I will start this review by the end: this is probably the best kit I have found, or at least one of the top three for sure.
But let me clarify that I am a military modeller and not used to railway stuff, so my apologies in advanced if I have missed something a more trained eye could easily detect.
For me, the detail is excellent, the fit is perfect, there is no need to add anything and the instructions are a piece of art.
This model seems to have been designed with the modeller in mind, and with a lot of care to details.
The SSyms were built until the 90's, but some of the features changed over the time. Sabre has acknowledged Nick Tebbs and Nacho Roces for their technical support, as they identified post-war changes and a good number of small details that allow the kit such a degree of excellence.
Once said this, the rest of the review is more or less a praise of the kit with a few comments, as I hardly found any defect.
The instructions deserve a section of this review by themselves. They are the best I have ever seen, without any doubt.
It is an elegant A4 booklet of 17 pages, with a stylish black cover and satin paper.
The first page contains the typical advice of read before build, safety warnings and symbols used through out the instructions.
There is also a drawing of the sprues, marking the parts that will not be needed -I always like that, to ensure I do not leave behind any part needed.
Then come the instructions, with large and clear drawings, zoom-in of details, photos of the parts, warnings... when you have to take care with similar parts, it is mentioned, or if there is a tiny detail that you have not to remove thinking it is a mistake.
All is well noted and clear, you just need to take advantage of it and read carefully.
Colours are wisely used as well to identify parts, so you are not lost when they show a different view. The consistent color of the parts allow to immediately be aware of the orientation.
Another detail I liked is that some parts are marked as "use it or not at your discretion", for details that are present on the real wagon but will be hidden once finished, so depending on your modelling preferences you may add them or save time and move on.
The instructions have also a good number of photos of the real rail car for better comprehension of the position of parts.
Different options are clearly marked as well.
The next part shows the use of chocks, which are included in this special edition, with again several photos of Tiger tanks with them in use, how to connect two wagons and how to secure the tank using cables. Again, all is very clear and informative using plenty of photos of the kit, real photos and drawings.
Finally. the last two pages are for markings and painting. The decal sheet is reproduced there for quick reference. There are five views of the wagon with clear specification of the decals location and colours to be used.
The colours include the name, a small print of the shade and references of FS/RAL, VIC. (?), Tamiyha, Mr. Hobby and Vallejo.
The only (small) problem I found with the instructions is that the translation sometimes is a bit weird... but in any case it does not affect the usability.
There is an additional small sheet with instructions for the tracks and sleepers.
The kit is up to the instructions, with a great, fine detail and perfect fit. There is no unnecessary breakdown of parts, if something is made of four parts is because the final result looks better that if using less.
The Precision Pro Edition comes with fifteen plastic sprues (but half of them are quite small, carrying only 10 parts), a photoetch fret, metal cable, rubber hose (if you want to connect two wagons) and wooden chocks, plus two sections of rail tracks.
The wood of the chocks is very nice and can be left as is, requiring only some weathering.
The photoetch is slightly thicker than usual but does not look overscaled. It is easier to manipulate without damaging it and there are some spares for the smaller parts.
The kit has several tiny plastic parts, which are always attached to the sprue in a way that makes easier to remove it without damage.
Unfortunately my box arrived badly crushed and the sprues were deformed. The plastic is a bit soft, and probably thanks to that the large parts did not break -but were permanently bent.
The model reproduces the real structure under the deck: considering it was designed to stand up to 80t, its accurate recreation made all parts go to their place, and finally the deformations were almost gone.
A small complain I have is with seam lines, very prominent on large parts. However, it has been so carefully designed that most of them will not be visible on the final model. Except a few ones, I did not even care to remove them.
The underside, apart from the structure, has a couple of air tanks and a compressor that you may install or not, as they will end completely hidden. All the pipes and cables are missing, so as the controls of the brakes, but as they can not be seen, I do not really mind. All parts of the brakes that can be seen from outside are there, and that is enough for me.
Note that on step 12, you should leave the hook workable to hang it to PE-12, something that is not clearly marked.
The handrail can be installed or not, and if installed you can choose between the three or four poles version. That should be decided beforehand, as it requires to drill a few holes on the front that will not be accessible once glued. Again, the instructions warn you about it.
This handrail is workable, it can be folded or extended once assembled, however I decided to fix it since the beginning. I tend to avoid movable parts on my kits, but it is a good example of how accurate the reproduction is.
The only place where I changed the suggested order of construction was for the bogies on step 20. I first joined the sides B40 to the body on step 17, and afterwards added the brake system (step 19). Finally I inserted the axis with wheels and parts Y1 on the extremes.
The side poles can be installed exactly like the real ones, with the locking pins working the same as well. Although I have not seen them in use for transporting Tiger tanks, it is again a nice touch.
I still have not had the chance to use the decals provided, but they are an impressive set accurately researched.
As said, the kit comes with two sections of tracks, which can be assembled straight or curved. They are just enough to hold the wagon, leaving only a couple of cm on each side after the wheels, and shorter than the whole wagon.
They fit is again excellent and only three parts are required per section, plus four connectors. The connectors replicate the real ones, being different inside and outside.
When you team up a modeller like Nacho Roces, with a keen eye and passion for the detail, with a manufacturer with deep knowledge of his work and committed to deliver an excellent product, the result has to be an outstanding model as this one.
This kit is a joy to build, with very fine detail and a perfect fit (no putty needed, in fact) and the instructions are simply amazing.
I can only recommend it to anyone wanting to build an Ssyms. Together with any of the heavy tanks it carried (Tiger, Elefant, Konigstiger, or Jagdtiger), it will be an impressive model.
Note: Robert Jan, with better knowledge on the subject than me, is building the kit and provides his own impressions, together with a good amount of photos here