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Reference, Model Art AFV Profile 2, Pz.Kpfw.VI Tiger I

April 6 2012 at 8:17 PM
Frank V. De Sisto  (Login zappa93)
MODERATORS ONLY - Time on Target
from IP address 108.21.76.232

MODEL ART PUBLICATIONS

AFV Profile 2, Pz.Kpfw.VI Tiger I. Text and art by Terada Mitsuo. Soft covers, 7.25 x 10-inches, 131 pages. Contains 282 color photos, 67 B&W photos, two charts, 13 pages of color plates, 35 pages of line illustrations, two sets of four-view 1/35th-scale line drawings and modelers section.

The German Tiger I heavy tank is arguably one of the most popular modeling subjects of all time amongst AFV aficionados. Nearly every well-established manufacturer of injection-molded styrene kits has marketed this vehicle in kit form, in nearly every popular scale imaginable. Likewise, scores of books have been published on the development and employment of the Tiger I. There are also more than a few modeling manuals devoted to this subject, either exclusively or peripherally. Well, get ready for another book, which in this case combines many aspects of the titles mentioned above.

While the text and captions are nearly entirely in Japanese, the main part of this book consists of various forms of illustrations; these can be considered universal, or language-neutral. There are two pages of all-English text at the back of this publication, which describe the various main manufacturing changes that allow identification of the approximate time a particular Tiger I was manufactured. In addition, when the detail images of various components are described, brief English-language captions accompany the more extensive Japanese versions. So far; so good.

Naturally, it is in its visual content that this publication comes into its own. This begins with seven mages of the transmission unit taken from a contemporary German technical manual. This is followed by 18 color profiles depicting the initial, early, middle, late and final production variations. In most cases these are accompanied by thumb-nails showing pertinent markings details. The plates are accurate, very well-rendered and at least have the unit designation numbers shown within the Japanese-language commentaries.

Throughout the book, ten archival B&W photos show variations of the Tiger I in service. In total, including the TM transmission images mentioned above, there are 56 more B&W images taken from a Field Manual. The majority show how the Tiger Is suspension system was maintained in the field. Therefore how the track is broken and the drive sprocket is removed, how the road-wheels are removed, how torsion bars are removed and how wheel rims are replaced, figures prominently. One line drawing from the FM shows the placement of the suspension components, while another details the device used to remove the drive sprocket; the latter is what fits into the sturdy socket behind the forward mud-flaps.

Line drawings in various forms take up about 35 pages. These begin with a two-page cartoon-like spread discussing various personalities (in Japanese only) associated with the Tiger I. The remaining line drawings consist of detail perspective sketches of components, along with reduced-size scale drawings of the various upper deck and superstructure side wall stowage layouts. A fold-out section of 1/35th-scale line drawings covers what is termed as an Early Production (May 1943) Tiger I, and a Late Production (it has a single 25mm turret roof plate) Tiger I.

A total of one B&W and 121 color photographs provide coverage of the details of surviving Tiger Is. Those featured include the Bovington (early), Kubinka (middle), Vimoutiers (late) and Lenino (final) production versions. Every visible external feature is covered, while as a bonus, the magnificent Bovington example has quite a bit of internal coverage. The vehicles are not covered in production order. Rather, the similar features of each type are covered together for easy comparison. For instance, mantlets are grouped together, as are muzzle brakes, cupolas and drive sprockets. Personally, I find this approach works quite well, making comparison very easy. It is here where there are extremely brief English-language captions.

The modelers section covers a few of the many currently-available Tiger I kits, as follows. DML Initial Production, Leningrad Front; Tamiya Early Production, s.Pz.Abt.502; Cyberhobby Middle Production Befhels-Tiger, s.Pz.Abt.508 and DML Final Production, s.Pz.Abt.510. These are all in 1/35th-scale. Next is a pair of DML Initial Production Tiger Is from s.Pz.Abt.502 in a Leningrad Front diorama, in 1/72nd-scale. The final modeling article depicts the installation of several CMK resin interior sets into a 1/35th-scale kit (not known, but probably Tamiya). While all these models are competently done, the articles themselves, particularly the last one dealing with adding an interior, are of limited use to modelers who do not read Japanese. On the other hand, most of us do like looking at well-done models; in that case, these fit the bill nicely.

The last few pages of this issue are covered with modeling product advertisements.

Overall, especially for the photos and detail drawings, these books are a worthy addition to the Tiger I modelers arsenal. As with the other books in this series (all reported upon hare at MLs ToT page), they compliment the well-established Achtung Panzer series in a number of ways. Additionally, they have fine color art work and modeling sections not seen in the Achtung Panzer series, while the coverage of the pristine Bovington Tiger I is the most comprehensive yet seen in print.

Frank V. De Sisto

Model Art books are available from DragonUSA at: www.DragonUSAonline.com.

Note: Since May of 2005, I have been writing books for Concord Publications, a sister company to DragonUSA, Model Arts North American distributor. The reader may wish to take this into consideration. For my part, I will attempt to maintain an objective viewpoint when writing these reports.

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