Tiger 131 is known for being the world’s only running Tiger I, and now enthusiasts can bring the famed tank into their homes, in the form of a brick model. The Tank Museum has announced the upcoming release of a 1/12-scale model kit, which consists of nearly 8,000 bricks.
The release comes from a collaboration between The Tank Museum and Cobi. Currently available for pre-order, it holds the title of being the biggest tank brick model. Each order will also come with a free Tigerfibel and mug, as well as an exclusive numbered ingot.
“We are delighted to be launching the biggest brick tank ever, based on The Tank Museum’s Tiger 131, nearly exactly 80 years after Tiger 131’s capture on April 24 1943,” said Simon Prager, the museum’s head of commercial operations in a press release.
Cobi CEO Robert Podleś added, “We’re excited to be working with The Tank Museum on our biggest brick kit ever – and what better tank to recreate than the fearsome Tiger 131. The 1/12 scale Tiger, coming in at 70 cm (27.5 inches) long, will make an impressive addition to the Cobi family, joining the 1/28 and 1/48 scale Tiger 131s.”
Tiger 131, the World War II-era tank the brick model is based on, was captured by the 48th Royal Tank Regiment, Royal Armoured Corps during the North Africa Campaign. It was equipped by No. 1 Company, No. 3 Platoon, 1 Commanders Tank of the 504th Schwere Heerespanzerabteilung, and only served in Tunisia for a short time before entering British hands.
The story of Tiger 131’s capture has changed throughout the decades. It wasn’t until April 2019 that the true version of events became known, thanks to the son of John Oscroft, a member of the 2nd Battalion, Sherwood Foresters (Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire Regiment) during WWII.
According to Oscroft’s son, the 2nd captured Point 174, in Tunisia, on April 24, 1943. Faced with a strong counterattack from the Germans, Oscroft struck one of the enemy Tiger tanks with his Projector, Infantry, Anti-Tank (PIAT) Mk I. Eventually, Churchill Mk IV tanks with the 48th arrived on-scene to provide support. A shot from one jammed Tiger 131’s turret.
This story was later corroborated by both documentary and photographic evidence.
Upon its transfer to the United Kingdom, Tiger 131 was restored with other Tiger tank parts. It toured around Britain as a way to increase support for the war, and also underwent testing at the School of Tank Technology, allowing the British Army to better understand its development and construction.
Tiger 131 came under the care of The Tank Museum in the early 1950s and was properly restored during the ’90s. This included fitting it with a Tiger II Maybach HL230 engine and installing a modern fire-suppressant system. Additional work in 2012 saw the tank repainted to its WWII-era paint scheme.
Most notably, Tiger 131 featured in 2014’s Fury, which starred Brad Pitt, Jason Isaacs and Logan Lerman. Prior to this, the tank appeared in the 1950 film, They Were Not Divided, which centered around the British Army’s Guards Armoured Division and its service during the Second World War.
According to The Tank Museum, all Tiger 131 brick model kits will be prepped for delivery by September 16, 2023 – just in time for its annual Autumn Tiger Day.