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Sunday, January 22, 2012

Introducing the King Tiger

The King Tiger, Tiger II or Königstiger was the last heavy tank manufactured by Germany during the war. Its official ordnance designation was Sd Kfz 182, but it was also known as Pzkw VI or Panzer VI. A more accurate translation of Königstiger would be Bengal Tiger, however King Tiger has become the accepted translation. Design for a heavy tank had begun before the war. Two competing designs were generated. One from Porsche, the other from Henschel. In the end the production contract went to Henschel, however a few turrets had already been ordered to fit the Porsche design. These were then modified to fit the Henschel chassis, which is the reason why there were two turret types for the King Tiger. Production began in 1944. Less than 500 King Tigers in all were produced during the war, with the first King Tigers seeing action in Normandy and continuing to see action through the end of the war on all fronts. The Tiger II combined the thick armor of the Tiger I with the sloping armor features of the Panther, and despite its weight, it was remarkably agile. That, along with its deadly 88mm high velocity gun, made it a formidable opponent on the battlefield with an approximate kill ratio of 10 to 1. There are anecdotes of a King Tiger taking over 24 hits in one action without being destroyed. Kurt Knispel, the tank ace with the highest score of the war, commanded a Tiger II. Unfortunately, the King Tiger was susceptible to mechanical problems which caused many to be abandoned and blown up to avoid capture. In terms of scale models, we have a few variations. Most of them courtesy of Forces of Valor. New Ray has also produced a couple and even 21Century Toys released its own version before going out of business. Unfortunately I did not get to buy this last one. Anyhow, let's take a look at what we have.
Forces of Valor King Tiger - Normandy
This is indeed a heavy tank, and I mean that literally. As usual, the level of detail is all there. The Zimmerit cover, the tank tracks on the turret for extra protection against side shots, the MG ready to fire at any diving P-51s. Forces of Valor released it in multiple color schemes. This one they released as the Normandy model.

Forces of Valor King Tiger - Normandy
Yes. This is also a Normandy model. I believe that this one was the first one to be released.

Forces of Valor King Tiger - Normandy - II
Here we have it deployed in a prepared position. Most likely somewhere on the Eastern Front.

Forces of Valor King Tiger - Germany 1945
A late war version of the King Tiger, possibly like the ones which fought on the Seelow Heights or the defense of Berlin.

Forces of Valor King Tiger - Porsche Turret - France
This one shows the King Tiger with the early Porsche turret. Note how its rounded front created a trap for any round hitting it on the bottom half. This time the called this model the France model. I guess it would have been too mcuh to label it Normandy for the third time.

Forces of Valor King Tiger - Porsche Turret - II
Here we see it from the front. Possibly advancing towards the Norman battlefields.

Forces of Valor King Tiger - Porsche Turret - III
And full view from the side. Good thing this bridge is made of stone.
New Ray King Tiger
This is one of the few vehicles produced by New Ray. The color scheme is not my favorite, the scale is a bit on the smaller side, and the uniform on the commander also seems out of place, but it does have quite a nice feature. It is battery opperated. I believe New Ray has come up with a newer version of the King Tiger in a darker, better looking cammo color scheme.

Click here to see a post about the Tiger Tank.

2 comments:

  1. Hi,
    Nice dioramas! Very interesting blog!
    I have a blog too about tanks and aircraft of WWII, most of them 1/72 scale, take a look, thanks.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thanks! Just checked yours and it is also very nice. Quite inspirational!

    ReplyDelete