ICM is known for their production of detailed kits of various genres of military and civilian subjects. Even with the current events taking place in their home country Ukraine, the company continues to provide new offerings for modelers of nearly any interest. One of their latest releases is this 1/144 scale Kriegsfischkutter. I appreciated the detail available as well as the relatively compact size of the completed model. Modelers with some experience handling very small parts should enjoy this representation of a unique subject.
Beginning in 1941, the German Navy (Kriegsmarine) began developing fishing trawlers for various uses in the coastal waters near their occupied lands. These boats were manufactured by different companies in Germany as well as Sweden. They could be constructed of wood, metal, or composite materials. The boats were armed with an assortment of weapons including 20mm and 37mm guns as well as depth charges. They could carry acoustic, contact, and magnetic-towed sonar to search for enemy submarines. Following the war, many of the surviving boats were transformed into civilian fishing cutters by removing the gun decks and installing a pair of masts.
Upon opening the box, you will find four gray sprues and one clear sprue holding a total of 139 parts along with a 12-page booklet for the instructions and painting suggestions. The instructions list appropriate ICM, Revell, and Tamiya paints and provide a brief history and technical specifications of the Kriegsfischkutter. While the boats were armed with different weapons, as can be seen in the limited photos available online, this kit provides a pair of single 20mm guns for the platforms.
The instructions begin with the installation of the deck between the two halves of the hull, but I elected to start by painting the deck and inside areas of the hull and adding some of the small parts on the deck before gluing the hull together. I painted the wooden deck, top of the deckhouse, deckhouse sides, and gun platforms prior to any assembly of those items. I hand-painted the framing around the top of the gun decks. I also elected to paint all the small items before attaching them to the boat as this allowed me to simply overcoat the entire project at the end. I did note that if you are following the kit instructions that you need to perform steps 19, 20, and 21 prior to step 18.
I used the Vallejo “Old and New Wood” set for the wooden decks, specifically the colors applicable to “new wood”, and I used the Vallejo “Kriegsmarine WWII German Colors” set Neutral Gray and Sea Gray for the hull colors. In addition, I used Stynylrez Black, Testors Enamel Red and Green, Tamiya Clear Red, Clear Green, and Gunmetal, Model Master Acryl Gloss White, Gunze Cream Yellow, Hataka Lacquer Insignia Red, Vallejo Oily Steel, and Alclad Brass paints. Ammo by Mig Flat was used for the overall finish with the base receiving Alclad Aqua Gloss.
For some added details, I used some 0.7mm masking tape to create the weaved “floor” for the life raft located on top of the boat house. I employed a 0.3mm rigging line to represent the ropes holding the two lifeboats in place. For the railing I used 0.7mm OD (outside diameter) brass tubing cut to lengths of roughly 0.7mm to represent the openings atop the stanchions for the wire railing. The railing was represented with 0.006-inch wire with a section of 40 links per inch chain on each side. I also used EZ Line Fine to represent the aerial mast lines and Infini Models Super Fine White Lycra Rigging to represent the flag line on the aft side of the mast.
As far as my hits are concerned, I enjoyed the scale of this boat as it was big enough to show detail, and small enough to avoid using too much shelf space when complete. The level of detail is fantastic and there was no flash to clean up along with minimal seam lines. Individual boards are represented on the wooden decks and appear correct for this scale. I appreciate the full-color front and back pages of the instructions. They simplify paint color identification and show the two recommended paint schemes. Even without the additional detail I put into the kit, you can build a very nice looking Kriegsfischkutter out of the box.
My only real miss is the lack of flags either as decals or printed paper as photos from the war typically show the Kriegsmarine flag being flown by these boats. While this is minor in nature, I will be looking through my spares for a flag to install. I am not completely certain based on the limited photos of the real boats, but I believe that the deck house should have three windows facing aft (this would be on part B18). This can be remedied by cutting out the area of the three windows and installing a piece of clear plastic, if you are so inclined.
In conclusion, I highly recommend this beautiful kit to modelers with experience in handling some small and delicate parts who are looking to add a 1/144 scale Kriegsfischkutter to their collection. The detail is all very good. The kit allows you to produce a nice-looking model directly out of the box. My thanks to the people at ICM for providing this kit to IPMS USA for review (Slava Ukraini!), and to Phil Peterson for allowing me to perform this evaluation! As always, I sincerely appreciate the folks behind the scenes at the IPMS Review Corps and those who read this review!