Pz.Kpfw. VI Tiger Ausf. H

Manufacturer: Revell AG. (Kit No. 03108)

I learned a lot about Tiger tanks while building this kit. Prior to construction, I had absolutely no reference material on the Tiger, and I now have quite a bit. First of all, the name: What is an Ausf.H? According to T. Jentz in Osprey's New Vanguard book on the Tiger I, when the Tigers first entered production, the name was Ausf.H. In March, 1943, the name was changed to Ausf.E. There were no specific changes in the vehicle that corresponded to the name change, as many changes were introduced throughout the production of the Tiger. Before March, 1943, Tigers were officially called Ausf.H, and after March, they were all called Ausf.E. This kit represents one of the earliest production models of the vehicle, hence the name.

What I consider to be the main drawback to this kit, is that it allows you to build only the earliest version of the Tiger, that being the version in use by the 501st Heavy Panzer Battalion in Tunisia during 1942 and early 1943 (with some very minor alterations, you can also build the first Tiger that went into combat, from the 502nd Heavy Panzer Battalion at Leningrad). The kit comes with many optional parts, and the instructions even show where all these optional parts were to go, but the limiting factors are the square muffler shields, and the SMG port on the right rear turret wall. The square-style muffler shields were used only by the 501st and nobody else. Also, the right-side SMG port was replaced by an escape hatch at the end of December 1942, so some of the other optional parts included in the kit cannot be used, because they were introduced after the escape hatch (which is not an option included in this kit). Specifically, the loader's periscope on the turret roof (part no.40), and the spare track links on the turret side. None of these parts should be added, because they were not seen on Tigers used by the 501st. Unfortunately, I didn't realise this until after I built my kit, and I inadvertently added the spare track links. Some day, I will go back and remove them.

With the understanding that this kit can produce only an accurate vehicle from the 501st Heavy Panzer Battalion (or earlier), it is time for me to say that it is an outstanding kit, and builds into a remarkable replica of a 501st Tiger. There is no decent alternative on the market today for an accurate Tiger I. See my Tiger Comparison article for further comments on this kit, compared to the Hasegawa Tiger.

Strengths of the kit:

Weaknesses of the kit:

Additional Notes:

Painting: There is still some controversy over the colors used on Tunisian Tigers. Were they gray? Tan? Green? I chose to follow the thoughts of Tom Jentz, and I painted mine with a base color of Panzer Grey. I then added a lightened "pea green" overcoat, to represent a field application which didn't completely cover the gray. And finally, I added considerable amounts of dust, which gives it a very tan appearance.

In conclusion, this is an absolutely superb kit. I had a few minor issues with it, but what kit is perfect? All in all, an excellent job again, Revell!

(special thanks to Jim Matthiessen for contributing much to the kit accuracy research)

Postscript: I recently browsed through Jean Restayn's book Tigers on the Western Front, and according to this book, the turret numbers for this vehicle should be only white outlines, and no red fill. Oh well.

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