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Hobby Master

Somewhere in the Far East?

PzKpfw VI I, as delivered
As Delivered

PzKpfw VI I, as delivered
As Delivered

Cost: Cost varies from supplier to supplier, but typically about $23.95/ £16.99.
Stated Scale: 1:56th.
Mixes best with: Several of the ranges out there...
Long Review: OK, so I caved in and bought two die-cast, pre-painted tanks. I guess I'm also one of those "must have a Tiger" gamers. When I first heard of Hobby Master's Tiger in 1:56th, I thought I must have misread the description, but I was soon convinced that it was correct- a 1:56th scale die-cast vehicle. I ordered two (well, just one is never enough, is it?) from Bolt Action Miniatures, and collected them at SELWG.
I must admit that I'm impressed. The vehicles come in a neat cardboard box, fastened onto a black plastic plinth with two screws and covered by a clear plastic shell. They are pre-painted to an incredibly high standard (probably better than most gamers would paint them), and have a small "plaque" on the front left of the plinth to identify the vehicle and its' details.
The tank itself (once removed from the base) is fairly weighty as the hull and turret are die-cast metal, with plastic upper surfaces and details on each. The tow cables and all tools are all moulded separately in colored plastic and attached to the basic hull. The weld-beads look in-scale and appear to be in the correct places, and the turret can rotate and the main gun can even elevate. The tracks are made of soft vinyl and have been weathered appropriately. The tracks and wheels will move if you remove the metal pin that forces track sag, but who needs moving tracks?
The vehicles are supplied painted and lightly weathered (on a wargamer's scale, I'd put them at probably about an 8 or 9), with a minimal amount of dirt and mud applied. Apart from the actual paint-job, the tools and equipment have all been painted in good, correct colours, and there is even staining around the exhausts and muzzle of the main gun.
The first of the Tigers I looked at, HG0103 - Tiger I Early Production, Tank No. S33, PzReg 2, Russia 1943, is wearing a rather nice two-tone paint scheme of dark green stripes over dark yellow. All the markings are transfers, and consist of the white S33 tank identification number, along with a couple of unique "Das Reich" Tiger I tank markings. The first is the "Dancing Devil" found on each side towards the front of the turret. The second is the tactical symbol used at Kursk (two white vertical bars sitting on one horizontal bar) on the left rear fender and on the front right. The final (and unique) marking on this tank was the Chinese Kanji character for good luck - rather unusually applied upside down. This appears to to have worked for the crew, at least until 1944 when their luck ran out and S33 was destroyed.
The second is HG0102 - Tiger I "Early Production", No. 8, sPzKp Meyer, "Strolch". It is equally well-crafted and painted, with a black no 8 on the turret bin and turret sides near the mantlet.
Commentary: Really, really well-done. Considering the price of these kits (approximately the same price as most unbuilt/unpainted wargames kits), I think many gamers will be tempted to buy a ready-to-game-with Tiger tank, especially considering that there are no others available at present in 1:56th (S&S do one in 1:60, though). I have only one question- HOW did they keep the price so low?
Historical Accuracy: Five Very Good.
Scale: Five I've taken the measurements of the real tank from several sources, most of which disagree by a couple of inches, and used an average. The model scales out at 1:57 in length and 1:57 in width, which is close enough for me, and as close as many resin/white metal wargames-specific kits available.
Sculpting: Five Very Good.
Casting: Five Very Good.
Sources: Purchased to complement my figure collection.
Sculptors: Unknown.
Other reviews for this company: See the reviews:

Assorted additional images of the vehicle

PzKpfw VI I, as delivered
As Delivered

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