Scale: 1 / 35
The kit's background
Rye Field Model have released CAD images of this forthcoming kit. Apparently it will build either of two Tigers associated with Michal Wittman; number "1331", his mount for the Kursk operation, and "S04" from his famous 1944 photo shoot.
The kit sports a full interior, like Rye Field's existing kit 5003. And it adds a new feature; transparent body panels to display the interior.
Only two images of this kit have been released so far, and they raise concerns about accuracy, especially with the "S04" configuration. For example, the image shows no headlight sockets although the real "S04" had them. But the interior of the model has a much more serious problem. The following is a detail from Rye Field's own image:
This is the kit's turret roof. We can see a hole in the mantlet for the MG, and inside the turret we can glimpse the belt feed of the MG itself. On the wall we can see the usual box of MG tools. But none of these items existed in the real Tiger "S04".
The real "S04" was a Befehlstiger (Command Tiger). It had no turret MG and no hole in its mantlet. All related equipment was omitted. Instead, the tank had a radio set in this area, including the necessary transformers. There was a chair and table for the radio officer, plus supporting electronics and cables on the wall.
The hull of a Command Tiger was also different to the standard one, with a field electrical generator replacing one of the ammunition boxes, a different radio set to that of standard Tigers, and (once again) many supporting electronics boxes and cables.
The internal layout of "Command" Tigers is something of a mystery, and we don't have enough information to create a model of it. But we do have a list of its contents, published in the 1990s by Doyle and Jentz. This preliminary image suggests that Rye Field intend to supply a "standard" interior instead of a "Command" interior for "S04".
The other option in this kit, Tiger "1331", is a standard Tiger and so a standard interior should be appropriate for it. But its exterior is in questin. Nobody has identified any photograph of the real "1331". During the time of Kursk, Michael Wittman's unit had Tigers of two different vintages, and we don't know which type "1331" was.
Rye Field have apparently assumed that "1331" was the later kind of Tiger. The differences between versions include the type of Feifels carried, the presence of track links on the turret, and several small details.