This offering from Pen and Sword as part of their Tank Craft series and is on this occasion looking at the Tiger 1 German Army Heavy Tank Eastern Front, Summer 1943. This book as with all of the titles in this series are I feel an attempt to offer the modeller a combination package covering both reference on the vehicles and a look at the models available to replicate the Tiger 1 as a scale model.
The following portion of the introduction is from the Pen and Sword website:
The Tiger I tank, probably the most famous German armoured vehicle of the Second World War, might have been a war-winning, break-through weapon if it had been produced in sufficient numbers and if it had been introduced earlier on the Eastern Front, before the balance of strength had tipped towards the Soviet Union. At the Battle of Kursk there were not enough Tigers to make a decisive difference and thereafter the Tiger was forced to play a mainly defensive role as the Wehrmacht struggled to withstand the advances of the Red Army. And it is this period in the Tiger tank’s short history that Dennis Oliver concentrates on in this, his third book on the Tiger in the TankCraft series.
He uses archive photos and extensively researched colour illustrations to examine the tanks and units of the German army’s heavy panzer battalions. A large part of the book showcases available model kits and aftermarket products, complemented by a gallery of beautifully constructed and painted models in various scales. Technical details as well as modifications introduced during production and in the field are also examined providing everything the modeller needs to recreate an accurate representation of the Tigers of 1943.
This offering from Pen and Sword is authored by Dennis Oliver, Dennis Oliver is the author of over twenty books on Second World War armoured vehicles including Codename Swallow: British Sherman Tanks at Alamein, To The Last Bullet: Germany's War on 3 Fronts, Westwall: German Armour in the West 1945, Viking Summer and A Sound Like Thunder. This is a soft backed book with a good card cover protecting 64 pages of semi gloss paper. The contents of this title are laid out as follows:
The Eastern Front 1943
Tiger Units of the HEER
Camouflage and Markings
Technical Details and Modifications
Product Contact Detail
The text in this title can be described as split front and rear with a rest in the middle. We are presented with a scenario when it comes to the war in the East and the last days of the German military dictating events in the war against the Soviets, and look at a period where the tide of war turned against Germany. Following the Summer of 1943 the German army spent the rest of their time on the defence. This title provides looks at the units using the Tiger 1 at this time in Eastern Europe.
The units equipped with the Tiger 1 are well covered in this title as regards who, where and when and I rather like that specific actions by specific units are covered. The writing is clear and easily understood as I have come to expect from Dennis Oliver. This book is a reasonable title for those looking for information on heavy tank units in the East at this time.
A section providing prints covering a good number of Tiger 1 tanks is next up. All of the vehicles are shown from the left or right side only and I would have liked to see some alternate angles covered in the title. The prints provide a number of camouflage patterns used and the units that used them which is a great inclusion, but the greens used in some of the camouflage schemes seems very bright verging on garish in impact and I suspect that this is a printing issue as it has been highlighted previously.
The modelling section starts with a showcase of finished models that are a nice mix of models displayed as standalone models, and a list of these can be seen after this paragraph. I am very pleased to see the number of finished models covered reduced and this has resulted in a more informational spread on the builds presented. The text covering these models is limited but is far more informative than I have seen in many of the books in this series.
Tiger 1 – Schwere Panzer Abteilung 505 – 1/48th scale by Ralph Riese. I am really impressed with Ralph’s work here as I cannot detect anything that would mark it out to me in the images as 1/48th.
Tiger 1 – Schwere Kompanie SS Panzer Regiment 2 Das Reich – 1/35th scale by Naomasa Dairaku. This offering is a very clean model that is still presented as a realistic looking vehicle rather than a model.
Tiger 1 – Schwere Panzer Abtielung 502 – 1/35th scale by Luciano Rodriguez. This model is one of the single colour offerings that has been heavily modulated and results in a finish that I find visually appealing regardless of accuracy. I do need to compliment Luciano on his figure work as the painted finish is stunning.
Tiger 1 – 9 Kompanie SS Panzer Regiment 3 Totenkopf – 1/35th scale by Naomasa Dairaku. This one I particularly like due to the amount of background work provided on it which provides the most information of how the modeller got for parts to a finished model.
The section covering the kits available is a reasonable section for the modeller who wants to see where to aim his or her pennies at, but beware what is available changes rapidly. Most of the majors are well represented and the models in 1/72nd and 1/35th scale are looked at. The models covered here are all injection moulded plastic offerings from a number of companies mentioned here. The Tiger 1 is an especially popular subject for modellers and I was pleased to see the new boy on the block covered by way of Rye Field Models. I am a little disappointed in the lack of after market coverage for the modellers information beyond some alternate decal sheets.
Dennis Oliver has garnered a place with me as a firm favourite due to his writing style and how information is presented to the reader. This is one of the latest releases in the series from Pen and Sword and being a Tiger 1 Tiger 1 title I am sure will prove a must have for many. The text was a joy for me to read and I was especially impressed with the photographs that have good captions for the viewer and clearly identifying what they are looking at.
Darren Baker takes a look at one of the Tank Craft series of books covering the Tiger 1 German Army Heavy Tank Eastern Front, Summer 1943 from Pen and Sword.
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About Darren Baker (CMOT) FROM: ENGLAND - SOUTH WEST, UNITED KINGDOM
I have been building model kits since the early 70’s starting with Airfix kits of mostly aircraft, then progressing to the point I am at now building predominantly armour kits from all countries and time periods. Living in the middle of Salisbury plain since the 70’s, I have had lots of opportunitie...