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  1. Sd.Kfz.247 Ausf.B (35110) 1:35 ICM via Hannants The Sd.Kfz.247 was a small four-wheeled 4x4 armoured car that was ordered in small quantities to keep battalion commanders and other officer types safe whilst ranging around the battlefield marshalling their subordinates. They weren’t intended for front-line use, but were sufficiently armoured to withstand a 7.62mm round from a distance, although the open rear compartment would have been a tempting target for a well-lobbed grenade. They were manufactured by Mercedes Benz on a Horch 108 chassis, and could maintain a good 50mph top-speed on a made-up road thanks to its 8-cylinder 3.5L Horch petrol engine. It had better off-road characteristics than its 6-wheeled Ausf.A predecessor, and saw extensive use in the early part of WWII, during the fast-paced Blitzkrieg advances through France and the lowlands. The Kit This is a new tool from ICM, but it does share a few clear parts with one of their earlier Mercedes kits, using the light lenses and little else, plus the tyres from the Horch. It is a fairly niche product with only 58 having been made and used at the beginning of WWII, but it’s an attractive armoured car, and as they intimated on their Facebook page, it bears a passing resemblance to the recently announced Tesla Cyber Truck. It arrives in ICM’s usual top-opening box with captive tray lid, and there are five sprues in grey styrene, a tree of black flexible tyres, a clear sprue, decal sheet, and a glossy-covered instruction booklet with painting guide on the rear cover. Detail is excellent, as we’ve come to expect from ICM, including an almost full interior with engine, radio gear, seating and pioneer tools all depicted in styrene. Construction begins with the ladder chassis, with two beams running front to back that have a box-section profile thanks to an insert, separate suspension mounts and cross-braces, plus the two axles with their differential bulges in the middle. The upper swing-arms are fitted onto the chassis and mate with the combined hub/brake drum parts, then the steering arms and other parts are installed, the two-part twin springs per wheel are glued in, and the lower swing-arms close up the assembly. The power pack is built around the two-part block with cylinder heads, ancillaries, exhaust manifolds and timing belts added before it is inserted into the chassis over the front axle. The front bumper iron is built up and fitted with hooks, then placed at the front of the chassis rails, after which the wheels can be made, comprising three parts to the hubs, which press on either side of the flexible tyres, being well-detailed and come from an earlier Horch kit. These could be painted and weathered after a good scrub in warm soapy water to improve adhesion. This is replicated on each corner, with a keyed shaft ensuring correct location on the rear of the hubs. Attention now turns to the bodyshell, which begins with a tread-plated floor pan that has a number of parts added to the underside first, then is flipped over and receives the driver’s foot pedals. The lower sides are separate, and have doors with handles fitted, external arches and other clamshell doors, then they’re attached to the floor along with the radiator to create the angular lower hull, which is then joined to the chassis and has all the remaining underpinnings and mudflaps added along the way. With the two assembles mated, the radiator is joined up and the rest of the driver controls are installed with the instrument panel, plus decals for the dials in the dash. The gear shifter, hand brake and the crew seats are next, with a bench seat opposite the large double-stack radio rack that is built from a large number of parts into a well-detailed assembly that just needs a few cables. Another jump seat is positioned next to the radio stack, and it has tubular framing, just like the rest of the seats in this vehicle. The upper bodyshell is prepared with front drivers’ inner and outer hatches plus three more hatches on each side, with mechanisms applied from the inside, and each one is shown in a scrap diagram to assist with correct placement of the parts. A hatch on the bonnet/hood is installed, then the hull halves are mated, with an armoured panel and headlamps at the front, plus width “lollipops” on both fenders and the exhaust on the right rear one. There are numerous raised shapes on the exterior of the vehicle, which are location points for the many scabbed-on stowage boxes of various shapes that clutter the sides of the vehicle, and are joined by rear lights, covered spare wheel, towing hitch, aerial mast and the familiar pioneer tools that adorned the outside of almost every WWII German truck, tank of armoured car. Convoy light, wing mirror and another aerial finish off the build. Markings There are four decal options on the small sheet, with two in panzer grey and another in the late war dark yellow, having survived up until D-Day. From the box you can build one of the following: Sd.Kfz.247 Ausf.B Grossdeutschland, Ukraine, Summer 1942 Sd.Kfz.247 Ausf.B Russia, Autumn 1941 Sd.Kfz.247 Ausf.B Russia, Summer 1941 Sd.Kfz.247 Ausf.B France, Summer 1944 Decals are printed by ICM’s usual partner on a bright blue backing paper, having good register, sharpness and colour density as well as nice crisp instrument decals to detail the interior. Conclusion It’s a fairly rare piece of WWII German hardware, and a detailed model in the bargain, with just about everything you might need to build an excellent replica of this coupé of the armoured car world. Highly recommended. Available in the UK from importers H G Hannants Ltd. Review sample courtesy of
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