Pen & Sword, 2019
Reviewed by Bernd Biege
While I can spot the differences between a Tiger I and a Tiger II (often called “Königstiger”), I am not a hardware fanatic that needs to verify every welding bead and rivet – if it looks right, it is right. Thus I approached this monograph on these German beasts with some trepidation. But was pleasantly surprised: the 64 pages of the A4-sized brochure provides all the information you’d need to model a convincing Tiger tank used on the Western front during the last months of the war. Not more, not less, just the right amount without getting bogged down in too much detail.
This is achieved via a large number of images, photographs as well as line drawings, and camouflage profiles in full colour. Thankfully the images are contemporary, Oliver did not use restored museum pieces with often dodgy paintjobs as his reference.
Also included is a large section on current models of the Tiger tanks, from eye-candy in the form of finished models, to a comprehensive “buyers’ guide” on kits and accessories. No step-by-step instructions, but a useable compass for the discerning modeller.
Having said that – where does the wargamer come in? Apart from a mention of the Italeri 1/56 (28mm) kit, this book is definitely not written with him (or her) in mind. But do not fret, enthusiasts of Flames of War or Bolt Action, you will be well served by this volume, if you want to add a Tiger to your Ardennes arsenal. There are, for instance, detailed graphics on the composition of Tiger units, with the Panzer Abteilung (Fkl) 301 being of special interest … due to a swarm of remotely controlled Borgward IV demolition tanks operating alongside rebuilt Tiger Is. The pictorial material will also help any wargamer to achieve a highly realistic model of a Tiger, the colour profiles alone will introduce some variety to many a tabletop battlefield, I think.
Overall, a volume worth having is you are interested in either the vehicle or the period. Purists will note that the theatre of operations is a bit flexible – some images from Hungary find their way into the selection, but this actually adds value (as they help the author to make specific points).