Darren Baker takes a look at 'Tiger I and Tiger II Tanks German Army and Waffen SS - The Last Battles in the East, 1945' from Pen and Sword as part of their Tank Craft book series.


The following is taken from the Pen and Sword website:

By the first weeks of 1945 the Eastern Front had been pushed back to the Carpathian mountain passes in the south and Warsaw on the Vistula River in the centre while in the north the German army was fighting in East Prussia. The Wehrmacht armoured and mobile formations were now employed exclusively as fire brigades, rushed from one crisis to the next as the Red Army pushed inexorably westward. Critical to the German defence were the army's heavy Panzer battalions whose Tiger tanks, with their 8.8cm guns, were almost invincible on the open plains of central Europe. In his latest book in the Tank Craft series Dennis Oliver uses archive photos and extensively researched colour illustrations to examine the Tiger tanks and units of the German Army and Waffen-SS heavy Panzer battalions that struggled to resist the onslaught of Soviet armour during the last days of the conflict which culminated in the battle for Berlin. A key section of his book displays available model kits and aftermarket products, complemented by a gallery of beautifully constructed and painted models in various scales. Technical details as well as modifications introduced during production and in the field are also examined providing everything the modeller needs to recreate an accurate representation of these historic tanks.


This offering from Pen and Sword, is authored by Dennis Oliver. The book itself is a soft backed offering with a card cover protecting 64 pages. The information is presented in a portrait style on a good quality semi gloss paper. This release is number 31 in the Tank Craft series of books, and provides information that the modeller will find useful. This book can be broken up into three elements. These are:

Information and Photographs on the real vehicles

Artists section - presenting the Tiger I and Tiger II in a good number of guises.

A modelling section - covering both finished models, and some of the items available to the modeller.

The information in the book, is presented at follows:


The Eastern Front 1945

Tiger Units of the Heer

Camouflage and Markings

Model Showcase

Modelling Products


Formations raised in 1945

Tiger Units of the Waffen SS

Technical Details and Modifications

Product Contact Details.

The text in this offering from Pen and Sword is easily read, being in a good font and size to present its information. The text covers a brief description of the conditions and the situation in the East at this time. You are then presented with a breakdown on an almost daily basis, of events as they unfolded. Finally you get information on specific units, which the modeller will find useful for presenting models in the correct areas of conflict. The period photographs included in this publication, shows some interesting aspects that may light your enthusiasm to finish a model as presented in the book. One photograph of notes clearly shows the Zimmerit pattern on a Tiger II, that enables the viewer to pick out very specific aspects of Zimmerit application.

The artwork in the book covers the Tiger I and Tiger II from left and right sides, and provides in some cases period photographs of the vehicle represented that will help the modeller add specific detail should they wish to represent one of these in model form. Also provided in some cases are close up images of the markings, not apparent in the artwork. The modelling section is of limited value to the modeller, beyond showing the work of highly skilled modellers, and perhaps providing ideas on how to finish your model. The models presented are:

PzKpFw VI Tiger Ausf E, in 1/48th scale by Jose Luis Lopez Ruiv

PzKpFw VI Tiger Ausf B, in 1/35th scale by Lester Plaskitt

PzKpFw VI Tiger Ausf B, Porsche Turret and Henschel Turret 1/35th scale by Xuan Ha 

The section covering what is available could never hope to cover, the huge number of models available in both kit and after market form. The numbers are huge, however the book does cover a reasonable number of the main manufacturers, and examples of their products, including my all time favourite of the premium King Tiger, Porsche Turret from Dragon - Kits that are now hard to get hold of, and not forgetting questionable instructions that cannot detract from this model for me. 


This offering from Pen and Sword covering the Tiger I and Tiger II on the Eastern front, is for the most part a pleasing title, that does a good job of mixing fact with models. The period photographs in black and white, have been well chosen, as it shows the tanks in various situations. The modelling section has again been pasted into the middle of a chapter in the middle of the book, which gives me the impression that it is an afterthought, even though I know that is not the case, and I am beginning to feel very strongly that the modelling section should be placed at the end of the title or at least at the end of a chapter, rather than just plonked in.



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