BRASS FIT FOR A KING
Photo-Etched Brass for the
ICM 1:350 Konig & Grosser Kurfurst
by
Steve Backer


There is much interest in photo etched brass for ICM’s 1:350 Konig and Grosser Kurfurst. Three frets are available to increase the already fine detail on these kits. Gold Medal Models (GMM), Tom’s, and White Ensign Models (WEM) have all produced excellent brass for the ICM kit. As a prolog, I would like to state that all three products provide value to the modeler. There are no losers, only winners. The evaluation of fret contents and design is normally very subjective and that is especially true with these offerings. One objective evaluation is the amount of brass you purchase for your money.
   

 

Size in Inches

Retail Price

Price per Sq. In.

GMM

9.75 x 4

$32.00

$ .82

TOMS

7.6 x 3.75

$16.00

$ .56

WEM

8.4 x 5.75

$28.95

$ .60

Judging brass by price per square inch is misleading. The two criteria for the selection really come down to quality and the degree of coverage. Quality is a characteristic of all three of these frets. That leaves the sole criterion as the degree of coverage. To answer this question, you have to ask the question, "What do I want in a PE fret?" Which of these frets is best for you is determined by your answer to that question. Each one has features not found on the other two. When I build my Konig (as post Jutland) and Grosser Kurfurst (as at Jutland), I’m going to use parts from all three frets.

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The best feature from the GMM fret is the extremely comprehensive coverage of doors, hatches and skylights. No one else comes close on this topic. Other notable features include yardarm footropes, relief raft bottoms, boat crane safety rails and beautifully done crane hooks.  GMM also gives you a large quantity of their drooped railing. One part where I believe GMM missed in accuracy is the design of the funnel cap grates. There appear to be too few bars in the grate. See photo of Konig found in Von der Nassau-zur Konig Klasse, by Koop and Schmolke, at page 138 and in Dreadnought by Richard Hough, at page 62.

The best feature of the TOMS fret is the custom cut railings. All railing is already cut to conform to the appropriate spot on the kit. There is no need to cut and re-cut railing. Tom’s is the only fret to provide funnel maintenance railing. There are no ship’s crests for the bow.

 

 

The WEM fret features anti-torpedo net shelves with uncounted multitudes of shelf bracing. If you wish to model the ship as she appeared at Jutland or earlier, the shelves are a must. Other notable features include the best coverage on ship’s boat fittings, spotting position platform, beautifully done boat davits, 88mm gun mechanisms, and 88mm gun casement blanks. WEM also includes drooped railing. The WEM fret appears to be the most complex of the three. 

Each fret has comprehensive instructions. This has just been a quick look at the features on these three fine products. Undoubtedly others will find features that I have missed or that they like better. If I could only have one of these three excellent products, my very subjective choice would be the beautiful fret from WHITE ENSIGN MODELS. The inclusion of the torpedo net shelves with bracing is invaluable in depicting Konig at Jutland. However, whichever one you pick, you won’t go wrong.


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