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Zvezda King Tiger

The iconic German King Tiger has been a mainstay of many model company catalogs. Now, Zvezda joins the crowd with a Henschel turret version in 1/35 scale.

Molded in dark yellow plastic, the kit includes a sheet of nylon mesh for the engine screens and gray string for tow cables.
Overall, the molding is crisp and the fit good; I used no filler during the build. However, flash mars many of the parts and I had to fill several ejector-pin marks. My kit included several parts that were not completely formed (short-shot) and I replaced them with items from my spare-parts box.
Where there are structural supports molded inside on the hull and turret, there are almost always corresponding dimples outside that require filling.
Decals provide markings for five German vehicles. No Zimmerit is included, so check references for time and place to see if you need to add it. Several optional parts are supplied, but you’ll need references to see which is appropriate for the King Tiger you are building.

I followed the instructions, except for leaving parts off for ease of painting or to avoid breakage.

Step 1 requires that molded detail be removed from the rear engine deck. Do this before gluing the hull together to avoid damaging the rear hull.
The separate suspension arms are keyed for alignment. But there is still a little play in them, so be cautious. To articulate the suspension, remove the molded tab. I left the idler arm separate so I could adjust tension during track installation.

The individual track links take a little time to clean up. I assembled the run in a jiffy with help from a HobbyTrax jig.

I cut the nylon for the engine grilles using the printed templates in the instructions, but the mesh is difficult to keep even. It frayed along the cuts and didn’t want to stay glued to the deck. Aftermarket screens would be a quick fix.

The rest of the hull assembled without problems.
The gun breech details the turret interior and there’s detail molded on the inside faces of the hatches. Molded detail must be cut off the exterior before attaching the front of the turret.

The two-piece gun barrel fit snugly into the mantlet without glue. An antiaircraft machine gun mount details the commander’s hatch, but no gun is provided.
I choose the 503 Heavy Tank Battalion King Tiger in 1945 from the decal options because that tank didn’t have Zimmerit.
I base-coated the model with Vallejo German dark yellow primer, then painted it with AK Interactive’s German Dunkelgelb Special Modulation Set. The camouflage was painted with Vallejo Model Air panzer olive. (I realized too late that the color should have been brown.)

The thin decals were easy to manipulate for alignment, but I had a little trouble getting them to settle around detail.

I spent 39 hours building Zvezda’s King Tiger, much of it on the individual-link tracks. Otherwise, it was a quick, easy build. It has all components that make a King Tiger, but without the complexity of other kits. So it’s great for beginners, but offers a lot of options for advanced builders.

Note: A version of this review appeared in the January 2016 issue.
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