15 Feb 2011

April 1942

VK 45.01 (H)

I think it will help to consider VK 45.01 (H), which was completed in April 1942, as the blueprint for following Tigers.  I will describe its features here in a retrospective, assuming we all appreciate the attributes of an Initial or Early Tiger.  VK 45.01 (H) is similar to the upcoming production Initial Tigers, but certain ‘items’ are missing/different.

VK 45.01 (H) identiying points are;
  • The prototype Tiger had no OVM tools.
  • It had no wing-nuts for fording gear on the MG ball.
  • There was no MG fitted in the Kugelbende on the three photographs I have, I will assume the coaxial MG is similarly missing.
  • This was the first Henschel Tiger – it had the first Henschel-style mantlet without a cut-out at the lower left border.
  • The prototype had a horn on the upper hull.
  • VK 45.01 (H) had no periscopes in the driver’s or radio operator’s hatches.
  • The prototype had a flat-hatch style opening stopper for the cupola lid, which opened fully-flat, this means that there was no swing-arm for the hatch opener, or spring gear; the hatch would have been opened manually & dropped.
  • The MP Klappen were asymmetrical.
  • There were no S-mine launchers or smoke-launchers on this Tiger 1.
  • There was a Vorpanzer.
  • The sprocket wheel external bolts were aligned with the wheel spokes, as were the sprocket teeth, but the hub nuts were not aligned with the spokes.
  • The sprocket wheel hubs were the earlier ‘reverse-dimple’ style.
  • One would have thought that this Tiger would have had ‘mirror’ tracks; in the photographs I have seen it did not.  I wonder, therefore, whether this Tiger sported the first type of non-mirror tracks, a decision which was ‘modified’, then later re-simplified?
  • There was no sighting wire on the forward cupola slit.
  • There were no rain cover posts on the cupola.
  • Despite sporting the Vorpanzer, the forward sections of the hull had holes for tow shackles.
  • The turret roof extraction fan had an armoured cover applied in the photographs I can see.
  • There were no hatch hooks on the rear hull deck grates, but there was one on the engine hatch.
  • There was no crank starter plate.
  • There was no towing apparatus on the lower hull rear plate.
  • The engine hatch (like Tiger 111) had no rectangular air intake aperture in the forward position.
  • There were no lightweight front mudguards; these were solid metal extensions of the glacis pate, further – this area had no circular cut-outs for ‘lorry camouflage’.
  • The exhausts had no shrouds, but also had no flappers, or bolt mechanism for attaching circular metal covers; the upper aspects of the exhausts were blank discs with a hole in for exhaust gases.
  • The rear mudguards look the same as the Initial Tiger 1’s.
  • This Tiger had a rectangular convoy light, as seen later on Tiger 111.
  • Fgst.Nr.V1 had no armoured guards around the final drives.
  • This Tiger had a metal antenna base at the upper right of the rear plate and a rubber antenna mount on the right side of the hull roof.
I think this Tiger was (at some point, at least) Primer Red.  Having discussed this I have come to the conclusion that the barrel is a darker colour, one assumes it would be the heat resistant dark grey we hear so much about, furthermore the Bosch lights & the hooter were speiclist supplies, so would have been delivered in Panzer Grey, creating a bit of a patchwork Tiger.  Looking at reference pictures of April 1942 VK45.01(P) did have rubber antenna mount for an aerial; I am sure that VK45.01(H) would have the same, albeit without an actual antenna.  This Tiger was prepared for a head-to-head with the Porsche prototype on Hitler's birthday, 1942. I read that VK45.01(P) was Panzergrau at that trial; it was allegedly completed only minutes before the rail shipment left for the proving ground trials; after working around the clock for six days the vehicle was operationally ready and inspected on 17 April 1942 just 40 minutes before being loaded with its cross-country tracks onto a railcar for transport to Hitler’s headquarters in Rastenburg, for the competition with the Porsche VK 45.01 (P) contender held on 20 April 1942.

This modelling project used the following items;

  • Dragon PzKpfwVI Ausf E SdKfz 181, Tiger 1 Initial Production, ref 6252
  • MasterClub  Tiger 1 early tracks, ref #MC135007W
  • Voyager Model Tiger 1 Initial Type PE set, ref PE35346
  • RB Models 8.8cm KwK 36 L/56 Tiger I (early model), ref 35B01
  • Academy Tiger 1 early sprocket wheels modified with cast resin hubs
The completed pre-priming build looks like this:

I hope you like it.



  1. Love it. Not an expert y any means but good to have something like this to refer to. I'm kinda ify about Voyager PE, how do you find it? Any chance of closer shots,?

    1. Hi James

      Thanks for looking in & commenting.

      I love Voyager Model PE - having tried most of the PE sets out there for a 1/35 Tiger I think the Voyager range beats them all.

      I will upload close-up shots of every build in time, before priming. Do you have any particular requests for which parts you want photographed on a macro?