Cyber-Hobby 1/35 King Tiger
Let’s have a look inside the box of Cyber-Hobby.com’s 1/35 scale King Tiger initial production. Cyber-Hobby.com is the brand Dragon Models use to release some of their limited edition or value-priced kits. White box kits are limited production and Orange box kits are re-releases of older kits with new updated parts. Kits with the regular box art used on the Dragon kits are versions of the same kit for the Japanese market.
First released in 2006 kit number 6349 was part of a wave of high end or “Master Grade Models” by Dragon Models Ltd. (DML). I’ve heard the phrase “PE Wars” bantered around a few times, but I was not modelling at the time. So please feel free to comment on anything I place in this article.
The trend of putting a great deal of “goodies” in one box to gain market share would continue up to 2010 and gave the modeller almost everything they needed “out of the box” and saving considerable dollars on aftermarket upgrades.
Many of these kits can still be found online or, as in my example, from a growing number of home-based businesses who buy unwanted stashed kits. In Edmonton, Alberta, Canada there is such a place called The Kit Bunker who sell new and pre-owned models at a generously discounted price.
As with today’s standards, Dragon has given many reasons why you should pull out your wallet. All the printed sides have been filled with features which make this, as with many others, worth that purchase. I love this added touch of multiple justifications as if you needed them anyway being that it’s King Tiger.
Inside the thick box are many examples of eye candy not listed outside. Some chain and cable housing come in the black accessory pack along with an absolutely perfect turned aluminum barrel and whisper-thin exhaust shrouds. If you feel brave enough there is a length of steel wire to make pins for workable inner hatch shields.
Which brings us to the Photo Etched parts. These are exquisitely printed with easily recognizable bolt sides and mesh patterns for the screens. The great thing about these parts is that almost all of them are a noticeable surface improvement. Not only will you see the difference but your fellow modellers will as well.
Two different vision rings are supplied with the only difference being rain runoff channels. The Decals being Cartograf will ensure a nice painted look should you opt to apply your own “Zimmerit” or not.
The clear parts are, as you can imagine, crystal clear and after a few tests fitted perfectly. Two gauges of steel wire are supplied for tow and track cables with Dragon giving the proper measurements in the builder’s guide of steps 12 and 14.
Dragon is known for a high part count on many of their kits, this is not the case on the Cyber-Hobby-com 6349 (save for the tracks, which we’ll address later). This does not diminish the look in any way. The molded detail is very crisp right down to the hinges for the front fenders, access flaps and clamps on the fire extinguisher.
One thing to keep in mind is being able to see down into the engine compartment so painting it up will determine on your taste of red-oxide, white or to be safe painted black. Excellent rolled steel and weld line texture is found all over the upper and lower hull plus many of the appropriate parts.
Items such as the eye hooks and pioneer tools are very crisp and when combined with the Photo Etch will draw the attention of anyone with even poor vision. Attachment points are designed with the builder in mind to make removal and clean-up a cinch while being placed in areas that will be least noticed should something go south with your hobby knife.
Mold release points and ejector pin marks are non-existent on this kit or in places which will never see the light of day when built up. Even the finest parts have been crafted with least amount of sprue-gate removal while maintaining Dragon’s high standards of fit.
Dragon is renown for their slide molding and this kit is another example. While the three-part muzzle break looks very good most of the bow machine gun detail will be lost. Something to consider when deciding if the hatch will be posed open or closed.
Open or closed the barrel is hollowed enough for you to use a wider drill bit to get an even greater effect.
The seven-part assembly will be fun for you to build regardless of who sees it or not.
Once again more weld beads populate the appropriate parts and look amazing. What caught my attention though was how tight the fit was.
Highly detailed tools come on one sprue with a finely molded fire extinguisher. It would have been nice to have had a decal for it.
More slide molding is found on the jack base which, thankfully, make up only 5 parts. When the PE is added these parts will really pop out.
Eye hooks have great ridges and you can choose the plastic or photo-etch option to mount them.
Two bags with 8 sprues in each make up an incredibly detailed track system. There are 3 mold release marks to clean up, but these are a minor annoyance and easily removed with a knife or sanding stick, assuming you decide to even do this.
Dragon has put more textured cast metal on the mantlet along with laser fine vision and machine gun ports. The turret machine ring is present, yet oddly this weapon is not included. Once again, the detail on most of the parts is such that PE is not needed. The grenade/smoke launchers are an eye opener and need no improvement.
The steel road wheels have awesome bolt detail and with considerate connection points, clean up was a breeze. Slots at the hull knuckle of the suspension arms ensure the proper height, but these can be removed if someone has a diorama in mind.
Excellent texture adorns the exhaust if you leave one of the shrouds off for a more battle-hardened look while the rear plate has well thought out locator marks for your parts plus nice weld seams.
The gun breech is another example of something which will barely see the light of day. That said, it looks good enough to warrant posing the hatch open. The side skirts are a little thick, but with some sanding can be toned down. Because Dragon made the joining braces so defined it’s easy to run a fine saw along the edge and remove a few.
For your spares box, you get a couple of extra 88mm barrels that could easily have passed for the build. Needless to say, I’m using the metal option, but these will find a home on some of my Tri-Star kits where the sour point with them is the main gun.
The turret looks great on its own or without Zimmerit. However, there is a fantastic YouTube video where Elmer’s water-based wood filler was used with a Tamiya PE Zimmerit applicator. The instructions give you all the direction needed to where to apply the coating, but it’s still unclear how many King Tigers had it. That period of the war when it was added was short and depended on how many unskilled workers could be mustered.
As with the upper hull, the lower hull is nicely detailed with escape hatches and access panels along with more weld seams. The sides of the “bathtub” style hull are well appointed with bolts plus raised and recessed lines. On top of this, the fit is phenomenal.
Almost no burring and ZERO flash highlight the sprue trees thus further complementing the resolution of the sprockets and idlers wheels. There will be no need to bend the copper wire to make grab handles as these are perfect.
Having now done many many Dragon kits I was very pleased to see the level of detail they could offer 14 years ago. I was also a bit miffed knowing that they are capable of printing some beautiful CAD instructions. Oh well, they’ll be known as designing and creating some of the finest kits yet having some of the worst instructions… in my opinion.
The 5 colour call-outs are from the same 316 unit in France of 1944.
In conclusion, if you see one of these kits floating around the internet or at a secondhand vendor snatch it up. The attention to detail in many important areas is stunning and with all the welcomed additions should build up to be a beautiful replica of a renowned piece of German engineering. Please feel free to comment, like and share with my sincere thanks for taking the time to read this article.