by: Roman [ ]
David Parker is a well-known modeller from UK and a founder of AFV modeller magazine. Being in the modelling world for more than 25 years, he makes unique projects of a very high quality and it is a great pleasure to follow his progress on forums, Facebook or in print. Not only a true artist (David has a degree in Fine Art and worked for many years as a graphic designer) but also a talented teacher he is eager to share his knowledge with readers and friends. The 1/16th scale King Tiger model took him 3,5 years to complete and the craftsmanship was awarded with several gold medals at Europeís biggest competitions. Although some of you might have followed Davidís progress in due time, you will be surprised how much is offered in the new book that gathers all work under one folder together with archive photographs, unpublished build images, and several hundred walk around images.
Upon opening the book the credits are given and already here you note the high quality design style. Index shows that there are 21 chapters in the book and all together they comprise around 450 pages packed with King Tiger related content. The introduction gives details on the Trumpeter kit (all 3 versions) and personal background behind the project. Here the author shares his feelings and experience and pays credit to people assisted.
The construction is divided into several chapters. As this is was a project with a complete interior, the build phases are often interlinked with painting process as it was vital to paint sub-assemblies separately and install already painted elements into the hull or turret. David pays a lot of attention to small elements and attempted to make as detailed model as possible, both fixing Trumpeters errors and adding missing features. The crisp bright photography captures what and how was made at each step and every image has a caption with necessary information. Personally, I really liked pages where overview photograph shows all modifications marked with arrows and number codes followed by the close-ups on the opposite page that explain the adjustments in detail.
First, the build deals with transmission parts and control compartment. The amount of work performed to improve the model is truly remarkable and it is a great pleasure to follow the process. After the front part of the hull is finished the book leads us to the engine compartment. Again, this is an exceptional build fully covered on 30 pages (together with engine bay painting). The author adds a lot of tubing, connectors, fuel lines, valves to the engine and then follows by detailing the engine bay walls, shutter boxes and radiators. Painting is done at a very high standard and, honestly, I donít understand how such clean work can be performed.
As the engine room gets final touches the book moves to the fighting compartment and the author did a great job on detailing it with scratch built parts and blended everything together after painting. Radio racks got a separate chapter. Not only the rack frames were scratched, but many missing details were added, I.e. instrument panel, intercom boxes and lots of wiring to headphones. The bow machine gun also received a separate chapter where the super-detailing is shown. Scratched detail was added using plastic card, brass and resin. Even the counterbalance spring that was for preventing the machine guns tip from going up under the weight of ammo pouches was added!
Having finished the hull the author moves to the turret and similarly to the hull no detail is left unnoticed. The gun is extensively detailed, so are the turret basket and ammo racks. Even the roof got all possible cables and other features. Painting was again performed in sub-assemblies and then everything was joined together. Finally the hullís roof got its load of details and the project moved on to the exterior detailing. Here the Zimmerit coating is explained and work performed on the weld seams is shown. Based on reference images several sections of Zimmerit were chipped off the hull to reflect battle damage. Where necessary, the cast texture was improved on the parts and casting numbers added. Subsequently all the exterior parts were detailed and the model was sent to paint booth. The process is explained in detail as well, with extensive coverage of turret markings and weathering of the battered vehicle. Large close up images show the very tiny paint chipping and scratches, on vehicle maintenance tools details and lots of other nuances that made that model a real show stopper. The very last bit of work was dedicated to sculpting of Devilís head Ė mascot of the real King Tiger ď124Ē that was installed on the gun barrel (David Parker was building a King Tiger commanded by Horst KrŲnke from sPz.Abt.505 in 1944).
The completely finished model was photographed in detail and presented on 20 pages inside the book. Both close up and general view images are given and studying these will take a lot of time.
But the book is not finished yet! 62 pages are dedicated to black and white reference images taken from archives. These include both interior and exterior photographs, schemes for armour plates, fuel system, cooling system, gun and engine. Moreover, black and white references are accompanied by no less than 100 pages with images of preserved vehicles in different conditions and here the coverage is ultimate. Every tiny bolt or weld of that steel monster is depicted and explained. Lastly, there are diagrams for wiring together with King Tiger production features timeline. The final page shows the resin correction parts that were made by the author and are available for purchase from AFV modeller shop.
The book itself is available in either hardback or softback variants (The only difference between the two is the durability, while content is absolutely the same.)
Altogether this is an ultimate guide for those interested in the German King Tiger tank, should you be a modeller in 1/16th or different scale or simply armour enthusiast that gathers information about these vehicles. The quality of the images and coverage makes it not only a perfect handbook for model building but also a state of graphic art product. I wish there were more books like this on other subjects as well.