1/35 Tamiya King Tiger

Gallery Article by David Walker on Feb 22 2012


This is my 1/35 scale Tamiya King Tiger Tank , kit number 35164 - for the Eastern Front, February 1945.

The German King Tiger Tank was introduced in early 1944 and was the most powerful tank during World War 2.  With its powerful 88mm gun and an almost impenetrable front armour, it was one of the most feared weapons of the war.  Up to the end of the war, the allies had not introduced any effective means to counter the threat.  The Tiger II combined the heavy armour of the Tiger I with the sloped armour of the Panther.  The design followed the same concept as the Tiger I, but was intended to be even more formidable.  The very heavy armour and powerful long-range 88mm gun gave the Tiger II the advantage against virtually all opposing tanks.


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The Tamiya kit was supplemented with many after-market items and scratchbuilt details. 

The main additions were:

  • Eduard photo-etched detail set for the King Tiger

  • Aber turned aluminium 88mm barrel for King Tiger item no. 35L-15

  • Fruil Model all-metal tracks for Tiger II

  • Echelon Decal set number AXT 351001

  • Zimmerit applied using an out-of-production Aftermarket set that used plastic sheets

Scratchbuilt details included the following:

  • Tow cables were cut from 6 strand picture hanging wire

  • The track changing cable is fine electrical cable with the plastic insulating cover removed. One end of the bare wire strands was clamped in a pin vice, while the other end was twisted until the desired effect was achieved.

  • The headlight cable was replicated using fine solder.

  • All hatch handles were replaced with copper wire. The Commander's hatch pivot guard was added from plastic card.

I used the KingTiger II FruilModel all-metal tracks which you assemble using a special jig supplied, and assembled each track individually, link by link, linking with brass wire, until you have two sets of tracks, you can adjust them to have a realistic sag as well, plus you can scratch the paint showing some metal to come through and they just look great - easy to assemble if you take your time and use a good reference source to make sure you have them facing the right way!

The Fruil spare track links were used, with holes drilled through the interlocking teeth.  Several were pinned with brass wire for variety.

The wire joining the six bolts at the end of the Saukopf gun mantlet is stretched sprue cut into six appropriate lengths and carefully glued into place.  The crank handle guide ring hanging from the bottom of the right exhaust cover was fabricated from drilled plastic rod.

The radio antenna is shaped brass wire.  Gun cleaning rods are .035" Evergreen plastic rod.  The King Tiger II kit Exhausts were replaced by using out-of-production Moskit Hollow metal Exhausts found on eBay.  The Kingtiger, like other Panzers had the distinctive zimmerit coating applied in the factory.  Zimmerit was designed to defeat magnetic antitank charges, and resulted in the tanks having a rippled texture on the covered surfaces.  This rippling reduced the contact area for the magnetic mines to adhere to and when combined with the tank’s vibrations made it hard for the charges to adhere to the tank.  On the Kingtiger the zimmerit had a pattern of closely spaced horizontal ridges.

For modellers Zimmerit has proven vexing, as most of the previous approaches have their drawbacks ranging from cost (e.g. resin panels), time consuming (most approaches), difficult when applying to complex contours (P.E.) and the risk of making a mistake and ruining your kit (putty and applicator).

The Zimmerit was applied using an out-of-production Aftermarket set which had them printed in very highly detailed plastic sheets onto sticky paper with strong glue fixing them to the tank -I can’t remember which manufacturer made them, but they have been a wise investment and were dead easy to apply, didn‘t have to cut them either ( don’t use photo-etch zimmerit, it never looks right - too perfect looking ! )

Cavalier make a good alternative if you want my advice.

Painting, Markings and Weathering
All camouflage colours were applied with the Testor Aztek A470 airbrush.

Tamiya paints were used:

  • XF-64 Red Brown

  • XF-59 Desert Yellow mixed with XF-2 Flat White mixed 50:50

  • Equal parts XF-13 JA Green, XF-65 Field Grey and Gunze-Sangyo H312 Green

The wooden handles of the tools were painted XF-59 Desert Yellow.

The entire model was sprayed with Tamiya acrylic X-22 Clear Gloss.  When dry, a thin wash of Tamiya enamel X-18 Semi Gloss Black 60% to XF-64 Red Brown 40% was applied.

Mud was added using Faber-Castell Pastel Chalk (9286-179), powdered and mixed with Mineral Turpentine.  The resulting slurry was painted onto the tracks and the wheels , I used “ green-line “ grass for the Diorama , and the angled Brass Name Plate ID Holder was made by AMTEC Industries , 1 West End Units, "Charles field", St. Boswells to my own design.

David Walker

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Photos and text © by David Walker