Big Cat Early Turret

Turret for Pz VI Tiger I (H) and (P) initial « low » turret

OKB Grigorov 1/72, Ref. B72018

During 1939, Dr Porsche was tasked with the development of a 25 to 30 tons Schwere Panzer armed with the 7.5 cm Kw. K. L/24 gun; this requirement was later changed to the 8.8 cm Kw. K. L/56 mounted on a Krupp-designed turret.  The turret was built in a horse-shoe shape, in an asymmetric way (with the right side being 110 mm shorter than the left side), protected by a cast gun mantlet.  The first eight turrets featured a low profile and a flat roof with, in the middle, a raised section that allowed the gun to be depressed further.  Armour thickness was 80 mm for the turret and 25 mm for the turret roof. This turret is the subject of this OKB Grigorov release.

In 1941, Krupp was ready to complete six turrets that were meant for the Typ 100 armor hull (note that the designation ‘Typ 100’ evolved in time to ‘VK 30.01 (P)’ – OKB Grigorov reference 72080 -, then to ‘Pz. Kpfw. VI (Porsche)’, ‘Pz. Kpfw.Typ 100’, and finally ‘Pz.Kpfw. Leopard’).  However, it seems that only a single Porsche Typ 100 was ever completed with a wooden mockup of Krupp’s turret before the program was stopped with the introduction of the Typ 101 hull.  Similarly and just for the fun, the designation ‘Typ 101’ also changed over time: ‘VK 45.01 (P) Tiger’, ‘Pz.Kpfw. VI VK 45.01 (P)’, ‘Typ 101’ and finally ‘Pz Kpfw. VI P (Sd. Kfz.181)’ (see the bibliographical reference).

Nevertheless, in April 1942, the first Pz.Kpfw. VI VK 45.01 (P) was mated with the Krupp’s turret Nr. 1 equipped with a 8.8 cm KW.K. L/56 placed forward on the hull chassis.  A particularity of this first horse-shoe shaped turret was an opened cupola hatch lid lying flat on a short support while later turrets had the cupola lid held by a rest lock at an angle (as on the future turret of the Tiger I (H)).   In 1942, a Pz.Kpfw IV storage box (or Gepaeckkasten) was mounted on the rear of the  turret rear of the first vehicle.  This is not present in this OKB Grigorov reference but can easily be found in the spare parts box or other kits.  In May 1942, a new higher profile turret was introduced (from Nr 9 & 10) but wasn’t mated to the Pz.Kpfw. VI VK 45.01 (P) chassis until August 1942.  Those turrets were finally mated to the VK 45.01 (H), the future Tiger I (H) following the official end of the Pzkpfw VI P programme in November 1942.

Taking into account of all these information, the turret provided in this set is that of the initial series of eight Krupp turrets with low roof, a raised section in the middle and meant for the Pz.Kpfw. VI VK 45.01 (P) chassis.  I found no indication that these turrets were fitted on the VK 45.01 (H) or on the subsequent Henschel Tiger I hulls.  No indication either that these turrets were meant for the initial design of the VK 30.01 (P) hull, but who knows?  The Pz.Kpfw. VI VK 45.01 (P) chassis from the Dragon kit 7209 – SdKfz. 181 Pz. VI (P) will be a good choice for an adequate hull.

Anyway, this OKB Grigorov new release is made up of 11 resin parts and 9 metal parts, all of a high quality and showing a great deal of details, along with the fineness that OKB Grigorov have accustomed us with.

The two pictures below show the neat details of the cupola, the lid cupola and the two parts of the loader’s hatch.

As can be seen here, a nice metal barrel is also provided:

However, there are no instructions provided and this would be my only grippe with this offering as some location points of some of the smallest PE parts are difficult to guess.  In this I was helped with the instructions included in the OKB Grigorov German Heavy Tank VK. 3001 (P) – reference 72080 -.

This turret is certainly of great interest as it provides the opportunity to build the original models that were produced in very small numbers.  Great drawings and photos of various Pz.Kpfw. VI VK 45.01 (P) can be found in the following reference book:  Panzerkampfwagen VI P (Sd.Kfz.181). The history of the Porsche Typ 100 and 101 also known as the Leopard and Tiger (P). (Thomas L. Jentz and Hilary L. Doyle; Panzer Tracts).

Review & pictures by Jean-Paul Oudinet.

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