Sunday, January 2, 2011

Targa Japan's 1/48 Maniac Collection Sdkfz 181 Tiger I (2006)

Hey Everybody!

Here's wishing all of you a Happy 2011 and may the new year bring many good tidings to you all. JQ and I are back in Singapore and we plan to get some WFB gaming + maybe get some photoshooting underway...but it will need to wait about a week as I will be away in HK :( Man, 2010 has just flown by and we're crossing into a new decade...the year 2000 does seem to be quite a long time ago. Looking back, this blog has come together quite well, and JQ and I are really happy to dwell in this community we share on the internet! It will be interesting (as always) to find out what this year has installed for all of us...

As I've shared before, I have a soft spot for German WWII tanks and this is about a pretty awesome Japanese model I picked up last year.

Willkomen zu die Welt von Panzer!!!
(Welcome to the World of Armor!!!) - it's on the box that came with the model

Like Apple, the Germans have a penchant for labeling their famous creations (specifically tanks) after big cats eg. Panther, Leopard, King Tiger...and the Tiger I tank stands as a fearsome icon of the Second World War. Armed with a deadly Kwk 43 L/71 88mm cannon, the Tiger I outranged most of its opponents and reportedly struck fear in Allied tank crews.

The fearsome and iconic Tiger I tank (Achtung Panzer).

The Tiger I tank reported an overall kill ratio of roughly 5.74:1, with some elite units even having ratios like 16:1 and 13:1! Some Tiger Is had undergone heavy repair to return to the front, contributing somewhat to the positive kill ratio. Unfortunately, Tiger Is were notoriously expensive to produce and here's an estimation to illustrate it: 1 Tiger I tank was equivalent to 4 StuG III AFVs (tank destroyers w/o turrets, which proved to be better adapted for the Wehrmacht's defensive strategy)

The StuG III AFV, dedicated fixed turret tank destroyer, also claimed the largest amount of kills for German armor throughout WWII. (Achtung Panzer)

The Tiger Is operated in independent tank battalions, and were intended to be used as breakthrough tanks that drove into enemy lines...except that the tactical situation changed at the time of their introduction. The Wehrmacht was on the defensive, and Tigers were instead deployed in defensive positions...which didn't suit them well as the multiple movements incurred significant mechanical strain upon their engines and suspension systems. Nonetheless, the combination of heavy (near impenetrable) armor and a powerful cannon made it a very deadly tank in WWII.

Allow me to introduce to you Targa Japan's Maniac Collection 1/48 Tiger I tank, comes fully painted and has multiple cross sections that allow you to look into the interior and crew of the tank! The model comes in 7 boxes, which combine together to give the complete model. Construction quality seems to be pretty good as it holds together quite well without the need for cement.

Cross-sections galore, you can actually choose which sections you'd want to show or even close the whole tank up.

Picked this guy up from a local retailer (Hobby Focus at Far East Plaza, Singapore) and it was selling for about 70SGD = 54 USD...slightly higher than prices reported elsewhere, but it's expected since it was imported and a pretty hard model to come by too.

"Maniac Collection" seems to be a fitting label, as the model has great attention to detail, and came with copious amounts of information of the Tiger I tank, unfortunately in Japanese. The Japanese seem to have a large interest in making historical kits that are probably aimed at children, judging from the easy construction and the cartoons in the info sheets.

Top-down view of the tank, I noticed the radio operator (top, left) is out of position after I had uploaded the pic...

Evidence of the attention of detail Targa applied onto the tank...the cannon rounds you see were accurately color coded according to German ammo doctrine, with the yellow rounds = Sprenggranaten (High Explosive) and black rounds = Panzergranate 39 (Armor Piercing). Just a minor sidenote, the Tiger I's gun was so powerful that the rounds flew almost straight, giving gunners a wider range of error when hitting enemy tanks. Another a minor point: knowing how hot tank interiors can be (especially under the African Sun) the crew probably worked half-naked...

The tank driver...vrooom!
The radio operator, who also manned the hull's machine gun.

Not sure if it's just me, but I sense that Japanese model kit makers (or maybe most model kit makers) have a pretty healthy focus on German WWII tanks, as I have seen much more German models than their Allied counterparts. This may also be a result of the Germans's unhealthy inclination for over-engineering, as they produced a large variety of tanks that severely limited tank production and maintenance.

If you're interested, you can find a really detailed history of the Tiger I tank The Armor Site.

In all, I am really happy to have purchased this guy off the shelf and again amazes me how much effort the Japanese put into the models they produce (or almost for anything they do in life, such as cleaning/tidying, studying, working, anime).

Once again, here's wishing all of you a very Happy New Year and thanks for coming down to be a part of this community! May this year bring us much joy and modeling/collecting happiness.


  1. I Always admiring the details of Manufactured products from Japan.
    They really bring the highest quality stuff tot he consumers!

    Great Tiger Tank JOSH!

  2. I like this model set.
    They come in box sets that feature a few parts.
    There are also ready-made ship models that come in parts too!

    Nice stuff!

  3. For those who don't know. It is due to the sheer pwoer of the German Tanks that standard military armour tactics for the American was that 1 Tiger would have to be met by at least 3 Sherman Tanks!

  4. Totally Agree with you Killers!

    German Tanks are ferocious and at that time, they were the heavyweights of Main Battle Tank Innovation!

    But i also does come with a cost. As Josh has mentioned in the post, they cost a lot and production speed cannot match the industrial might of the US.

  5. The crew man could really use and extra touch-up and be done in more detail by human hands but I must concur that the details for a manufactured and pre-assembled and painted model, that this tiger tank possesses is really remarkable.

    Great workmanship! Japan!

  6. Haha, everytime I look at German Armour, all I can say is this, "Shouldn't have taken on the Russians"

    HaHa but I guess everything turned out for the better after WW2

  7. Hahahaha Nice one Shen!

    My thoughts are more on the, "Shouldn't have take on all of Europe..:S"