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Review: Tiger I & Tiger II Tanks 1945, Dennis Oliver

Discussion in 'Book Reviews' started by von Poop, Mar 20, 2019.

  1. von Poop

    von Poop Waspish WW2|ORG Editor

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    Tiger I & Tiger II Tanks.
    German Army & Waffen SS.
    The last battles in the West 1945.


    Capture.JPG

    Dennis Oliver
    P&S/Tank Craft
    ISBN 9781526741820
    RRP: £14.99
    A4 64 pages.
    Tiger I and Tiger II Tanks, German Army and Waffen-SS, The Last Battles in the West, 1945

    I've got too many books about Tigers.
    Easily argued that the things are over-covered & over-dominant in AFV literature.
    Were it just another book about some Tiger minutiae, I might not have picked the review copy, but... It's aimed at modellers, and despite a long hiatus in my modelling, I've been wondering about starting again. And though it's a bit of a cop-out, it's hard to argue that Tigger is one of the best covered plastic kits out there. Also, importantly, lots of etch & fiddly bit accessories to be had. Despite the bursting into tears/rage/despair engendered by the largest useful tool often being a pin, I fancy doing something proper, with lots of bits & pieces. Weird glues. Detail. Is what I fancy.
    So... this thing is brand new & covers quite an interesting period. Thought I'd have a shufti.

    First & foremost; This is a book for modellers. (As, I assume is the rest of the growing series. Not got any others though). It's got some decent potted history, but it's all presented in a manner that is more useful to the glue-inclined. The Tiger-completists have probably ordered it already, but they do that. It's for modellers really, OK.

    To further narrow the focus, it deals exclusively with machines facing Septic & Commonwealth armies in the closing days of the West. No Ivans to be had here, but it looks like there's other focused stuff in the series covering Italy, Ost etc. (The author mentions maybe ten books in the pipeline).

    On first impression, it smells good. That china-clay odour is strong, but then you open it & are faintly disappointed by the first few monochrome images. They're all a bit 'low res', despite detailed captions. Only on further reading do you start to realise this might be because the budget has gone on shiny stuff elsewhere.
    It goes straight into a timeline of 01/01/45 to war's end, with Tiger-specific incidents given a mention when appropriate.
    It is a good timeline, but it is for modellers, I think. The sort who are working out what/where they want to represent.
    After that, there's quite good potted histories of each German Abt. that was using the very scarce Tigers found in the period covered. Just a few paragraphs each, but anything unusual like tanks borrowed from elsewhere is noted - modelling stuff. (starting to see a theme here? )
    Some of the units get rather good organisation illustrations.with turret numbers clearly included, so you can wow your other half with explanations of how this machine represents the second tank in the first zug of Herr Gruber's battalion. (She will continue disinterestedly knitting & occasionally glance at you with contempt while pointedly turning up the grim Scandinavian murder series she's trying to watch, but as we all know this is a sign of being secretly really impressed & thinking you're cool.)

    Lieutenant_Hubert_Gruber.jpg

    This unit/organisation stuff continues later, but is divided by what is probably the real meat of the thing:

    The central pages are taken up with frankly excellent large scale (two to a page) illustrations of particular tanks. Details and oddities thoroughly explained, a bit of sensible conjecture, and maybe an original photo to illustrate a particular feature. The money may have been saved on other pictures, but the reproduction quality here is as good as anything I've seen.
    Has it inspired me? Will the Iwata be raised up from it's role as a PC cleaning device back to some sensible painting?
    Yeah, it may well... There's a really interesting very late II with a slightly odd Green & Yellow pattern that's caught my eye. Though I fancied a I, as I always found IIs a bit boring to paint, this is just strange enough it might well win.
    Oh... it's the one on the bottom of the cover above... God I'm obvious. (though the final physical cover shows a different machine. The vagaries of publishing no doubt.)

    So while you're going 'hmmm', and after it finishes the unit stuff, it throws a few examples of expert modellers work at you. Whether this is a cunning plan to inspire greatness or a dispiriting showing-off by people that can make 1/72nd scale kits look real, I don't know, but the photographs are high quality & the work superb.

    Then the bit I shall doubtless thumb extensively while not actually getting around to buying a kit: Exhaustive coverage of model manufacturers & what they offer to fit the late-war Tiger brief.
    Not reviews, as he seems careful not to say 'don't buy this old shit', just telling you what's out there. Which is right & proper. There's also coverage of accessory manufacturers, Eduard etc., which is the bit that will make my shopping take forever before I spend a fortune on tiny bits of etch & turned muzzle brakes that then sit in a box for several years.

    Finally a really handy list of Tigger II's technical changes by date, both official & field stuff is mentioned. (Not much on I in here, but that seems to be in another book). It includes some very good info on factory & field-applied camo. What paint was permitted if one was unavailable etc. which is the first time your history nerd side comes out as you muse on how even in the final weeks of a losing war, the civil servants & engineers are still noodling on issuing instructions & briefings. Whether it's very German or very human, I don't know, but it is quite interesting. All good modellers stuff, as it creates further thoughts on very specific representations from very specific units & periods..
    There's also a couple of pages on the 'Hybrid' Tigers, cobbled together with parts & repaired machines. Last of the breed, and obviously more nerdy modelling fodder.

    Caveat: I haven't immersed myself in Tiger history for a long time.
    So I'm not going to comment on how accurate the info contained is because of that, there are others here that could walk all over me on that score & they'll doubtless get it modeller or not, but it does smell right.
    Mr Oliver has a confident air, and a growing list of detail books on camo, machines etc. He writes well within the narrow field discussed. Nothing popped out as glaring from my rusty knowledge.



    So what have P&S done with this 'Tank Craft' imprint?
    I think they're onto something.
    The production is good, the info is useful, and if you're spending £40+ on a kit, plus £50 on etch etc., why not add to the bookshelf for £12-15 too.
    I always just made models, never bothering much with specific or truly accurate depictions, but this has actually made me want to try & create something more tied to a real tank.
    Maybe.
    One Day.
    perhaps.
    I'd choose it over an Osprey, including their modelling ones, because of that very specific focus.
    The B&W image production doesn't matter as we now have the interweb for that sort of reference stuff, & the effort put into the illustrations easily outshines that.

    Thanks due again to P&S/Tank Craft for the review copy.
    Rating out of my addled brain: Well worth a look.

    Ramble,
    Blah,
    ~A


    There's etch available for Dragon 1/72nd kits.
    Oh deary me.
    If you hear I've drunk glue & burnt my house down in a fit of rage, you will know that's the option I chose.


    (Also posted on 2T)
     
  2. CAC

    CAC Ace of Spades

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    Will the Americans get the Allo Allo reference? : )
     
  3. ColHessler

    ColHessler Member

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    Listen very carefully, I shall say this only once.
     
  4. CAC

    CAC Ace of Spades

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    Bingo!
    Give that man a banana....
     
    ColHessler likes this.
  5. Poppy

    Poppy grasshopper Patron  

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    ha!
    we used to have the ability to rate a thread.
    1 - 5 stars, if recalling (memory failing, born in 1903)
    but before I forget, want to recommend bringing back the 5 star rating.
    KEEP 5 ALIVE
     
  6. KodiakBeer

    KodiakBeer Member

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    Nice tanks, but completely vulnerable to acoustic torpedoes. Also, no trailer hitch.

    .
     
  7. von Poop

    von Poop Waspish WW2|ORG Editor

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    The youngest couldn't find a charger for his Switch, which was a negative, but Caravans are evil so we were quite happy without the tow hook.
    Nice guns, though. Very useful in traffic jams.
    The Nahverteidigungswaffe was also quite effective in supermarket car parks.
     
  8. KodiakBeer

    KodiakBeer Member

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    Well then, carry on!

    .
     
  9. Martin Bull

    Martin Bull Acting Wg. Cdr

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    Excellent review, Adam.

    You're absolutely right to stress the 'for modellers' warning - I've browsed these books at militaria fairs and - most unusually for this Tiger Completist - didn't purchase. But then, my plastic modelling days are way behind me...I think.o_O
     

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