Put a Tiger in Your Tank! - Tiger Build Thread

Welcome to Put a Tiger in Your Tank! Happy Modelling :blush:

This is a Tiger build thread much like the Pz IV, Pz III & Panther threads I started previously.

However, before we get all AFV, here’s my first memory of a Tiger Tank from being a kid in 1970, the Tamiya Early Tiger E kit’s era.

The Esso brand in the USA has long since been replaced by Exxon Mobile just as WW2 Tiger’s, JS3’s, T10’s etc, the heavy “break through” tanks have long been replaced by the modern MBT.

Basic Background Wiki - Tiger I

For specific details, @DByrden site Tiger1.Info is unmatched and discusses in detail the Tiger 1 and the vast majority of Tiger 1 model kits.

A few pictures for discussion only from around the web.


Why are you interested in Tigers?
Are you a GD fanboy or wehr-boo?

My interest in Tiger’s also dates back to the mid 1970’s when I discovered Avalon Hill’s fantastic wargames like Panzer Leader, PanzerBlitz, Squad Leader & Cross of Iron. In PL & PB, the Panther was easily my favorite tank but in SL & COI, the Tiger 1 proved to be my favorite as the 8.8 cm was significantly better for blasting Infantry with HE. Likewise, losing a COI game and only having one immobilized Tiger 1 remaining, it rapidly brewed up four JS-2’s at close range with near Otto Carius style. That endeared the Tiger 1 to me - game wise.

As for GD, I grew to specifically dislike Grossdeutschland (and other units) as I learned more about the unit(s) despite their attached Tiger Battalion and elan. German-armored-unit-atrocities by Panzer World makes a nice little primer on that in case anyone is curious.

On to the model, #35056 Tamiya’s original 1/35 Tiger 1 E kit.


The-Great-Ones campaign honoring pioneering model masters Shep Paine, Francois Verliden & Bob Letterman inspired selecting the elderly Tamiya #35056 Tiger kit to build.

Thirty plus years ago, I built the kit several times and was always pretty happy with how well it built despite its age. After collecting information and research, I hope to make some tweaks to improve the old kit. There’s a fair bit of Tiger reference in my library, which hasn’t really been looked at in decades.

What’s in the box plus aftermarket.


Preliminary Test Fit

So is something this old even remotely accurate dimensionally?

Stay tuned.


Who cares about dimensions!
Go nuts and have fun with it!!


My rule of thumb on dimensional accuracy is if I look at a model kit and it looks off to me, I usually check to find out.

Takom’s Pz III ausf N looked wrong to me after building it. Research indicateD it has several issues some fairly minor some less so. Other than the muzzle brake being too big, sketchy turret side hatch and not enough road wheels, the old Tamiya Tiger “passed” my Mark 1b eyeballs.

(Mark1b = bifocals plus mk1 eyeballs - j/k)

Zero claims of accuracy here as I’m definitely not an expert on any of this stuff. However, our good friends Mr Jentz & Doyle most certainly are experts.

Hopefully, @DByrden our resident expert will take time to comment when he has an opportunity.

The basic acid test…

The main gun is probably a few millimeters too long and the muzzle brake is probably suitable for 12.2 cm JS-2’s main gun! To me the old kit doesn’t look too bad on basic dimensions in this very rough check.


@RonW Ron, very wise words! Thank you. I will try to keep that in mind going forward. Tiger’s are in my “triggers severe OCD/AMS/Panzer Police” group of models - wink :wink:


Nice build so far. I’m stuck with my own build. This one will be “Tiger 131” and it’s fully assembled and partially painted.


Looks like it will be a fun build. Isn’t this the kit that was originally issued with the rubbery outer wheels?


I got Tiger Fever after watching Kelley’s Heros back in the 70s. After that it was off to K-Mart for a Tamiya 1/35 scale Tiger I.


Michael, those were wonderful days when Kmart had a fat seleof model kits including Tamiya! According to local legend one could ask the locsl Kmart to special order a specific model kit. Of course, our nearest Kmart was like forty miles away! To far by bicycle.

There’s more good feeling with this old kit. Eight clear steps & about 150 parts!

Growing up building elegant kits like this I understand why I generally dislike 1,500+ part, 45 step kits.

Kali nearly fell out of her cat tree laughing saying that elegant 150 part Tiger will end up at 1,200+ parts, in 78 steps…and take three times longer than the same Dragon kit for maybe half the details for five times the cost…just wait.

On a serious note if someone has this Model-Kasten early Tiger wheel set and is willing to sale please contact me. I’d like to build with the correct number of wheels.


Thank you


Waiting on Panther D parts to cure, decided to get the party started.

Patched back side of motor holes so they can be filled with super glue & sanded.

Slapped turret halves together & under cut molded in escape hatch.

Cut alignment pins for main gun barrel away and sanded both sides flush.


More disruptive than an Allied bombing raid on Henschel, today has turned into Holiday Cleaning

All the accumulated hobby goodies in the living room, foyer, hallway & dinner room had to be returned to where they belong.

…in other words…


@SableLiger Reyneir, Tiger “131” is looking great! Painting looks like everything went well, I hope we’ll get to see your next update soon!

The Agency drop in a black ops team to help with sorting the hobby room. (j/k)

Kali & Joey are happy with the extra space. No arguments over who gets the cat tree as with chair cleared for “vertical cat space”.


Working on main gun.

Plan to cut down the muzzle brake down slightly plus work on the seams. I’m much too lazy to use a Felx-i-file etc so I set up the MiniCraft lathe.

Still looks nasty.

More sand paper time.

Will try again after this cures.


I don’t think you will be able to get that muzzle “brake” down to an acceptable size and shape. You may have to “break” down and replace it with a new one.

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The Rules of Engagement for the Great Ones campaign requires all of the parts and aftermarket be from before 1990. I didn’t have any aftermarket suitable from before 1990 so with the kit barrel.

I think you’ve inspired a solution.

Just realized I can rob a 1989 Late Model Tiger 1 for parts. The robbed Late Model can get an aftermarket main gun, problems solved.

Wow! The 1970 maing is massive compared to 1989 version.

…and it will introduce another issue…

Got to think on this a bit…


WOW Wade those first two hobby room photos had me moving toward gathering some boxes and garbage bags, jumping in the car and telling you to put on a pot of coffee, I’m on the way…got to rescue a friend! But I’m glad you have “after” pictures that show the floor again! That was some pile! It had my OCD twitching. I’m glad you found a better barrel. That first one looked blobby, even with the lathe work.


Thank you Matt my friend, much appreciated. Definitely would be be good times. Well stocked in Coffee too. A+++

It hit the “intervention point” when all new model stuff moved to hobby room. I research in the living room so books were scattered everywhere. Even my 91 Camaro had a stash in the back seat! :laughing:

This ~1960’s computer punch card took the cake. It fell from the ugly antique chair when vacuuming it.

My metric was a day to deep clean and reorganize between projects. Last completed one on ~ August so pictures tell the story.

My new practice, hobby housekeeping Monday.

Mostly away from the bench today.

Most of my old terrible Tiger builds hit the dumpster long ago. However, few survived the last ~30+ years. It amazing how much one forgets mostly avoiding a subject matter for a long time.

From ~1976, 1/25 Tamiya

From ~1993, 1970 & 1989 Tamiya Tiger bit bash for an early North Africa Tiger.

Tamiya Late Tiger ~1995

So I really need to build a new 1970 to round out the :tiger2: :tiger: :tiger2:


@Jeff_Ehrlich Jeff, I’d like for you to meet my technical advisor, Kali Kat. She’s top notch on cat related builds and very serious despite a bit of fluff.

The 1989 Tamiya Tiger 1 and most of the newer kits have this bit of detail on the lower hull under the sponsons.

The 1970 is missing it. Filled the various holes in the lower hull & obliterated the track cable molded into the side.

Took the regular punch & die set, cut a new longer spacer to set depth and act as a guide for the strip.

Not exact but the part won’t be that visible.

As Ben Rich of Lockheed Skunk works used to say, 80% Today is Better than 100% Tomorrow.

Need to tweak and get back to the main gun etc.


Tiger 1… Gruppe Fehrmann April 1945 - Axis History Forum

Tiger1.info - Fehrmann Tiger’s

Tiger F13 of Kampfgruppe Fehrmann looks like my choice for this build. Pictures from above Axis History Forum plus David’s excellent website proved inspiring.

All mistakes and errors are of course my own in collecting information for this model etc. One shouldn’t trust another modeler’s research generally speaking.

With the disclaimer made, what we know about F13.

Ordinary Early Tiger of June 1943
No smoke launchers,
Turret spare tracks,
S-mine bases,
Zimmerit applied at some point
Zimmerit is chipped

The turret bin likely missing when it was in action.

Photographs do not show what kind of tracks were fitted to it.

Looks like rubber road wheels to me.

Zimmerit on an early

I found it amazing any Tiger 1 manufacturered in June of 1943 could survive for ~22+ months in WW2.

So what was F13’s fate?

On April 11th, 1945 two Gruppe Fehrmann Tigers were involved in a tank battle with US tanks, F13 (commanded by Feldwebel Bellof) was destroyed along with her crew. F05, commanded by Kampfgruppe Schulze destroyed 3 Shermans and a scout car then retreated to Wendthagen.

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There is a lot of contention about ol’ F13, including here on this site and the old site.
A few things are known. All of the Fehrmann Tigers were hybrids, and came from a panzer training school. Some of the mismatched parts on this tank include zimmerit applied over the original Panzer Gray. The gun and cupola appear to be replacements, the paint does not match. The early road wheels were replaced with the later steel wheels. The smoke launcher mounts were cut off with a torch.

Most everything else about the tank is subject to debate, including its color and markings.
All of the known photos of the tank were taken post war, so the condition of the tank when it was in service/destroyed is unknown. Things like tools, stowage boxes, side skirts, etc. may have been removed after it was knocked out. Or maybe not. This does give you quite a bit of freedom to built it as you want.

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Evidence please of the steel wheels. I haven’t seen anything to support steel wheels yet.

This was the only wheel picture I could locate. Seemed to slightly favor rubber wheels in my opinion but I have an open mind.

Tiger1-Info - F13 said the following on F13 and favored rubber tire wheels.

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