When the Wehrmacht began deploying its Tiger I tanks in late 1942-early 1943, it grouped them into schwere Panzerabteilungen or "heavy armored battalions" (abbreviated "sPA"). These often ad-hoc units quickly became roving "fire brigades" dispatched to hot spots by rail to handle a crisis or attempt to swing the balance into Germany's favor, since there were too few Tigers for general usage. The sPAs quickly developed a real esprit de corps, not the least reason being the distinctive unit insignias displayed on their turrets and/or glacis plates. Various symbols were used, the most-colorful being tigers and charging knights. These unit insignias are an important and distinctive element of customizing any Tiger build.
Archer Fine Transfers has long had a superb collection of dry transfer versions, but for those wanting to build a Tiger or two from more than one sPA, the cost could get pretty steep depending on the mix. And in the case of sPa 505, there were fit issues with the unit's colorful charging knight, since the images in the set did not fit the rectangular cut-out in the Zimmerit on the Cyberhobby Tiger II kit, among others.
Now AFT has extended their Tiger battalion insignias to their new line of waterslide decals in a set that covers all the major units.
what you get
Inside the usual Archer AFT glassine envelope is a set of waterslide decals for the:
sPA 501-503, 505-507, and 509-510
As with other decal sets in this series, Archer has contracted with Cartograf to print the decals, and the results are amazingly good. Not only are the decals crisply-printed, but the transfer film is closely-cropped and extremely thin. This results in a better "seat" than many decals on the market or those supplied in kits (even when printed by Cartograf). The attention to detail that Archer puts into its products shines through here as usual.
Because of the risk of illegal copying, I have had to deface the sample image, but you can see the unobscured results on Archer's website.
And I'm happy to confirm the sPA 505 knights come in three sizes, and will fit the Cyberhobby Tiger II kits.
Unless you plan on building only one or two Tigers from a specific unit, this set is really the way to go. These decals go on quickly and easily, and the results will please all but the most-demanding modeler. Easier than dry transfers to apply, I recommend the set highly.
Thanks to Archer Fine Transfers for providing this review sample. Be sure to mention you saw this item reviewed here on Armorama when ordering.
Highs: A generous selection of the most-colorful Tiger battalions. Splendidly printed by Cartograf.Lows: None. Perfectionists will prefer the finer effect of dry transfers, but the savings in aggravation will more than make up for that. Verdict: A perfect sampler for those who plan to build a couple of Tiger tanks.
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