by: Andras [ ]
This is the second PE set I have for the ICM Markgraf- or rather, for ICM’s König class ships, all four ships being pretty similar. (Sorting out the nature of the differences is a real nightmare due to the lack of easily accessible English language references.) I will do a build review of the ICM Markgraf using the PE sets I have for it; for now I will take a look at the Tom’s Modelworks set.
The set is relatively basic: it provides you the minimum amount of detail that is necessary to dress up your Markgraf (or rather, König class ship) to a good level. (I will keep referring to the Markgraf, since I have that particular model, but as I said, the set works for all four ships.)
The PE is very good quality: not too thin, not too thick. The instructions are good, easy to read. They are mostly concerned about the placement of the rails (understandably since most of the set is made up by the rails), and provides a good explanation which piece of railing goes where. It is a single double-sided A4 page, and a lot of the actual instructions come as a list of written instructions.
These instructions detail which PE part goes where and replaces which kit parts, alongside with advice on how to go about installing them, and what to change/modify on the kit (and how to modify it). They are somewhat vague on the installation of the different cables and hooks; this, unfortunately, the model builder will have to figure out for themselves. A welcome addition is the different vertical and inclined ladders; they do provide an enormous improvement over the base kit’s parts.
There are three rail types: chain, two bar and three bar railings. The instructions are immensely helpful about what type goes where -but then again, check your references (of which there are not many, and mostly in German) if you really want to have an accurate model. The detail on the railings is somewhat basic: it is not readily apparent that the chain railing is indeed chain. (No drop in the chain is modelled -everything looks like bar rails.)
The set provides a few extra parts aside from the railings: the bottom of the life-rafts, chains and crane hooks, cables for securing the boats (but no detail for the boats themselves), the already mentioned inclined ladders, vertical ladders and steps, funnel maintenance rails (something I’ve not seen other PE provide), and boat racks.
The funnel grilles are also very important replacement, as the ICM kit provides a solid piece of plastic with ribbing on top. Literally anything is a better option than a solid, closed of funnel; this is a very essential addition to the model.
There are no doors, skylight covers, deadlights, etc provided; as I said, this set provides only the basics.
The set is nice and it provides you with the minimum amount of extra detail to dress up your König class ship of choice. If you don’t want a lot of hassle with PE, but you do want to add railings to your ship, this is probably the best option for you. It is not expensive, and if you choose it over a generic WWI German railing set, you will have proper instructions specific to the ship, and you will also be able to replace a few crucial plastic parts, such as the inclined ladders and the cables for the cranes to make your ship look much better. (The ICM base kit is not a bad kit by any means, but dressing it up with PE transforms it from a “good” model into a “great” one. Depending, of course, the skill and patience of the model builder.) This set gives you a quick option without many small, fiddly PE bits to make this transformation happen. If PE is a necessary evil for you, and not a source of enjoyment, or if this is your first ship that you build with PE, this set is for you.