Back in the mid 1970’s, the 1/48th armor scene was dominated by Bandai Corp., who released a series of WW2 Allied and German military vehicle kits, together with a number of figure and accessory sets. Included among these kits was a late war German Jagdtiger, a true monster of a “tank”. Despite their “state of the art” nature at the time of release, the Bandai range is now showing its age. Also, Bandai stopped manufacturing these military vehicle kits in the mid-1970’s!
To remedy the “need” for a Bandai replacement, Tamiya has come to the modeler’s rescue with a lovely rendition of the Jagdtiger in their own 1/48 Military Vehicle range. As per usual with Tamiya’s German military vehicle kits, the model is produced in a tan plastic, which has been the norm over the past year or so in this range, Tamiya has chosen to move away from the relatively poorly detailed metal lower hull unit, and have moved to much better detailed injection plastic lower hull parts.
Anyone who has built one of the 1/48th Tamiya military vehicle kits knows what pleasures await them with this kit, at least in terms of construction. The lower hull assembly is first on the instruction sheet. The road wheels and drive sprockets, together with the idler wheel detail are all very crisp. The tracks are the usual link and length style of parts, and fit very well together. The only “issues” with these parts is the ejection pin marks on all the track links, as well as a couple of ejection pin marks on the sides of the lower hull tub. The former were easily scraped away with a hobby knife, and a little sanding. The latter need filling only if you intend to build the model without the armored side skirts.
Following the lower hull construction, the modeler moves on to the upper hull, what a surprise! This consists of one major item, Part B6, along with two smaller items, Parts C10 and C15. To this three-part unit, consisting of the entire upper hull, are added all the smaller bits you would expect to find on an armored vehicle kit: access hatches, spare track links, and on-board tools (axe, shovel, sledge hammer etc). Tamiya even gives the modeler parts to cover the gap between the lower hull and the upper hull so that you can’t see up into the model above the tracks. Once these parts are all together, we move on to the assembly of the main gun barrel, which is in two parts, split lengthwise. Make sure that you carefully assemble these parts and then carefully remove the seam line without distorting the shape of the barrel. Many modelers end up with “flat spots” on such large barrels if they aren’t careful.
As one has come to expect from a Tamiya kit, all the parts, fit together precisely, without the need for filler. The one big “negative” for me with this kit, together with many of the other 1/48th kits in this range: Tamiya seems to feel that it is okay to mold the hatch grab handles as blobs of plastic on the main hatch parts, rather than separate hatch handles. In the case of the Jagdtiger, the prominent lifting hooks on the hull roof, and driver hatch area and rear deck area, are again indistinct blobs, and not actual hooks. Whether or not they are separate parts (I believe they should be in this scale), I believe in this day and age, and in this scale, such items should be molded as separately and more detailed parts.
This said, some Modeling Basics 101 skills soon have the lumps removed and sanded flush, holes carefully drilled, and replacement grab handles were fashioned out of thin copper wire. The lifting hooks could be fashioned out of thin scrap plastic card, but I cheated and instead used some photoetched parts scavenged from a Hauler photoetched set produced for Tamiya’s earlier 1/48th King Tiger kit. Hauler has produced PE sets for all the Tamiya 48th kits, and I expect they will shortly do likewise for the Jagdtiger. This will then provide the other most noticeably missing items from the kit, the rear deck engine intake screens.
Since this is a Henschel production variant of the Jagdtiger (as opposed to the Porsche version), the paint scheme for all three vehicles covered by the decal sheet are the same: the so called late war “ambush” scheme of Red/Brown and Green over German Yellow.
Per my usual habit, I used the Tamiya range of acrylics, thinned with lacquer thinner. (This was sprayed free hand with a Badger Sotar 20/20 airbrush.) These spray via the airbrush just beautifully, and I highly recommend you trying this method if you haven’t already. The decals themselves are very simple, three digit hull codes, together with four small German crosses for the hull sides, and rear upper hull; along with a production serial number in the case of the vehicle I built, 331.
As is normal with Tamiya, the decals are a little thicker than one would like to see, but they are well printed, in register, and lay down nicely. After they were left to dry for 24 hours, I airbrushed on some thin coats of Tamiya clear acrylic mixed with the lacquer thinner, until the decals were “buried”. This was allowed to dry for a further 24 hours, before a series of washes and pin washes were applied to pick out the details. Left to dry for a day or two, the whole model was then liberally coated with my favorite matt clear coat from the Vallejo range of acrylic colors.
This was an extremely easy model to build, and provided me with no particular troubles. Building it provided me with a number of very pleasant evenings of modeling entertainment. Highly recommended to anyone who builds in 1/48th scale, or someone who wants a rest from the efforts now required to put together the kits coming out in 1/35th scale with a “million” parts!
My sincere thanks to TamiyaUSA for supplying IPMS/USA with the opportunity to review this excellent kit.