When I was younger, I would never have dreamed of duplicating a vehicle — much less the very same kit. One Tiger II was enough. Now I have seven in my collection: four that I recently built, plus one other from my youth that I repainted (those are the five you see above), as well as two others not pictured. I guess that’s what happens sometimes when you put the financial means of an adult into your hobby! And anyway, these military subjects do often look very cool when there is more than one of them lined up.
The decal sheets that came with the Dragon Armor King Tigers were beautifully extensive and allowed for the creation of whole platoons. I also fell for their “Ardennes 1944, Parts 1 & 2” boxing scheme. It turns out that all of the Fallschirmjäger figures are in both boxes, so you really don’t need to get both to have a complete set — but I must say nonetheless that I like how the Tigers 222 and 223 look together with all those soldiers milling about, as if contemplating the outcome of their next, imminent move. The Cyber Hobby box also turns out to contain a Dragon model; I didn’t realize when I acquired them all that they were identical. But, again, having that extra vehicle allowed me to make a handsome command tank, with “104” in black with white outlines. The tank crew figures are borrowed from a different kit, the Tiger I Late Production with “Tank Aces.” The ESCI/Italeri models (here painted in the same scheme and using some of the Dragon decals) are quite decent, but as 50-year-old molds, they are just not on a par with the beautiful Dragon Tigers.
For the photos, I staged the tanks and soldiers with a variety of European structures arranged around a muddy road or square, with one of my sky posters in the background. I waited for an overcast day to match the lighting for the Ardennes. The main trick of these pictures is the horizon. Unless I manage somehow to crowd the frame with buildings, there are apt to be clouds right down to ground level, which doesn’t quite look right. It’s not perfect, but I think I managed fairly well through placement of props, camera angles, and cropping to get what I wanted. By the time I’m finished processing the pictures, I usually find it hard to choose between the color versions, which show what the models actually look like, and the black-and-white versions, which give more of the illusion of a snapshot from history — so sometimes I just throw in both.