Scale: 1 / 48
This is a medium-scale Tiger kit with a full interior. It is not yet released but has been displayed in great detail. My comments will be updated if more information becomes known.
The kit builds an "Early Tiger" dating from about March 1943. That build date cannot be varied, but the kit does offer two of the three possible mantlet types of that time. Both metal and plastic gun barrels are included.
Six Tiger units fought at Kursk, and the kit has decals from two of them, covering two Tigers from each unit for a total of four schemes. Three of these schemes are directly copied (including the artwork) from the "Kursk Tiger" kit of Border Models.
The kit's interior design strongly appears to be based on the 1/35 kit "Tiger Eastern Front" by Rye Field Models. I say this because a few mistakes made by Rye Field are repeated here. But Ustar certianly did some of their own reading, because they don't repeat all of Rye Field's mistakes. Consequently this is the most accurate Tiger interior model kit in the world today.
I will digress to point out some strong hints that more Tiger kits are planned by Ustar. The kit has locator marks that you are instructed to remove. For example, spare track positions are marked on the turret sides, suggesting that a Summer 1943 Tiger kit is planned. And there are many locators for the parts of a "Command" Tiger (Befehlstiger). That deserves its own discussion!
There are several Command Tiger kits on the market, but they are external-only. No manufacturer has ever modelled the interior of this version. Researchers have simply not found enough information about it. We have most of the layout of these special Tigers, but some major parts are known only by name. Unless Ustar have uncovered exciting new information, they will have to complete their "Command" kit by guesswork.
The historical context of this kit
Operation Citadel or "the Battle of Kursk" was a huge, month-long Axis attack launched in July 1943. It was intended to cut off entire Soviet armies. But it was repeatedly delayed, partly to wait for the construction of more Tiger tanks. The Soviets had time to prepare a "defence in depth" that nullified the Germans' "Blitzkrieg" tactics.
Tiger units that participated were Panzergrenadier Division "Großdeutschland", s.Pz.Abt.503, s.Pz.Abt.505, SS Panzergrenadier Division LSSAH, SS Panzergrenadier Division "Das Reich", and SS Panzergrenadier Division "Totenkopf". On paper they had a total of 151 Tigers between them. The number of Tigers lost in combat during the operation is reported as 18.
Whatever this kit may be called, there is no canonical "Kursk" version of the Tiger. The battle of Kursk involved Tigers built over the previous 8 months, with many differences between them.
My ongoing review and comments;
|Modelling Tiger 122||Ammunition bins||Side hatch|
|Minor fixes||Turret seating ring||Modelling Tiger 233|
|Welds on hull sides||Rear mudflaps||Radiators|
|Toolbox for gun||Road wheels||Track toolbox|
|Modelling Tiger 332||Displaying the model||Turret base|
These are other reviews of the kit;
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