Bison Decals Tiki and other Tigers
of the 2. SS-Pz.Div. “Das Reich” (BD-35019)
by Frank De Sisto
Water-slide decal sheet in 1/35th-scale. Price: $9.00 USD, plus shipping.
Ah, the Tiger I. There are more kits of this tank available than you
can shake a stick at, with new ones from DML, AFV Club, Skybow and Tamiya
coming out almost monthly. This new sheet will mark a specific group of
early production Tiger Is as crewed by members of the 8. s.Pz.Kp./s.SS-Pz.Kp.
from the 2.SS Panzer Division “Das Reich”, during 1943 and
1944, on the Eastern Front. Featured is “Tiki” in three different
guises (tac # white 812, black 812 and S34), as well as five other Tigers
(S33 with Chinese good luck glyph, S13, S21 and S24, and black 832). So
although there are markings for five complete Tigers as stated on the
instructions, the options actually allow for eight variations. Not too
bad considering that there are Tiger fans who build all sorts of variations.
The markings range from those seen in early 1943, including winter whitewashed
tanks, to two-and three-tone tanks as seen at Kursk. For the latter, the
special divisional insignia (a horizontal bar with two vertical bars attached)
is given as are the small Gnome figures seen on the turrets of the Tigers.
These are quite interesting and fairly colorful. A final touch are the
small white shields with the SS runes for the crew’s externally-stowed
helmets, but curiously, there are no swastikas on the red/white shield
for the helmet’s opposite sides. Perhaps that last tiny glitch is
due to European law.
As is the custom with this manufacturer, the decals are printed by Microscale
in the USA, which (as usual) means that registration, detail and color
saturation is outstanding. The carrier film is very thin and will react
well to solvents and setting solutions. The instructions are clearly-drawn
and include three views (plus an occasional detail drawing) for the five
basic schemes. The three sub-variations are each covered by a profile
of the turret, and will require that some tac numbers be cut apart to
be “mixed and matched”. The markings compare well to references
that I own, but the actual colors on the Kursk Tigers can be debated as
to their specifics, since they are based on contemporary black and white
photographs and their interpretation by post-war enthusiasts. The manufacturer
alludes to this in the instructions, which is refreshing.
Altogether, this set should prove to be very popular, especially with
the upcoming DML kit not too far off.
Bison products are available at retail and mail order shops and directly
from the manufacturer at: www.angelfire.com/pro/bison.
Visit their web site for images of reviewed items.