Sun I was gifted with, among other things, the Metal Earth Models model of a Tiger. It was the first one of this brand that didn't depict something from a Galaxy Far, Far away. Funny, hm?
As soon as I had the previous metallic models done, I felt like proceeding on the same track. The package contained a ridiculously tinily printed single-page instruction sheet. I had to say that the larger font and image size on the more modern kits have been much more pleasant to stare at.
Based on a quick glance the set looked maybe deceivingly simple, even. As a good surprise tome was that the 8.8cm KwK 36 was a separate, solid metal piece instead of a rollable piece of this thin metal sheet like before. If nothing else, it was going to be noticeably prettier this way.