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Meng King Tiger (Henschel turret)

FineScale Modeler reviews the 1/35 scale plastic model armor kit
Meng contributes to the flurry of recent King Tiger kits with an all-new kit molded in an unusual red plastic designed to replicate the red primer used on the full-size tank. Features include photo-etched (PE) parts, link-and-length tracks, two crew figures, and a turned-metal gun available only in the initial release. (Other versions include full interior details and a working suspension, and Meng offers a separate sheet of self-adhesive Zimmerit as seen on some King Tigers.)

I found the red plastic hard and brittle, and it was challenging to remove parts from the sprues without creating divots.

The turret includes an inner sleeve for the external shell to replicate scale-thick armor. It’s a nice touch, but it takes extra time getting everything aligned. The parts provide separate turret hatches and optional mantlets. I missed a sprue attachment on the turret ring, which prevented the turret from sitting properly in the hull — this kit’s tolerances are pretty tight! I cleaned it up and all was well.

I used the metal gun barrel, but, surprisingly, the plastic option included finer detail.

Clear plastic supplies all of the hull and turret periscopes.

The suspension arms attach to the hull with the aid of internal hull braces. Unfortunately, I found all were angled slightly down rather than at 90 degrees to the hull as they should be ­­— I believe the culprit was the internal brace. I partially corrected the problem by gently bending the pin section of the arms so they were at 90 degrees to the hull. (I suspect that the kit version including full-length torsion bars and suspension arms does not have this problem.)

The link-and-length tracks show good detail, but I found cleanup of the numerous sprue attachment points onerous. A jig makes building sag into the upper track runs a snap.

When building the multipart upper hull, be sure to install the internal brace (Part F47) correctly. The fit of the turret ring and engine deck plates will be affected otherwise.

The 3-D effect created by the kit’s PE engine screens impressed me.

I painted my King Tiger with Tamiya spray and acrylic paints.

Decals provide markings for four King Tigers. They settled with the aid of decal solvent, but they are fragile — one cracked with just a little prodding.

My primary reference was Waldemar Trojca’s Sd.Kfz.182 Pz.Kpfw.VI Tiger Ausf.B “Königstiger” Vol. 2 (Model Hobby, ISBN 978-83-917049-9-8). I also found Ammo by Mig Jimenez’s King Tiger — Visual Modelers Guide (AMIG6022) useful. The model captures the look and nuances that I saw in the photos and drawings.

I completed my King Tiger in 50 hours. The kit required more effort than other King Tigers I’ve built, but the finished model looks the part. Given the high parts count, I recommend the kit to more experienced armor modelers. If you are into late World War II German armor, you have another state-of-the-art King Tiger kit at your

Note: A version of this review appeared in the February 2018 issue.
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