In 1942 Germany developed the Tiger I, which was then used during WWII. Its official German designation was Panzerkampfwagen VI Tiger Ausf. E, often shortened to Tiger. During the course of the war, the Tiger I saw combat on all German battlefronts. It was usually deployed in independent heavy tank battalions, which proved highly effective. A single Tiger I proved to be more than a match for the American made Sherman tank. If it were not for the Sherman’s higher deployment numbers in theatre, it’s commonly believed the outcome of the war could have been different.
While the Tiger I was ahead of its time in design, it was over-engineered because it used expensive raw materials and it employed labor-intensive production methods. Only 1,347 were built between August 1942 and August 1944. The Tiger was prone to certain types of track failures and breakdowns, and limited in range by its high fuel consumption. It was expensive to maintain, but generally mechanically reliable. It was also difficult to transport, and vulnerable to immobilization when mud, ice and snow froze between its overlapping and interleaved Schachtellaufwerk-pattern road wheels in both gravel and succeeding winter weather conditions, often jamming them solid. In 1944, production was phased out in favor of the Tiger II.
The tank was given its nickname “Tiger” by Ferdinand Porsche, and the Roman numeral was added after the later Tiger II entered production. The initial official German designation was Panzerkampfwagen VI Ausführung H (”Panzer VI version H”, abbreviated PzKpfw VI Ausf. H), with the H being for the designer/manufacturer, Henschel. It was classed with ordnance inventory designation SdKfz 182. The tank was later redesignated as PzKpfw VI Ausf. E in March 1943, with ordnance inventory designation SdKfz 181.
Today, only a handful of Tigers survive in museums and exhibitions worldwide. The Bovington Tank Museum’s Tiger 131 is currently the only one restored to running order.
This particular Tamiya model was originally released in 1969. It comes in an uncommon 1/25 scale, which gives this particular version of the Tiger I a unique presence in anyone’s model collection.