This is a Panzerkampfwagen VI Tiger Ausf.E of the 504th German heavy tank battalion in April 1943 just before it's capture and transfer to England. Today Tiger 131 is probably the most famous exhibit in the Tank Museum at Bovington Dorset and remains (after extensive restoration work) the worlds only running example of this iconic weapon of war. When I learnt there would be a Vehicle Bonus Round in the Painting Challenge there was little doubt in my mind what I wanted to paint as my entry.
I have had a long relationship with the real Tiger 131, from my earliest visit to the Museum aged about 7, through dozens of subseqent trips over the years until its final restoration and unveiling in March 2012 when I spent a day with other enthusiasts getting up close and personal with this incredible machine. It is a fearsome beast and when you stand next to it (and compare it to Allied tanks like the Sherman) its easy to understand why it instilled such fear in the men that had to face it.
Despite its thick armour and huge 88mm gun the real Tiger 131 was disabled in the end by a very lucky shot fired from a 6pdr in a British Churchill tank from the 48th Royal Tank Regiment. The Solid shot ricocheted off the underside of the gun barrel and wedged itself in the turret ring, meaning the crew could not traverse their gun. Whether this is what caused the crew to abandon their vehicle is unknown but luckily for historians and military vehicle enthusiasts alike, the crew of the tank failed to set off the self destruct charges, and thus the tank fell into British hands almost entirely intact.
Shortly after capture the tank was whisked away for evaluation and was repainted and shown off to Churchill and King George before being transferred back to England. It eventually found its way into the collection at the Tank Museum at Bovington where it has been a star attraction ever since. The tank has been repainted again several times but it wasn't until the recent restoration that the original colour scheme was rediscovered - RAL800 (Gelbbraun) with a one third camo pattern in RAL7008 (Graugrrun) - and these are the colours I have used here.
While not a "Big Cat" fan I can see the appeal. This is one of the best things I have so far seen you paint. You obviously cared about it.ReplyDelete
Thank you for the compliment. The Tiger is definitely the Poster Boy of the Tank Museum, you can't go there and not see it. And when you do, it feels massive. Modern tanks are much bigger but are often lighter. The Panzer VI is a heavy beast of a vehicle and its physical and psycological presence is obvious when you get close. It looks menacing and impregnable, and the gun is absolutely massive when compared to the pea shooter on the Sherman.Delete
Very, very nice work Lee.ReplyDelete
I loved seeing Tiger 131 when I visited the UK a decade or so ago.
Nice piece of history!ReplyDelete
Looks very, very nice! Beautiful paintjob!ReplyDelete
Wasn't this the tank that gave rise recently to a very strange book? Catch that Tiger or somesuch.ReplyDelete
Yes... Catch that Tiger is, in my opinion, a work of complete fiction dressed up as fact. I wrote about it here and the Tank Museum have also written a detailed article about the claims in the book here.Delete
As a fictional adventure story it was a fun read, albeit a little ridiculous in places. The problem I – and many others have – is that the authors have tried to claim their account is historical fact but have not provided any evidence for independent scrutiny to back up their assertions. Worse still many newspapers repeated, almost verbatim, the synopsis of the book provided by the authors, apparently without any fact checking at all.
I was in The Works earlier today and saw the book Catch that Tiger, I even gave the book a quick browse. I never realised that the story was not true. I am surprised.
Thank you for the two links.
PS. The 131 Tiger looks great.
That is lovely work Lee, very good!ReplyDelete
Fantastic work on the big cat, Lee! I really enjoyed your historical bio too.ReplyDelete
Great work Lee. When I go to Bovington it will be incredible to see the actual tank.ReplyDelete
This is a great model, well painted and based, and an interesting story about the tank that inspired you. I hope to make it to Bovington some day and see it myself.ReplyDelete
Great inspiration for me as I have a BF 15mm Tiger on my painting desk.
I think mine is a Peter Pig model. I didn't buy it...I think Fran (The Angry Lurker) gave it to me a couple of years ago.Delete
Outstanding work, Sir! The camo looks spot on.Delete
Very nice LeeReplyDelete
Looking good and mean. Good job LeeReplyDelete