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The German Tiger I Tank

Brief History

The German Tiger I Tank, born from the original 1937 project DW.1 or breakthrough vehicle (Durchbuchswagen), was probably one of the most famous tanks of World War II.

The initial trial vehicle was chosen from two major projects by the competing companies of Henschel and Porsche


The Henschel design was designated VK.4501 (H) (see pictures above). The Porsche design was designated VK.4501 (P)

The two designs were demonstrated before Adolf Hitler on April 20, 1942, at the trial center Rastenburg.
After much development work, the Henschel prototype was chosen for production. The official title was given as Pazerkampfwagen VI Tiger Ausf. H, while the official Sonderkraft tahrzeug (Ordnance No.) was designated as Sd Kfz 181. Later in 1944, this was changed to PzKpfw Tiger Ausf. E. SdKfz 181.

Produced for two years from late 1942 to late 1944, the Tiger exceeded its weight specification by over 10/11 tons. Nevertheless, it was produced in numbers up to 104 units per month with totals exceeding 1350 completed vehicles.

The model I built is a 1/16th Scale German Tiger I Early Production – Full Option Kit (#56010) from Tamiya. Below is the information about my Tiger I unit.


Tank Number: Tiger S12 (First Platoon)
Official Name: 13th (Heavy) Company, SS Panzer Regiment 1 “Leibstandarte SS Adolf Hitler”
Tank Commander: SS-Unterscharführer Hans Höld
Formation Date: November 2nd, 1943

The history of Tiger S12 in 13./SS-Panzer-Regiment 1

At the time of its redeployment in autumn 1943, prior to entrainment in Italy, the company included 27 Tigers. Tiger S12 and the other 26 Tigers arrived in August 1943. They still retained the old drum-shaped commander’s cupola. The tanks had track link brackets on the turret and were painted Dunkelgelb (dark yellow) at the factory. The crew then applied Grün (green) and Rotbraun (red-brown) camouflage and markings to the tanks.

On November 2, 1943, five tank platoons of five tanks each were formed. Being the regiment’s schwere (heavy) company, the tanks used a large “S” along with a two digit number (the first indicating the platoon and the second indicating the unique vehicle number) for the individual vehicle identifiers.
Hans Höld, commander of the Tiger S12, was killed when his commander’s cupola was shot off.

Modeling Historically Based Tiger S12
The S12 decal kit was purchased from BackYardArmor and has markings for 6 different Tiger tanks from various SS divisions. The kit also includes example camouflage drawings (see picture below). I was told that the decal was made by Microscale (a well-known company for decal manufacturing in the modeler world) and the quality is excellent.


On November 22, 1943, several Tigers, including Tiger S12, started an attack from Ulscha towards Jastrebenka together with the 1./SS-Panzer-Grenadier-Regiment 2. Twenty guns of an antitank-gun belt front were destroyed. That same day, SS-Unterscharführer
Before the Tamiya 1/16 Tiger model was painted or fully assembled, I looked for reference pictures of the Tiger S12 and its history. I purchased a couple of books and researched online to give me a better understanding of this tank. I gathered the parts needed to convert the Tamiya 1/16 kit into this specific Tiger S12            

S14, which took the same delivery and belonged to the same platoon as the Tiger S12.


I managed to get one picture of the Tiger S12 for my reference. The picture above suggested that Tiger S12 was built sometime in the months of March ~ May 1943. Take note of the tracks on the turret. There are five track link brackets on the left and three on the right. The loader periscope, covered by welded armor steel, was also added to the turret at that time. One of its functions was to assist the commander in identifying what been hit during firing.             The two pictures above show some of the newer early production Tigers belonging to the same 13th Company as the Tiger S12.
To post date my Tamiya kit to a March ~ May 1943 production Tiger, I purchased the Schumo-Kit Metal Spare Track Holders and made myself a loader periscope using Styrene and brass parts. Picture below shows a close-up of the Track Holder

The two pictures above show some of the newer early production Tigers belonging to the same 13th Company as the Tiger S12.
To post date my Tamiya kit to a March ~ May 1943 production Tiger, I purchased the Schumo-Kit Metal Spare Track Holders and made myself a loader periscope using Styrene and brass parts. Picture below shows a close-up of the Track Holder.


            The picture above shows an example of an early type of loader periscope.

Though the Turret Smoke Grenade Discharger was present on March ~ May 1943 build date, some of the reference pictures show that it was later removed or cut from the turret. Later pictures of S12 and S14 show that the Turret Smoke Grenade Dischargers were not present. The pictures below show some examples of the Turret Smoke Grenade Dischargers being removed or cut from the turn
The sketch drawing above suggests the new turret that was built in May 1943.              
The steel covered periscope on the early production Tiger is different from the late production Tiger. When the turret was redesigned sometime in July 1943 (the one with a new commander’s cupola – almost similar to the King Tiger cupola), the loader periscope’s steel cover was also redesigned. The new periscope steel cover on the late and mid-production Tiger (mid-production Tigers made use of the new turret that had the newly redesigned commander’s cupola) had a wider field view cover and was slightly lower at the rear. The pictures below illustrate the difference.


Here are some of the reference pictures
For my model of Tiger S12, I’ve decided to show that the Smoke Grenade Discharger had been cut from the turret.

I’ve also made some prominent corrections to the Tamiya kit to make it as historically accurate as possible.

Starting in January 1943, five S-mine dischargers were installed at the factory and reference pictures of Tiger S12 show them. I installed the Schumo-Kit S-Mine Set and ran some copper wires to the S-Mine to replicate them (the Schumo-Kit does not include wires).

The picture below shows the location of the S-Mine Dischargers on the left.
Other changes I made to my Tiger Model included adding the following:

1) 1. Running wires from the armored hub exit point to the Bosch Headlight (made using copper wires).

2) 2. Rear Brackets for the large tow cables installed on the engine deck (made using Styrene).
1) Elite Armor Metal Tracks

2) Wecohe Suspension Upgrade

3) Wecohe Metal Sprocket Guides

4) Wecohe TIGER l Recoil Upgrade

5) Schumo-Kits Metal 88mm Tiger I Barrel (Detailed)

6) Schumo-Kit Reduction Gearbox (needs some modification to fit regular battery).

7) 3mm thick Aluminum (6061-T6) Reinforcement Chassis. (made it myself) – prevents chassis from flexing

9. Daryl Turner Aluminium Cannon Elevation Arm – the arm at the mechanism (I stripped the original Tamiya part when my cat stepped on it and Daryl’s replacement part is even better, flop free)
10. Schumo-Kit Metal Tow Shackles (the original parts were too loose and I lost them)
11. Schumo-Kits Metal Bosch Light (I also added LEDs and made myself a circuit board to turn them ON-OFF at the Transmitter. See the following pictures.

Last but not least, here are some of the tools and materials I trusted for doing the weathering on this Tamiya Tiger S12. I used the same tools and materials for all my other scale modeling project


The picture below shows the correct armored hub (wiring connected to Bosch Light) that was changed from the circular hub included in the Tamiya kit, to the angular type that was in use starting in the January 1943 models. I did not modify this on my Tiger. I also did not weather dry mud on my tracks, as I need traction when running.
Below are the options I added to improve the 1/16 Tiger Model:

  Below are some of the books I used for my reference:

1) The Modeller's Guide to the Tiger Tank – By Military Miniatures in Review.

2) Tigers in Combat II – By Wolfgang Schneider

3) Tamiya PzKpfw VI Tiger Tank Interactive CD-ROM.

4) Tiger I Heavy Tank – By Tom Jentz & Hilary Doyle (Osprey Publishing)

5) Tiger in Action – By Bruce Culver (Squadron/Signal Pulblication)

6) Pzkpfw VI Tiger (Vol 2) – By Tadeusz Melleman (TankPower – AJ Press)

7) Pzkpfw VI Tiger (Vol 3) – By Tadeusz Melleman (TankPower – AJ Press)

8) The Tiger Tanks – By Bryan Perret (Osprey Publishing)
        Author; KhairulNizam Jafar

Alias: Nizee

TAA – Officer (Texas Armor Association)

You can contact me at the forum above if you have any questions or comments.




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