Although I finally gave up model making when my then teenaged son found other fish to fry, I retain a deep love for models and always admire work I see on friends’ Facebook pages etc.
The plain fact is I can review model maker books with enthusiasm but not necessarily any in-depth knowledge of modern trends. My most successful attempt at anything was a Tamiya M3 half-track that I converted to Israeli style (I can’t say accurate spec) way back in the 1970s. I still have it. I am still proud of the way I used the net from a Subbuteo goal to make a camouflage net. I concentrate on collecting die cast models these days and have a few tanks and military vehicles amid all the muscle cars and other nonsense.
Ancient history aside, the book in front of us is fairly typical of the genre – soft backed in large format with a bit of history about the real thing and then many snaps and details about building the Tiger and Tiger II in small scale. The finish on some of the examples shown is outstanding. The people who do this work are artists as much as anything and I have total respect for their abilities.
The author spends a good deal of time looking at kits and the array of bits and bobs builders can get to improve the appearance and accuracy of their models.
This stuff is genuinely interesting because the quality of these products is quite remarkable. Things have come a long way from the glory days of the Airfix Tiger and the early examples from Tamiya that I remember with mixed feelings recalling times spilling glue on my mom’s sofa.
Photographs of finished articles and a wide range of artwork depicting color schemes are all very useful. The format gives the product a magazine feel and I can see how easy it would be to build up a library of these books in a relatively short time. I would have loved this book forty years ago! I really like it now.
Nowadays I am more interested in fixing a tank in the viewfinder of my camera. I have been fortunate to have seen the famous Tiger 131 up close a number of times in addition to the static but nonetheless impressive King Tigers at Bovington. 2017 promises to be a glorious year for the Tigers at the Tank Museum with the whole family brought together in a special exhibition. You may have seen images of the former APG Elefant in transit to the UK. Perhaps the sight of them will inspire more model makers?
Books like this certainly make me wish I could still engage in model making myself, but my eyesight is struggling to see things in close up and I have other pursuits to occupy my time, I don’t need any more. There are a number of half finished or unopened models in my loft and there they will stay. Have fun with yours.
Reviewed by Mark Barnes for War History Online.
TIGER I AND TIGER II TANKS
German Army and Waffen-SS Eastern Front 1944
By Dennis Oliver
Pen & Sword
ISBN: 978 1 47388 534 9