Scale: 1 / 35
The kit's background
The Third Battle of Kharkov was the last great military success of WW2 for Germany. The Soviets had attacked and taken several towns after the Stalingrad disaster. But Manstein had retreated in a controlled manner, leading the Red Army into a trap, with their forces overextended and surrounded by the Germans. In mid February of 1943 he launched a counterattack, and a month later he had regained the city of Kharkov.
Production of the new Tiger tanks ramped up at the end of 1942. At first, they were issued only to the Heavy Tank Battalions created for them. But political maneuvering resulted in the addition of Tiger companies to three existing Waffen-SS divisions, and to the Army's Grossdeutschland division. All four of these units participated in the Kharkov operation. Panzer Regiment 1 fought within the city itself, while the others operated in the surrounding area.
Each of these Tiger companies had nine or ten Tigers including a single Befehlstiger. The tanks were built between December 1942 and February 1943, a time when the Tiger's design was still being adjusted. Most of them had the standard "straight" side skirts, but the "wide" turret bin was still in use, a problematic item that didn't fit properly. All of these tanks had "tropical" camouflage unsuitable for the snowy terrain; three of the four units covered it with whitewash.
This kit is similar to a previous one, Tiger I Early Production "Tiki". It has three different types of mantlet, including the "standard" thickened version of 1943 (slightly different to the 1944 version). It provides alternate types of turret bin, track cable, and gun cleaning rods. A premium version of the kit is apparently planned, with a second decal sheet and Magic Tracks.