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  1. RAF Pilots in Tropical Uniforms (48080) 1:48 ICM via H G Hannants Ltd During WWII, hostilities extended to the north of Africa and other warmer climes, such as the Pacific where aircrew wearing heavy coats, boots and trousers would be most uncomfortable at ground-level, and although they would have to add more layers once airborne, fighter and bomber crews spent at least a portion of their days waiting for the next mission, and would certainly feel the heat. In addition, tropical weighted clothing was also lighter in tone to add camouflage to their usefulness, often sandy coloured to match the terrain. Crew might wear shorts or lighter weight trousers and short sleeves, or simply roll up a long-sleeved shirt to cool off. This applied equally to the ground crews, who spent all their time stewing in oppressive heat and humidity. This figure set from ICM depicts five RAF characters, consisting of three aircrew, and two ground personnel in relaxed poses. It arrives in a shallow top-opening box with the usual captive flap on the lower tray, and inside is a single sprue plus instruction sheet, plus the by-now standard ICM paint system leaflet that matches the chart on one side of the instructions. The three aircrew figures are standing, two of them in shorts and calf-length flying boots, while the other is wearing long trousers, and all have their Mae West life vests on. The long trousered gentleman has his flight helmet on, and one of the others is carrying his, while the chap in the flat hat is without his, and is having a smoke. The two ground crew figures are also relaxed, one leaning his elbow against the aircraft with crossed legs, while the other fellow is kneeling, possibly inspecting something under the aircraft. They’re both wearing shorts of a slightly different shade than the aircrew, with their olive-green socks pulled up to calf height and standard-issue shoes on their feet. The parts for each figure are found in separate areas of the sprue for ease of identification, and parts breakdown is sensibly placed along clothing seams or natural breaks to minimise clean-up of the figures once they are built up. The sculpting is typically excellent, as we’ve come to expect from ICM’s artists and tool-makers, with natural poses, drape of clothing and textures appropriate to the parts of the model. Having only looked as 1:35 figures recently, they seem small, although they are perfectly suited to 1:48 models of course, as demonstrated on the box art, which shows a Beaufort parked in the background, which is another of ICM’s excellent and relatively recent kits. The instructions have a sprue diagram and paint chart on one side, which corresponds to ICM’s acrylic paint system, and has the colour names in English and Ukrainian to assist with colour choices for those that don’t use ICM’s brand. The other side has drawings of the figures, with the paint colours picked out in red, while the part numbers are marked in black. Conclusion Excellent sculpting, natural poses and detail make this an excellent figure set to populate a diorama depicting any tropical environment war zone scene where British pilots and ground crew were found. Highly recommended. Available in the UK from importers H G Hannants Ltd. Review sample courtesy of
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