Model: Pz Kpfw VIb Konigstiger (Porsche turret) Publisher: GPM 14/98 Scale: 1:25 Format: A4 booklet Designer: Not known The Konigstiger was designed as a replacement for the Tiger I. It was a completely new design altough it shared some design features with the Panther. A few hundred were built in 1944-45 and although it was underpowered and suffered engine and transmission reliability problems it was highly effective when it was running. Its 88mm L/71 gun was capable of destroying most opposing tanks (except perhaps for the Russian IS-2) at very long ranges. GPM has produced a fair number of AFV hits over the years - most of these kits were no better than their contemporaries. The 1998 publishing date suggests that this model will be an improvement over the earlier offerings without the complexity of recent kits. In general this expectation is met. This is a big AFV model - the cover says it's 40cm by 15 cm by 15cm ( 16" x 6" x 6" ). Fourteen pages of A4 cardstock, 2 pages of frames, 1 1/2 pages of vehicle history and instructions(in Polish) and 2 1/2 pages of construction diagrams. There are also 2 pages of photo instructions and a page of photos of the completed model. The model has no interior except for an optional modelled engine. The engine hatch appears to be the only one which is openable. The traditional Polish 1mm card box is used as the frame. Print quality is excellent and the art work is very good - there is a representation of Zimmerit coating which looks pretty effective as well as some light weathering on the hull. There's no attribution of the model to any particular unit but since it has the Porsche turret it must be one of the first 50 King Tigers built. All later King Tigers had a different turret because the Porsche turret was found to have a shot trap which deflected rounds down onto the hull top. Some of the early King Tigers were deployed in France in 1944 so this model may represent one of these. The camouflage colours look about right for mid-1944 - dark yellow base coat with red-brown/ dark green camouflage stripes. <<Update 16/9/04 - After a bit of digging on the Web it looks as though this model represents a Kingtiger of s.Pz.Abt. 503 (heavy tank battalion)(1st company). This unit was attached to the 21st Panzer Division during the Normandy campaign. The unit symbol can be found at: http://www.spearhead1944.com/gerpg/ger2.htm >> The King Tiger had a similar suspension to the Tiger and Panther - multiple interleaved road wheels with torsion bar suspension. The modelling of the multiple roadwheels appears reasonable without being outstanding. The tracks are modelled as 2 bands without an option to build the track form individual links. The inside (upper) parts of the track is coloured a somewhat strange pink-grey colour - I think it's intended to represent rust on the track. However manganese steel from which track links are forged from rusts to a dark brown colour - it might pay to scan and recolour these parts. The hull is modelled in fine detail - the engine deck looks accurately modelled - the instructions suggest using mesh to represent the trash screens over the air inlets. The model photos show something like insect screen mesh - this is too coarse - tulle or similar would be better. The inspection and access plates on the hull bottom are modelled - this is unusual for a model of this age. The modelled gun barrel doesn't seem to be able to elevate which is a bit disappointing. There is an attempt at an external MG42 on the turret top. I think this would be better replaced by the recent free model of the MG42 by Jim Nunn. There is an upper body model of the tank commander - this could be safely discarded. This model would suffer in comparison to Halinski's Panther but if an interior model is not required it isn't too far short of Halinski in terms of external detail. I think the GPM model represents a credible attempt to externally model the King Tiger without the extreme detail of recent models. Instructions: B+ (good construction diagrams but limited in scope) Paper quality: A Level of detail: B+ (more internal detail would be nice) Printing quality: A (fine lines and accurate colour registration) Artwork: A (light weathering, Zimmerit) Value for money: B+ (lot cheaper than Halinski) Skill level: The large number of small parts might be a bit much for a beginner.