Rye Field Model 1/35 Tiger I Pz.Kpfw.VI Ausf.E Sd.Kfz.181 RM5001
And here is the review
Rye Field Model Kit: RM5001
Tiger 1: Pzkfw. VI Ausf.E Sd.Kfz.181, Initial Production, Early 1943 North African Front / Tunisa
By Richard Briggs
Recently an announcement appeared that there was yet another Chinese “new-kid-on-the-block” kit manufacturer, this one called Rye Field Model. Their first release was a Tiger 1, because of course the world was just “desperate” for yet another kit of this vehicle. My tongue-in-cheek remark aside, I remember writing on hearing of the release of this kit, “Does the world need another Tiger 1 kit?”
The answer, as it turns out is, well, “Yes!” – just so long as it’s this one.
Upon opening the sturdy and very tastefully-produced box (it feels like a MENG Models box), one is greeted with a well-packaged and full box of parts. Nine sprues of crisp and cleanly-moulded tan plastic parts, along with the lower hull – a large separate casting, 192 track links and four sprues of dark steel track-coloured parts for the tracks (the pins and guide teeth are packed in a cello bag, while the links are packed in a clear acetate box of sorts), one clear sprue containing periscopes and vision blocks, a photo etch fret with a copper wire for two cables, a decal sheet and the instruction booklet.
Slide moulding is VERY much in evidence throughout the kit. The fact that the kit provides for quite a few model options depicting variations between vehicle types is also very evident from the extra “optional” parts provided on the various sprues. Additionally, it is evident that a future kit is coming with an interior (unless they plan to release it separately as MENG did with their own Bradley interior) since the interior faces of appropriate kit parts (turret halves, lower hull, etc) exhibit ridges, holes and the like designed to fit and locate interior parts within the vehicle; and given there are no such parts supplied in this kit, one can only speculate that another one is coming, or a separate interior will be.
Further supporting the future interior kit/kit with interior is the fact the kit does supply a couple of sprues of 88mm shell stowage and bagged MG ammo stowage – which looks to be enough to completely outfit the vehicle with main gun & MG ammunition stowage. Again, the inclusion of such bits ONLY makes sense if an interior is going to be forthcoming sometime in the future.
Photo etch is nicely done, and has been kept to a reasonable amount and doesn’t look like it involves very much in the way of complex work in this medium – which elicited a huge sigh of relief from Your Humble Narrator (Y.H.N.). Authentically executed intake screens – which look “woven” have been supplied as well as alternative (you may replace the plastic parts) tool clamps and some other small fittings, as well as options for the forward fenders, are provided on the single photo etch fret.
I am not going to count rivets here; nor am I going to hunt for every niggling thing that may or may not, be out of place. What I would suggest is the following; given all the fine reference available on this vehicle – and there is MUCH reference indeed, I shall leave it to each modeller to determine for themselves where this kit shines, and where it does not by their own reckoning. Looking over the parts, one can offer up the fact that the standard of moulding exhibited by the parts is VERY high. The level of detail is quite exceptional, and appears to be accurate overall. A selection of mantlets, drive sprockets and turret configurations are provided which should enable one to construct the main variations seen among Tigers sent to North Africa / Tunisa, these belonging to either Panzer Abteilung 501 or later, 504.
There were enough variations among individual vehicles that one is best advised to determine whatever eccentricities might have existed in connection with the actual vehicle one intends to model by studying available photographs. One example is the fitting of the rear starter crank cover; some had this fitted at an angle, while others had it fitted oriented vertically between the rear exhaust stacks. Which way is correct? Well, “neither” or “both” – the exact answer depending upon which vehicle you elect to replicate with your model.
Road wheels are exceptionally detailed, including exceptional weld detail. So too, small fittings are included in styrene and photo-etch which all serve to make the wheels, which, at first glance, may appear as “simple” affairs, anything but. The hex nuts cast on the drive sprockets are small wonders in themselves, and truly must be seen to be appreciated. Properly executed, this really is one of those models that begs for subtle, yet sophisticated painting and weathering so as to highlight all its exceptional moulding and other fine details. This is NOT the Tiger you want to build up and then crust the vehicle with mud, thus obscuring all the superlative detail that has been provided.
The tracks look like they may well be tedious to assemble at best (if not downright contemptible!). The modeller must glue two track guide teeth to the interior face of each link. Once dry, the links will be attached using two individual pins which are inserted, one from each side of each link and then cemented in place. I have built such tracks before, and can offer up the observation that it is a somewhat repetitive and boring process that has the added flaw of being very time consuming. Many modellers may opt for the welcome alternative of Fruilisimo tracks as an alternative – they are likely to be far less work in the end, even given their own special handling issues (cleanup, blackening etc). For the record, Y.H.N. intends to at least give the kit tracks a shot – they do look very good, and if they build well, should produce a very passable final product.
Hey, if you want “easy” then there is always the Tamiya kit of this same general Tiger version!
The barrel is made up of a series of slide-moulded, single-piece “tubes” more or less, meaning there will be no pesky center seams to clean up, fill and sand. So too, no danger of creating any flat spots from sanding – just a nice tubular barrel capped with a well-detailed muzzle break. This is the way tank models were meant to be designed and assembled!
While I’ve not built this kit or even started to, I am pretty confident that it will go together well. The mouldings exude quality and precision, and the built up samples I’ve seen in photographs look quite precise in terms of parts alignment etc. The largest seams requiring cleanup I could find in those same built-up photographs appear to be on the Feifel air cleaning filters mounted on the rear face of the hull which will need to be filled and sanded to get a seamless appearance, which is hardly an arduous task. The tops of the units however, receive photo-etched disks that form “caps” and hide the seams that would otherwise possibly be visible on the tops of these units, so once you’ve taken care of the sides of the Feifel units, the tops will take care of themselves provided they've been smoothed out before the photo-etched parts are glued in place atop them. Incidentally, the hoses that link these units to the engine are beautifully rendered in styrene, slide-moulded pieces, which are a huge improvement over the flexible hoses supplied on the Tamiya kit for the modeller to cut and fit in place.
There are now three kits on the market depicting this version of the Tiger 1; this newest one from Rye Field, Tamiya’s kit 35227 (released in 1998) and DML’s kit 6820 – recently released or re-released as it happens – mostly an older Smart kit with some new bells and whistles. Rye Field’s is easily poised to become the premiere kit of this version of the Tiger. It is also competitively priced as opposed to the Tamiya and Dragon offerings – most notably in the case of the latter.
If modellers can get past the tedious track assembly inherent in this kit, then Rye Field Model will have a winner on their hands and this reviewer can’t wait to see future examples from this promising new company.