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Plastic Tigers

Five Reasons Why I Love The New Plastic Tiger
with Chris Townley

Over the past couple of years we have seen a pile of great plastic models coming out for Flames Of War. Some, like the Puma I have been wanting for years with an “on-paper” Panzer Lehr army designed and waiting for a chance to be built. Other kits, such as the M10, IS-2 and Comet are just an excuse to build new armies.

The Tiger left me in a bit of a quandary, however. I’ve already built a Tiger-centric army with my Panzer Ausbildungs Abteilung 500 Panzer Ausbildungs Abteilung 500 Company, so I wasn’t sure if I was going to be lining up for the new plastic kit. I’ll cut to the chase, though. After checking out the final frame in person and assembling one of the new models, I am now searching for an excuse to start building another Tiger Company! Here’s why…
Check out the Plastic Tiger 1e (GBX90) Spotlight here...

Ease Of Assembly

I love our models, but there are always ones that I enjoy assembling more (or less) than others – anyone else remember the old Katyusha from 15 years ago? The new plastics have all been designed with quick and simple assembly as a key design consideration. There are quite a few pieces to cut off the frame, but they are all fairly sizeable with no tiny pieces needing tweezers and a magnifying glass to see and handle. Big pieces mean components that are easy to clip, easy to clean up, easy to glue, and most importantly easy to find when I inevitably drop one on the floor.

 Tiger I E Platoon (GBX90)

One Piece Tracks and Open or Closed Cupolas

This really is an elaboration on the previous point, but one that I think is worth pointing out; I’m not a 1/35 scale modeller, I want to build my tank, paint it and then enjoy pushing it around the table (without worrying about tiny, fragile details getting broken). I don’t want to painstakingly build the track link-by-link. Similarly, having a cupola with an open hatch and another one with a closed hatch just makes my life a little simpler – it’s one less part to clip and glue. I also like the idea of having lots of German tank commanders sticking their heads out of tanks, since that was often how they fought.

Plastic Tigers

Plastic Tigers

Zimmerit Coating

Zimmerit was a paste-like coating that would be applied to German tanks during Mid- and Late-war, intended to stop magnetic anti-tank mines from sticking to the vehicle. A search of the internet will find plenty of people talking about how to create a zimmerit pattern on their large-scale tank models. At 15mm I know how painful it is to sculpt, having watched Evan and James carefully applying it to models. I’ll never do it! Our digital sculptors have explained to me how difficult it is to reproduce on a CAD-designed model, too (especially in 15mm) and it takes a fair amount of skill to create something that looks hand-applied (on real tanks the coating was manually applied by hand at the factory) without being too chunky. On the Tiger it is one of my favourite detail touches, especially when I look closely and see the variations in the pattern.

Over time and through combat chunks of the zimmerit coating could also be damaged and fall off. With the plastic Tiger it is easy to scrape or chip off small sections to personalise each tank’s appearance a little more.

Stowage and the “Extra Bits”

Most gamers/modellers end up with a “bits box” filled with left-over parts that might be useful one day. The Flames Of War range of plastic vehicles comes with some great little stowage pieces on each frame, and as you build an army you can find a wide variety of things to attach to a vehicle to add a little flair. In the case of the Tiger we get the ubiquitous “jerry can” that can be attached to any vehicle, as well as some track links and the slightly oddball bucket!

You also get two different options for your side skirts: one factory fresh and the other bent and damaged. You can also remove sections to further personalise the model. For those of you that have assembled and subsequently knocked these off on your metal/resin kits, these plastic ones come with a couple of subtle locating points to make attaching them nice and easy. If you want to build your Tiger sans-skirts, then the locating points can be carved off the hull with a flick of your knife.

Plastic Tigers

Plastic Tigers

All The Extra Bits

The initial release of the Tigers box comes packed with extra goodies to celebrate what is an iconic World War II tank (wasn’t every enemy tank a Tiger?) and a tank that is pretty close to our hearts at Battlefront – check out the Battlefront Tiger patch below! It includes an extra sheet of decals, a pair of printed acrylic objective markers, and a set of cards for the skirmish game TANKS, in which three Tiger tanks is a full army! What’s not to like!

It’s Dunklegelb Don’t You Know

Yep, you are not seeing things; as a foreshadowing of things to come, the new Tiger is coming out in dark-yellow coloured plastic, rather than the traditional grey. As someone that will be spraying a primer on my tanks, it really doesn’t matter what colour it comes out of the box, but I do think it’s a nice touch.

Final Thoughts

So there you have it: five reasons (possibly four or six depending on how seriously you take my thoughts on dunklegelb-coloured sprues, one-piece tracks and open/closed cupolas) why I think the new Tiger is a great little model. Now, if you will excuse me, I’ll be looking at pages 168-173 of Atlantik Wall to start noodling up a new army. And did you know the Panzer Lehr Panzerspähkompanie from Atlantik Wall that has Pumas can also have Tigers in support? Painting synergy – I love it when I can combine two exciting new things in the same army!

~Chris

Plastic Tigers

Plastic Tigers

Plastic Tigers


Last Updated On Wednesday, November 23, 2016 by Blake at Battlefront