Panzerkampfwagen VI SdKfz 181 Ausf. E Tiger I, Schwere Panzer Abteilung 503

Kit build with scratchbuilt modifications by Peter Bleasdale

Unit History

Schwere Panzer Abteilung 503 was sent to Russia in January 1943. It fought in southern Russia, received new Tigers in Spring 1943, and fought in the Battle of Kursk and later with Panzer Regiment Bäke near Cherkassy. Withdrawn in April 1944 and refitted. Sent to Normandy with Tiger Is and Tiger IIs. Destroyed in Normandy and the German retreat. Re-equipped with Tiger IIs and sent to Hungary. Renamed s.Pz.Abt. Feldherrnhalle in December 1944.

Vehicle Details

The particular vehicle is vehicle 12 of the third company, and is one of the very early Tigers. The turret has dual pistol ports and no escape hatch. It also has a Pz III stowage bin. It does have later features such as fenders, track replacement cable and reinforced gun mantlet.

The Model

The model used for this project was the new Initial Production Tiger I from Dragon.

Improvements / modifications to the kit are as follows:


  • A full interior was added in the turret and a partial interior was installed in the driver’s and radio operator’s area. This was achieved by using cast resin parts, sheet plastic and items found in the spares box.


  • The main modifications are found on the rear plate. This particular vehicle was pressed into service before any of the Feifel air cleaner equipment was installed. The locating brackets, however, can be seen in some of the period photos. The brackets were represented with scrap pieces of plastic.
  • The etch engine screens came from the Academy kit.
  • The fenders and track replacement cable came from Tamiya’s early Tiger I.
  • The jack was relocated to in between the two mufflers.
  • Wiring to the headlights was added.


After examining the available photos, I believe this particular vehicle was delivered in Panzer Grey and then Dark Yellow was applied later in the field. Humbrol Panzer Grey enamel was first applied. It was followed by a mottled overspray of Tamiya Dark Yellow.

Bison Decals supplied the vehicle markings.