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ICM 1/350 scale Konig World War I German battleship

Manufacturer: ICM(Ukraine), 2600 Spring St., Redwood City, CA 94063, 650-365-7200.
Kit: No. S001
Scale: 1/350
Price: $89.98
Comments: Injection molded, 478 parts, decals.
Pros: Excellent detail, good fit, one-piece hull, pieces easy to find on sprues, good packaging.
Cons: Lots of superstructure parts, small parts difficult to remove from sprues without damage, decals too matte.
The battleship König was one of four World War I dreadnoughts built for the German Navy. The König was laid down in March of 1911 and commissioned in September 1914. Its length was 575 feet and its beam was 97 feet. Its 12" main guns were housed in five double barrel turrets. The König fought in many of the major sea battles against the British Navy and survived the war, but it was scuttled by the crew on June 21, 1919, along with its sister ships at Scapa Flow (Orkney Islands) harbor.

The König is ICM's first 1/350 scale release of a large ship. ICM has wrapped each sprue in plastic, and the 12-page instructions are excellent with detailed three-dimensional views of the assemblies. The center section of the instructions also has pull-out top- and side-view drawings of the ship, parts assembly reference, and rigging detail. I spent at least an hour studying the instructions and making notes on changes to the assembly sequence to make painting easier.

Pay special attention to the lines and arrows that locate parts, especially the searchlight platforms around the forward and rear stacks. A close examination of the sprues revealed that ICM molded many of the small details as separate parts, but removing them from the sprues damaged some of the smallest.

The wood deck scribing is well executed and the surface detail on the deck and hull are excellent. The hull had a seam which had to be sanded away, but the smaller parts had very few mold-parting lines. My sample kit contained decals which seemed a bit too flat in finish.

The medium soft plastic was easy to work with and it responded well to super glue, scraping, and sanding. The overall parts fit is above average to excellent.

The main deck fits tightly into the one-piece hull, but it is thin, so I reinforced the underside with sheet styrene to prevent the deck from flexing. The upper main deck superstructure sides needed filling and sanding to get the forward ends to blend into the hull. I also reinforced the upper deck, but I was careful not to set the sheet styrene too close to the other edges because I did not want it to interfere with the superstructure gun casings.

The upper deck needed some minor tweaking to get it to fit. Both decks required a little super-glue filling and sanding to get the deck edges to blend into the vertical surfaces. I did not install any of the superstructure guns at this point as they could be popped into place later. This made painting easier and reduced the risk of breaking off the gun barrels.
I noticed that there were no locating holes for the rudders so I measured the side-view drawings and drilled holes in the hull. At this point I painted the hull and deck which required several stages of masking and painting.

Next I completed the assembly of the forward and aft superstructures and checked the fit of the main masts. I had to enlarge the hole in superstructure part J-33 to fit the main mast. All the upper superstructure parts fit together well but the breakdown is odd; instead of left and right halves, you get separate parts such as all sides and the roof. While large superstructure parts built up like this are not usually a problem, small superstructure assemblies can be somewhat tedious. When assembling the upper superstructure parts follow the directions carefully on deck level locations, especially the searchlight platforms. The raised window rims on the upper platforms are so shallow that it makes filling them with paint or ink almost impossible.

I had to replace the yardarms and upper masts with stiff brass wire because the thin kit parts were damaged when I removed them from the sprues. I had the same problem with the boat davits.The small boats are models in themselves. The boat frames are works of art, but take time to be sure they are square. The gangways were very thin and I broke them trying to clean them up - maybe I'm all thumbs.

I couldn't get the circular ring decals on the number two and four turrets to conform to the surface.

Once the model is completed it is very impressive. I have about 50 hours invested in the buildup, almost half of it masking and painting - not unusual for a ship model this detailed. I can't wait to get my hands on ICM's forthcoming WWII Japanese Navy cruiser and HMS Hood.

Mike Ashey

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