Prototype Background

The Tiger I was a German heavy tank of World War II in service from 1942 through the end of the war. It began operation in Africa, but quickly was introduced to other battlefields, typically in its own independent units. Its final designation was Panzerkampfwagen VI Tiger Ausf. E often shortened to Tiger. It was the first fighting vehicle that mounted the outstanding 8.8 cm KwK 36 gun. They were eventually phased out of production in 1944 in favor of the heavier Tiger II tanks.

While the Tiger I has been called an outstanding design for its time, it was expensive and tempermental. It suffered from track and engine issues, and its weight caused issues in the softer earth of the eastern front especially in the rainy season.

It was among the first of the new generation of weapons introduced after the start of hostilities, in which the German leadership placed a lot of faith, and it certainly was formidable when introduced. However, opponents eventually learned to exploit its disadvantages in combat.

The Kit and Build

In mid-2016 I was doing some scanning on Amazon for help in painting some of my 1/72 scale military models. I ran across the book "How to Paint 1:72 Military Vehicles" by Miguel (“Mig”) Jimenez, a Spanish modeler who I’d not heard of at the time. Sometimes in North America we are a bit sheltered from the rest of the world. I was captivated by this book- a range of projects in my scale that showed incredible detail and care, and delivered outstanding results. I was mesmerized, and still love to just page through this book, poring over the details and the photos, trying to internalize the techniques.

My first project inspired by the book was my King Tiger, found here. I am also been really attracted to the Tiger tank done by Artur Wachowski, the subject here.

As in the book, I started with the Zvezda 1/72 Tiger tank (thanks to my brother’s family for Christmas!). It is a nice model, though I had trouble with the tracks, getting them to fit correctly. I did spring for the upgraded barrel (RB Models 72B06 1/72 Gun Barrel WWII German Tiger I, 8,8cm KwK 36) which I bought on ebay. That was my sole modification to the basic kit.

Paint and Markings

Painting- I started with a primer coat, and then a coat of Tamiya black all over to establish some shadows. I then used Model Master Dunkelgelb for the base, one overall coat and then lightening it a bit for the upper surfaces.

The camouflage stripes are Tamiya Olive Green, thinned with alcohol (I find 70% isopropyl alcohol to be a good thinner for Tamiya paint).


I used a series of washes, including red-brown, gray and a little brown, to try and pull out some highlights. I added some chipping with oil paints on some of the edges that would see wear.


I was fairly pleased with the outcome. Relative to the project in the book, I think it came out pretty well. I learned a few things, and had some fun doing it.


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