Voyager Model company from China range of 1/35 scale photoetched detail sets is constantly growing and majority of their products is designed for German WW2 armor. Voyager also offer interesting update sets for modern armor, but the subject of this review is one of their WW2 German releases: update set for Dragon (DML) KingTiger kit. As my knowledge of WW2 armor is negligible and I have actually never seen Dragon kit, this review will only be a "first look" style and don't expect any comments regarding accuracy of parts.
PE35025 set is packed in a Voyager "trademark" thick paper compact disc case. Inside the case we find instructions printed on three sides of two A4 size paper sheets and a resealable plastic bag with all parts inside. Some of these are packed in two more zip-bags inside a bigger bag, so all parts are quite well protected from damage. Instructions diagrams are quite complex, because of the number of small parts included in the set, but at the same time clear and precise. The set is described as a "PE Update", but we get more then just photoetched parts in it. In addition to seven photoetched frets, it also includes four plastic (ABS) rods, a piece of wire (most likely aluminum), a short piece of brass tubing and two lengths of cable (copper and steel). PE parts are etched in brass sheets of three thickness grades and one of frets is made of steel, but this one does not contain model parts, but photoetched Zimmerit application tools. One of brass frets in the set was sourced from Voyager's first photoetched set for 1/35 scale armor: WW2 German Clamps & Clasps (see review here
Sizes of photoetched frets are:
A - 64 mm x 95 mm / 0.15 mm thick brass
B - 64 mm x 95 mm / 0.15 mm thick brass
C - 32 mm x 48 mm / 0.25 mm thick brass
engine deck meshes (fret described as "Kingtiger & Jagdtiger") - 48 mm x 48 mm / 0.15 mm thick brass
turret spare track links carrying brackets (also described as "Kingtiger & Jagdtiger") - 24 mm x 48 mm / 0.5 mm thick brass
WW2 German Clamps & Clasps - 32 mm x 32 mm / 0.15 mm thick copper.
Zimmerit Coating Applicator - 24 mm x 48 mm / 0.15 mm thick steel
Additional parts are: three 53 mm long 0.5 mm diameter ABS rods (actually one of them is slightly thicker: 0.6 mm diameter), one 55 mm long 1 mm diameter ABS rod, 40 mm of 0.3 mm diameter aluminum wire, 16 mm of 0.75 mm diameter brass tubing, 460 mm of steel 0.5 mm diameter cable, 410 mm length of 0.8 mm diameter copper cable and a small 20 mm x 20 mm square piece of 0.5 thick styrene sheet.
Some of included parts are:
- meshes for engine intake grilles. These are one of the best looking PE meshes I have seen! Very realistic in appearance.
- multipart clamps and brackets for pioneer and service tools. Complete shovel blade is included.
- front and rear fenders. Rear fenders are very complex - each is composed of 12 metal parts including pieces of wire and brass tubing.
- fire extinguisher holder.
- various details, like holders and brackets for parts attached to the rear hull armor plate.
- holders for tow cables - nicely detailed with tiny butterfly nuts.
- some details for turret top.
- spare track link carrying brackets for turret sizes, made of thick 0.5 mm brass.
- two types of tow cable - thick and thin.
- some other small details, which are hard to describe without detailed knowledge about Kingtiger tanks.
The use of steel cable for the thinner tow line may cause some problems as the cable is rather stiff and it may be difficult to attach to the model. Annealing may help, but steel will never be as soft as copper cable, which was provided for thicker tow line. Cutting brass tubing to short 2 mm sections may also prove to be difficult for many modelers, as cautious use of motortool may be required to do that.
Assembly of some small parts included in Voyager set may be really tricky and it requires very stable hand, good tools and a lot of patience, but once assembled, those details should look really great. Many of parts can be assembled without the use of glue, as various tiny pins and holes should fit into each other and hold parts together.
The use of Zimmerit applicator is shown on one drawing in instructions, but no suggestions are given for the material to use for Zimmerit paste. There is one line of text under the drawing that may provide this information, but it is in Chinese only...
On one of the larger frets a template is provided to make your own masks for painting Balkenkreutz. According to instructions you can apply a masking tape over this template, use a pencil to make the edges of template visible on tape and then cut the shape with the tip of the knife. Interesting alternative to using vinyl masks, but I expect it requires using good quality tape and very sharp knife to achieve satisfactory result.
I must admit that Voyager's set is an impressive one. With all the extras provided it is more then just a PE update. Once you attach all those numerous details and fabulous meshes to your model, it will definitely look great. Highly recommended for more experienced modelers - tiny brass parts may be too difficult to handle for beginners. I don't build WW2 models, but this set made me consider buying Dragon Kingtiger kit just to use this Voyager product!
Many thanks to Voyager Model for the review sample!
Voyager Models detail sets are available in USA among others from Mission Models
. For a list of other resellers and distributors please e-mail Voyager at: Support@voyagermodel.com