AMC Model's 1/72 Bergepanzer Tiger SdKfz 185
Built off of the successful Panzer VI tank, the Bergepanzer was a heavy support vehicle designed to aid in replacing heavy components from Tiger tanks. Using a standard Tiger tank chassis, the main gun was removed and in its stead was a simple crane coupled with a 15-ton winch that was powered by the tank's engine. Apparently only three of these useful vehicles were produced and details on them are sketchy. With its powerful crane and formidable chassis, the SdKfz 185 could have been a welcome addition to the maintenance crews in the Tiger tank units.
This is the first 1/72 kit from AMC Models and it's not too bad. The kit is a blend of injection plastic parts, an etched brass fret, and vinyl tracks. The plastic parts are molded in a medium green and feature fairly crisp detailing. One interesting feature of this kit is that it has zimmerit molded onto the sides of the hull. The breakdown of the kit is similar to other Tiger tank kits, with a separate bottom hull, separate sides, and a separate top. The turret is split in half and has a separate top as well. The road wheels are well done and after a bit of cleanup should look great.
Making this kit a Bergepanzer is what it's all about, and to do that AMC has turned to etched brass for the winch. Much of the brass fret is for the crane and winch assembly and combined with the plastic parts should really look good. The only thing you'll want to add will be the cable. Other brass details include the vents over the rear of the hull.
The only downside that I can see to this kit is the vinyl tracks. The tracks on the real Tiger (and Bergepanzer) tanks sagged a lot and the vinyl tracks have too much life in them to realistically depict this. What I would love to see is some company come out with 1/72 metal link tracks, but that probably isn't going to happen. With some careful gluing, though, these tracks should be adequate.
There are no decals included in this kit, and the only painting information is in the short history, stating that the three Bergepanzers were most likely finished in dunkelgelb. Most likely these also carried crosses on the turrets as the only other markings.
While this kit may not be the most advanced kits out there, it is definitely very buildable and will look great next to a Revell Tiger I kit, possibly even with a transmission or engine hanging from the crane.