During the summer I usually go to cottage for a week and I take some modeling “work” with me. I like to use this time to start building a new kit, since carrying painting tools would be bit complicated (given the amount of rest of the baggage). I prefer to choose a kit for which I don’t need zillion aftermarket parts to make it look good, goes well together without major corrections and scratchbuilding and the vehicle does not have significant interior visible, so that I don’t need to keep all the subcomponents separate.
This year the choice was Porsche King Tiger. I had Dragon Premium edition kit in my stash and it met the criteria above (mostly). I like this kit for many reasons – level of details is very good, I have good experience with the recent kits from Dragon in terms of fit of parts, it had a generous amount of photoetch provided with the kit (even the pre-formed engine mesh) so that unlike the third part accessories you don’t need to spend time trying to combine two sets of instructions and I can replace molded-on parts (such as tool brackets) with photoetch easily. The kit also includes single-link tracks, which I strongly prefer (with the exception of Sherman, I only use single link tracks).
Contrary to the criteria above I actually used one aftermarket part – zimmerit and this was due to the specific vehicle I want to depict.
Little bit of history
Number of King Tigers produced with the so-called Porsche turret was rather limited (50) and all these were delivered to combat units early in the production run. As a result, most of these King Tigers saw extensive service with only limited number of units – Panzer Abteilung (Funklenk) 316; Schwere Panzerabteilungen 503, 506, perhaps also 501. These vehicles were mostly destroyed or captured by the end of 1944.
One unit that used this version of King Tiger was Schwere Panzerabteilung 503. It has received 12 Porsche King Tigers in June and further 12 in July 1944 after its Kompanies were deployed in France. Out of these only two were left behind when the Abteilung left France in September 1944 and moved to the Germany. The battalion was reconstituted near Paderborn in September and was reequipped with 45 King Tigers. Most of these were the newer production aka Henschel turret-equipped vehicles, but two were the old Porsche turreted tanks, the only ones left behind by the Abteilung in France. One of these two is rather famous Annelise, vehicle nr. 314, for which the markings are provided in the kit. I haven’t been able to find any documentation or photographs of the second Porsche King Tiger, which I would like to depict. Due to the lack of any specific documentation, I might enjoy bit of a freedom in selection of camouflage and markings.
Due to the operational history of the vehicle it is likely that it was original painted in dark yellow with standard camouflage of green and brown. My intention is to display vehicle during the battles on the Eastern front – Abteilung was moved to the East and participated in the last WWII tank battles in Hungary and Slovakia in February and March 1945. By this time, the tank would have been over-painted in white camouflage, which would be at this late stage also quite worn out.
If anybody out there knows of any preserved documentation or photographs of this particular vehicle, I will be extremely grateful if this could be shared.
Below are few pictures of the model in its current state. I have built the hull, running gear, racks and turret – kit turret was replaced with the one provided in the Atak zimmerit kit. The replacement is for the older Dragon model, so there were some adjustments I had to make (diameter of commander’s hatch at its base is slightly larger than the opening in the turret roof), but nothing major. I plan to build the tank without mud guards.
Any comments are welcome…
Categories: My models