by: Darren Baker [ ]
The Tiger 1 and King Tiger as it has become known have always proved to be popular models in all scales. When a company released 1/16th scale King Tigers in 1/16th scale with full interiors recently there was a lot of interest, but this interest was curtailed for many by the cost of the models and in some cases what the other half may have to say about it. An answer to these issues is being supplied by ICM who have released a 1/35th scale King Tiger with interior for a much more manageable £40/$40 area, a price most can easily justify for any kit let alone an interior kit.
The following is the introduction provided by ICM:
The most heavy and powerful tank of WW2 was the German Pz.Kpfw.VI Ausf.B. It was designed by the Henschel Company under the leadership of E. Aders. Its serial production was launced in February 1944.
The tank had heavy armour and a long barrelled 8.8cm cannon. Its armour piercing projectile was capable of hitting any Allied tank at 2000m and above. However the tank possessed insufficient mobility and reliability of the power plant and the transmission.
The tank received the nickname Tiger II or Konigstiger. From July 1944 Henschel turrets were installed and from October 1944 the application of zimmerit coating was stopped. Pz.Kpfw.VI Ausf B tanks served with heavy tank battalions. 479 Konigstigers’ were produced in 1944/45.
This offering from ICM is packaged in the now usual excellent packaging of a flip top cardboard box and an additional card lid with the artwork on it. This approach to packaging is in my opinion the best on offer when it comes to holding up to the postal systems of the world. Inside there are two separate re-sealable bags, these are not over packed and so no distortion has occurred to the sprues. The sprue breakdown is as follows:
14 grey sprues
4 black sprues
Photo etched sprue
A close examination of the sprues only really reveals one issue that will need attention and that is there are a number of ejection pin marks that will need to be tackled. Other than these marks I am happy with what I am seeing here as regards the plastic. The photo etched parts are low in number and well done despite that ICM does not as a rule supply photo etch in their kits.
I am starting this review of the ICM King Tiger with a look at the engine, an area of models where ICM usually excels, but not in this case. The engine is generally accurate in size and shape, but the detail has been greatly simplified in areas that are not easily seen and I find this a disappointment due to my expectations of ICM. I do have to say that this issue does appear to be restricted to hidden aspects, but it means the engine cannot be shown lifted from the vehicle. As regards the areas that can be seen my only concern is the large bins on the centre portion of the engine do not match the detail in my reference. The detail around the engine is very pleasing as regards the cells and the detail within them. I particularly like the photo etched fan blades on the air intakes, which I believe with care will rotate if blown on.
The hull sides and floor are separate parts, but due to the back plate being part of the lower hull orientation should not be an issue. The torsion bars are well replicated in the model, but are not workable. Interior detail here seems to be of a very high standard. The floor support and torsion bar guide is a nicely detailed part despite being hidden for the most part. An examination of the firewall indicates nice replication of the detail. The transverse box for the turret and the gearbox area are nicely replicated and do not cause me any concern at this point. I am also very pleased to see the battery boxes supplied despite again being hidden. The seating for the driver and radio operator could be better detailed but it is present.
The internal superstructure supports are very nicely replicated and do appear to be accurate in look and location. Ammunition stowage has also been very well replicated in this model from ICM and is further enhanced by the inclusion of separate shells in all cases that do look nice. An examination against my reference material only really reveals the lack of wiring inside the hull, of course this could be addressed by the modeller if desired. Ammunition stowage in the hull of the tank throws up an issue with my reference in that the reference indicates stowage as 4, 3, 2 and another indicates 4,3,3; the model has stowage as 4,4,3 down to 3,2 at the front by the crew located there, as such I cannot say what is and what is not accurate here.
Moving onto the turret and an area that I struggled with due to how difficult it is to work out my reference against the model parts. The floor of the turret is an area that I would like to have seen better detailed, all of my reference shows the floor to have a diamond tread pattern on it and the kit offering is smooth. The details as regards structures is however very good and would appear to be well replicated in miniature, but again wiring detail will lift this area to a much higher level. The seating areas are well presented. The ring that sits in the floor of the turret itself is very nicely detailed. Ammunition stowage at the rear of the turret again throws up issues with my reference indicating a 4,2,2 arrangement on each side and the model has a 4,4,3 arrangement. The breech of the main gun is pleasing detail wise, but next to impossible to see in the model.
Externally the hull and the turret of the model look good from the size and angles of the structures, but a question that springs to mind is that the thickness of the various panels do not appear to be scaled and so this throws into questions internal structure size. I will say that for me this does not matter one jot, but someone who is all about accuracy will be concerned and so you have been warned about a potential issue. The barrel of the model is a mix of halves and single length, but I will replace it with a metal offering from RB Model. The tracks are the correct later style and look pleasing to me. There are some very small ejector pin marks on the inner faces that I believe can be dealt with via a light sanding. The drive wheels are the 18 toothed versions which is correct for the later King Tiger vehicles. Some scratch work will benefit the light fitting on the vehicle due to no cable from the light to the power point being included. The track guards are supplied in full runs and I would have liked to see these separated , this is due to many reference photographs rarely showing a full undamaged guard.
This offering from ICM is not perfect and does not meet all of my expectations, but the cost of the model for what is offered more than makes up for this in my opinion. All of the concerns I have about how some items and areas have been tackled can be overcome by the modeller with varying degrees of ability. As I have said in the review the barrel needs work, but I would replace this with an offering from RB Model, ABER or some other manufacturer. The only issue I believe to be present that I could not and would not tackle is the possible inaccuracy of the internal area due to the shell of the model not having accurate armour thicknesses, again this does not bother myself but may concern others. The inclusion of the photo etched grills and the fans are a very nice inclusion with this model. Looking harshly at this offering from ICM does not deter me from buying it and I feel the price is exceptional for what is being offered.