Tiger Comparison by Doug Chaltry
17 December 2001 email: doug(at)ontheway.us
So, you want to build a 1/72nd Tiger tank? Well, your choices are few. Until recently, the only choice was the old Hasegawa Tiger I E. Last year, they re-released modified versions of the same kit, to represent late versions of the Tiger. This past year, however, has seen the release of two outstanding Tiger kits from Revell AG, so now we finally have a choice of kits. But it really isn't much of a choice...

Just opening the boxes of a representative Tiger from each company is enough to make one realize that Hasegawa just does not compare with the new Revell kits. But is that really surprising? The Hasegawa kits date back to the '70s, and it shows. Revell has had over 20 years more of feeling the pulse of the modeling community in order to provide top-of-the-line kits.

Hasegawa markets three Tiger kits. The original kit, which dates back to the '70s, represents an early-series production version. In 1997-'98 they released two new versions of the Tiger: a "Late Version," and the "Last Version." Each represents late-war Tigers, with turret roofs having different ventilation cover details. Both of these later kits are the same as the original Tiger kit, but with the addition of steel wheels, and a small sprue with the new turret parts (roof and gun mantle).

Revell markets two Tiger kits: The Tiger Ausf. H, which is a very early version. Only the earliest Tigers (i.e. Tunisia and Leningrad) can be built with this kit. The second kit is the Tiger Ausf. E, which can be built into a mid-series version, or the late version.

When I discuss versions of the Tiger, I like to group the production vehicles into four main types:

A) Standard wheels, early cupola, MP port on right turret wall

B) Standard wheels, early cupola, escape hatch on right turret wall

C) Standard wheels, late cupola, escape hatch

D) Steel wheels, late cupola, escape hatch

The Revell Tiger H builds into type A. The Hasegawa Tiger E (early kit) builds into type B. Revell's Tiger E allows you to build either type C or D, and the Hasegawa Late and Last Tiger E's build into sub-variants of type D. I find it curious as to why Revell chose to market the A type of the Tiger, considering that only about 3% of the total Tiger production was of this version, instead of the more common type B. Perhaps it's that very uniqueness that makes the kit interesting. It is unfortunate that Revell did not include both styles of cupola in their Tiger E kit, as that is the only part keeping us from also being able to build a type B Tiger from the same kit.

Comparison of the Kits

As I mentioned above, I feel that the Revell kits are far superior to the Hasegawa kits for many reasons.

Tracks and Wheels:

  • The Hasegawa kits have two sets of road wheels, the original kit wheels and a set of steel wheels (only in the two newer releases). The original outer wheels are basically flat disks with a (mostly) off-centered raised line around the edge to represent the tire. The hubs are raised slightly with some bolt representation. The inner wheels are plain disks with no detail whatsoever. The Revell wheels are nicely concave and have a deeply set center. There is very fine rivet detail on both inner and outer faces, and all the wheels are detailed, not only the outer ones.
  • The Revell steel wheels are also more detailed than Hasegawa's, but Hasegawa's are still very good, compared to their original wheels. However, Hasegawa only provides steel outer wheels. The inner wheels are the same lifeless disks as earlier. In the below photo, the Hasegawa wheels are on top, Revell on the bottom. Standard wheels are on the left, steel wheels in the middle, and sprocket wheels on the right.

  • The Hasegawa drive sprocket is very poor. It is a solid flat disk with raised representations of spokes. The open spoke casting of the Revell sprocket wheel totally blows away the Hasegawa sprocket wheel.
  • The Revell tracks are some of the finest 1/72 tracks I have yet seen. Both pairs of guide teeth are molded as individual teeth, with excellent surface detail. The Hasegawa tracks are the typical black vinyl, seriously lacking in detail.


  • The Revell kit has a slight wave to the bottom of the hull overhang, where it projects out over the tracks. Close examination of photos shows this subtle wave to be correct. The Hasegawa kit? Molded straight as an arrow.
  • There is just no comparison of the detail on the upper hull. The Revell kit access plates are molded so fine it looks like you could just grab a plate and swing it open. Even the locking hinges that keep the plates open for maintenance are nicely molded. The engine deck grates are molded through the hull, unlike the Hasegawa kit which requires a very heavy wash to darken the recesses in its grates. Also, the Hasegawa grates are formed incorrectly. Revell is on the left, Hasegawa on the right.

  • Revell's hull machinegun is delicate and very in-scale. Hasegawa's MG is a heavy, solid, plastic rod, molded directly onto the ball mount.
  • Going to build your Tiger without the side track shields to represent some hard use? Be prepared to use some filler on the large ejection pin holes on the side of the Hasegawa kit. There are only two small locator holes to fill on the Revell kit.


  • Hasegawa's turret is under-scale (it's about 1/76th). The following photo shows a comparison of the Revell turret (dark green) which measures out to 1/72nd scale, Hasegawa's (gray) and Fujimi's (tan), which measures out to 1/76th scale.

  • The Revell kit has forward vision slots on the front turret sides that actually have slots. They are represented on the Hasegawa kit by a plain raised disk.
  • Revell's MP ports have a more sharply molded edge to them, and appear more like the bolted on hunk of steel that they were.
  • There is some controversy among armor fans concerning the correct shape of the Tiger turret. For years Tiger I kits were molded (and scale plans were drawn) with a perfectly symetrical turret. Because the gun was offset slightly to the right in the mantlet, it was assumed that the gun actually sat ever-so-slightly to the right of the turret centerline. If this was true, this would have been a true design screw-up. The incredible pressure put on the turret from firing would have introduced a torque effect on the turret if the gun was mounted off-center. Research by an English historian on a real Tiger was to show that the gun is mounted dead-on with the center of the turret ring. The mantlet is WIDER on the left, giving the appearance that the gun was mounted off-center. The turret is actually ever-so-slightly wider (or should I say does not curve in as much) on the left side to accommodate the extra space needed by the gunner and his sighting equipment. It is very difficult to tell, but it looks as though Hasegawa has the gun offset to the right side of the turret, whereas Revell's is in the dead center, as it should be. (Refer to the following site for more information: http://tiger1.info/turret/TurretShape.html)
  • The Revell kit provides spare track links for the turret sides, the Hasegawa kit does not.
  • The escape hatch on the right side of the turret is molded open on the Revell kit, not on Hasegawa's.
  • Revell provides an AA machinegun for the commander's hatch, Hasegawa does not.
  • While Revell's smoke grenade launchers could use a slight twist in their mount, they are still much finer than the ones in the Hasegawa kit.
  • The Revell kit gives several optional parts and optional locations (i.e. the roof ventilator cover). You have to buy a specific Hasegawa kit for each version.

Areas Where Hasegawa Beats Revell:

  • Both turret hatches can be positioned open on the Hasegawa kit, whereas on the Revell kit, only the commander's hatch is open. Unfortunately, the hull hatches are molded shut on both manufacturers' kits.
  • The Hasegawa kit comes with two crew figures. They're mediocre at best, but better than nothing.
  • The shape of the main gun is more "delicate" than Revell's.  Revell's just seems too massive immediately aft of the muzzle brake.
  • Availability. Revell AG. kits are very difficult to obtain in the US due to limited North American distribution. Hasegawa kits seem to be found everywhere. The Hasegawa kits are also a bit cheaper in cost, but as this article demonstrates, "you get what you pay for."
  • One last thing. The new Hasegawa boxtop artwork by Maio is much better than Revell's. :-)

This article was co-written with Jim Matthiessen. Thanks Jim.

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