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Michel Verschuere
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Tiger I (Early version, Academy, 1:35) of the 2nd SS Panzer Corps at Kursk, Russia, 1943

September 4, 2016 · in Armor · · 6 · 1.9K

Some history:
I bought this particular kit out of the stash from another modeller in Belgium, together with a Pz. III E (Dragon) which I will post on later. It features the early version of the infamous tank that granted the German panzer divisions absolute technical superiority over Russian armor on the Eastern front. The 88 mm Kwk (Kampfwagenkanone) 36 had excellent optics combined with a very flat trajectory. Consequently, this behemoth could take out enemy armor at ranges beyond the effective range of the opposing tank fire.

The research effort:
The Tiger tank is one of the most famous tanks in history and therefore it was not hard to find material to back-up this build. I decided to somehow embed it into a "friendly" diorama. The idea was to model a "cigarette break" for a Tiger I part of a spearhead unit of the 2nd SS Panzer Corps at Kursk, near the village of Prokhorovka on July 12th, 1943. The build was out of the box but I added some scratchbuilt items and Tamiya figures to increase realism.

The build:
Building was rather straightforward as the kit is not too demanding. There were figures in the kit, but I wanted to embed the tank in a different setting, so I selected two tankers from a Tamiya kit. I decided to leave some of the hatches open on the vehicle, so part of the interior would be visible. I added wiring for the front lights and also fuzes for the smoke granade launchers. The tank commander also holds a schatchbuilt pair of headphones in his hand with a contact lead attached that disappears into the depths of this huge vehicle. Otherwise, there were no aftermarket items, the kit was built pretty much out of the box.

I airbrushed the vehicle first with a black base primer and then sprayed "Dunkelgelb" on top. I left the (many) road wheels apart in the painting process in order to be able to reach the sides of the vehicle with my Badger airbrush. I left the road wheels on the sprues for easy handling while painting. The DS tracks of this kit were OK quality so I decided to use them. After a black base primer, I sprayed them with a mixture of steel and red-brown thinned Revell paint. After that, I added camo in red-brown and dark green, after which I weathered the vehicle with a wash of thinned black acrylics.

I added two figures, one being the commander and the other one intended to be the machine gunner/radio operator. The other three crew members likely went for a coffee, so I did not consider them! These Tamiya figures were assembled and primed using a light grey color. I then hand painted them using self-mixed acrylics from the artstore nearby and I am quite pleased with the result. I added a cigarette in the left hand of the tank commander to chill things down and all was ready to mount the diorama.

The diorama:
For this model, I made a small diorama out of a wooden base of about 20 to 15 cm size. I smeared a layer of plaster on top and printed tank tracks while still wet. I then added some long grass in one corner and a splash of water in the other corner, made from clear varnish. Since July 12th, 1943 was a day with thunderstorms over the Southern Russian battlefields, this seemed to me the best setting for a small Kursk diorama.

I enjoyed this 1:35 build of the Academy Early Tiger I, the resulting diorama is nice to watch and quite realistic I find. I'm happy about the end result and hope you like it too!
I think I spent about 40 hours totals on this one.

Happy modelling!

Reader reactions:
2  Awesome

4 additional images. Click to enlarge.

6 responses

  1. Nicely finished, Michael - I'm jealous (I really suck at figure painting). The Tiger looks great, though.

  2. Hi Craigh,

    Thanks for your comments and appreciation!

    Two years ago, I found this book on figure painting: It's in French but has lots of pictures explaining materials and techniquec. The most difficult treat is always the face of the figure, but the book explains some tricks. This reference did it for me, I read it a few times and gave it a go!

    There is nothing you could not learn, it just takes time and - of course - a steady hand...

    Cheers, Michel.

  3. Another great build, aye a steady hand and good eye sight.

  4. A "purrfect" Tiger, nicely thought out setting, not sure about the houses in the background though...

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