Arguably, the Tiger is one of the most 'over-produced' kits in a variety of scales. Having said that, this vehicle (and its variants) still engenders considerable interest in the never-ending search to produce the 'definitive' model. For many model companies too, it is, (at least at first glance), an easy subject to produce due to the incredible amount of documentation available and good access to actual surviving examples. Osprey Publishing
have been serving the modeller well for a number of years, their Osprey Modelling
series has, correctly, become a basic 'source' for some widely diverse Vehicle, Figure and Aviation modelling books. This, Number 28 in the series, continues to bring good value and easily accessible information to the modeller.
The book's vital statistics.
Modelling the Tiger Tank in 1/72 scale (Osprey Modelling 28)
is an 80 page, softcover book which is written by Alex Clark
. The author needs little introduction to those immersed in 'Braille-Scale', Clark has done some superb work in the promotion of 1/72nd as a 'viable' alternative both on the 'web and in print. This is his second book for Osprey
, his first was on a similar subject - Modelling the PzIV in 1/72nd Scale
Once again, following a well-established format, the book is broken down into the following chapters:
Tools and materials
Modelling a Tiger II with ‘Porsche’ turret
'Kitbashing' a Panzerjäger Elefant
An early version Tiger I – correcting Revell’s kit
Heavy assault mortar – the Sturmtiger
A Jagdtiger with a difference
Museums and collections
References and websites
Kits and accessories
Colour reference chart
The book In depth
Beginning (naturally enough) with the Introduction
, the author gives a brief explanation of the book's 'Mission Statement' which is that the book is NOT a reference book, but rather a practical manual.
The section Tools and materials
looks at basic tools along with some more advanced items such as callipers and finishing materials such as surfacers and paint.
The bulk of the book revolves around the 'Build Projects'
- five are presented going from 'Intermediate' to 'Master'. For those unfamiliar with the structure of these books, it may be useful to highlight one of the projects to explain the presentation. The first project - Modelling a Tiger II with ‘Porsche’ turret
begins with an overview of the available kits for this model.
There then follow a series of 'sub-chapters':
Working with link and length track
Final details (painting)
All the processes are in a series of 'in-progress' photos which are presented six to a page, the photos are sufficiently clear to be reasonably self-explanatory. Particularly notable, is the section on 'link'n'length' tracks - something which makes many people nervous. Clark, explains in simple terms a workable technique for overcoming this particular barrier.
As can be imagined, these are not simple 'out of the box' builds. The author makes a great deal of use of AM (AfterMarket) parts in all of the models and when these are not available, a degree of scratchbuilding is involved. At the end of the day however, what makes or breaks a model is its finish. Alex Clark has developed some superb techniques which would be worth emulating - paticularly in finishes such as whitewashing or his (very) delicate weathering.
section consists of eight pages of finished models by several different modellers (Clark, Antonio Martin and Bob Grimster) and shows just what can be acheived in the hands of dedicated 'Braille-Scalers'.
In References and websites
, Clark publishes a list of some excellent reference sources - both in print and on the 'Web. One of those is (naturally enough) Armorama.
The section, Museums and Collections
covers the places where you can actually see a Tiger variant in the 'flesh' along with some notes as to its state of preservation and the marks preserved.
The last section, Kits and accessories
has a very complete list of the current (at the time of publishing) available material going from the 'mass-market' injection-moulded plastic kits to the specialized conversion sets, upgrades and such items as add-on Zimmerit packs. This is followed by five pages of various box-art illustrations from the principal plastic kit manufacters.
Two appendices finish the book - a colour chart coordinated with Humbrol enamels and the index.
There are many 'commonalities' in this book to the other books in the series, it appears that Osprey
has, or is close to finding the formula for future books in this series. The book is well-written in clear concise English. This is particularly important when many people may not be 'up to speed' on the myriad of expressions used in modelling to described particular techniques or materials. The quality of the photos is also notable - large enough to understand what is going on and clear enough to pick out detail. The choice of subjects is also good with a broad choice of vehicles and based on easily obtainable donor-kits There are some truly stunning 'builds' in the book, the most spectacular is undoubtedly the Jagdtiger with full interior detail.
For all the positive aspects to the book, the responsibility of any reviewer, is to neither publish lists nor to 'rubber-stamp' any product. I do have a few 'gripes' with the book, none which would stop me buying it, but nevertheless a few issues. Firstly, and I believe this is something which Osprey's
editors should consider carefully. Although many of the techniques are 'multi-skill level' the general level of the book is probably a little daunting for anyone but the experienced modeller. This is a pity, as even the inclusion of one 'introductory' build-project would have improved the 'accessibility' considerably. One section that I considered somewhat superfluous, was the three pages of 'Box-art', I would have much preferred to see more of Alex Clark's work.
As Clark says in his introduction, the book was written in the hope it could be a useful guide to the complexities of building the Tiger in 1/72nd scale, in this, he has admirably succeeded...
My thanks to Osprey Publishing for supplying the review copy.