The kit's background
"Bergepanzer Tiger 1" is a kit from Dragon Models. It builds a unique special-purpose Tiger that was used in 1944 in Italy. The sprues don't include enough parts to build any other version of Tiger; there is no gun.
This tank started life as a Befehlstiger (Command Tiger) but, due to production shortages, it was converted to be a normal Tiger while still at the factory. Many of the Command fittings were left in place, but it now had a coaxial MG and only one radio antenna (on the left side). It was issued to the 508 battalion, and we have two colour photos of it in an Italian depot.
Early in 1944 this Tiger suffered battle damage, including hits to the turret rear and a fire. It's not clear what the damage was, but the fire was probably external only, because the tank was now considered unusable and yet could still drive. The battalion workshop converted it to be a "demolition charge layer", according to their journal. Photographs show that they also added recovery equipment. We have no further information from the German side.
In May 1944 the Allies found this Tiger abandoned in the Anzio region, apparently due to engine trouble. A further 12 photographs of it were made. In some photos it has been moved slightly and stripped of some wheels and parts, but it is clearly the same Tiger. These photographs are the only record of the tank's special equipment.
The gun was removed. The Zimmerit was mostly gone from the turret walls, due to the fire. Most of the spare track hangers were removed. The hull had towing hitches added on front and back. A crane and winch were added to the turret. The crane is obviously inadequate for vehicle recovery, so we can believe that it is for charge laying as stated.
This model was released shortly after a similar kit, RM5008 by Rye Field. It corrects some of the accuracy problems of that kit, while repeating certain other errors. It is distinguished by having DS tracks where the Rye Field model has individual-link tracks. Neither model can be fully accurate because we don't have photographs of all the crane components; the kits therefore contain speculative parts.
My ongoing review and comments;
|Hooks on turret||Turret mast||Feifel mounts|
|Radio antennae||Colours and markings||Mantlet MG plug|
|S mines||Pistol port||Star antenna tube|
|Feifel duct||Rear towing hitch||Toolbox frame|
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