Introduction: A book on the Tiger? - Weird!
A few months ago, the idea of buying a Tiger model in 1/35th and reviewing a book on the subject would have never seriously crossed my mind. The last one I built was more or less 20 years ago. When I returned to modelling around 8-9 years ago, I tended to (in armor at least) , to 'keep the faith' with Commonwealth and Allied vehicles. At least until DML
decided to bring out their Tiger 1 (initial Type)... Since then I have been reading, observing and spending on reference material to comply with the old cliché "Every modeler should have at least one Tiger/Spitfire/Sherman in their collection.."
Number two and three were completed (and continue), the first for me are the first steps on a new modeling adventure...
This is not my first experience wth Ampersand's
modeler's guides. A few years ago, I bought their earlier book on modeling the Sherman, which with some reservations is a useful addition to the workbench. However, since the arrival of this book, the previous title pales by comparison...
"The Modeler's Guide to the Tiger Tank - A complete and comprehensive guide to modeling the Tiger I and Tiger II in 1/35th scale" written by Patrick A. Stansell, historical text by Bruce Culver and illustrated by Mitsuo Terada, Scott Eble and Dave Berns,
consists, at the basic level of some 156 pages with 32 in full-color. However there is considerably more structure and content within its pages...
The book breaks down into five distinct sections:
The 'historical' perspective.
Production changes to the Tiger I and Tiger II
Color Model Gallery
Tiger products lists, descriptions and references
The first part consists of 17 pages of putting the Tiger 'program' into its historical perspective by explaining the decisions taken to begin such a radical development project with a series of truly impressive (large!) re-mastered photographs of Tiger Is and IIs in service and during evaluation.
The second section, which is equally impressive in its detail, lists and illustrates the evolution of the Tiger I detailing the changes in top-deck configuration, the progression of the side hull, the front hull, mudguards, rear hull, running gear, turret configuration, mantlet, hatches etc, etc, etc. The chapter consists of 1/35th drawings, contemporary photos, and line drawings to illustrate a particular configuration.
the third section covers in a similar manner, the evolutionary process of the Tiger II - in equally graphic detail.
Moving onto the Color Model Gallery, 8 Tiger 1s and 5 Tiger IIs are featured in their appropriate chronological setting, beginning with the Henschel prototype and finishing with a Tiger II wth the last (march '45) production turret. Each vehicle is covered with two large pictures along with a number of additonal detail shots. Where obtainable, a photo of the actual vehicle is also included.
The section on construction, begins with some (illustrated) notes on painting and weathering. This is followed by (chronologically) sections on:
Tools and Texturing
How to Zimmerit
Following this useful exercise in techniques, the book then moves onto the real 'practicality' - the 13 featured projects. Each one is superbly illustrated in a step-by.step format using a variety of 'donor' kits along with AM accessories and the appropriate modifications/improvements to the basic kits.
The final section consists of the'Tiger Resources' pages. This is sub-divided into the following appendices:
Manufacturers - both kit manufactures and 'AM' manufacturers are listed along with their available products with a helpful coding system to help with identification of components.
Source list - a highly useful list of retailers (including URLs)
Bibliography - four pages of books (and a few magazines) covering every possible variant.
Known Chassis Numbers to give a time frame for a particular variant...
This is a VERY complete book. Unlike the previously issued Sherman volume, I see little missing although it might have been better to do a seperate volume on the Tiger II. The painting and weathering sections could
have been more detailed although these techniques are well covered in other books - and especially in the forums of Armorama so it does not seem, on reflection such a great 'absence'.
As with other 'good' books of this type, many of the technique are applicable for other vehicles as well and it will give many modelers some really useful ideas.
This is an invaluble resource for anyone contemplating (almost) any variant of either the Tiger I or II. Ampersand
and their editors/authors have done an extraordinary job in tying together the tiny details of such complex vehicles and creating an accessible way of modeling or improving the existing kits currently available. The mass of minor and major differences between the vehicles is also well-presented and explained - something I have previously found rather daunting and intimidating...
The keynote with this volume, is to actually encourage the modeler to go out and build something. The style of narrative is good, clear and importantly, totally lacking in the pompousity which sadly mars too many books of this type. It's not an idiot's guide for theTiger, rather it's a book which brings you in no matter what your previous experience was. An absolute beginner will gain an enormous amount of confidence with this book as, in my opinion, will those who have been building Tigers for twenty years.
Even if you only contemplate building a few of the 'Big Cats' - this is a book which you really should have beside the workbench.
Very Highly Recommended
The Modeler's Guide To The Tiger Tank
is very widely available from the usual outlets at a R.R.P. of $28.95.
My copy was purchased from Hobby Easy
in Hong Kong who delivered it promptly and without problems...