The Roco Minitanks Z-133 Tiger II with the early production turret. I started buying Roco Minitanks in the early 1960s, perhaps as early as 1963. Some of my first Minitanks were Tiger II models. I probably still have them, but over the years which ones are 50 years old and which ones I got 10 years ago is uncertain.
A few years ago I got this Roco Tiger II in a collection of used vehicles I purchased. A careful examination will reveal a few interesting things about this model. First off, it is a Roco Minitanks, inspection of the undercarriage shows Koningstiger, Made in Austria, Roco. But note the front connection between the upper and lower hull, it is not visible, it is internal. This tank has towing hooks and rings molded on the upper glacis.
Compare it with the tan painted tank, also a Roco Minitank. The tan version comprises the majority of my Tiger II collection and includes those molded in yellow plastic, so I am certain it is the newer vehicle model. The two tanks are clearly two different molds, but the differences are very minor.
Note the hinges on the drivers hatch and machine gunners hatch. The hinges on the unpainted tank are much bigger. The turret details are also very slightly different.
The engine deck is perhaps the most different. The tan tank has very flat engine details, but the unpainted tank the details are raised. Note the hatch at the rear of the turret is much larger on the unpainted tank.
This view clearly shows the large hatch on the unpainted turret. The exhaust pipers are larger on the tan tank. The unpainted tank has towing rings on the rear corners but the tan tank does not.
It is very strange to see all these very small differences. Why did Roco change essentially the whole tank just for these small variations? It was likely a rather expensive overhaul. Did they make a whole new mold, or did they just modify an existing mold? If they made a new mold, what happened to the old mold? Which one is better? I have a couple of the unpainted types in my collection with both Tiger II turret types on them. Clearly this unpainted model was only made for a short period of time. Molds for these kinds of models typically last for decades, the tan version is a testament of that. This is a mystery.
The vehicle on the left is the common Roco Tiger II hull. Note the differences in the wheels, particularly the hubs for interior road wheels. Much more detailed in the newer version.
Several people expressed concern on the Fidelis Models Facebook page that these were not both Roco Minitanks. This is the underside of the main production model Tiger II. Note the name of the model, DBGM, Roco logo and MADE IN AUSTRIA. The little bar, axles and wheels have been removed.
This is the underside of the unusual model Tiger II. Note the name of the model, Made in Austria and the Roco logo. Both models are made in the same kind of black/ green plastic common to older Roco models.
Perhaps Roco changed the mold when they added the DGBM which, I think, is a kind of copyright marking?
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Mike Bunkermeister Creek