For my fourth review, I have chosen to take a close look at one of my most recent procurements - the Ultimate Soldier 32x Cold Steel Jagdtiger S1. It was the first miniature I bought from the WW2 Attic, and the ease of that transaction led to many more with its owner, Matt Deslandes. It was also the first 21st Century Toy I bought, and due its quality and price, not the last! Since then I've bought a 32x M7 Priest and SdKfz 222 armoured car (the plastic version). They complement my larger collection of Forces of Valor. I have become a fan of 21st Century Toys because they offer models that are not currently offered by anyone else, such as the Panzer III, Brummbär and StuG IV.
On to the review. This Jagdtiger is painted in soft three-tone camoflage scheme (forest green and reddish brown on top of a dunkelgelb
base). There is no zimmerit
, but from photographs I must note that most were probably not given a coat of anti-magnetic paste, as they were built mainly in the latter part of 1944 up until about February 1945 - the period in which use of zimmerit
was discontinued. Judging by the size of the wheels, this model represents one with the nine-wheeled Henschel suspension system (slighly more complicated than the eight-wheeled Porsche system of which only 11 of the total of approxiately 85 were built). Only two schwere Panzerjäger-Abteilung
(heavy tank hunter units) were equipped with Jagdtigers, 512 and 653. This Jagdtiger, "314" is the third tank of the 3rd company, 1st zug
. The only reference to 314 I can find is that of Porsche Jagdtiger serving in the 3/sPzJgAbt 653 in early 1945. This can be overlooked if you consider this to be a part of 3/sPzJgAbt 512 and not 653.
After sitting the Jagdtiger next to one of my FoV King Tigers, I was pleased to note that the hull of the former was longer. Jagdtiger had a longer hull (26cm longer in fact) because of the size of the gun and fighting compartment. While the hull is long enough, the running gear appears to be the same as that of the 21st Century King Tiger. It was probably economical for them to reuse existing components, but the running gear is not accurate because of it. There should be a gap between the rearmost wheel and the rear idler, but there is not. So... in short, the hull is long enough, but the running gear is not.
The long L/55 PaK 44 cannon is most impressive. It had to be installed after the tank destroyer was taken out of its box, and it has to be glued to stop it from "wiggling" too much. It is hard to believe that back in 1943/44 they had to mount this gun in such a huge vehicle considering that in the 21st century, guns of 120mm and 125mm are common in modern main battle tanks. Back then, however, this gun could destroy any Allied armoured vehicle in existance. There is a bow MG 34 that moves around and a pintle-mounted MG 42 on a post on the rear engine deck. There are etchings to show the thickness of armour plates which add to the realism. The welding interlocking joints are also shown, which I like to see in diecast miniatures. The stowage is all simplified and painted well enough, but the brown they use for wood is garish. Towing cables are mounted on the right side of the vehicle and come preinstalled - a blessing after the nightmarish tow cables of the FoV Jagdpanther. The engine compartment hatch, rear fighting compartment doors, commander's, driver's and radioman's hatches all open. I had to glue the last two closed because they tended to move too freely. The upper hull is of metal construction and everything else is of plastic construction. There are no "inside details" - the inside is empty. The hatches should only be left open if a figure is mounted inside. Two such figures were included with this model - a commander and a crewman. Both look like zombies. I only use the commander because he looks all right from more than four feet away.
The little smudge of khaki paint on the mantlet. I may smudge this off with some paint thinner sometime in the near future. It doesn't really bother me that much. You can clearly see how the gun and mantlet are separate parts. Also, note the glued-shut forward hatches and the travel lock for the main gun that was glued to the forward hull:
The undead vehicle commander. Enough said:
The running gear. I like how the tracks have been aged and am particularly fond of the weathering used on the wheels, drive sprocket & rear idler. Four sections of the fenders are missing (two sections on both sides). Altogether, the running gear is one of the strong points of this model:
Left side, showing the two missing fenders, hideous paint used on the tools and four spare track links:
Right side, showing the tow cables, missing fenders and spare track links:
Rear hull, showing the MG 42 in the AA mount:
The emptiness within. It should be noted that the back doors to the fighting compartment were hard to open. It seems like they will break if opened one too many times:
Bottom shot. I don't mind that there isn't a gram of mud treatment on this model. It looks great clean. There are four holes for screws holding the upper & lower hull together and two holes for screws to mount this vehicle to its base plate:
I don't know about you, but I don't think Jabos
had much trouble finding these beasts out in the open!
For $30 CDN including shipping, how can you possibly go wrong with this Jagdtiger? The camoflage is decent, the vehicle is well detailed enough for my taste and it's just
hefty enough to make me smile. The well-weathered running gear and welding interlocking joints are amazing
for such a cheap model. The lack of weathering is something that can be overlooked because I doubt any of these vehicles survived very long in the field after rolling out of the factory .
The only negatives worth mentioning are the figures, which as I said look like zombies (very, very poor paintjobs on both of 'em), the smudge of paint on the mantlet, the garish paint on the mounted tools and the fact that the running gear is not realistic.
All in all, I would say that compared to Forces of Valor offerings that can cost twice or even three times more than what 21st Century releases, you get a great deal! It looks great sitting next to a FoV King Tiger or Jagdpanther. If you find the lack of weathering to be annoying it wouldn't be too hard for you to do it yourself.
Well done, 21st Century! I look forward to new product releases in the 32x Cold Steel line.