Tiger I
Initial Production
ABER 1:35 Set #35 177
Review by Terry Ashley

DragonThis set from ABER is designed for the Dragon Tiger I Initial Production (kit #6252) and sees ABER at their insane best (meant in the nicest possible way).

With the detail and accessories included in the Dragon kit it’s hard to see what aftermarket companies could come up with but ABER have managed to include even the smallest detail with the six page instruction sheet giving some indication of what’s ahead.

The quality of etching is again excellent as we know from ABER with many very small parts cleanly rendered with subtle relief where needed and the usual engraved bending lines.

The most obvious inclusion is a set of engine deck screens which feature very nicely rendered weave effect that will look good when painted with the screens including the angled side sections that will require some care bending. I had difficulty bending these side sections due to the very narrow section to be bent with a couple of bending tools used having trouble actually gripping the part it was so narrow and when bending there was a tendency to bend at the edge of the mesh and not along the centre of the solid side section. I eventually succeeded in getting an even bend without damaging the mesh and the screens fitted perfectly to the kit engine deck grills but extreme care will be needed when bending the edges.

As well as the engine deck screens there are the multi-part front fenders with fine diamond surface pattern with hinges that can be made workable and replacement rear fenders with separate stiffeners. All the tool clips and brackets are supplied many in small multi-part assemblies that will have you reaching for the magnifiers and again the clips can be made workable with care.

The fire extinguishers get new brackets as does the wood jack block and the kit jack is reworked with new etched face plates as well as the large securing brackets which also can be made workable if you want to go that far.

The head light and tail light get additional detailing with mountings and other fine details and the hull top steel rope brackets are supplied with a choice of complete etched brackets or reworking of the kit brackets with added etched clips. The full etched brackets certainly have better definition but will obviously require more work than just adding the securing clips to the lower kit brackets.

On the turret there are new brackets for the rear storage box and additional detail parts for the Commander’s periscopes as well as provision to make the cupola hatch hinge workable by drilling the kit hatch hinges and adding the lower etched hinge inserts with these parts being very small and intricate if you want to tackle this.

We now move on to the insane parts where the hull crew hatches have the complete moulded on latch mechanism replaced with 14 etched parts each plus some small sections of thin plastic rod and wire with the three locking bars that can be made workable if you wish? The most difficult part here is removing the moulded on locking bars from the kit doors without damaging the surrounding detail before adding the new etched parts.

ABERThe hull/hatch hinge can also be reworked to be workable by drilling out the plastic parts and inserting thin wire for the hinge as well as adding rolled wire support springs so the hatch can open/close as well as the locking bars lock/unlock, are you still with me here?

If you survive the latches there is still the periscope housings made up of another 10 parts each plus thin wire with the inner housing section able to be folded back with the workable hinges holding the two sections together. Additional wing nuts and fine springs made from thin wire hold the two housing sections together with the reworked kit periscopes fitting into the housings.

That’s the right hatch done; now you can repeat this for the left hatch.

After a quick lie down we now move on to the Loader’s turret hatch which again has the complete inner mechanism replaced with 18 etched parts plus thin wire with the four locking bars again able to be made workable. Removing the moulded on detail is again the most difficult part but at least there is only the one hatch do deal with here.

ABERIt goes without saying that these latch parts are extremely small and the assemblies intricate but if you survive the exercise you will have the most incredible looking and detailed hatch mechanisms this side of the real thing, so go to it.

But it doesn’t stop there as we move back to the turret where the six smoke grenade pots also get the treatment. The two mounting plates are supplied as well as four part base assemblies for each pot that includes the wiring and fine retaining chain with the middle pot also including the wiring support bracket.

The wiring channel made from 1mm brass rod (not included) is added to the turret roof to meet up with the wiring included on each pot base with the channel retaining clip on the turret roof also supplied. Additional bolt heads are provided for the mounting plate/turret mounting bracket join to complete another detailed sub-assembly.

Finally there is a four part spout assembly for the kit Jerry Cans and etched latches for the kit supplied wooden ammo boxes.

This set is ABER at their intricate best with some of the finest and complex assemblies you will find anywhere but the end result is superb detail definition on the hatches, smoke pots and around the vehicle with the tool clips/brackets.

Obviously this set is not for the faint heated or novice etched metal (or blind) user and there is no point kidding ourselves, there is some considerable work needed to get the intended result, but the effort will surely be worth it.

Highly recommended for anyone who wants to lift their Tiger I to new detail level.

Etched parts

Thanks to Michael from Airconnection for the sample set.
Airconnection carry the full range of ABER update and barrels sets.

Page Created December 21, 2005

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