Here we take a look at another offering in the Tankcraft series from Pen and Sword.


The following introduction is taken from the Pen and Sword website:

The Tiger I and Tiger II tanks are probably the most famous German armoured fighting vehicles of the Second World War and despite the relatively small numbers produced, the heavy Panzer units of the German Army played a key role in the battles fought in North Africa, Italy, the Western Front and particularly in the East. In the seventh and final book on the Tiger in this series Dennis Oliver examines the first tanks that left the production line to go into service on the Eastern Front in an effort to break the Russian defences around Leningrad. As reinforcements steadily arrived, the same units played an important part in the blunting of the Soviet offensive efforts and in the retaking of Kharkov in eastern Ukraine in early 1943, a tactical achievement that is studied in military academies around the world today. In addition to archive photographs and painstakingly researched, exquisitely presented colour illustrations, a large part of this book showcases 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 modeler needs to recreate an accurate representation of the Tigers of 1942 and early 1943.


This offering in the Tankcraft series No 30, revisits the Tiger I on this occasion on the Eastern front in 1942. This release is a soft backed book, as per the rest of the series with a reasonably heavy card cover protecting 64 pages within. The paper used is a semi gloss which shows the photographs off well. The author of this particular book is Dennis Oliver, who has authored a good number of the titles in the series as a whole. 

The contents of this book are covered as follows:


The Eastern Front August 1942 - 1943

The Tiger Units


Camouflage and Markings

Model Showcase

Modelling Products

Technical Details and Modifications

Product Contact Details

The text in this book, is all provided in English and starts with the words of the men using the tank talking about its weaknesses. We are all familiar with the famed Tiger and every Allied tank destroyed being attacked by a Tiger. Well this introduction tells you clearly in low numbers on the wrong type of ground and their lack of reliability, due to the engine struggling and a lack of suitable recovery vehicles, made the Tiger I a pig in the field rather than a wonder weapon. The book then continues by giving you a diary outlay of German movements between 1st August 1942 to the 31st March 1943. These diary entries will help the modeller to place the right units in the right places. Dennis Oliver then goes into further detail on entries during the dates stated, but I am again disappointed that what I class as the modelling section of these titles has been plonked in the middle - which breaks the reading of the title. It has to be remembered that the amount of information provided in these titles is limited by the page count, many of which cover models. As well as the text covering the period, there are a very good number of period black and white photographs which I always find of interest.

What I consider to be the start of the modelling section, begins with a good number of side profiles of the Tiger I’s used in this area during this period, with a very nice look at the camouflage and markings used. Some of these are artists profiles, also comes with period photos of the specific vehicles. The only compliant I have with reference to this area, is the green used on some of the vehicles which is just way to green in my opinion. This is followed by looking at some Tiger I kits, either finished and/or during construction. The models here are:

Inintial production Schwere Panzer, Abteilung 502 by Andres Mora in 1/35th scale - showing some rather pleasing weathering aspects.

Early production Tiger I, Schwere Panzer Abteilung 503 by Konstantinos Kalogeropoulos in 1/35th scale - This one shows a good number of the extras used by the modeller and the scratch work employed as well as covering the painting of the model, which makes this build particularly interesting.

Initial production Tiger I, Schwere Panzer Abteilung 502 by Naomasa Dairaku in 1/35th scale - This kit uses the initial Tiger I from Dragon Models, which created such a stir when first released. Limited detail is shown during its construction and finishing, but it does remind the viewer of what a stunning model this was when it was first released. 

Early production Tiger I SS-Panzer-Regiment 3 by Theodoros Kalamatas in 1/72nd scale - This particular build is no my favourite scale due to it being small and my hands being large, but it does show what can be achieved even in 1/72nd scale.

We then get a look at the actual models available of the Tiger I, and a glimpse of some of the after market items available. Unfortunately I cannot help feeling that more content was required here, but by the same score as soon as the book is printed and covering the Tiger I is pretty much out of date. The book then finishes up with more content from the author, with more of the period black and white photographs. I will say that I am quite pleased with the style of writing that Dennis Oliver uses. 


Having looked through a number of titles in the Tankcraft series, I have had mixed emotions as regards by perceptions of them. Most often being irritated by the modelling section being placed amongst the written sections, and feel that these books would have greater appeal if the written sections and the modelling sections did not interfere with each other. Dennis Oliver has a style of writing that I approve of, as it draws into reading more than I intended to. The first part of the modelling section with the artists profiles I find useful as a modeller, and some parts of the builds makes you realise what is achievable with skill and dedication. But the section covering kits and after market items could be dropped, as it is almost out of date as soon as it is printed.



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