Panzerkampfwagen VI Ausführung H Sonderkraftfahrzeug 181

More commonly known as the "PanzerKampfwagon VI", and globally know as the "Tiger Tank".

For the past few years, I've been working on a 1:7.5 scale scratch-built model of this tank. My earlier version suffered from frequent breakdowns such as "throwing tracks", overheating motors, poor turning performance, and so on. So it's undergoing a ground up redesign on the inside to address the drive train and track issues.


Scroll down and enjoy! Questions...e-mail me at

Overall exterior view

It's far from complete, but here is an overall view. There is a lot of scale detail to be added.

The hull and turrent are plywood coated with bondo, which simulates the zimmerit coating on early production Tiger 1's. The front drive sproket and idler (rear) sprokets are scrap aluminum that I casted at home. The main gun is a 66 caliber paintball gun.

The road wheels are also plywood. If the new suspension upgrade is satisfactory, I'll be changed the road wheels to aluminum.



Another overall view

The tracks are stainless steel "table top" roller chain. Sturdy but heavy, each track set weight 13 pounds.



Inside the hull

Pretty much everything seen here didn't work as desired. The suspension system was meant to simulate the torsion bar suspension on the real tank. It worked, but not all that great.

The gears connecting the motors to the drive axles were out of a self-propelled lawn mower I salvaged. While it was nice that the gears were free, the didn't work worth a damn, there just wasn't enough reduction in the drive train. These are going to be replaced with 8:1 gearboxes which should help.

The black tank in the center of the hull is a 3000 PSI air tank that provides the main gun with its "gunpowder" so to speak. That actually works pretty well and won't go under much modification.


Turrent interior.

Predominant is the main gun, a modified Tippman 98 Custom. The servo at the bottom of the photo controls gun elevation, and the servo just aft of the trigger fires the gun. The gun blocks the view of the hole in the turrent where the air hose and electrical cables pass through.

The black tube at the left of the photo is the gun magazine that holds 18 rounds. Magazine capacity has to be increased.


Turrent rotator - old

My original design on how to rotate the turrent using more salvaged lawnmower parts and a Tamiya gearbox. It was just too complicated to work reliably. The concept was that the belt would wrap around the base of the turrent and the turn the turrent as needed. There are just too many parts here that need to be in constant alignment, and not having a machine shop at my disposal (my most advanced tool is a drill press) it's time for a new, simpler, idea.

The Tamiya gearbox has found new life as the electrical focuser for my telescope.


Turrent rotator - in design stage.



The wiring is complete for the drive system. One battery is visible at the rear (right) and the plywood tray for the other drive battery is visible at the front. Two voltage regulators, the fuse holder and the drive controller can also be seen. Each drive motor will have its own battery, with a third battery powering everthing else.


Torison Bar suspension

The old spring suspension has been removed and the new torsion bar suspension installed. True to the design of the real thing, one end of the torsion bars is connected the the hull, and there other is attached to each axle. The ride height is easily adjusted just by twisting a bolt and retightening its locking nut.

The new motors are installed, one at the front and one at the rear. The drive sprockets are up front, so the rear motor has a length of #40 roller chain running up the side of the hull to a gear on the drive axle (hidden in this photo by the front motor).

The front motor uses the same arrangemet, but with a lot less chain necessary.


Swing Arm Failure

I thought I could get away with making the swing arms out of aluminum. I guess not :-)

In this case, the tank threw a track, and in the process the track link worked its way under the front road wheel, and the wheel rode up over the track. So, time to find another material for the swing arms, and time to replace the wooden road wheels at the same time.



Road Wheel Improvment

The original wooden road wheels served to prove the concept, but they would not stand up to the beating the stainless steel tracks would give them. So during the rebuild all the road whees are being replaced with stainless steel road wheels.

Back to the top

Questions/comments, E-mail me at john at theastroimager dot com