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  1. Bristol Beaufort Mk.I (48310) 1:48 ICM via Hannants Ltd The Beaufort was originally designed as a torpedo bomber by Bristol, using the experience they had gained in developing the then-excellent Blenheim. They were ready in time for the outbreak of WWII, and as well as their prescribed role, they were also used as light bombers, undertaking many ‘Rhubarb’ missions over enemy territory in the so-called ‘phony war’, undertaking daylight missions that saw heavy casualties, although the accidental loss tally outstripped combat losses, surprisingly. Roughly 1,200 were built in the UK, with the total being elevated to almost 2,000 by additional Australian-built airframes that were known as DAP Beauforts. They were rapidly overhauled by the German fighters and were withdrawn from frontline service as early as 1942, by which time they had also been tasked with Aerial mine-laying. From then on, they were assigned to serve away from the front, and saw extensive use as a trainer, which might go at least some of the way to explain the high attrition rate due to accidents. A further development of the Beaufort was the Beaufighter, which used important components of the Beaufort that included the wings and engines, with a new cut-down fuselage that was comparatively low and streamlined, with a powerful cannon armament under the nose that was useful in its assigned duties as long-distance heavy fighter, and later nightfighter, where it excelled. Some obsolete Beauforts were even converted to Beaufighters to make further use of the shared parts, which gave many of the original airframes a more honourable end than they would otherwise have seen. In an attempt to improve on the original Mk.I that took up the majority of production, the designers created additional variants that used other engines, had faired over turrets when they were to be used as trainers, and even a project that saw the fitment of a pair of Merlin XX engine that didn’t achieve the desired effect, so was cancelled, in much the same manner as the Merlin powered Beaufighter that managed to be “underpowered” despite the pedigree of the engines that propelled it. The Kit A lot of modellers that build in 1:48 have been waiting with baited breath for this new tooling from ICM, and now it is with us, despite the horrible circumstances that besets the Ukrainian people at the time of writing. This initial boxing rightly covers the Mk.I torpedo bomber, and there is another boxing on the way with a tropicalised engine fit that should arrive pretty soon. This new issue arrives in a reasonable-sized top-opening box with their usual captive lid on the lower tray. Inside are eight sprues in mid-grey styrene, a large clear sprue, decal sheet and glossy instruction booklet that has colour profiles on the rear pages. Opening the resealable bags reveals the detail that has been lavished on this kit that includes lots of internal ribbing, a set of ribbed flap bays and flaps, a representation of both banks of the Bristol Taurus engines, detailed gear bays and bay doors, and a torpedo to complete the package. Construction begins with a narrow torpedo bay under the fuselage that is glued to a section of the aft floor, then detailed with ribs, flipped over and joined to a bulkhead that has a doorway cut in it, then has a chute made up on one side before it is attached to the rest of the interior floor, which is initially free of detail, apart from underneath, where it has bomb shackles moulded-in, and a semi-cylindrical bay toward the front of the fuselage, which will allow the torpedo to nestle into the fuselage part way. The starboard fuselage half has an insert fitted in the wing-root depression to match the crisp moulded ribbing that is all over the interior as far back as the trailing edge of the wings, and extends into the tail-wheel bay. The side windows are inserted from inside, swapping the rear one out for an opaque cover if appropriate, then the floor is mated on a number of slots into the fuselage sides ready for the twin spars and a good quantity of detail. The forward spar is detailed with four parts to depict the radio gear with a plotting table below it, and on the other side a section of fairing is fixed, then the assembly is glued into its slot, joining the bottom of the spar with the fuselage blank. The cockpit is a two-tier assembly that is started by joining the two halves of the side console together, adding a raised floor panel, the instrument panel with five dial decals and rudder pedals, a short half-bulkhead and the swivelling front seat. Another simple seat is made up and glued to the rear spar along with another step-like fairing, and it too is slipped into the rear slot in the fuselage and glued in place. The pilot’s seat is made up from two parts and has a bow-tie control column placed in front of it, while to the rear, an Elsan toilet is dropped onto a raised plinth in the rear fuselage floor. The tail wheel bay is made up from ceiling with two small bulkhead ends, and it is glued into the very rear, which already has ribbing moulded into the sides. The tail-wheel and strut is a single part than inserts in the bay ceiling on a peg, so can be left off until after main painting. The port fuselage half is prepared in a similar manner to the starboard, save for the optional rear window, and a 0.9mm hole that is drilled in the ceiling. Just before closing up the fuselage, another detail part is fixed to the bulkhead behind the pilot’s seat, with more glued into the nose, which might be better added before you paint the cockpit. The main canopy is glued over the cockpit aperture, and the nose is glazed by four additional clear parts, and a choice of port-side aft door with a circular porthole or gun port fitted over the hole in the fuselage, which can have a Lewis machine-gun with dinner plate magazine on a spar across the opening. If you are installing the gun, the clamshell door part should be left off. The Beaufort had mid-mounted wings, so each one is separate, and made from two halves. The port wing has a small landing light bay inserted before it is closed up, and a small dome is removed from the leading edge, then the clear glazing is inserted once the glue has set up. A clear wingtip is fitted, and a one-piece aileron is added and able to be offset if you feel the urge. You also have to make a choice whether to fit the wing surface over the inner flaps with a trio of strakes in an nacelle extension, or a straight section with curved root fairing. The same process is carried out minus the landing light bay on the starboard wing, then both wings are slotted over the two spars that have corresponding guides moulded into the inside of the wings to ensure good location. The elevator fins are each two parts and are mounted in the usual slot/tab method, to be joined by one-piece elevators and rudder, which the latter having a pair of horns near the hinge. Two flap sections are added to each wing’s underside, then the two nacelles are made up from halves along with a bulkhead near the front, and another that is glued into the wing before the nacelles are put in place. The roof of the bay is free of any detail, and is the location that the twin strut gear legs and their actuators are fixed once they are built up. The main wheels are each two halves, and they flex-fit into the lower section of the main leg, which has a curved tubular framework added to the top section, probably to assist with the smooth opening and closing of the door bays. The lower section of the main gear forms a twin triangular framework that is linked by a number of cross-members before the lower section is glued into the sockets in the upper section, and has another pair of actuators added at the rear to brace the top section. Both assemblies are inserted into the bays on each level of the ceiling, then the twin bay doors with their ribbed inners are added to the sides of the bays on hinge tabs. At the same time, the bomb bay has a small insert attached to the front bulkhead to add detail to the area. Each Taurus radial engine is formed from two well-detailed banks of cylinders with a circular collector ring attached to the centre by three stators, plus a complex system of tubes installed around the circumference in between the cylinders, and another at the rear of the engine that has a square peg at the back for fixing them to the wing through the cooling flaps at the rear of the cowlings. Two holes on the top of the nacelle receive a two-part intake, then the cowling is wrapped around the engine, comprising two halves and a pair of curved exhausts for each engine. She’s looking very much like a Beaufort now, but needs some defensive armament in addition to the optional Lewis gun in the side. The mid-upper turret is semi-conformal to the back of the cockpit “hump”, and is built upon a section of the fuselage with a circular base that receives the guns’ mount and gunner’s bicycle-style seat below the lip, gluing the front of the turret into position, then creating a platter for the two Lewis guns, one of which is mounted at 90° to the other to fit within the confined space, plus an armour plate at the rear of the breech with a letterbox for the gunner to peer through. This is emplaced on the mount, and is closed in by adding the rear glazing. It is inserted into the aperture behind the wings, and is faired-in by a single horse-shoe shaped part that cuts down on the whistling as it flies along. The bomb/torpedo bay forms a cruciform shape when viewed from below, as it was lengthened to accept the torpedo, and has the mount fitted into the wider centre section, and if not carrying a torpedo, two inserts close off the bomb bay from its two narrower sections. The bay doors are in three sections, the narrower front and rear sections having one door per side, while the wider bomb bay section has two doors each side that fold together, minimising the aerodynamic drag, as well as fitting in the space below the aircraft when on the ground. If you plan on posing all the bay doors closed, there are three additional conjoined parts to ease your path, which is always nice to see. The torpedo has been seen in a separate box before, and its build is covered on the last page of instruction steps, making it up from two halves, adding a three-part H-tail with twin spinners, and another spinner-plus-spacer at the business end. There are also five steps to create a trolley for moving your Torp about and loading it onto the Beaufort on rising scissor-links if you want to add a bit of diorama appeal to your model. The torpedo is mounted with all bay doors open, and glues onto a long curved rectangular frame in the centre of the bomb bay. While the model is inverted, the underslung nose turret can be built from three parts for the gun and two-part dome, or a blanking plate is fitted over the aperture. A pitot is also mounted under the nose, a towel-rail antenna under the fuselage, and three small outlets are mounted on the wings and just behind the bomb bay. Back on its wheels, the cockpit hump is detailed with two more antennae, and another flush with the roof. Markings ICM have begun to include templates for masking material with each of their new kits, which can be found just in front of the colour profiles for you to place tape over, cut around and apply to your model, thanks to drawings above that indicate what goes where. There are a generous five decal options included on the sheet, all but one of them having the early war green/brown camo on top, and grey, sky or black undersides. The last option is in green/grey with black undersides. From the box you can build one of the following: L4449, presumably 1939 L4449 OA-H No.22 Sqn., North Coates, Lincolnshire, summer 1940 L4516 OA-W No.22 Sqn., North Coates, Lincolnshire, December 1940 N1016 OA-X No.22 Sqn., RAF St. Eval, April 1941 L9878 MW-R No.217 Sqn., RAF St. Eval, Autumn 1941 The decals are printed by ICM’s usual partners, and include dials for the instrument panels, with good register, sharpness and solid colours. Conclusion I’ve been looking forward to this one, and I’m not disappointed. You could almost say I’m quite happy if you were prone to understatement. It’s a Beaufort in my preferred scale, there’s plenty of detail, and a good choice of decal options. Very highly recommended. Available in the UK from importers H G Hannants Ltd. Review sample courtesy of
  2. Which would be great... but..... and yes, i know that we frequently have spats and bunfights over colours, and I can't really see the colours just in the bottles, and the following is meant as a discussion/query rather than a dummy spitting rant, though I am rather put out in general with acrylic attempts at RAF paint... but aspect of this concern me..... so I hope the following will explain further Chocolate? Extra Dark Green? Blue Grey? Dark Grey? Looking at the paint guide, they are intended to represent Dark Earth (which is a greeny brown), Dark Green(a dark olive green) and Sky (which is a very pale yellow green, but not blue or grey) which set alarm bells ringing. I don't really care if they call them Barbie pink and unicorn Purple, if they represent the actual colours well, but just the names alone worry me....I mean, this is hardly an obscure subject.... and FWIW, the colours shown on the image below from the instructions are to my eye and screen, 'close enough' for a reasonable idea and this 1941 Life magazine image shows the colours well, note also the markings, sky, grass, uniforms, faces look 'right' Spitfire in England by Etienne du Plessis, on Flickr But the point is that we have gone backward with RAF model paint in acrylic..... I have several brands, naively thinking as these are well known and well documented colours.... it was only after finding a model when painted looked wrong (still awaiting stripping) I really started digging, comparing brush out to the RAF museum book chips. Xtracrylix are usually rated, I found all the major RAF ones 'off', AK Interactive, same Tamiya's claimed RAF colours, XF81/82/83 were also off, I got some Lifecolour, also way off. I was sent a sample of Hataka Dark Earth/ Dark Green/Sky, also off. I'd not trust Vallejo's stated matches for anything these days, though with such a wide range near matches are to be found by trial and error, we had a mega thread on what serious miss the MigAmmo colours were.... https://www.britmodeller.com/forums/index.php?/topic/235078859-accuracy-of-ammo-by-mig-jiménez-raf-wwii-colours/ At this stage I'm not about to waste any more money or time trusting model paint sets without some trusted confirmation... Note, for any of those rolling their eyes, and 'there was a war on' and the like ideas, the post in the direct link here https://www.britmodeller.com/forums/index.php?/topic/235078859-accuracy-of-ammo-by-mig-jiménez-raf-wwii-colours/page/3/#elControls_4045174_menu which I'm going to quote for it's clarity, Is one of the most illuminating I have read on here on wartime colours, courtesy of @Jamie @ Sovereign Hobbies who runs a paint company, and has made up samples from wartime paint formula, so is not talking out of his hat. I'm going to point out some facts about real-life paint manufacture and either the reader will understand and "get it" or will not understand and are in no position to contradict me. 1) Usually camouflage colours are fairly low saturation colours because these blend in better with nature. They're seldom bright and bold. Low saturation colours are normally manufactured by adding coloured pigments to a base made from inexpensive white or white and black pigments. 2) Colour pigments are expensive. The expense varies depending on the specific pigment, but they're expensive. 3) The only way to over-saturate a colour so much is to substantially over-dose your base with the expensive colour pigments. I'm not talking about a few percent more or less - that causes minor differences which you only confirm the presence of with one swatch adjacent to another - I'm talking more in the order of a double dose to get something you obviously look at and think "woah". 4) In the case of colours like dark olive, these are mostly white, black and ochre (which is relatively inexpensive for a colour pigment) sometimes further tinted with a bit of red or green (which are often very expensive). 5) There can certainly be variances in a manufactured paint, but these tend to be greatly overstated, i.e. used as a ready made excuse for all sorts of mistakes. Ultimately, the only way a manufactured paint can end up so oversaturated is to have dumped in a vast amount of the expensive pigments, if not adding in new additional pigments in large quantities not expected in the recipe. Frankly, it's difficult to see how any manufactured paint could end up so drastically off target, particularly in the over-saturated sense, by any business that wasn't actively trying to bankrupt itself by roasting through obscene quantities of pigments like chrome green which were already expensive at the start of the war and in particularly short supply during. 6) I'd venture that most of the "there was a war on, you know" type apologists for such spectacular errors probably don't have any actual experience of what is and isn't possible when mixing different proportions of 2,3 or 4 pigments when 2 of those are usually black and white just to make your base to tint. You simply cannot end up with a Humbrol 30-esque bluish green using only the ingredients to make olive - i.e. you'd actually have to sabotage it by introducing if not blue then an obviously bluish green. Same goes for that bright green Spitfire above - you can't achieve that with black, white, ochre and a touch of red - you'd need to fire in a lot of bright green pigment in to get that saturated on an overly-light base. It would be more tan-like just using the basic olive green ingredients which only turns obviously olive when tinted enough with black. Put another way, with a fixed number of pigments in various ratios you WILL end up somewhere within a certain envelope, and usually when colours like this bright green are discussed it's because it's well outside that envelope. The point of all the above? In essence it's harder to make a credible explanation for how such a colour might have been arrived at in a real-life paint manufacturing environment than it is to demonstrate that someone would have had to go to a lot of trouble to get it so far wrong. That is harder to rationalise than just getting it closer to correct. Just to clarify, I have good colour vision, and the paints I mention above are frequently not even close, common problems are beigey or chocolaty Dark Earth (no green) and muddy Sky (browny tint) for example, along with blueish Ocean Grey (it's a slightly green hued grey) , muddy or yellowy Medium Sea Grey (it very subtly purple hued grey) being some of the main failings I found... I know this as I spent a long time doing mixes and comparing them to the chips. in the case of the Beaufort, they were Temperate Land Scheme, as in pic above, Dark Earth/ Dark Green/Sky, or Temperate Sea Scheme, Dark Slate Grey(a grey green)/Extra Dark Sea Grey over Sky, or in the case of MW-R, black undersides So.... what are the scheme and colours they are intending in the set? charitably it's Temperate Land Scheme with some grey? which is for what? Or are they using the same green for Dark Green and Dark Slate Grey? Any chance of some images of the spray out ? Do you have any standards to compare any of these too? Just something that would allow some idea of the colours in the set. I hope ICM have made decent job of the colours, as the actual paint sounds decent, though the names picked imply them using 'near matches' from their paint range, which never bodes well. Hope of interest to the subject under discussion and not too ranty, and I have explained my concerns reasonably and clearly?
  3. WWII Royal Air Force Acrylic Paint Set (3018) ICM via Hannants ICM have fairly recently released their own brand of acrylic paints on the market, and are creating some kit specific sets to go with their major releases, of which this is one. The set arrives in a cardboard box with six screw-capped bottles inside, each containing 12ml of paint. The bottles are clear Polypropylene, and are capped with cylindrical tops with knurled sides, and a one-time security seal that you break on first opening. A label on the side gives you basic information about the colour and code, a little information regarding application in English and Ukrainian and a bar-code. This set provides the major colours to assist you in painting your brand-new Bristol Beaufort Mk.I in 1:48 from ICM themselves, and you will find the following colours in the box: 1054 Chocolate 1069 Extra Dark Green 1037 Dark Grey 1032 Blue Grey 1027 Gun Metal 2002 Satin Varnish The paint is thick in the bottle, with plenty of headroom between the surface of the paint and the lip of the neck. I dropped a glass stirring ball into each bottle, and they took a few seconds to disappear beneath the surface, indicating their viscosity. If you look closely at some of the colours in the range (not necessarily this set), you'll notice that the colour of the paint seems lighter in places. That's not a reflection on the actual colour inside the pot though, so don't be put off, as it’s just some pigments seem to be drawn to the container wall. Lifting the lid shows the true colour, which is a much better representation of the colours, and that’s the shade that can be seen in the darker areas. What causes the lighter pigments to adhere to the bottle sides is a mystery, but it's cosmetic only so not something to worry about. During testing, I used Ultimate Acrylic Thinners to dilute the paint to spray through my Gunze PS770 airbrush, which has a 0.18 needle chucked in. The paint dilutes well once it has been mixed thoroughly, and sprays well through my airbrush, which has a smaller than usual needle that is a good test of the finesse of the pigment grind of any brand, as some brands don’t spray very well though anything less than a 0.3mm needle if they’re coarsely (cheaper) ground. There were no problems with blockages at all, and the coverage was excellent after my usual ad hoc dilution method, which was probably nowhere near the 40-60% thinners or water that’s suggested on the pack. Apart from the varnish, the other paints all dry to a matt finish. In past tests, the Satin Varnish worked very well diluted with water, sprayed over the spoons that were also partially taped up to perform two functions at once. The satin patina that resulted is exactly what was expected, and the tape lifted no paint at all, despite my best efforts to do so. Bear in mind that the spoons were prepped by a buff with a very fine sanding sponge to give them the best chance of adhesion. Using a brush, the colours cover well two coats with minimal brush marks visible. Conclusion The paints are an excellent new brand, and whilst there is a little less paint in the bottles than some brands, they’re about average on balance. That is more than offset by the very reasonable price they’re asking for the set, even at RRP. Highly recommended. Available in the UK from importers H G Hannants Ltd. Review sample courtesy of
  4. The Ghost of Kyiv (72140) Mig-29 of Ukrainian Air Force 1:72 ICM via Hannants Ltd. This is going to be a difficult review to steer a centreline on, so you’ll have to forgive me if I drift to one particular side a little, although I’ll try not to. Please don’t be tempted to engage in any jingoism of your own. On 24th February 2022 an aggressor invaded Ukraine with malevolent intent, a variety of fallacious explanations as to why they were there, and intentions of taking over the whole country to make it their own. Ukraine, its government and people have fought back valiantly against this attack, and one Ukrainian aviator in particular gained notoriety for shooting down a number of the aggressor’s aircraft in quick succession, flying an upgraded Mig-29-13 in a grey digital camouflage scheme. There is conjecture whether the ‘Ghost of Kyiv’ exists, has since been killed in action, or whether it is simply a conflation of the exploits of the Ukrainian Air Force as a whole. Whichever it is, it has given the aggressors pause for thought, and prevented them from achieving anything resembling air superiority over most of Ukrainian territory, giving the brave Ukrainian fighters one less thing to worry about amongst many perils. We at Britmodeller would like to wish all of Ukraine’s armed forces the best with their struggle, and hope that it is resolved soon to their satisfaction. The Kit This is a reboxing of ICM’s 2008 tooling of this classic Cold War Soviet-era jet, but with new decals appropriate for the subject matter. The kit arrives in a stylishly appointed top-opening box with captive inner lid, and inside are three sprues of medium grey styrene, a small clear sprue, two sheets of decals and the instruction booklet, which shares the same design as the box lid, and has spot-colour throughout, including full colour profiles on the back page. Detail is on par for the era of its original release, with engraved panel lines, raised and recessed detail where appropriate, cockpit and gear bay detail, and a complement of weapons and fuel tanks, the latter remain unused. Construction begins with the cockpit, which has an ejector pin mark in the middle of the floor that will be covered by the ejection seat, but should be cut flush to ensure everything fits properly. A control column and instrument panel with raised and recessed detail moulded-in completes the cockpit, although the Zvezda K-36 seat could do with a little additional work, including adding the tubular housings for the ejection stabilisation beams that sit at each side of the headbox. The cockpit inserts into the upper fuselage from below, after which it can be closed up ready for the other components. There aren’t many stages to the instruction booklet, and we see the wings, elevators and stabilisers added at the same time as the two-part canopy. Two inset diagrams show the twin engine nacelles being made up with integral FOD guards before they too are joined to the underside of the fuselage, with the exhausts also made up from inner and outer parts in more inset diagrams. The included weapons also have inset diagrams, and you can make up two each of R-27 Alamo, R-60 Aphid and R-72 Archer air-to-air missiles, but bear in mind that the weapons sprue has a little flash, so some clean-up might be needed. Each missile has its own pylon, and the larger R-27s have separate fins perpendicular to the seamline. They are all shown inserted into the holes in the wing undersides at the same times as the main and nose gear, which have separate wheels and retraction jacks, plus gear bay doors and a clear landing light in each main gear well. The nose gear bay has three doors, and at the tip of the nose a pitot probe will poke out your eye if you look to closely. Markings There is just one decal option spread over the two sheets, with all the digital camouflage on the larger sheet, while Ukrainian national markings and codes are on the other. As the real identity of the Ghost is unknown, there are six lines of numeric codes in white/blue, blue/white and white/yellow options, plus a stylised skull for the nose on a black circular backing. The underside is painted sky grey and the topside off-white, glossing them ready for the digital camo decals, of which there are eighteen in three shades of grey. An instrument decal is also included to improve the detail in the cockpit, plus a number of stencils for the airframe, all of which should settle down well with the help of some decal setting solution. They are printed by ICM’s usual partner, and registration, colour density and sharpness is good. Ghost of Kyiv Paint Set (3027) ICM have this year released their own brand of acrylic paints to the market, and are creating some kit specific sets to go with their major releases, of which this is one. The set arrives in a cardboard box with six screw-capped bottles inside, each containing 12ml of paint. The bottles are clear Polypropylene, and are capped with cylindrical tops with knurled sides, and a one-time security seal that you break on first opening. A label on the side gives you basic information about the colour and code, a little information regarding application in English and Ukrainian and a bar-code. The paint is thick in the bottle, with plenty of headroom between the surface of the paint and the lip of the neck. I dropped a glass stirring ball into each bottle, and they took a few seconds to disappear beneath the surface, indicating their viscosity. Inside the box are the following bottles: 1028 Offwhite 1033 Sky Grey 1034 Dark Sea Grey 1037 Dark Grey 1038 German Grey 2002 Satin Varnish The paint is undiluted, so will need thinning by between 40-60% with water or acrylic thinner for use with an airbrush, and they naturally have a semi-gloss finish that can be adjusted later by the use of varnishes, and are waterproof when dry like most acrylics. During my initial testing I used Ultimate Thinners, my go-to thinners for any acrylic paint, which helps keep the number of large bottles in my spray booth to a minimum. The paint comes out of the bottle quite thick and viscous, so it’s possible you’ll have to dilute it even for brush painting use, although I used it neat during testing, so a small bottle will go a long way in either case. It sprays well when diluted, and like a lot of acrylics a light coat is best initially, followed quickly after by heavier coats until you have the coverage you require. It dries quite quickly, and is touch-dry in 5-10 minutes in summery 20-23oc temperatures, unless you’re in the antipodes as I write this. I have used them to create a number of spray-out cards and spoons for other sets in the range, and they both spray and brush very well, with little issue other than my inexpert application by paint brush. Conclusion It’s a poignant re-release of this model, and the decal choice is inspiring. If 1:72 is your thing and you like jets, you should get one. A set of acrylic paints specifically designed for this kit makes painting your model much easier to accomplish too. It’s all made by a Ukrainian company that is still capable of doing business despite the circumstances, which is singularly impressive. Very highly recommended. Available in the UK from importers H G Hannants Ltd. The Ghost of Kyiv Mig-29 (72140) Ghost of Kyiv Paint Set (3027) Review sample courtesy of
  5. Unimog S404 German Military Truck (35135) 1:35 ICM via Hannants Ltd Unimog was the brand-name used by Mercedes for their truck, tractor and commercial vehicle range that began post WWII as an agricultural brand, initially built by another company for them whilst using their engines. The range broadened in the late 40s and early 50s to include trucks, of which the 404 series was one, entering production in 1955. It is a small (1.5 tonne) 4x4 truck that was driven by a 2.2 litre M180 straight-6 Mercedes engine and has impressive off-road performance due to a change that had been required by a customer, the French Army, who wanted the spare tyre to be stored clear of the load compartment. The designers altered the shape of the rear chassis rails to allow the wheel to sit under the floor, the downward sweep giving the chassis extra flexibility that smoothed the ride on rough surfaces, assisted by coil springs, rather than traditional leaf springs. The four-wheel drive system could be disengaged on smoother ground, leaving just the rear wheels engaged, thereby saving fuel and wear on the front drive-shafts, and generally improving performance all round. The 404 series was the most numerous of the Unimog line, and was available as a short or long-wheelbase chassis, with the shorter option phased out at the beginning of the 70s, while the longer wheelbase continued on for another decade before it too was retired. The nascent West German Bundeswehr were a major customer, buying substantial quantities of the 404S as a workhorse for their forces, taking on many roles in their service. A total of over 62,000 of the 404S were made over its lengthy production run, with many of them still on and off the roads to this day due to their rugged engineering. The Kit This is a brand-new tooling from Ukrainian company ICM of this Bundeswehr pillar of their transport arm. It arrives in a top-opening box with another captive lid on the lower tray, and inside are five sprues of grey styrene, a small clear sprue, five flexible black tyres, a small decal sheet and a glossy printed instruction booklet with colour profiles on the rear pages. Detail is excellent throughout, and includes a full chassis and engine, plus the bodywork and load area, all crisply moulded as we’ve come to expect from ICM. The grille of the vehicle is especially crisp, as are the coil springs on each corner, and the wheels are very well-done with multi-part hubs. Construction begins with the ladder chassis, which is joined together with a series of cylindrical cross-members, plus front and rear beams, the latter braced by diagonal stiffeners to strengthen the area around the towing eye at the rear. The suspension is next, adding an insert to the opposite side of each spring to avoid sink-marks, but care must be taken to align them neatly to minimise clean-up afterwards. Triangular supports for the fuel tanks are added on each side, then attention turns to the six-cylinder Mercedes motor. Beginning with the two-part cylinder block and gearbox, the basic structure is augmented by ancillaries, fan, pulleys and drive-shaft for the front wheels, after which the engine is mated to the chassis and has the long exhaust system installed, adding a muffler insert around the half-way point, and siting another drive-shaft adjacent. Two stamped fuel tanks are each made from two parts, with the forward one having a filler tube and cap glued to the side, sitting on the out-riggers that were fitted to the chassis earlier. The front axle is made up from five parts to capture the complex shape of the assembly, to be installed between the suspension mounts and mated to the forward drive-shaft, plus the stub axles for the front wheels. Two stowage boxes are made for the opposite side of the chassis from the fuel tanks, then the rear axle is made up with similar detail and part count, fitting between the suspension and having larger circular stub-axles that have the drum brakes moulded-in. The front wheels have separate drum brakes, and both front and rear axles are braced with damping struts, while the front axle has a steering arm linking the two wheels together, with more parts linking that to the steering column. With the chassis inverted, the front bumper and its sump guard are fixed to the front, and a curved plaque on the rear cross-member, plus another pair of diagonal bracing struts for the rear axles. Each wheel is made up from a two-part hub that goes together much like a real steel hub, but without the welding, around the flexible black tyres. The front and rear hubs are of different design, so take care inserting them in the correct location. Lastly, the chassis is completed by adding the radiator and its frame at the front of the vehicle. The cab is the first section of the bodywork to be made, starting with the floor, with foot pedals, shaped metalwork around the gearbox cut-out, sidewalls and the internal wheel wells below the floor level. A number of additional parts are glued beneath the floor for later mounting, then the lower cab is built up on the floor, including the front with recessed headlight reflectors; bonnet surround, dashboard with decal, plus various trim panels. The floor is then lowered onto the chassis with a number of arrows showing where it should meet with the floor, taking care with the radiator. Once in place, the bonnet and more interior trim as installed along with a bunch of stalks between where the seats will be inserted. The seats are made from the basic frame to which the two cushions are fixed, much like the real thing, then mounted inside the cab, followed closely by the two crew doors, which have handles on both sides, and pockets in the interior. They can of course be posed open or closed and there is no glazing to put in, thanks to the cabriolet top. More grab-handles, controls and other small parts are fixed around the dash, and the windscreen with two glazing panels are put in place, with a highly detailed steering wheel that has the individual finger ‘bumps’ on the underside, and for your ease, it’s probably better to put the wheel in before the windscreen is fixed in place. The cab is finished off by adding the cabrio top, which starts with an L-shaped top and rear, to which a small rectangular window and two side sections are added, dropped over the cab when the glue is dry and the seams have been dealt with. The load bed begins with a flat rectangular floor that has engraved planking, plus two longitudinal supports and three lateral beams that takes the weight of the bed once complete. The sides of the load area are stamped with raised and recessed detail, and comprise four parts, one for each side, plus raised side framework, and what looks like a spoiler on two short upstands at the front of the load area. Underneath is a rack for a nicely detailed jerry can, a stowage box or three, and the spare wheel on a dropped C-shaped mount, built in the same manner as the road wheels. The number plate holder is hung under the rear, also holding the rear lights for that side, with another less substantial part on the opposite side. I said the cab was finished earlier, didn’t I? Silly me. The front doesn’t yet have a face! The recessed headlight reflectors should be painted with the brightest metallic you can find before they are covered by the clear lenses and their protective cages, joined slightly outboard by combined side-light/indicator lenses, a choice of two styles of door mirrors, and a pair of windscreen wipers to keep the screen clear. Now it’s finished. Markings You might guess that most of the decal options are green, but there is one in NATO camouflage that is so typical of how I remember the Unimog in West German service. From the box you can build one of these four: Bundeswehr, Upper Bavaria, 1970s German Air Force, 74th Fighter Sqn., Neuburg, 1970 5th Artillery Regiment, Idar-Obrestein, 1970s 363rd Tank Battalion, Külsheim, 1980s The decals are printed by ICM’s usual partners, and consist of dials, number plates, stencils and a few other small decals, with good register, sharpness and solid colours. If you don't think you have the correct paint shades in stock for this kit, there is a new Acrylic Paint Set from ICM specifically designed for this model, our review of which we can see here. Conclusion The Unimogs were ubiquitous in Cold War West German army service, so there ought to be a good market for a modern tooling of the type, with many variants probably on the way in due course. Highly recommended. Available in the UK from importers H G Hannants Ltd. Review sample courtesy of
  6. OV-10A & OV-10D+ Bronco ‘Desert Storm’ (48302) 1:48 ICM via Hannants The Bronco was conceived as a light attack, long loiter aircraft of modest size, enabling it to operate from unprepared fields and roads close to the combat zone. As so often seems the case, the final design turned out to be much larger and heavier due to the requirements of the avionics and ejection seats, thus limiting its use to conventional airfields. The twin boom aircraft first flew in 1965 and was destined to serve with the US Navy, Airforce and Marines as a replacement for the Cessna O-1 Bird Dog & O-2 Skymaster. The Marines were the first to take the OV-10 into service as a forward air controller platform operating both night and day missions. Whilst the Bronco is best known for its operations in Vietnam, it also served in later conflicts as late as the Gulf War before being retired from US service in 1995. The USAF received Broncos in 1968 and deployed the aircraft in the Forward Air Control (FAC) role, using smoke laying methods initially, and later using laser targeting designators. Eventually after extensive modernisation to the -D model with the addition of a FLIR turret and new avionics, then another upgrade to the -D+ version that involved replacement of much of the wiring loom and further stiffening of the wings to enable it to carry more and fly harder. By this time it carried its own ground attack armament including rockets, machine guns and bombs, plus targeting equipment that gave it the capability of Light Attack Aircraft, and made it a scary prospect for the enemy to see overhead. Seven export contracts were signed with other foreign operators including Germany, Columbia and Indonesia, each having their own letter suffixes, and the very last of which will be leaving service in the near future after long service. The last action of the Bronco in US Marine service was the first Gulf War, where a mixture of As and D+s fought side-by-side bravely carrying out the Forward Air Controller (FAC) task against enemy forces, although they did suffer some losses due to equipment inadequacies and possibly because of its relatively slow speed making it an easier target for the anti-aircraft assets of the opposition. Although efforts were made to keep the bronco in service, by 1995 it was withdrawn from active service and handed-off to other government institutions, with the job being carried out from there on by two-seat F-18s that had speed and plenty of self-defence capabilities to hand. The Kit This is a twin-boxing of ICM’s excellent new Bronco kits, and includes one of each of the OV-10A and OV-10D+ in one fairly compact box that will be stash friendly due to the two-for-one size of it. The kits arrive in a slightly larger top-opening box with the usual captive lid, and inside are twenty sprues in grey styrene, two clear sprues, a decal sheet and a thick instruction booklet that has sprue diagrams at the front, and here a little oopsie occurs. There’s a mistake in the binding of the instructions of my example due to the inclusion of a duplicate leaf in the booklet (pages 3, 4, 41, 42), as some of the decal options were also duplicated at the rear of the leaflet. The correct sprues are used in the instructions however, so just ignore or remove the extra pages if your example is affected, and everything should be fine. We’ve reviewed these kits in great detail before, and because it’s a rebox of two of them, the review would be far too verbose and many of the paragraphs would be almost identical, so we won’t subject your scrolling finger to all that work unless you really want to. You can see the links to the original reviews below, which has a ton of photos of the sprues, detail photos and a full description of putting each one together. Once you get to the Markings section, come back here and have a look at the new decal sheet for this boxing. Review of OV-10D+ Review of OV-10A Markings This boxing depicts two airframes that took part in the Gulf War in 1990/1, all of which were in service of the US Marines in two Marine Observation Squadrons during the period. They all wore the same two-tone sand-brown scheme during their time there, and that differed only slightly between the As and Ds because of slight differences in their nose shape. From the box you can build two of the following, taking into account that you have one of each variant: OV-10A 155428, Marine Observation Sqn. 2, (VMO-2) Saudi Arabia, 1991 OV-10A 155454, Marine Observation Sqn. 2, (VMO-2) Saudi Arabia, 1991 OV-10D+ 155473, Marine Observation Sqn. 2, (VMO-2) Saudi Arabia, 1991 OV-10D+ 155494, Marine Observation Sqn. 2, (VMO-2) Saudi Arabia, 1991 Decals are printed by ICM’s usual partners, with good registration, sharpness and colour density, with a thin gloss carrier film cut close to the printed areas. The weapons all have stencils to apply, which are shown next to the profiles, and there are also rear and white tip decals for the propellers, and the T-shaped walkways on the top of the wings in a dark brown, as are the majority of the main markings. Conclusion This boxing is very good value for money, giving you two kits in a one kit sized box that can be depicted on the same runway or apron once complete. Even if you don’t want two desert birds, it’s still good value, and it helps immensely that it’s a great kit. Very highly recommended. Available in the UK from importers H G Hannants Ltd. Review sample courtesy of
  7. WWI German Infantry in Armour (35722) 1:35 ICM via Hannants Ltd. WWI was a meat-grinder that chewed up millions of soldiers on all sides over the course of the conflict, and during the early years Germany, like many of the other combatants tried to minimise its casualties by using armour that bore a close resemblance to the gear worn by medieval knights from the Middle Ages. The German Trench armour consisted of the standard or armoured helmet, and a frontal cuirass-style chest-piece with curved tops that took the weight on the wearer’s shoulders, and articulated lower sections over the stomach and groin, all of which were linked together by canvas straps, and with cushioned felt pads between the sections to prevent metallic scraping noises as the soldiers walked around the battlefield, stopping them from drawing too much attention to themselves. The armour was made to withstand a rifle bullet at a reasonable range, but it was cumbersome, heavy and restricted the wearer’s movement, leaving his arms, legs and face exposed to enemy fire, so it wasn’t a total solution. They were intended for use by all types of soldiers, and over half a million were issued, but because of their cumbersome nature they tended to be worn by soldiers in fixed or stable positions, such as machine gun teams or snipers. The Kit This is a brand-new figure set containing four figures and their armour, plus a huge quantity of weapons, packs, pouches and other equipment for use with or around your figures. It arrives in a small top-opening box with the usual captive inner lid, and inside is a figure sprue in grey styrene, two sprues of accessories, plus another four smaller sprues on which the cuirass armour, armoured helmets and a different style of lower armour are found. The four figures are built as normal with separate arms, head, legs and torso, although some surface details have been flattened off to accommodate the armour, with moulded-in curved shoulder-supports that link up to the armour panels on the torso of the figure. All the figures are stood upright and are holding rifles in various poses, one also holding a grenade ready to launch it. The armour just slips over the front of the figures, and a choice of standard or armoured helmets go over their heads, leaving most of their faces exposed, with flat tops to their heads and chinstraps for the helmets moulded-in. The accessory sprue has been available separately before (35678), and is filled with the following list of parts, all twice over: MG08/15 machine gun Tankgewehr M1918 anti-tank gun Mauser 98a carbine Mauser 98 rifle Mauser 98 rifle with M98/05 bayonet M98 bayonet M98/05 bayonet M98/05 bayonet with scabbard M1914 bayonet M1914 bayonet with scabbard Mauser rifle pouches Bergmann MP18/I submachine gun Luger P08 pistol (artillery model) with butt-stock holster Luger P08 pistol (artillery model) with butt-stock holster Luger P08 pistol (artillery model) Luger P08 pistol Luger P08 pistol holster Mauser C96 pistol Mauser C96 pistol with butt-stock holster Mauser C96 pistol butt-stock holster Stielhandgranate grenade Kugelhandgranate grenade Assault knife Shovel Pickaxe Pickaxe in case Small shovel Small shovel in case with M98 bayonet Small shovel in case with M98/05 bayonet Wire cutters Axe in case Mess tin Canteen Binocular case Binocular Flashlight M1916 steel helmet Respirator canister and filter Clearly, the four men would be unlikely to be able to even stand if they were festooned with everything from the sprues in addition to the weight of their armour, but there is plenty that would be left over for your WWI German infantry spares box for future use. Conclusion Whilst far from the most unusual WWI figure set we’ve seen yet, these guys must have been brave just to poke their heads over the parapet weighed down by armour that only covered their core, staggering forward into withering fire, and it’s hard to believe that they were absolutely real, just like their Allied counterparts. An interesting addition to anyone’s figure collection. Highly recommended. Available in the UK from importers H G Hannants Ltd. Review sample courtesy of
  8. G7107 US Cargo Truck (35598) 1:35 ICM via Hannants Ltd The Chevrolet G506 truck formed the basis of a range of 4x4 load-carrying vehicles that were capable of carrying up to 1.5 tonnes of cargo or equipment. They were initially made under the 4100 code, then moved to the 7100 range, and usually had a standard enclosed cab, with a 3.9L straight-6 engine under the bonnet, with a four-speed “crash” (non-syncro) gearbox putting down a little over 80hp through all four wheels. It rapidly became the Allies’ standard light truck, and served in substantial quantities with the Allies in the West, the Soviets in the East, and the forces fighting Japan in the Far East. There were a lot of variants, some in US Army service, others in USAAF service, with almost 50,000 of two specific types, the G7107 and G7117 sent over to the Soviets under the Lend/Lease program. The G7017 had a cargo bed with canvas top, while the G7117 was the same except for the addition of a winch to give it some static pulling power. They were well-liked by their drivers and crews, and were adapted to other tasks due to their ubiquity, such as being used by the Soviets to carry Katyusha rockets on a stripped-down flatbed. After the war was over, there was a huge surplus of military equipment, resulting in many of the less dangerous kit finding its way into civilian service. They were simple to run and maintain, which made them eminently appealing to industry, giving them a long and useful afterlife. The Kit This is a reboxing from ICM of their expanding line of kits of this type, branching out into the civilian sphere for a change. The kit arrives in a standard ICM top-opening box with a captive lid to the tray, and inside are six sprues in grey styrene, a clear sprue, a small decal sheet, and glossy instruction booklet with spot colour and profiles of the decal options on the rear pages. Detail is as you’d expect from ICM, with a lot included in the box including the engine and cab, plus a deployed canvas tilt in styrene. Construction begins with the ladder chassis, which has leaf-springs fore and aft, cross-braces and rear towing eye fitted to create the structure, then has the rear bumper irons, fuel tank, transfer casing and front axle installed, before the engine is built up based on the straight six-cylinder block, with carburettor, dynamo and transmission added, plus the pulleys and fan at the front, and a short drive-shaft at the rear that links to the transfer box in the middle of the chassis. The rear axle is made up and fitted with another drive-shaft, while the front axle gets the steering arm installed, which keeps the twin ball-jointed hubs pointing in the same direction, providing you’ve not been over-enthusiastic with the glue. The exhaust and its manifold slip into the underside of the chassis from below, and the battery box attaches to the outside of the ladder chassis next to a pair of tread-plated steps, then from the left of the engine, the air box and intake are attached to finish it off. The crew cab is next, beginning with the dashboard that inserts in the front bulkhead along with a top panel, then is joined with the cab floor and decked out with a pair of levers, gear stick and hand-brake on the floor, three foot pedals and the steering wheel on a long column that slides through a hole in the diagonal floor section in front of the pedals. The driver and co-driver share a bench seat that is made up from back, cushion and a C-shaped surround that fits into the rear of the cab and has the back wall with small ovalised window, then the roof fitted, after which the doors are made up with handles, winders and glazing, fitting within the frame in the open or closed position. On the front of the firewall a vent is glued to the scuttle panel, and two reservoirs are attached, then the cab is mated to the chassis along with a couple of additional engine ancillaries and linkages to the front axle. The radiator is laminated from core, surround and tin-work, with a bezel fitted to the front and the assembly is then applied to the front of the engine, attaching to the chassis and input/outlet hoses that are already there. The cowling sides and front fenders are installed to permit the front grille to be attached, plus the bonnet and a large front bumper iron that runs full width, and is quite literally a girder. Behind the cab a spare tyre is placed on a bracket near the exhaust, and attention turns to the load bed. The load bed floor is a single moulding with a ribbed texture down the walkway, and a thick rear section with hooks, and the optional reflectors moulded-in. The shallow sides have a series of tie-down hooks fixed along their lengths, and the front upright gets the same treatment. An upstand incorporating two vertical pillars is glued to the front, and a pair of sides that consist of siding on five pillars per side are made up and are added to their locations, while underneath the floor is stiffened by adding four lateral supports, a trapezoid rear valence with lights, and four vertical mudguard boards and their supports. The front valance has a hole with a length of tube for the fuel filler to travel, and the final position of this tricky part is shown in a scrap diagram to help you with placement. It’s time for the wheels to be made up, with singles at the front, each made from two halves each, and twin wheels at the rear axle, put together with two two-part wheels each, and two hub parts added to the finished pair. Each wheel slips over its respective axle, and is secured in place by a central cap. There is a choice of steps when completing the load bed, as the lower portion of the sides can be built either vertically to make maximum use of the cargo area, or with the lower sections flipped down to form seats for the transport of troops. This is accomplished by using a different set of supports, fitted vertically for stowed, or diagonally below for deployed. The tilt is made up from five parts and placed over the load bed, then the model is finished off with front light with clear lenses, door handles, bonnet clasps, wing mirrors, and clear windscreen with wipers, and number plate holders front and rear. Markings These post-war civilian wagons were often colourful, but sometimes left in their olive drab army finish by the more retrained operators, but were personalised with garishly colourful schemes by others. From the box you can build one of the following machines: Post Office truck, Minnesota, 1946 Michigan, 1960s Iowa, 1970s Missouri, 1970s The decals are printed by ICM’s usual partners, which is a guarantee of good registration, sharpness and colour density, with a thin gloss carrier film cut close to the printed areas. There is a decal provided for the central instrument binnacle in the cab, which is nice to see. Conclusion These are pretty much some of the brightest lorries I’ve seen in a long time, and it’s a great kit of this important vehicle, moulded in great detail as we’ve come to expect from ICM. Highly recommended. Available in the UK from importers H G Hannants Ltd. Review sample courtesy of
  9. WWII Soviet Aviation Acrylic Paint Set (3016) ICM via Hannants ICM have fairly recently released their own brand of acrylic paints on the market, and are creating some kit specific sets to go with their major releases, of which this is one. The set arrives in a cardboard box with six screw-capped bottles inside, each containing 12ml of paint. The bottles are clear Polypropylene, and are capped with cylindrical tops with knurled sides, and a one-time security seal that you break on first opening. A label on the side gives you basic information about the colour and code, a little information regarding application in English and Ukrainian and a bar-code. This set provides the major colours to assist you in painting your brand-new [https://www.britmodeller.com/forums/index.php?/topic/235112219-yak-9t-32090-132/]Yak-9T[/url] in 1:32 from ICM themselves, and you will find the following colours in the box: 1032 Blue Grey 1033 Sky Grey 1036 Neutral Grey 1069 Extra Dark Green 1071 Camouflage Green 2003 Gloss Varnish The paint is thick in the bottle, with plenty of headroom between the surface of the paint and the lip of the neck. I dropped a glass stirring ball into each bottle, and they took a few seconds to disappear beneath the surface, indicating their viscosity. During testing, I used Ultimate Acrylic Thinners to dilute the paint to spray through my Gunze PS770 airbrush, which has a 0.18 needle chucked in. The paint dilutes well once it has been mixed thoroughly, and sprays well through my airbrush, which has a smaller than usual needle that is a good test of the finesse of the pigment grind of any brand, some of which don’t spray very well though anything less than a 0.3mm needle. There were no problems with blockages at all, and the coverage was excellent after my usual ad hoc dilution method, which was probably nowhere near the 40-60% thinners or water that’s suggested on the pack. Apart from the varnish, the other paints all dry to a matt finish. In past tests, the Satin Varnish worked very well diluted with water, sprayed over the spoons that were also partially taped up to perform two functions at once. The satin patina that resulted is exactly what was expected, and the tape lifted no paint at all, despite my best efforts to do so. Bear in mind that the spoons were prepped by a buff with a very fine sanding sponge to give them the best chance of adhesion. Using a brush, the colours cover well two coats with minimal brush marks visible. Conclusion The paints are an excellent and cost-effective set. There is a little less paint in the bottles than some brands, but a shade more than others, so it’s about average. That is more than offset when you take into account the viscosity and the very reasonable price they’re asking for the set, even at RRP. Highly recommended. Available in the UK from importers H G Hannants Ltd. Review sample courtesy of
  10. WWII Red Army Rocket Artillery (DS3512) 1:35 ICM via Hannants During WWII, Ford UK built a great many vehicles for the British war effort, as well as some 34,000 Merlin engines for Spitfires, Lancasters and Hurricanes. Made by Ford UK under the Fordson brand, the WOT 8 was the last of a long line of vehicles using similar nomenclature in service of the British Army. Introduced in 1941 there were approximately 2,500 built, with a number of those sent to Russia as Lend/Lease vehicles, of which a number were converted to carry BM-13-16 Katyusha rockets on an angled rack that extended partially over the cab and is bolted firmly to the chassis. They carried 16 RS-132 rockets in an over-and-under configuration on each of the eight rails, which made an uncanny howling roar as they were unleashed from the rails. Its large fuel tank gave it a healthy range and a reasonable top speed thanks to the Ford V8 engine that put out 85hp, which wasn’t terrible for the day. The WOT.6 was a 4x4 light truck (3 ton capacity) with a short cab that housed a 3.6L V8 engine pumping out a fairly paltry 85hp that could get it to 75mph eventually. The engine's location under the cab gave the load bed plenty of space on the chassis rail, and also gave the truck a sit-up-and-beg look. The heat from the radiator had to be redirected by a fairing to prevent it being ingested by open windows, thereby cooking and possibly even poisoning the crew if it wasn't in the best of health. Over 30,000 were built in a number of configurations, and they were in service from 1942 to the end of the war, with those in good enough shape carrying on into the early 60s. A great many WOT.6 and WOT.8 wagons were sent to the Soviet Union under the Lend/Lease programme during WWII, and were used in all manner of operations from simple transports to the WOT.8 carrying a Katyusha rocket launcher that was loaded with up to 16 RS-132 rockets. The rockets accelerated off their rails up to almost 800mph and had a flight radius of under 5 miles with a lack of precision that ensured that although you knew something was going to be blown up in a given area, it was anyone’s guess who or what would fall victim to its detonation. They were however incredibly useful for terrifying the enemy, gaining the nickname Stalin’s Organ (no sniggering at the back!) due to the haunting screech as the rockets left their rails. The Kit This is a multi-kit reboxing of existing kits, most of which we’ve seen already, so rather than send you off on a link-following rampage, we’ll gather them all together in the one place, and add in reviews of few parts we’ve not done before. Inside the box are the following kits: 35591 BM-13-16 Katyusha on WOT.8 Chassis 35507 WOT.6 WWII British Truck 35795 RS-132 Ammunition Boxes (reduced sprue-count) 35648 Soviet BM-13-16 Crew (1943-5) 35643 RKKA Drivers (1943-5) There are no decals included in the kits due to Soviet vehicles seldom having much in the way of markings, and their instruction booklets have been gathered in a card folder to keep them together. Let’s crack on. BM-13-16 on WOT 8 Chassis (35591) This is a recent tooling from ICM as part of their expanding WOT line. Inside the bag are eight sprues in grey styrene, five black wheels in flexible plastic, a clear sprue, and a small fret of Photo Etch (PE) brass. I don’t know about you, but I’m an admirer of rocket launchers and such like. Construction begins with the chassis ladder and the front sub-frame with cross-members and leaf spring suspension, plus a full V8 block made up from a good number of parts. The exhaust has a silencer near the rear and exits the underside at the rear of the aft suspension springs to which the rear axle and differential are fitted, then joined to the central transfer box by a driveshaft with the front axle having a similar reversed layout plus steering box. The drum brakes are hidden behind the wheels, which are made up from the flexible “rubber” part that is sandwiched between the inner and outer hub, plus extra detail parts on both sides, eventually slotting onto a long axle front and rear. The underside is mostly complete, and attention turns to the body beginning with the engine compartment between the two curved front wings. Radiator, air filter and fan are added along with a hand-crank for manual starting, then the radiator hosing is installed so that the side plates that isolate the power plant from the crew cab interior can be added. In the right foot well the driver’s controls are added, with a handbrake further to the rear, and a central instrument panel sits almost on top of the engine. The crew seats sit atop boxes and have separate cushions for back and base, after which the cab can be boxed in, adding detail parts and glazing panels as you go. The sloping cab is trimmed with a dash panel and steering wheel, then separate doors with handles and more glazing are put in place either open, closed or anywhere in between at your whim, then closed in with the rear cab and finally the curved-sided roof. The PE radiator grilles have to be bent to match the contours of the sloped front, and these are later joined by a rain “porch” that prevents ingress of water in the winter, and probably helps divert engine heat from the open cab windows in the summer. The spare wheel and the substantial fuel tank are built next, and positioned behind the cab. This is made from a large floor, detailed sides, front and tailgate, with stowage boxes between the front and rear angled mudguards, which have braces holding them at the correct angle to the floor. On the original kit the truck bed would now be made up (and the parts for it are still in this boxing), for this boxing though the rocket launching rails and their elevating apparatus are constructed. The eight rails are built up from three parts each and are then threaded together on three cross members. The modeller will need to line up the spacing of these and luckily ICM provide a jig for this. After the rails are sorted then the fairly complex raising gear is put together, this can be in either the raised or lowered position. 16 rockets can then be added to the rails (8 on the upper side, and 8 on the lower). The base for the launching system is then built up and attached to the back of the truck before the launch rails can then be added on. Two rear ground stabilisers are then added to the chassis. To finish off the vehicle lights are added and on the cab there are shutters to protect the cab when the rockets were being fired. Model WOT.6 WWII British Truck (35507) Inside the outer clear foil bag are seven sprues in medium grey styrene, a clear sprue in its own bag, four flexible black plastic tyres and a sheet of Photo-Etch (PE) parts, each in their own bags. The instruction booklet completes the package, and is printed on glossy white paper in colour, with black and red used for the diagrams throughout, and the unused decal options printed in colour at the rear. The construction phase begins with the chassis, which is made up from two main rails, with sub-rails and spacers holding things together, and front suspension moulded into the outer rails. With the chassis completed by adding the rear end, attention turns to the engine, which is a complete rendering, and made up from a good number of parts for detail, including the block, pulleys, transmission and a short drive-shaft that threads through the holes in the cross-members. The two long exhaust pipes with mufflers go under the chassis on each side, and the rear suspension is fitted, which is a substantial set of leaf-springs, then the axles and drive shafts are attached to the suspension and transfer box. Brake drums, fuel tanks, steering arms and struts are all installed before the wheels are built-up around the rubbery black tyres, which have tread details moulded-in, and are finished off by the addition of the hubs, which attach from both sides, and are then detailed with additional parts before they are slotted onto the axles. The undercarriage is almost done, and it's time for the upper surfaces, beginning with the engine bay, which has the front wheel-arches moulded in, and is then detailed with lights, front rail, radiator and some additional ancillaries to keep the engine running. You even get a pair of lower hoses for the radiator to mate it to the engine, and two more longer ones diving diagonally down into the topside of the engine from the top of the rad. There's going to be a bit of painting needed, as the engine can be seen from the underside, even though access is limited. The bay sides are planted, and are joined by internal covers and instrumentation on top, which have a few decals to detail them up. Some of the driver's controls are added on the right side (the correct side) of the engine, and a pair of seats are built up and added to the square bases installed earlier, then the front of the cab is detailed with clear parts and window actuators, before the sides are attached to the edges and lowered onto the chassis, then joined by the simple dash board and steering wheel on its spindly column. The doors are separate parts and have clear windows, handles and window winders added, then joined to the sides in either the open or closed position or any variation of the two. The cab is a bit draughty at the moment, until the rear panel and the roof are added, the latter having a pop-up cover on the co-driver's side, with a couple of PE grilles then added to the front radiator frames after being bent to shape. Now for the truck bed, beginning with the sides, which have two stiffeners added, then are covered with bumpers along the top and bottom edge of the outside face. The bed floor fits into a groove into the bottom, and is kept square by the addition of the front and rear sides. Under the bed are a number of stowage boxes and racks for additional fuel or water cans, which are happily also included, then they are joined by the two parts per wheel that form the wheel arch that are braced on the outside with two small struts. Then it's the fun part! Adding the bed to the chassis, which is kept in the correct place by two ridges under the bed that mate with grooves in the chassis rail. At the front, two light-hoods are fitted above the lights, and the prominent pedestrian unfriendly hood that deflects the rain and hopefully redirects the engine heat from being sucked back into the open front windows on a hot day. The cab is detailed with additional lights, horn, wing mirrors, grab-handles and even some pioneer tools, then the windscreen wipers. Moving backwards, the four c-shaped hoops that support the canvas tilt are applied to the outside of the bed sides, reaching roughly half-way down the sides to obtain a strong join in both 1:1 and 1:35. The final act is to add seven rods along the length of the roof section of the tilt frame, which will need some careful alignment to ensure all the hoops are vertical and correctly spaced. Now you can paint it, but you've probably got a lot of that done already in truth. RS-132 Rockets This half-set is a recent tool that is made to stack in the back of a resupply wagon like the WOT.6 above, or spread liberally around the scene. Inside the re-sealable clear bag are two sprues of grey styrene. Both sprues are identical, and from the box you can build two additional ammo crates, each holding four rockets apiece. Ignore the x4 in the middle of the photo above and imagine a nice white x2 instead The Crew Figures (35648) All four figures within the bag are on one sprue with a separate instruction booklet and product code. They are moulded in ICM’s by now familiar lifelike style, with lots of detail, realistic poses, sculpting, and including a number of weapons to sling over their shoulders. Three of the figures are shown loading rockets onto the back of the rails, while the fourth can either be their commander watching over the process, or with the tweak of his arm, he can be propping up the next rocket for loading with one of his hands, as can be seen in the picture below. RKKA Drivers (35643) This small bag contains two sprues in grey with a set of figure parts on each one. They are different in pose as well as head-coverings, but both are in the seated position with their arms outstretched to hold the steering wheel. Honk! Honk! One figure is wearing standard WWII era uniform with a parade cap at an angle on his head, while the other is wearing a winter-weather insulated smock with medal and a traditional Soviet-style fur cap with fold-down ear flaps tied over the top. Both wear calf-length “Cossack” boots. Conclusion All of the kits in this set are excellent modern toolings in their own right, and how they’ve fitted them all into one reasonably small box is quite surprising. The price is also very attractive, and if you can see yourself using all the models in the set, they’re a bargain even at list price. They should rocket off the shelves Available in the UK from importers H G Hannants Ltd. Review sample courtesy of
  11. French AHN2 Truck (35419) 1:35 ICM via Hannants The original AHx design by Renault could carry a load of 2 tonnes, and when Germany conquered France they ordered more into production and the larger AHN, which was capable of carrying 4 tonnes, but was designated 3.5 tonnes by the Wehrmacht, probably as a safety feature. The AHN was equipped with a 4L straight six petrol engine coupled to a four speed gearbox. From introduction in 1941 to the end of WWII they served in all theatres, and around 4000 were built in various forms. For two years after the war France built a further 2,400 units, many of which were sold to the civilian market, along with some of the former military vehicles. The Kit Stemming from a new tool in 2014, this is a reboxing with the addition of a new roof sprue that gives the option of a small ventilation hatch right above the driver’s head. Inside the box are seven sprues of grey styrene, a clear sprue, a bag of flexible plastic tyres, decal sheet and instruction booklet with colour profiles on the rear pages. This is a full detail kit, and construction starts with the chassis, which is built from rails and cross-members, into which you install the engine when it has been assembled from a decent number of parts to give good detail. The radiator slots into the front, and then suspension is added in the front and rear using leaf springs, which are then fixed to axles after the exhaust has been glued to the chassis rails. Steering linkages are fitted into the left side of the engine, joining up with the front axle's steering rack, and then the wheels are added, made up from the flexible tyres slipped over the styrene hubs. The rear wheels are paired for weight distribution, so have twin hubs joined together with a castellated mating surface. Fuel tank, spare wheel, drive-shaft and towing hitches are then installed to finish off the lower of the vehicle. The snub-nosed cab is next to be fabricated, and this begins with the stepped floor, which has crew steps added to the underside, and then has the two doors fixed to the sides after the clear windows are put in place, with the front completed in the same manner. Inside the cab an air filter box, instruments (with decal), driver controls and comfy-looking barrel-backed seats are all glued in place after painting, and the rear panel with small rear-view window finishes off the framework. The crew doors have glazing added and are attached to the front edge of their aperture in open or closed positions as you see fit, while the roof goes on as a single part or as the ventilated version with a lozenge-shaped hatch, and both roof parts have a couple of ejector-pin marks to square away if you think they will be seen. At the front is a distinctive radiator grille, which has an emblem design added to the front, and then gets fitted to the hole in the nose, plus a filler cap above it. The truck bed has a complex arrangement of supports underneath, which are slotted together on two central rails and surrounded by side frames, after which the floor is dropped on top and the sides are added. The rear mudguards underneath are attached via a pair of supports that mate with small blocks under the bed and ridges on the semi-cylindrical guards themselves. The number plate sits low on the rear, and side frames are added to the tops of the bed's uprights, with a large roof part fitted with longitudinal slats to complete top frame/tilt. Both the bed and cab are fixed to their slots in the tops of the chassis rails, and as the final step the lights, windscreen wipers, weirdly the convoy light from the German military version, and wing mirrors are all attached to the sloping front and sides of the cab. The convoy light might be as well left off and the nub onto which it attaches removed from the number plate holder, but check your references before taking my advice. Now for some paint. Markings There are four markings options in the box, and all but one of them have the same blue scheme. From the box you can build one of the following: France, 1945 National Gendarmerie, late 40s Savoy, France, 1954 Mondoubleau, France, 2000s The decals are printed in the Ukraine, and consist of some logos and number plates, with good registration, colour density and sharpness, as we've come to expect from ICM's decal printers. An instrument binnacle dial is also include in the top centre of the sheet. Conclusion A well-detailed kit of this funny-looking French wagon in civilian service after the war. Well worth a look. Highly recommended. Available in the UK from importers H G Hannants Ltd. Review sample courtesy of
  12. Yak-9T (32090) 1:32 ICM via Hannants Ltd The Yak-9 was an evolution of the successful Yak-7 fighter, and was intended to retake the initiative from the Nazis’ new Fw.190 and improved Bf.109s, which it successfully did. Production started in late 1942, and by summer 1943 there were enough in service to make a difference, playing a part in the crucial Kursk battle, thanks to its agility in the denser air at lower altitudes and the heavy armament it carried. It was made in a number of different variants with diverse intended uses, with the D fitted with additional fuel tanks for longer range, and the DD for longer range still. The Yak-9T was armed with a larger 37 mm Nudelman-Suranov NS-37 cannon firing through the spinner but with only 30 rounds of armour-piercing ammunition carried, which it could fire in two or three round bursts and was intended for use against maritime targets and light armour, where it was quite effective. Careful aim was key of course due to the shortage of ammunition, but when used against another aircraft, a solitary shell strike would rip an opponent to pieces, making the enemy’s day end very badly. Because of the additional weight of the massive gun and its ammo, the cockpit had to be moved aft slightly to counter the change in centre-of-gravity, and various issues reared their heads thanks to the substantial vibrations from firing the cannon. Its standard armament of a 20mm UBS cannon still carried a full complement of 220 rounds as an auxiliary to the main armament. Almost 3,000 were made, and the designers later went one further and installed a 45mm cannon in one variant that had to be fitted with a muzzle brake to counter recoil of crippling proportions that could cause loss of control if fired at slower speeds. Post war saw the continued development of the type, which involved the installation of a more powerful engine, and these were later hived off to Soviet-friendly satellite states at the end of the 40s, where they served into the 50s, although their unusual manual lubrication system saw accidents caused by engines seizing due to pilots that were engrossed in flying and fighting their aircraft forgetting to operate the hand-cranked lubrication lever in the cockpit. The Kit This is a brand-new tooling of this capable Soviet fighter from our friends at ICM, and it arrives in one of their standard top-opening boxes with the usual captive inner lid, and an attractive painting of the subject matter on the top. Inside the box are five sprues in grey styrene, a clear sprue in its own bag, a large square decal sheet and the instructions with colour covers and spot colour throughout, plus colour profiles for the decal options on the rear. Detail is crisp throughout the model, but don’t expect too many rivets to be visible on the exterior, as the metal structure was hidden away inside an outer layer of plywood impregnated with phenolic resin, that is better known in the west by its brand-name Bakelite. Construction begins with the port fuselage, which is adorned with the tubular cockpit framework and has six exhaust stubs on a runner pushed through the slot in the cowling from inside. The tips aren’t hollow, so prepare your pin vice if that bothers you at all. The starboard fuselage half goes through the same process, but adds the structure of the chin intake and its oil radiator cores, then the upper parts of the cockpit are made up, starting with the seat that has a pencil-rolled back cushion, and attaches to the short deck behind it, slotting into the starboard fuselage half along with a bulkhead and the instrument panel, which has a number of additional parts and a dial decal added along the way. With the completion of the tail-wheel assembly the fuselage can be closed up around these sub-assemblies, with an insert added under the chin, while most of the underside is open to the elements at this stage. The kit includes an engine that you can show off or hide away in its basic form of block with cylinder banks that is made out of nine parts plus another two for the cannon, which is similarly basic, but as none of it will be seen that hardly matters. The muzzle can be found in the prop assembly if you’re in the mood to drill it out. The basic assembled engine slides into the front of the fuselage with the breech of the cannon slipping through a depression in the bulkhead, after which it can be covered over by two sections of cowling after removing a pair of pips that stand up from the seamline. If you intend to expose the engine however, the power plant is further detailed with an additional twenty parts for the engine itself, and another gaggle for the compartment around it, adding ancillaries, hoses, cowling support structure, the .50cal auxiliary cannon, and a pair of ammo cans for them both that slip into the aft section in front of the cockpit to create a nice replica with plenty of detail. The surround to the cockpit aperture is detailed with the gunsight mount and a piece of clear armoured glass behind the pilot, a small coaming, and the fixed rear canopy part, with the windscreen and its separate clear armoured panel, which is best “glued” on using a clear varnish such as Klear, taking care not to trap any bubbles in between the layers. The opening canopy slides back over the aft section, or you can leave it closed up to keep the snow out. In preparation for the wings, a short spar is created with a fluid tank in the centre and a couple of jacks at the ends, then a raised platform is made of the cockpit floor, which has the control column, rudder pedals and a flare pistol fixed in place for later attachment. The lower wing is full-width, and has the central radiator with textured front and rear panels added underneath, and the spar assembly inside, which forms the rear walls of the main gear bays that are joined by a number of other wall sections and internal ribs that are closed in by adding the upper wing halves. The bay roof is moulded into each wing half, with a little detail visible, but a single ejector-pin mark is visible, and is best dealt with before you glue the assembly together. The ailerons are individual parts that can be posed deflected, then the cockpit floor is glued in and a pair of tapering boxes are inserted in front, although I couldn’t divine their real-world purpose. The wings and fuselage are joined by carefully lowering the latter over the former, taking care not to bend or snap the control stick. The elevators and their fins are each two parts, and these also can be posed deflected if you wish, as can the rudder, which is also made of two parts and glued to the moulded-in fin. The landing gear is a little contrary in that it adds retraction jacks for the struts and inner bay doors first, which are also fitted at this time, with a scrap diagram showing the fine placement of the jack within the bay. The main wheels are each made from two halves with moulded-in hubs, and these are fixed to the axles at the bottom of the struts, with a separate scissor-link and captive bay door on each one, then they mate with the bays on a transverse pivot point, linking to the retraction jacks installed earlier. The model is finished off by adding the clear wingtip lights, gear-down indicator stalks on the wing tops, radio antenna on the fuselage spine, and the propeller assembly, which is made from the moulded-together blades plus front and rear spinner, then the very tip of the 37mm cannon’s barrel, which will need drilling out if you would like a hollow muzzle. Markings There are four markings options on the decal sheet, with four pages of profiles giving concise locations for the decals and letters showing the colours in reference to a table on the front page that gives names and codes in ICM, Revell and Tamiya brands of paint. From the box you can build one of the following: 3rd Fighter Corps, Kursk Area, 1943 149th Guards Fighter Aviation Regiment, 2nd Ukrainian Front, Summer 1944 53rd Fighter Aviation Regiment, 1st Ukrainian Front, Summer 1944 513th Fighter Aviation Regiment, 2nd Ukrainian Front, 1945 Decals are by ICM’s usual partner, which is a guarantee of good registration, sharpness and colour density, with a thin gloss carrier film cut close to the printed areas. A decal for the instrument panel can be found in the top left of the sheet, with just the dials and white lines defining the sections of the panel, allowing the paint to show through from below. Conclusion A welcome new tooling of this impressive Soviet fighter that should please many a large-scale modeller, with plenty of detail to be had from a relatively simple construction. Highly recommended. Available in the UK from importers H G Hannants Ltd. Review sample courtesy of
  13. Royal Marines Officer (16012) 1:16 ICM via Hannants Ltd The Royal Marines are a naval fighting force that can trace their lineage back to the 1600s, and are a proud group of soldiers that go through a tough selection process that sorts out the wannabes from the actual hard-men that can handle the rough and tumble of their taxing schedule, which includes official duties as well as their Commando and other roles that they undertake when required. The Kit This figure model depicts a Lieutenant in the Royal Marines (If I’ve read his shoulder boards right) dressed in his dark blue ceremonial uniform with red piping down his pants, and with his ceremonial sword held out at waist height resting over his right shoulder, a white and red peaked cap atop his head, and three medals on his left breast pocket. The uniform is Best Blue, and the sword is based on the Infantry Sword pattern of 1897, with a three-quarter basket guard on the hilt, pierced and beautifully etched with a pattern incorporating the royal cypher of the Queen. The scabbard is held at rest vertically by his free hand on a belt-mount that has an over-shoulder stabilising strap. It arrives in ICM’s usual top-opening box with captive inner lid, and inside are two sprues of grey styrene, a sprue of black styrene and plinth, plus a single instruction sheet printed in colour on both sides. At the bottom of the box you will also find a print of the photo-realistic artwork, which could be framed and hung if you're so minded. Construction and painting guides are shown on the same set of diagrams, using the parts on the grey sprues, which comprise separate head, torso, legs and arms, plus individual tails to his jacket and two shoulder boards. Due to the position of the hands around the sword and scabbard, the fingers are supplied separately moulded, with two strap sections for the scabbard on the left. The sword is finely sculpted and has a separate hand guard that slips over the blade during construction. The base is moulded in black styrene, and has a choice of four different surfaces for the top and a flat base for the bottom. The choices comprise a flat asphalt surface plus three styles of cobble or paving stones. Markings There are no decals included in the box, but the various badges, medals and emblems are all shown with colour call-outs, and they are all large enough to be painted carefully by hand, although the piping down the trousers will need a steady hand, some decal strip, or careful masking. Conclusion This is a handsome kit of a ceremonial uniform worn by one of the most elite British soldiers with a huge vault of history standing behind this young officer. Highly recommended. Available in the UK from importers H G Hannants Ltd. Review sample courtesy of
  14. B-26K Counter Invader – Early (48278) 1:48 ICM via Hannants Ltd. The A-26 was built by Douglas during WWII as the successor to the A-20 Havoc. Two types were designed, The C with a glass bomber nose and the B with a full metal nose filled with either 6 or 8 .50cal machine guns, which coupled with the three in each wing gave it quite a punch, deserving of the Strafer title. It also had a pair of turrets on the fuselage mid-upper and dorsal positions, which were both operated by a single gunner using a complex remote mechanism that flipped between the upper and lower turrets depending on where the gunner was looking through his binocular sights. This trained the guns accordingly and also calculated the correct offset for parallax and lead, but was very complex and caused some delays to it entering service, and even more issues with maintenance in the field. In 1948 it was re-designated as the B-26 by the US Air Force to confuse us, and later on back to the A-26 just to complete the process of befuddlement. It was developed a little after the Marauder and despite using the same engines it was conceived totally separately from its more rotund colleague. It was initially less than popular in the Pacific theatre where its poor cockpit view due to the canopy and engine proximity rendered it unloved by the first users. It was more popular in the European theatre and was accepted as a replacement for the Havoc fairly quickly. After WWII it served in Korea, early Vietnam engagements and other conflicts, ending its days in US service with the Air National Guard in the early 70s. In the mid-1950s some Aircraft were converted to the Drone controller role with the DC prefix to launch Ryan Firebee drones in support of combat training. In a late twist the B-26 would be brought back in the 60s for the Vietnam War because it could still hold its own in combat. The aircraft externally still looked very much like the WWII airframes, but the turrets were removed in favour of fixed forward firing guns and four hard points were fitted to each wing, allowing the carrying of 8,000lbs of ordnance. The wings of these aircraft were rebuilt and strengthened, the rudder was enlarged, and permanent tip tanks (65 US Gal each) were added to the main wings. Anti-icing was added to the airframe to cope with cold weather and higher altitudes, and a new anti-skid braking system was also added. In the cockpit the dials and displays were updated and a secondary control yoke was added to allow piloting from either seat. New 2,500hp engines were installed inside the existing nacelles, along with cuffed broad chord props to cope with the enhanced power delivery. The USAF ordered 40 of the "new" aircraft which were known as Nimrods locally to their crews. As well as combat operations in South east Asia some aircraft flew on secretly with the CIA in the Congo, wearing deceptive camouflage. The last aircraft were finally retired by 1969 when AC-130 gunships took over their night interdiction role. Only 6 of the type survive, with "Special Kay" having been restored to Flight as a memorial to crews who fought the covert missions in South East Asia. The Kit This is a new variant from the recent tooling from ICM, and this is the third boxing of the Counter Invader, in its secret role. While you get many parts from the original Invader boxings, this edition features a new fuselage and wing sprues, a new rudder, new engine nacelles, a pylon sprue, and weapons sprues ICM previously released as a stand-alone US Armament set. It arrives in the familiar top opening box with dramatic artwork of an Invader swooping low over the jungle, and the usual captive inner lid on the lower tray. Inside the box are a healthy fourteen sprues in grey styrene, one in clear, three decal sheets and the instruction booklet. A quick look over the sprues reveals that panel lines are very crisp, narrow and restrained, the surface is matt and very neat-looking, with plenty of engraved and raised details on the parts, plus subtly indented flying surfaces simulating their fabric covering. There are a number of red blocks printed over the sprue map, which shows how many of the parts will be left on the sprues once you have completed construction, such as original wings, props, cowlings and one of the canopies. If you’re a bit ham-fisted and plan on building many Invaders, you could well find these come in useful down the line. Construction begins with the internal bomb load, which is then placed within the port fuselage half along with some detail panels and bulkheads. The former gunner’s position and the cockpit are next, creating the pilot's seat, instrument panel (with instrument decals), centre console with throttle quadrant before adding those and the twin control columns to the floor. The aft compartment is built up around the front wing spar with a set of radio gear hanging from a pair of risers and a pair of wing spars, so you'll have to do some detail painting as you go. After this the starboard fuselage side is prepped, with the right side of the cockpit and bomb bay with its detailed ribbing. With that and a quantity of detail painting you can then slide the starboard fuselage over the two spars, and it would be a good idea when fitting those spar parts to let the glue set up with the starboard fuselage taped in place to ensure they make the correct angle when they're set in place permanently. The instructions then have you building up the tail feathers, with the elevators having separate single-part flying surfaces, plus a two-piece rudder to attach to the moulded-in tail fin. The gun-nose comprising the fixed lower and rear section of the nose are built up out of three parts, making space for the 40g of nose weight you are encouraged to fit before you add the single cowling panel that covers the gun bay, with a pair of four-barrel gun-inserts added through the holes to depict the tips of the .50cals. You'll need to drill out the muzzles yourself, or take the lazy way out and get a set of Master barrels for ultimate luxury and detail. The nose section is a straight-forward butt joint to the fuselage, with a small half-moon cut-out that should help align it. The new wings are next with a small radiator intake prism moulded-in to which you add a backing radiator panel, and the lower parts have holes and long depressions ready for the four pylons per wing. You'll notice that there are fairings and a hump in the upper wing where the engine nacelles will be, and these are separate assemblies to be built up later. Firstly, the separate two-section flaps, and the ailerons are prepared and added to the trailing edge of the wings, the latter being of one piece each and slotting into the wing via two tabs. The tip tanks are made of two halves and are glued in place, and underwing landing lights are added from clear parts. At this stage the instructions have you sliding the wings onto the spars and gluing them in place. Whether you'd rather wait until you've added the engine nacelles though is entirely up to you. It’s your model! There are of course two engine nacelles and these build up pretty much identically apart from their outer skins, which are handed to fit their respective fairings as you'd expect. They are split vertically, and each half has internal structure moulded-in, with bulkheads added fore and aft of the gear bays, coupled with bay lip inserts that bulk out the edges and also hold captive their bay door. This may require some clever masking and a little care during handling, but it shouldn't hold you up too much, as the hinge-points are relatively robust. The two halves are joined together, the prominent intake on the top of the nacelle is made up from two parts, then is added to the nacelle front which is in turn glued to the rest of the nacelle, with the completed assemblies attached to the wings from the underside, as yet without their engine cowlings, engines or props. The engines are added later in the build, and the Twin Wasps are depicted in their entirety with both banks of pistons, push-rods, ancillaries and reduction housing at the front, plus the collector ring and exhausts at the rear, the latter made up from eight parts each. Again, the engines are identical and interchangeable with each other, and they fit to the nacelles with a teardrop-shaped tab, after which the engine cowling is slotted over them. The cooling flaps are last to be added in four sets around the rear of the cowling. The top of the fuselage is still open at this point, as it has an insert with the faired over section where the top turret used to be, with another for the former dorsal turret fitted later on. Each of the three tyres are made from two halves with separate hubs applied from either side, then hung on their respective legs, which have retraction jacks and scissor links added along the way. Happily, these can be fitted late in the build, so the open bays can be masked quicker than if they were present. Speaking of bays, you can depict the bomb bay open or closed by using either a one-piece door for closed, or two separate doors with internal detail for open. This is nice to see, as it's always a little tricky to join two doors and get them aligned with the fuselage so there are minimal join-lines. The main airframe is ostensibly complete save for some antennae and the new broad-blade props, and if you've been cautious with the glue when assembling the engines, the latter should still spin once complete. The four pylons per wing are each made from two parts, and should have some 0.8mm holes drilled in their lower surface for later use, then you need to make a choice what to put on the pylons, with the help of a load-out diagram provided, or from your own references. US Aviation Armament (48406) As well as the internal bomb load, there are four sprues containing various munitions, as follows: 2 x LAU-10A Pods of 5" Rockets 2 x LAU-69 Pods of 2.75" Rockets 2 x LAU-68 Pods of 2.75" Rockets 2 x BLU-23 500LB Fire bombs (Can be made with or without the fins) 2 x BLU-27 750LB Fire Bombs (Can be made with or without the fins) 2 x Mk.77 750LB Incendiary Bombs 2 x SUU-14 Dispensers 2 x Mk.81 Snakeye Bombs* 2 x MK.81 Low Drag Bombs* 2 x Mk.82 Snakeye Bombs* 2 x Mk.82 Low Drag Bombs* *All of the above bombs can be fitted with Fuse extenders Markings There are four options available on the decal sheet, all of which wear the same green top colour, despite my scanner’s best efforts to convince you otherwise. There are a number of markings variations that were applied to some of the options at some point in their tenure, the details of which are given in boxed-in scrap diagrams, and each option has additional aerial wires that you will need to make from your own supplies. From the box you can build one of the following: B-16K 64-17644, 211th Sqn., 2nd Group, Congolese Air Force B-26K 64-17645, 211th Sqn., 2nd Group, Congolese Air Force B-16K 64-17646, 211th Sqn., 2nd Group, Congolese Air Force B-16K 64-17649, 211th Sqn., 2nd Group, Congolese Air Force The decals are printed anonymously, although they look like DecoGraph's output to my eye. They have good registration, colour density and sharpness, and include a number of stencils that are legible with the right optics. The decals for the armaments are of the same quality and sharpness. At the rear of the instruction section is a page devoted to a series of mask templates that you could use to create your own DIY masks by laying kabuki tape over them and drawing/cutting them out. It’s a useful option to have, but I prefer to cut mine in-situ, where you can cut them perfectly to size with a brand-new #11 blade. Conclusion This model is excellent for anyone wanting to an early Counter Invader in some unusual colours at the behest of the CIA. Detail is excellent and the addition of the weapons is great news. Very highly recommended. Available in the UK from importers H G Hannants Ltd. Review sample courtesy of
  15. Laffly V15T with Hotchkiss MG (35572) 1:35 ICM via Hannants Ltd The Laffly V15T was a particularly niche entry into the French Artillery Tractor roster, with only 100 being made before production ceased at Laffly to be taken over by another company. The type saw limited service in the French army pulling the outmoded 25mm anti-tank guns, and after capitulation, in service with the Wehrmacht as transport or radio wagons. The unusual aspect of this vehicle was the four apparently ‘vestigial’ wheels on axles spurring off the chassis rails that were intended to increase the off-road abilities of the type. When viewed from the side however, the small balloon-wheels appear to be above the level of the main axles, so whether this actually worked anywhere but in the deepest ruts is another matter. We don’t see them on modern vehicles, so I’m guessing they were more trouble than they were worth. The Kit This is a minor additive tooling of a brand-new tool from ICM, and I wasn’t far off when I imagined we’d be seeing a few more boxings. It’s typical of modern ICM in that it is well-stocked with detail, and arrives in their standard compact top-opening box with captive inner lid. There are eight sprues of grey styrene inside, plus a clear sprue, four flexible black tyres, a small decal sheet and the glossy-covered instruction booklet with spot colour and colour profiles to the rear. An additional sheet is slipped inside the main booklet with instructions for making up the Hotchkiss machine gun and its mount, including drilling the hole in the vehicle floor. It’s a full interior kit including engine, chassis and crew compartment, so there are plenty of parts to get your glue on. Construction begins with the chassis, with an option to remove the rounded rear-end where the towing hitch attaches, which is cut off easily with a scalpel or razor saw using the red outlined section on the drawings as a guide. A number of cross-braces are added, and a jig is placed under the inverted chassis onto which the rear suspension arms are laid, so that they set up at the correct angle, taking care not to glue the arms to the jig. If you have left the rear section on the chassis, the towing eye and other parts are glued in place, then the various leaf springs, ancillary axles and other suspension/steering parts are attached to the sides, with a sizeable transfer box and twin drive-shafts placed in the centre facing aft. The front axles are made up and glued in place with twin springs above them on the chassis, two more drive-shafts pointing forward, and more suspension/steering parts for the small wheels. The little balloon tyres are each made from two halves each, and four are created to affix to the small axles that project from the chassis rails, the front one of which has some limited steering capability. The 4-cylinder 2.3L petrol engine is next to be built, beginning with the two-part block and adding the sump, timing pulleys, transmission, exhaust manifold and finely-moulded cooling fan, plus other ancillaries that should result in a highly detailed rendition that just needs some HT-wires and sympathetic painting to complete. It is laid into the centre-front of the chassis along with the airbox and intake hosing, then is bracketed by a pair of tapered inserts that fill the gap between the block and the chassis rails. The main cab is based on the shaped floorpan, with sides, aft bulkhead and some internal structures added along the way, which later form ammunition storage bunkers around the sides of the rear portion. The front crew have a seat each with separate backs, and there is another optional wider seat in the middle of the rear compartment, which installs over a moulded clamshell door with pull-handles. A set of driver controls are added to the left front of the body, then a firewall with pedals, a breadbin-like compartment and other small parts is fixed to the front of the body, with a steering column and wheel added after the bodyshell is fixed to the chassis. The dashboard with dial decal is added over the wheel, and the area is covered over with a curved scuttle panel. In the rear compartment, the tops to the stowage boxes are fitted, and these have the individual sections and their handles moulded-in. Returning to the engine compartment, the steering column is extended into the lower chassis and a horn is fixed to the trim panels, then the three-part radiator is assembled and glued to the front of the vehicle, defining the engine bay. A loop of hosing joins the radiator to the engine, and the cowling panels are closed over the compartment, although you have the option to leave them open if you wish. Some small parts are added to the lower edges of the cowlings, which has crisply detailed louvers moulded-in. A pair of curved front wings are glued to the lower body over the wheels, and each of the four main wheels have a brake drum part added to the end of each axle, after which the wheels themselves are made from two hub halves that mate inside the hollow tyres and glue to the axles, allowing the vehicle to stand on its own wheels. At the rear, an axe and shovel are fixed to the bulkhead with a stop sign and the towing hook, a folded tilt is added to the rear, and the windscreen is made up from a frame and two individual clear panes. A trio of rolled-up canvas anti-splatter covers are pinned to the fronts of the door apertures and the two headlights have their clear lenses glued on before they are put in place on their mounts next to the tiny wheels at the front. The final parts are a front number plate board and an optional square unit plaque on the left front wing. The new sprue includes two Hotchkiss machine guns, one with an offset stock, the other with a fixed-style handle. You are instructed to use the former, but there’s nothing to stop you choosing the other option if you wish. There is a separate cocking lever, and a rigid strip of ammunition for the gun, reminiscent of the Japanese machine guns of the period, plus an ammo box that is salted away in the rear of the compartment against one of the walls. The first step shows the location for the mounting hole in metric, requiring a 1.8mm hole to be drilled in the raised rectangular section of the deck, into which you push the peg on the delicate pintle-mount that raises the weapon above the heads of the crew and into a more useful shooting height. The gun clips into the mount using the innate flexibility of the styrene part, but take care with is as the diameter of the tubing is necessarily narrow to maintain scale fidelity. Markings There are two decal options provided on the sheet as per the original boxing, and they’re both painted in a US Green shade, despite being French. From the box you can build one of the following: Light Mechanised Brigade Anti-Tank Squadron, France, early 1940 France, Summer, 1940 The decals are printed by ICM’s usual partners, and consist of dials, number plates and a few other small decals, with good register, sharpness and good solid colours. Conclusion Until the first boxing of this kit arrived, I had no clue that the type existed, and it’s a curious-looking beast that’s endearing for its unusual shape and design. Detail is excellent, and if you don’t fancy the options on the sheet, a little research will probably turn up some alternative schemes, and adding a Hotchkiss machine gun makes it a bit more menacing until you spot those weird vestigial wheels. The already available paint set is a quick and easy way to get things painted up the correct colour, as well as being quite pocket-friendly into the bargain. Highly recommended. Available in the UK from importers H G Hannants Ltd. Review sample courtesy of
  16. WWII Soviet Assault Engineer-Sapper (16013) 1:16 ICM via Hannants Ltd. During WWII the Soviet Army used brigades of Assault Engineer-Sappers as a kind of special-operations stormtrooper, to break through heavily defended lines. The often wore heavyweight SN-42 steel armoured vests reminiscent of mediaeval armour, and carried heavy weapons such as the Degtyaryov DP-27 machine gun with a flat pan magazine on the top of the weapon, with a theoretical maximum firing rate of 550 rounds per minute. Due to their armoured frontal carapaces they were sometimes referred to as Cuirass or armoured infantry. The brigades were successful in battle, which led to their expansion as the war progressed, adding flamethrowers and eventually tanks to their armoury, ending the war with 20 Brigades in total. The Kit This figure model depicts a member of the Engineer-Sapper Brigade in a ‘splat’ camouflaged smock and pants, with a DP-27 machine gun across his chest, held by the stock in one hand and the other grasping one leg of the bipod, which if it isn’t a later version may well have come off in his hand if he tried to fire from that position. On his head is a standard helmet for the era and a selection of items of equipment to detail the figure. It arrives in ICM’s usual top-opening box with captive inner lid, and inside are two sprues of grey styrene, a sprue of black styrene and plinth, plus a single instruction sheet printed in colour on both sides. Construction and painting guides are shown on the same set of diagrams, using the parts on the grey sprues, which comprise separate head, torso, legs and arms, plus individual tails to his smock, and steel front plate with the rear having the retention straps moulded-in. Due to the position of the hands around the gun and bipod, the fingers are supplied separately moulded, and you have a choice of a pistol in holster with separate flap, bayonet in its sheath, bag and water bottle. The machine gun is built on an internal section with stock, breech and inner barrel moulded together, with the heat shield made of two separate parts that wrap around the barrel. The 47-round pan magazine drops onto the top, and the bipod fixes to the underside at the front end of the shield. You will need to make up your own sling from an appropriate material, but the furniture is supplied with the machine gun parts on the smaller sprue. The base is moulded in black styrene, and has a choice of four different surfaces for the top and a flat base for the bottom. The choices comprise a flat asphalt surface plus three styles of cobble or paving stones. Conclusion This is a well-sculpted kit of lesser-known Soviet combatant from the Great Patriotic War in the East, with excellent facial detail and straps that should look great under a few coats of paint. Highly recommended. Available in the UK from importers H G Hannants Ltd. Review sample courtesy of
  17. Model WOT6 British WWII Truck (35507) 1:35 ICM During WWII, Ford UK built a great many vehicles for the British war effort, as well as some 34,000 Merlin engines for Spitfires, Lancasters and Hurricanes. The WOT.6 was a 4x4 light truck (3 ton capacity) with a short cab that housed a 3.6L V8 engine pumping out a fairly paltry 85hp that could get it to 75mph eventually. The engine's location under the cab gave the load bed plenty of space on the chassis rail, and also gave the truck a sit-up-and-beg look. The heat from the radiator had to be redirected by a fairing to prevent it being ingested by open windows, thereby cooking and possibly even poisoning the crew if it wasn't in the best of health. Over 30,000 were built in a number of configurations, and they were in service from 1942 to the end of the war, with those in good enough shape carrying on into the early 60s. The Kit Another new tooling from ICM, who are working their way through the entire WWII vehicle list at quite a speed, while doing something similar to much of the Soviet back catalogue at the same time. The kit arrives in a small box with their usual top flap on the lower tray, and inside the outer clear foil bag are seven sprues in medium grey styrene, a clear sprue in its own bag, four flexible black plastic tyres and a sheet of Photo-Etch (PE) parts, each in their own bags, plus a small decal sheet. The instruction booklet completes the package, and is printed on glossy white paper in colour, with black and red used for the diagrams throughout, and the decal options printed in colour at the rear. British WWII softskins aren't much of a priority for many companies, so it will be happily anticipated by many for that reason, and due to the vast improvement in ICM's tooling in recent years they will be pleased to see that they have packed in a lot of detail to this release, and you can almost bank on there being other versions forthcoming in time if this one sells well. Perusing the sprues shows plenty of detail all over, with the occasional ejector pin that's unavoidable if you're expecting top quality detail on both sides of parts. Common sense has prevailed however, and all the marks are in areas where they either won't be seen, or where they're relatively easy to make good. The construction phase begins with the chassis, which is made up from two main rails, with sub-rails and spacers holding things together, and front suspension moulded into the outer rails. With the chassis completed by adding the rear end, attention turns to the engine, which is a complete rendering, and made up from a good number of parts for detail, including the block, pulleys, transmission and a short drive-shaft that threads through the holes in the cross-members. The two long exhaust pipes with mufflers go under the chassis on each side, and the rear suspension is fitted, which is a substantial set of leaf-springs, then the axles and drive shafts are attached to the suspension and transfer box. Brake drums, fuel tanks, steering arms and struts are all installed before the wheels are built-up around the rubbery black tyres, which have tread details moulded-in, and are finished off by the addition of the hubs, which attach from both sides, and are then detailed with additional parts before they are slotted onto the axles. The undercarriage is almost done, and it's time for the upper surfaces, beginning with the engine bay, which has the front wheel-arches moulded in, and is then detailed with lights, front rail, radiator and some additional ancillaries to keep the engine running. You even get a pair of lower hoses for the radiator to mate it to the engine, and two more longer ones diving diagonally down into the topside of the engine from the top of the rad. There's going to be a bit of painting needed, as the engine can be seen from the underside, even though access is limited. The bay sides are planted, and are joined by internal covers and instrumentation on top, which have a few decals to detail them up. Some of the driver's controls are added on the right side (the correct side) of the engine, and a pair of seats are built up and added to the square bases installed earlier, then the front of the cab is detailed with clear parts and window actuators, before the sides are attached to the edges and lowered onto the chassis, then joined by the simple dash board and steering wheel on its spindly column. The doors are separate parts and have clear windows, handles and window winders added, then joined to the sides in either the open or closed position or any variation of the two. The cab is a bit draughty at the moment, until the rear panel and the roof are added, the latter having a pop-up cover on the co-driver's side, with a couple of PE grilles then added to the front radiator frames after being bent to shape. Now for the truck bed, beginning with the sides, which have two stiffeners added, then are covered with bumpers along the top and bottom edge of the outside face. The bed floor fits into a groove into the bottom, and is kept square by the addition of the front and rear sides. Under the bed are a number of stowage boxes and racks for additional fuel or water cans, which are happily also included, then they are joined by the two parts per wheel that form the wheel arch that are braced on the outside with two small struts. Then it's the fun part! Adding the bed to the chassis, which is kept in the correct place by two ridges under the bed that mate with grooves in the chassis rail. At the front, two light-hoods are fitted above the lights, and the prominent pedestrian unfriendly hood that deflects the rain and hopefully redirects the engine heat from being sucked back into the open front windows on a hot day. The cab is detailed with additional lights, horn, wing mirrors, grab-handles and even some pioneer tools, then the windscreen wipers. Moving backwards, the four c-shaped hoops that support the canvas tilt are applied to the outside of the bed sides, reaching roughly half-way down the sides to obtain a strong join in both 1:1 and 1:35. The final act is to add seven rods along the length of the roof section of the tilt frame, which will need some careful alignment to ensure all the hoops are vertical and correctly spaced. Now you can paint it, but you've probably got a lot of that done already in truth. Markings It's a softskin, so British green is the colour you'll be using the most of. There are four decal options in the box, and all of them look very similar to the casual observer as there are minimal markings due to the subject in hand. The decal sheet is pretty small as a result, but it's also quite colourful due to the unit markings that are included. From the box you can build one of the following: France, Summer 1944 L5496558 France, 1944 Great Britain, Summer 19445 30YX68 Great Britain, Summer 1945 Decals are printed in-house, and have good register, colour density and sharpness, which include those useful instrument dials with black backgrounds. Conclusion As soon as I saw this in the box I thought it was an interesting subject, and it looks like ICM have made a nice little replica here. Plenty of detail, some PE parts, and some rubbery tyres for those that don't want to have to paint them. Very highly recommended. Available in the UK from their Importers, H G Hannants Ltd. Review sample courtesy of
  18. American Civil War Confederate Infantry Set #2 (35024) 1:35 ICM via Hannants Ltd The American Civil War was triggered partly by slavery, and the fact that the Northern or Union states had abolished it, while the South or Confederate states wanted to retain the status quo and keep their slaves by seceding from the union. It started in April 1861 and lasted for four years, at the end of which General Lee signed the surrender almost exactly on the four-year anniversary. By that time much of the infrastructure of the Southern US was in ruins, although some Confederate soldiers carried on fighting until later that year. Some four million slaves were released, with their rights established during the following Reconstruction era, although progress is still ongoing. The Kit This is the fifth set from ICM depicting the American Civil War in the predominant AFV scale, so that if you have a cross-over of interests, the two types of models won’t look out of place side-by-side in your cabinet. Union & Confederate Soldiers, a Civil War arms set and a second set of Union fighters, now it is time for a second set of Confederate soldiers. This set arrives in ICM’s smaller top-opening box with captive inner lid, and inside are three sprues of grey styrene, two of which were previously included in the armament set. The instructions consist of drawings of each soldier with part numbers in black, and paint codes called out by a letter within a small red box. This relates to a table under the sprue diagrams over the page, giving colour swatches, colour names, ICM’s own paint codes, plus Revell and Tamiya codes that should enable most modellers to find an equivalent even if they don’t have any of those brands. This set, like those preceding it, contains parts for four figures of the Confederate army, who generally wore a grey tunic and pants, as opposed to the blue tunics of the Union. The figures are shown in battle, striking various action poses. One man is wearing his bedroll diagonally across his chest and is bringing the bayonet of his rifle down over his head in a stabbing motion, another is carrying out a similar action but with his butt-stock, while the third uniformed soldier is running forward with his bayoneted rifle held to the front. The fourth soldier is not in uniform, but is wearing civilian clothes and is also wearing a bedroll round his torso, defending himself with his rifle braced in both arms across his body. As always with ICM, the sculpting is excellent, especially the faces, moulding clean, with excellent natural poses and drape of materials. Parts breakdown is sensible and generally along the seamlines of garments, with separate arms, heads, torso, legs and various types of hats. Their equivalent of modern-day webbing is also present on the sprues, looking quite ungainly in comparison, as do the massive flint-lock rifles, made even longer by their bayonets. The weapons are on the two smaller sprues, along with pouches, water bottles, mugs, loose bayonets, holstered and loose pistols, swords in and out of scabbards, and even a trumpet for rudimentary battlefield communications. Conclusion If you’re interested in the American Civil War, and a lot of people are, these figures are excellent examples of the Confederate side of things, with superb-looking figures that should look even better once suitably painted. Highly recommended. Available in the UK from importers H G Hannants Ltd. Currently out of stock, but there’s a 10% reduction for pre-orders for the next shipment. Review sample courtesy of
  19. Gotha Go.242B Glider (48225) 1:48 ICM via Hannants Germany broke new ground in WWII in the successful use of Paratroop landings in gliders that met with some initial successes, although that method of delivering soldiers and materiel hasn’t seen much use since the end of WWII, possibly following the experiences of the Allies later in the war and around D-Day. Gotha created the small DFS 230 that was used by Fallschirmjager units during the early part of the war, and the RLM subsequently issued a specification for a larger glider that could carry 20 fully equipped troops into action, or alternatively bring equipment of an equivalent weight to the battle. Gotha’s offering was a simple tapered box on wings, but with a twin-tail boom that allowed the cargo version to unload from the rear using a simple flip-up rear fuselage, and later the troop carrier could also unload from the rear with the addition of new doors. The type entered service soon after its initial flight in 1941, with over 1,500 manufactured in various guises. The initial A series was split into troop and cargo types, with the following B series being improved from experience and sporting upgraded landing gear, plus double rear doors for faster troop exit. A further C series was intended for water landings using a boat-shaped hull to carry explosive-laden small boats to maritime targets, although that never reached service. Gotha later added engines in nacelles that extended the twin booms past the leading edge of the wings, allowing it to get aloft under its own power, rather than being towed by a Heinkel He.111 or adapted Stuka, but take-off was marginal with a heavy load, so RATO bottles were developed to give the aircraft an extra boost. The Kit This is a brand-new kit of this boxy glider, and the first of a number of variants no doubt. Despite their difficulties at the moment, ICM have worked hard to keep on producing kits, and our collective hats have to go off to them for that. The kit arrives in a top-opening box that has the Ukrainian flag emblazoned in the top right corner, and a painting showing the aircraft from below with its jettisonable landing gear clearly visible. The outer lid is extremely tight, and if you can get it off the usual captive inner lid is exposed, with eight sprues in grey styrene, one of clear parts, the instruction booklet in spot colour, and a long narrow decal sheet. The first thing that’s evident on perusal of the sprues is that the aircraft is larger than I expected, and the designers at ICM have put a lot of effort into the detail that’s moulded-into the model, especially the sections that are fabric over a tubular framework. Construction begins with the large floor space, which is made up from the fabric outer skin with visible ribbing, onto which the floor surface added in two sections, after drilling a number of 1mm holes in the skin first. The forward section is then enclosed by a tubular framework that stops at the centre bulkhead, which also has short spars moulded-in, with a bulkhead between the passenger and pilot sections. The twenty passenger seats are each made from horizontal and vertical sections that are then arranged into two rows of 10 and are fitted out with diagonal braces that mate with the rear legs, plus a length of top brackets that allow the seats to stand clear of the wall. Both rows are glued into the passenger compartment either side of the central spar, and a triangular section of framework is attached to the aft section of the area, following which the side walls are made up from two parts each and a number of windows that are applied from the inside. These are fixed to the floor assembly along with the roof once the cockpit is made up. Note that there are a few ejector-pin marks to erase on the interior if you're interested. Punched discs of styrene sheet, CA, or filler should do the trick. This is a training variant, so the controls are duplicated on both sides of the cockpit, starting with a well-detailed pair of rudder pedals that each comprise of four parts. The control column differs between stations, with the trainee having a two-part right-angle column with separate yoke, while the trainer has a straight stick for when he needs to take over. The seats differ too, as the trainee has a sturdier five-part seat that has an adjustment wheel, while the instructor has a simple two-part affair. These are all inserted onto a cockpit floor that is placed within the front of the fuselage at the time when the sides and roof are both added with a single tube bracing the top of the diagonal rear divide. The insertion and addition of the sidewalls are shown out of order in the instructions, but allowances have to be made for the little things under the circumstances. The cockpit surround is incomplete at this stage, having the nose added along with a simple instrument panel on a pair of supports fitted, then underneath a clear window is inserted beneath the instructor’s feet, plus two panels of side glazing and a single windscreen part that has an optional 0.8mm hole drilled in it before fitting if you are mounting the guns. Take it easy if you decide that’s the option for you, as clear styrene is much easier to damage because of its brittle nature. Light pressure and plenty of patience is the way to go. The wings of the 242 are necessarily long, as once the towing aircraft cuts it loose, the only way is down, so a long glide slope is an absolute necessity. The wings are each moulded as top and bottom skins, which have some lovely ribbing and other details moulded-in as you can see above, and have the flying surfaces as separate sub-assemblies of two parts each. Once the halves are joined, they have the front fairings of the booms added top and bottom, then have the two flap sections and long ailerons slotted into the trailing edges. This is repeated twice of course, and the two wings are slotted onto their projecting spar sections, taking care to put them on with the leading edges and canopy pointing in the same direction. A pair of supports are added underneath in recessed sockets, although I’d be tempted to leave those off until after main painting was complete so they don’t get damaged. The aft section of the fuselage is missing at this stage, giving it the look of a “ute”, but this part is next to be assembled. The tapering sides have windows inserted from inside and the internal framework added, then they are spaced apart by three more framework sections, after which the lower part with window, internal floor with steps, and roof with framework and observation window (the reason for the steps) added, to be finished off with a transparent end cap giving even better field of view, just in case they’re being stalked by a fighter from behind. The door pivots upward between the booms, and can either be glued closed, or propped open with five supports holding it at the correct angle. The booms are simple and made from two parts each, with separate rudders and a single elevator panel with separate flying surface. The instructions show the completed assembly being offered up to the rear of the model, but it may be more sensible to glue one boom in place first, then add the other with the elevator once the glue is set on the first boom. A number of actuators and mass balances are added all around the flying surfaces, but first the landing gear struts are added, beginning with the two main gear legs that are simple two-part assemblies with a corrugated gaiter over the suspension tube. The nose gear is a strange affair, made from a two-part yoke that traps the wheel between it, with a pair of V-shaped braces (moulded as one part) at the front, which fixes to the underside of the nose. The main wheels and nose wheel are each are two parts, and the former slide over the short axles to complete the gear. The final parts are used for two optional self-defence machine guns that are fixed to the windscreen and in front of the observation window in the aft section of the fuselage. Markings There are two decal options on the sheet, both very similar and sporting yellow wingtips with a tail band in the same colour. ICM have also included a printed template for masking the copious glazing that’s present on this aircraft, which should come in handy, and save some hassle, even if you’re OK with masking things up yourself. From the box you can build one of the following: Gotha Go.242B-2 Schleppgruppe 4, 1943 Gotha Go.242B-2 Germany, 1942 Decals are by ICM’s usual partner, which is a guarantee of good registration, sharpness and colour density, with a thin gloss carrier film cut close to the printed areas. Conclusion This is cool. The side profile alone sells it to me, but I do like the weird stuff. The detail is excellent, and apart from wishing there was a little more variety in markings options, it’s a big thumbs up for a kit that has been produced under very difficult circumstances. Very highly recommended. Available in the UK from importers H G Hannants Ltd. Review sample courtesy of
  20. Benz Patent-Motorwagen 1886 (24042) 1:24 ICM Easy Version We’ve been addicted to petroleum for over a century now, but in the late 1800s the predominant motive power source was still steam, although that simply a transfer another form of fossil fuel, usually coal. When Karl Benz applied for a patent for his Motorwagen in 1885, it became the first petrol-powered production vehicle that was designed from the outset to use this method of propulsion. When you look at its three-wheel design it appears to have been the product of the mating between a horse carriage, a bicycle and a grandfather clock, with a little bit of chaise longue thrown in for good measure. A rear-mounted engine with a solitary cylinder, two seats without any weather protection and a kind of tiller for steering doesn’t really gel with our understanding of what represents a car these days, but they had to start somewhere. There were only 25 made, but the precedent had been set and travelling at a heady 16kmh was found to be quite fun and started us down the long road to becoming die-hard petrol-heads, much to our environment’s distress. The Kit This is a partial re-tooling of ICM’s 2020 kit of this pivotal vehicle, and although it was way out of my usual wheel-house I was quite taken with it, especially when I opened the box to reveal the quality of the contents. This boxing proudly bears the Ukrainian flag in the top right corner, and the build has been simplified to include styrene spoked wheels to appeal to those that were perhaps put off by the Photo-Etch (PE) spokes and drive-chain of the original boxing. This boxing has one main sprue for the majority of the parts, with two new smaller sprues in the same grey styrene for the wheels and chain. We have a stapled-together colour inkjet printed instruction booklet with our boxing, which may be down to the fact that things are very difficult in the Ukraine at time of writing, thanks to Russia’s efforts (that’s all I’m going to say). The fact that ICM are still able to produce models at all is an amazing feat, so more power to their elbow, and also to the rest of Ukraine with their current struggle. This boxing has styrene moulded spoked wheels that should appeal to folks that either don’t like PE, don’t want to spend the time putting the multi-media wheels together, or for whatever other reasons known or unknown. Instead of wrangling the mixture of PE spokes and styrene tyres, you just have to glue two styrene halves together and make sure you align them so your tyres have the correct tubular carcass profile. Construction begins with the subframe and suspension, which looks more like a carriage than a chassis. Leaf-springs support the main axle beneath the slatted foot well, and an additional frame is applied to the rear with a set of three small pulley-wheel parts fit on a bar and form a transfer point for the drive-belt that’s added later, with a choice of two styles for the centre section. At the very rear of the chassis is a stub-axle that mounts a huge flywheel made up from two parts to create a rim, then the single-cylindered engine is built, bearing more than a passing resemblance to an air compressor that you might have under your desk somewhere. There are a few colour choices called out along the way, and the finished assembly is then mounted on the cross-rail, overhanging the flywheel. Various small ancillary parts are added to the engine “compartment”, another drive pulley is mounted perpendicular to the large flywheel, then the two are joined by the drive band, which you can make up from the two straps on the sprue, or by creating your own that fully wraps around the pulleys for a more realistic look. A toolbox is added next to the engine, then fuel and radiator tanks are built and installed along with their hosing. There is a surrounding frame for the seat added to the small upstands on the chassis, which holds the moulded upholstered cushions to which the framed back and side-rests are fixed, with extra padding attached to the back and arms before it is inserted and glued in place. The power that has been transferred to an axle under the foot well is sent to the wheels by a bike-style chain, which is moulded in styrene with the rings as well as the links, having one per side. The wheels are each made from two halves that have half of the tubular tyre moulded into the rim, so their assembly is straight forward and includes zero PE. The shape of the parts also sets the correct dish to the wheels with a hub added like a bike wheel. There are two large wheels and one small and it would be well worth scraping the seams and painting the insides of the spokes beforehand. The main wheels slot straight onto the axle, while the front wheel is clamped in place by a two-part yoke, much like a set of forks on a bike. In order to steer the vehicle, the tiller is made up from a few parts and slots into the footwell floor, with a small step added to the right front corner of the well to ease access. A steering linkage joins the fork and tiller together, a small adjustment wheel projects from the footwell, possibly a fuel valve? I don’t know, as I’m not quite that knowledgeable on the subject, and it was before my time. The final part is a long brake lever, which is probably intended to make up for the lack of servo assistance by using leverage. Markings There are no decals in the box again, as there isn’t enough of a vehicle for anything other than a lick of paint. The colours for each part are called out in boxed letters as the build progresses, and that’s a very good idea for such a stripped-down framework with assemblies strapped to it. The codes refer back to a chart on the front of the booklet that gives ICM’s own paint brand, Revell and Tamiya codes plus the colour names in English and Ukrainian. Conclusion The original was a totally left-field hit from my point of view, and this boxing although simplified slightly is still well detailed, very cool and just as endearing. Extremely highly recommended. Available in the UK from importers H G Hannants Ltd. Review sample courtesy of
  21. OV-10A Bronco US Attack Aircraft (48300) 1:48 ICM via Hannants The Bronco was conceived as a light attack, long loiter aircraft of modest size, enabling it to operate from roads close to the combat zone. As so often seems the case, the final design turned out to be much larger and heavier due to the requirements of the avionics and ejection seats, thus limiting its use to conventional airfields. The twin boom aircraft first flew in 1965 and was destined to serve with the US Navy, Airforce and Marines as a replacement for the Cessna O-1 Bird Dog & O-2 Skymaster. The Marines were the first to take the OV-10 into service as a forward air controller platform operating both night and day missions. Whilst the Bronco is best known for its operations in Vietnam, it also served in later conflicts as late as the Gulf War before being retired from US service in 1995. The USAF received Broncos in 1968 and deployed the aircraft in the Forward Air Control (FAC) role, using smoke laying methods initially, and later using laser targeting designators. Eventually it carried its own ground attack armament including rockets, machine guns and bombs that gave it the capability of Light Attack Aircraft, and made it a daunting prospect for the enemy to see overhead. Seven export contracts were signed with other foreign operators including Germany, Columbia and Indonesia, the very last of which will be leaving service in the near future after long service. The Kit This new tooling from ICM relieves us all of the ancient Testors kit with its legendarily incorrect wings and nacelle locations, which could only have been fixed with the help of a Paragon Designs set. This is a relief for this modeller, as there were also other blank areas that would have required some further work. Back to the matter in hand. A 100% new model from ICM, which arrives in one of their standard top opening boxes with the captive inner lid, and has ten sprues in grey styrene, one in clear, two sheets of decals and a glossy instruction booklet with spot colour inside and glossy colour profiles on the back pages. De-bagging the sprues reveals the detail is excellent, and the booms have raised as well as engraved rivets on their surface, which is just as it should be if you check out any walk arounds that get close enough to the aircraft to see them. The clear parts have been engineered so that they fit together as individual facets, and are crystal clear, allowing the modeller to see their hard work in the cockpit, providing they don’t put any gluey fingerprints on the glazing during the build. Overall, it looks like it will build into an excellent replica of the aircraft. Construction begins predictably with the cockpit, starting with the crew seats, of which there are two. The base of the seats are made from the curved lower and cushion, while the backs are formed from a shell with two cushions, one for the pilot’s back, the other for the headbox. The two elements are brought together and a small part is added to the headbox, then different rear detail and a launch rail are added to the rear of them both. There are colour call-outs as we go along, and two warning decals are supplied for the seats, although these are shown applied to the cushions, which seems odd, but having checked some references, that’s where they go. Every day’s a school day! The rear seat is glued to the cockpit floor which has a bulkhead and a shelf moulded into the rear, then side consoles are fixed onto the floor around the seat with control column on a lateral support, and a throttle quadrant that sits on top of a raised portion of the port console. A divider between the two seats is prepared with rudder pedals and other details, then has a choice of either of two instrument panels added atop the flat section, based on your decal choice. These are well detailed and have dial decals for each option. The divider is glued in place, then the front cockpit is made up starting with the seat again, but with a different set of launch rail parts with “antennae” to the side of the headbox. He too gets a control column and floor-mounted rudder pedals, after which the seat is bracketed by side consoles that have detailed tops, but no decals which is a shame. A bulkhead for within the footwell of the front cockpit is created from a number of parts, and fixed in place with the details facing forward, forming the rear bulkhead of the nose gear bay. The pilot gets a well-appointed instrument panel with coaming and decal, plus a number of small parts sitting on top of the coaming. This is glued in, and more details are added to the rear shelf in the shape of equipment boxes that probably have festive twinkling lights on the real thing, especially at Christmas. The cockpit is put to the side briefly while the crew nacelle is prepared with interior sidewall details, plus an internal frame that runs up the side of the canopy. You are advised to align this with the canopy sides, which have a shallow groove running top to bottom, so it would be an idea to glue the parts, then tape the canopy sides in place and align the frame with the groove, taping it in place until the glue sets. With the sides complete and painted internally, the cockpit can be secured inside and locked in place by bringing the two halves together. Providing you have painted the front of the crew nacelle, the nose gear bay is already complete and just needs the main strut, a diagonal support that goes far back under the canopy, and a pair of bay doors. The underside of the cockpit floor is then covered over by a well-detailed underside panel that has recesses ready for the stubby weapons pylons, and has a small central strake added toward the rear. Here it will be key to align the nacelle skins before the glue sets to avoid having to make good later and risk losing any of that lovely detail. The weapons “wings” need four holes drilling in their underside if you are going to hang weapons from them, then they are closed up around a small rectangular insert that the barrels later plug into, the wingtips are added, and each one has an insert applied to the leading edge that makes up the rest of the fairings for the weapons. These are glued into their recesses on the underside, and are fitted with shackles on the twin pylons on their undersides if you plan on using weapons. Another small nose gear door fits to the diagonal leg, and the four-part nose wheel with separate hub parts is first trapped between the yoke, which is then glued to the bottom of the nose strut along with the other half of the oleo scissor-link. I suspect this could be a weak point of the nose gear, so ensure you leave this to set up for a good while before attempting to put weight on it. The addition of the four gun barrels to the winglets and a couple of sensors completes the crew nacelle for now. The upper wing of the Bronco is a single full-width part that also has a section of the fuselage upper and the twin boom tops moulded-in, while the underside is in four sections. Before the two surfaces are joined, two spar sections are attached to the upper wing straddling the future location of the engine nacelles, and if you plan on adding wing pylons, there are a few holes to be drilled in the outer lower panel of the wings. All the flying surfaces are separate and the twin flap sections per side are made of three parts laminated together, while the ailerons are a single part each to which are added balances and trim actuators. When completed, the six flying surface sections are fitted to the cut-outs at the rear of the wing unit along with a pair of actuators for the ailerons, a pair of exhaust deflectors on top of the engine nacelles, and a large sensor blister at the centre-rear. The wing assembly is then mated to the crew gondola, and the canopy is begun. The blown windscreen that offers the pilot a good field of view has a sight fitted to the top centre before it is glued to the front of the cockpit, then has the clear canopy roof put in place, bridging the gap between the windscreen and cockpit rear. The two canopy sides are next, and these parts are each single pieces, which doesn’t give the modeller the opportunity to prop the front two sections in the open position without taking their life in their hands and cutting the parts with a razor saw or fine scriber and a lot of trepidation. No doubt an aftermarket company will step-in here. Building of the two nacelles begins with the gear bays, which starts with the making of the gear legs that have two main partss and a Y-shaped insert that traps the lower section in place but leaves it movable. Two more parts make up the suspension strut, which are also trapped in place by a V-shaped insert, and then glue is applied to the previously mobile joint, setting the correct angle for the leg permanently. It is glued to the stepped bay forward roof with a number of small parts, after which it is joined by the detailed sidewalls, rear bulkhead and another few parts to close over the rear of the roof and add more detail. The nacelle sides have a couple of holes drilled on each side, and these are joined around the bay assembly, capped off at the front by the intakes and propeller backing plate. Underneath, the triangular inserts with their many raised rivets are glued in carefully to avoid damaging that lovely detail, and two optional towel-rail antennae are glued into the holes on the sides of the nacelle. The two-part rudder is fixed to the tail, and an exhaust is made up from two halves, with baffles within. Align these carefully to minimise the join-line and check your references to get these right. A small intake is added to the side of the nacelle just forward of the exhaust. This process if carried out twice of course, in mirror-image so your Bronco doesn’t fly round in circles. The large horizontal elevator panel is made from top and bottom surfaces plus the elevator itself, and this is slotted into position between the nacelles as they are glued into place under the wings. You might need to grow another hand or two to make this happen, or get yourself one of those wonderful jigs like that of EBMA to help hold everything in place for this. Four optional shark-fin spoilers can be glued onto their corresponding slots in the top of each wing if you wish, or leave them in the box for a clean upper wing. The twin props have the three blades moulded as one, with a front and back boss, and take care to install the correct props on the nacelles, as the blades (and the turboprop engines) are handed, spinning in opposite directions to cancel out the effect of torque steer. A windscreen wiper and various sensor lumps are added around the fuselage, with more underneath, at which point you’ll notice that the main gear is without wheels. Each of these are made of a two-part wheel and two-part hub, with no weighting moulded-in, although that’s easily remedied by a quick sanding of a flat-spot on the bottom, just don’t overdo it so it looks like it needs more air. Fun with weapons is next, and this modeller thinks that the Bronco looks best when loaded for bear, as they say. There are two wing pylons on long supports to add to the outer wing panels, then it’s just a case of choosing which munitions you want to hang from them. There is a diagram showing which weapons can be fitted to which pylons, but if you’re aiming for realism, check your references to establish real-world load-outs for training and live-fire missions. In the box you get the following: 2 x LAU-33 twin rocket pods 2 x LAU-069A 21 rocket pods 2 x Mk.77 Incendiary bombs 2 x LAU-68 6 rocket pods 2 x 150gal fuel tanks 2 x Mk.81 Lowdrag iron bombs with optional daisy-cutter fuse 2 x Mk.81 Snakeye iron bombs with optional daisy-cutter fuse 2 x Mk.82 Snakeye iron bombs with optional daisy-cutter fuse 2 x Mk.82 Lowdrag iron bombs with optional daisy-cutter fuse 2 x LAU-10A 4 rocket pods The detail of the individual weapons is excellent, with multiple parts for fins, fuses and rockets, and only the seamlines to clean up along the way. The canopy is about as clear as can be, so it’s going to be important to mask it up before you inadvertently ruin the startling clarity. Although masks aren’t included in the box, there is a handy template near the back of the instructions that you can place tape on and cut out masks for your use on the model. Each section is numbered and there is another drawing showing their location on the canopy. Very handy! Markings There are five options in the rear of the instructions in various shades of grey and camouflage green, and there’s also a new paint set from ICM themselves that gives you all the shades you’ll need to paint the majority of the airframe as depicted in this boxing. You can read about that in a later review that we’ll link back once we’ve had chance to spray them out. From the box you can build one of the following: OV-10A 155471 Light Attack Sqn. 4 (VAL-4), ‘Black Ponies’, Binh Thuy, 1971 OV-10A 155456 Marine Observation Sqn. 6 (VMO-6), Quang Tri, 1969 OV-10A 67-14649, 20th Tactical Air Support Sqn., Da Nang, 1972 OV-10A 155416 Marine Observation Sqn. 2 (VMO-2), Da Nang, 1969 OV-10A 155416 Marine Observation Sqn. 2 (VMO-2), Da Nang, 1970 The 4th and 5th options depict the same airframe at different periods, which possibly had light grey wings earlier in its career, which was later painted green on the topside, and may have been painted a lighter or darker grey on the underside. The profiles give you the option and leave it up to you. Decals are printed by ICM’s usual partners, with good registration, sharpness and colour density, with a thin gloss carrier film cut close to the printed areas. The weapons all have stencils to apply, which are shown next to each profile, as their colours varied over time. There are also rear and white tip decals for the props, and the large wide T-shapes on the upper wings are also included as decals, as are the tapered exhaust gas “hiders” on some of the decal options. Conclusion I’m a happy bunny. I’ve always liked the Bronco, and this new tooling is an excellent looking model that is crammed full of detail that will doubtless encourage new decal sheets into the market to cater for the many buyers. The launch of the paint set is a clever move, encouraging modellers to try their new(ish) paint system. You know you want to! Very highly recommended. Available in the UK from importers H G Hannants Ltd. Review sample courtesy of
  22. Type G4 Partisanenwagen with MG34 (72473) 1:72 ICM via Hannants Ltd Like many long-standing German companies, Mercedes isn’t overly keen on being linked to their work on vehicles used by the Nazis during WWII, particularly those used to transport their leader, for obvious reasons. This huge touring car was developed by Mercedes on their W31 platform that was notable not only because of its size, but also the fact that it had a third axle at the rear, with both rear axles driven by a 5 litre V8 engine that could lock out the differential for maximum traction, and used a four-speed gear box, some of which were synchromesh – a luxury feature at the time. It was complex and expensive to manufacture, so only a small number reached the German military, and these were soon co-opted into use by the SS and senior members of the party. By 1938 a larger engine was installed, and it was this later model that was used by Adolf Hitler during parades and other such high-profile appearances. Only 30 of the last variant were made, with production finishing in 1939 as war broke out. They were used throughout the war by the Nazis, and thanks to their cost and cachet, the Wehrmacht never saw sign of them for their use. Their seven-seat passenger compartment was luxurious by comparison to other vehicles of the era, and the drop-down hood was ideal for their use as a VIP transport, although Hitler’s cars were fitted with additional armour and bullet-resistant glass, further slowing its top speed thanks to the extra weight. It was capable of driving on all terrain, depending on whether the correct tyres were fitted, but this also limited its top speed to just over 40mph. How fast the armoured variants were(n’t), you can probably imagine. The VIP examples had rear-view searchlights installed to blind anyone aggressively chasing the vehicle, and a pair of MG34 machine gun mounts could be installed, although the passengers probably wouldn’t have appreciated the hot brass raining on them in the event of an ambush, but it’s better than being killed. These were used as convoy protection from ambush by Partisans, hence the name. The Kit This is a reboxing with new parts of ICM’s 2015 kit of this six-wheeled monster, which has been reboxed a few times since its original release, and is now with us in the Partisanenwagen guise, complete with a pair of MG34 machine guns mounts in the passenger compartment. Inside the box are four sprues in grey styrene, a small sprue of clear parts, three short metal rods, two sprues of black flexible plastic tyres, and the instruction booklet with a page of colour profiles on the glossy back cover in full colour. Construction begins with the bodyshell sides that are joined together at the rear, and spaced out with the rear seats and the windscreen, after which the floor is clipped into place from below on two clips on the integral rear fenders, after drilling a hole for the machine gun mount on the right side of the floor. The radiator and bonnet/hood cover up the nose, then the chassis with integral front fenders is detailed with a simplified V8 engine with block, cylinder head, transmission, and interlinking drive-shafts between the two back axles. The exhaust is separate and is inserted after the two halves of the vehicle are joined together, allowing the flexible manifolds to mate to the side of the cowling. The rear suspension has two inverted leaf-springs per side, one above and below the central pivot, with a pair of metal axles slotted through. It attaches to the chassis and has a pair of thick covers slotted over the top once it is in place. The front axle has separate stub axles moulded into the suspension units, and are joined together by a length of I-beam, with steering linkages added before you start adding the wheels. The rears are of one type, with the fronts having separate numbered hubs, so take care when fitting them, as pulling them off too many times may weaken the friction fit. The passenger compartment is decked out with a full set of driver controls plus two rows of additional seats with grab-handles for easy mounting and dismounting the vehicle. With the steering wheel mounted on the left, the sun visors are fitted, and the side windows are applied to the sills of the vehicle as single parts per side. Two spare tyres are attached to the engine cowling on turn-buckles, with the large trunk on the rear plus light clusters and numberplate holder, then a folded-away canvas roof covering the top of the rear, with added depiction of the folded framework further forward. Add the lights and short flag-poles to the front fenders, numberplate holder under the radiator, and you’re left with the two MG34s that are on separate mounts, which have moulded-in folded bipod and separate drum mag, plus a concertina-style guide fitted to direct the spent brass downward and away from the passengers as far as possible. The longer mount installs in the hole in the floor you drilled earlier, and the shorter mount is fitted to the rear on the left by drilling another 0.8mm hole just inside the fabric hood. Markings There is only one option offered for this kit, and that is panzer grey. It’s not going to light any fires in terms of originality, but that’s the colour they were, unless you wanted to do something fanciful. From the box you can build this big lump: There are no decals in this boxing, so if you plan on depicting a specific vehicle you’ll need to obtain plates and flags as appropriate. Conclusion A welcome re-release of a brute of a car that was used extensively by the Nazis, despite the small numbers. If you get a few, you could depict a convoy of them on their way to or from an arm-lifting engagement with Mr Hitler sat in one of them. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  23. G7117 Truck (35597) 1:35 ICM via Hannants Ltd The Chevrolet G506 truck formed the basis of a range of 4x4 load-carrying vehicles that were capable of carrying up to 1.5 tonnes of cargo or equipment. They were initially made under the 4100 code, then moved to the 7100 range, and usually had a standard enclosed cab, with a 3.9L straight-6 engine under the bonnet, with a four-speed “crash” (non-syncro) gearbox putting down a little over 80hp through all four wheels. It rapidly became the Allies’ standard light truck, and served in substantial quantities with the Allies in the West, the Soviets in the East, and the forces fighting Japan in the Far East. There were a lot of variants, some in US Army service, others in USAAF service, with almost 50,000 of two specific types, the G7107 and G7117 sent over to the Soviets under the Lend/Lease program. The G7017 had a cargo bed with canvas top, while the G7117 was the same except for the addition of a winch to give it some static pulling power. They were well-liked by their drivers and crews, and were adapted to other tasks due to their ubiquity, such as being used by the Soviets to carry Katyusha rockets on a stripped-down flatbed. The Kit This is a new boxing of a brand-new tooling from ICM, and a number of these kit variants is in your favourite model shop as I type this. It’s an ICM kit, and a full interior kit too, with engine cab and load area all included along with some very nice moulding and detail, particularly in the chunky tyres, now complete with winch, deployed load cover behind the cab. It arrives in one of ICM’s medium-sized top-opening boxes with the usual captive inner flap, and inside are six sprues in grey styrene, a clear sprue, decal sheet and glossy instruction booklet with colour profiles on the rear pages. Construction begins with the ladder chassis, which has leaf-springs fore and aft, cross-braces and rear towing eye fitted to create the structure with a short length removed to accommodate the winch. The drum is depicted with a full roll of cable, with a pair of spoked ends, axle and motor at the ends, and a strong set of beams boxing it in, plus a new front bumper with in-built roller to protect the cable from wear. A small C-shaped template slots over a bump on the chassis rail, then the winch is slid into the rails until it comes to a stop thanks to the jig. The rear bumper irons, fuel tank, and transfer casing are installed, before the engine is built up based on the straight six-cylinder block, with carburettor, dynamo and transmission added, plus the pulleys and fan at the front, and a short drive-shaft at the rear that links to the transfer box in the middle of the chassis. The front and rear axle are made up and fitted with another drive-shaft each, while the front axle gets the steering arm installed, which keeps the twin ball-jointed hubs pointing in the same direction, providing you’ve not been over-enthusiastic with the glue. The exhaust and its manifold slip into the underside of the chassis from below, and the battery box attaches to the outside of the ladder chassis next to a pair of tread-plated steps, then from the left of the engine, the air box and intake are attached to finish it off. The crew cab is next, beginning with the dashboard that inserts in the front bulkhead along with a top panel, then is joined with the cab floor and decked out with a pair of levers, gear stick and hand-brake on the floor, three foot pedals and the steering wheel on a long column that slides through a hole in the diagonal floor section in front of the pedals. The driver and co-driver share a bench seat that is made up from back, cushion and a C-shaped surround that fits into the rear floor of the cab and has the back wall with small ovalised window, then the roof fitted, after which the doors are made up with handles, winders and glazing, fitting within the frame in the open or closed position as you see fit. On the front of the firewall a vent is glued to the scuttle panel, and two reservoirs are attached, then the cab is mated to the chassis along with a couple of additional engine ancillaries and linkages to the front axle. The radiator is laminated from core, surround and tin-work, with a bezel fitted to the front and the assembly is then applied to the front of the engine, attaching to the chassis and input/outlet hoses that are already there. The cowling sides and front fenders are installed to permit the front grille to be attached, plus the bonnet on top. Behind the cab a spare tyre is placed on a bracket near the exhaust, and attention turns to the load bed. The load bed floor is a single moulding with a ribbed texture down the walkway, and a thick rear section with hooks, and the reflectors moulded-in, and a frame to stiffen it up. The same is true of the shallow sides, which also have a series of tie-down hooks fixed along their lengths, and the front upright gets the same treatment. An upstand incorporating two vertical pillars is glued to the front, and a pair of sides that consist of siding on five pillars per side are made up and are added to their locations, while underneath the floor is stiffened by adding four lateral supports, a trapezoid rear valence with lights, and four vertical mudguard boards and their diagonal supports. The front valance has a hole with a length of hose for the fuel filler to travel, and the final position of this tricky part is shown in a scrap diagram to help you with placement. It’s time for the wheels to be made up, with singles at the front, each made from two halves each, and twin wheels at the rear axle, put together with two two-part wheels each, and two hub parts added to the finished pair. Each wheel slips over its respective axle, and all wheels are secured in place by a central cap. There is a choice of steps when completing the load bed, as the lower portion of the sides can be built either vertically to make maximum use of the cargo area, or with the lower sections flipped down to form seats for the transport of troops. This is accomplished by using a different set of supports, fitted vertically for stowed, or diagonally below for deployed. Both options then have the five tilt hoops fixed into the tops of their pillars to finish off. The new alternative is a canvas tilt in the erected state, which is made up from roof, ends and sides, with one end open and the flaps tied back. This assembly is installed over a set of upright sides, but without the hoops of the skeletal option. The model is finished off with front light with clear lenses, door handles, bonnet clasps, wing mirrors, and a choice of open or closed front windscreen parts, which requires the fitting of alternative wipers to accommodate the horizontally stowed screen, which has small supports fitted diagonally against the A-pillars, as shown in scrap diagrams at the end. Markings These vehicles were usually left in their arrival scheme of olive drab although the Navy painted theirs grey, but were personalised with unit and other markings on the doors or somewhere equally prominent. Some would probably have been re-painted at some point, but that’s down to your references. From the box you can model one of the following machines: US Army, 1941 US Army, 1942 154th Engineer Battalion, US Army, 1943 US Navy, 1940s Decals are printed by ICM’s usual partners, which is a guarantee of good registration, sharpness and colour density, with a thin gloss carrier film cut close to the printed areas. Finally, there is a decal provided for the central instrument binnacle in the cab, which is nice to see. Conclusion Maybe it wasn’t very high profile at the time, but this was an almost ubiquitous vehicle in the Lend-Lease supplies to Soviet Russia that helped to carry out the crucial task of keeping the front-line supplied with weapons and supplies. Moulded in great detail as we’ve come to expect from ICM, and with the tilt parts it’s even better than the previous boxings. Highly recommended. Available in the UK from importers H G Hannants Ltd. Review sample courtesy of
  24. Hi all, I made this vintage esci 1/72 panzer III Ausf M with my seven year old son. I added the zvezda panzer grenadiers and vignette base for him. The decals are for the 3rd panzer division which situates the tank during operation Citadel (the decals are hard to make out through the weathering.). Last July we finally made it out of Northern Ireland to go back to my home in London and see my dad for the first time in two years (Usual Covid restrictions story.). Whilst back home I got to convince the wife of a trip to RAF Hendon with our boys. Of course whilst their I had to go around Hannants,, which is just down the road from the museum. I spent a small age in their just chatting to the guy behind the counter. He incidentally pointed out another bloke in their from Northern Ireland (he turned out to be another English bloke who lived about ten minutes down the road from us in Ireland and was getting the same ferry back with us from wales that night!). The man who was the owner of Hannants was super nice, really knowledgeable and helpful. Once I was leaving he gave this esci kit to my son which I thought was so generous and such a nice gesture. Anyway 7 months later we finally made it... Their are several mistakes, all of which are my fault! I made a small sacrifice to the floor gods with one of the head lights, after knocking it off for the fourth or fifth time I gave up. The schurzen is wrong and the chassis was warped but I didn't straighten it out correctly, same with the gun barrel being slightly bent....anyway hey ho still really enjoyed working on it which I suppose matters much more. I took a couple pics before it was 75% covered with troops and foliage: Its all brush painted. For xmass we bought our son a v-tech kids video camera (as he really loves youtube and wants to be a 'youtuber'.) So we filmed the process of making the tank after xmass and I'll eventually get around to editing the vid together and posting up some time. And a couple pictures of the vignette/base before the tank and Grenadiers below: I made the grass from Jute twine and painted it with oil paints, this way I got to play with loads of different hues of colour which was good fun. I put tile grout on to the foam board so it would crack and look distressed, like an old Russian cottage/farm house. Thanks for taking peek, Paul
  25. Mistel S1 Composite Training Aircraft (48101) 1:48 ICM via Hannants Ltd The Mistel came about partly due to the lack of already developed heavy bombers in the German inventory, which forced them to consider using one aircraft to guide another to the target, then set it loose to crash to the ground, triggering the explosives that had been packed into the bottom aircraft in advance. They usually used old, outdated and worn-out medium bombers such as the Junkers Ju.88, with the crew compartment and nose removed, and a large stepped-cylindrical bomb unit bolted in place instead. The guiding aircraft was typically a fighter such as the Bf.109 or Fw.190, and these too were usually earlier versions due to the alterations needed to install the hardened locations that joined the two aircraft together on a trestle that separated the two with enough space to allow for props to spin and reduce the aerodynamic interference between them to an acceptable minimum. This was not a task that a pilot could tackle fresh from flying a standard solo fighter, so training rigs were made that retained the cockpit, left out the explosives for obvious reasons, but otherwise had the same flight characteristics as the more dangerous “live” version. The crew in the bomber were there just in case there was a problem and to regain control of the aircraft after the fighter separated in a simulated attack, allowing the re-use of the “bomb-plane” for subsequent training missions. Just like the actual mission, the fighter was then supposed to fly back to base to carry out successive missions until they were considered competent, when they would get to fly one of the more explosively converted bombers on a real mission over enemy territory. The Boxed Set Just like the real thing, this is a composite of two kits from ICM’s stable, the Bf.109F-4 from 2006, and the Ju.99A-4 from the last few years, which was very well received just a few years ago. The new mating parts are held on a separate sprue, and these consist of the link between the two aircraft. The decals for the two models have been merged into a single sheet too, as has the thick, glossy-covered instruction booklet, which has colour profiles on the rear few pages. It’s worthy of note that ICM have drawn out the shapes for a set of masks for both of these models for you to lay kabuki tape over and cut your own masks without the faff of doing it live on the model transparencies, or the expense of buying a commercial masking sheet. Good to see. Junkers Ju.88A-4 The Ju-88 was designed as a schnellbomber in the mid-30s, and at the time it was faster than current fighter designs, so it was projected that it could infiltrate, bomb and exfiltrate without being intercepted. That was the theory at least. By the time WWII began in the west, fighters had caught up with the previously untouchable speed of the Ju.88, and it needed escorting to protect it from its Merlin equipped British opponents. It was a sound deign however, and turned out to be a jack of all trades, being of use as a competent night fighter, dive bomber or doing reconnaissance to improve the accuracy of its brethren that were bombing Britain. They even popped a big gun on the nose and sent it against tanks and bombers, with variable success. The A series sported a pair of Jumo 211 engines in cylindrical cowlings producing over 1,000hp each, and was improved gradually up until the A-17, at which point it was replaced by the C and D, skipping the B, which became the Ju.188 in due course. The Kit Detail is right up there in terms of quality and crispness, with ICM really improving over the last few years, which has to be great news for modellers, as they aren't frightened of tackling what to us may seem niche subjects to some. Construction begins with the fuselage and the addition of sidewall details in the capacious cockpit area. Rear bulkhead, side consoles and seats are all added to the cockpit sides for a change, with an insert in the fuselage for the circular antenna and tail wheel added into the starboard side. The instrument panel is supplied with decals, and fits into the fuselage during joining. The missing floor is added to the lower fuselage panel that includes the lower parts of the inner wings and gives the structure some strength. It also receives the rudder pedals, control column, and the two remaining crew seats before being joined to the fuselage. The tail plane has articulated flying surfaces, and the wings are supplied as top and bottom, with the flaps and ailerons separate from the box, and neat curved fairings so they look good when fitted at an angle. The flaps include the rear section of the soon-to-be-fitted nacelles, which are added as separate parts to avoid sink-marks, and these and the ailerons run full-span, terminating just as the wingtip begins. This variant was fitted with the under-fuselage gondola, and each side has separate glazing panels inserted from inside, and a seam running vertically through its length. It is added to the hole in the underside of the fuselage, with the front and rear glazing minus machine guns that weren’t fitted to this training aircraft. At this time the landing gear is made up on a pair of upstands that are added to the underwing in preparation for the installation of the nacelle cowlings. The engines have to be built up first though, consisting of a high part count with plenty of detail, and a rear firewall that securely fits inside the cowling. Even though this is an in-line engine with a V-shaped piston layout, the addition of the annular radiators gives it the look of a radial, with their representation added to the front of the cowling, obscuring much of the engine detail. The side panels can be left off to show all that detail however. The cooling flaps around the cowling are separate, and the exhausts have separate stacks, which aren't hollow but are large enough to make boring them out with a drill a possibility. The completed nacelles fit to the underwing over the top of the main gear installation, securing in place with four pegs, two on each side of each nacelle. The props are made from spinner, backplate and a single piece containing all three blades, sliding onto a pin projecting from the engine front, which will require some glue if you want to keep them on. At this point the instructions recommend adding the canopy glazing, which consists of a nose cone and the main greenhouse for the cockpit aperture. The rear portion is made from two additional parts due to its double "blown" shape that normally accommodates the two rearward gun positions, so that the gunner's head isn't pressed against the canopy. While the airframe is flipped over, the two-part wheels and twin main gear bay doors are added, both having good detail and the former a radial tread. Markings The kit includes two markings options from the sheet. There are halfed Swastikas on the sheet, but the Balkenkreuz are whole. From the box you can build one of the following: German Research Institute for Gliding (DFS), Ainring, Germany, 1944 Nordhausen, Germany, Early 1944 Messerschmitt Bf.109F-4 The Bf.109 needs little introduction, suffice to say that it was the Luftwaffe’s mainstay frontline fighter throughout WWII, and went through many incarnations in the constant leapfrogging of technology in order to keep up with and in some cases surpass the allied fighters it was up against. The F variant was the second major redesign of the basic airframe, including a further uprated engine and the attendant strengthening of the airframe that required, plus adding rounded tips to the wings that remained for the rest of the 109’s career. It fought in small numbers toward the end of the Battle of Britain and was finally phased out of front-line service in 1942 to be replaced by the Gustav, thereby freeing up airframes for use as Mistel chaperones. This kit first hit the shelves in 2006, and while it isn’t the newest 109 in the world has all the parts you’d expect, and the flash seen on earlier pressings seems to have reduced, which is good to see. The cockpit is straight-forward, based upon an angled L-shaped floor with the central cannon breech between the pilot’s knees, and the instrument panel supported on a panel projecting from the forward bulkhead. The clear gunsight, rudder pedals, control column and seat pan finish that off, then the DB601E engine, which is quite well-detailed and includes exhaust stubs and flame-guards over the top is made up and attached to the front of the cockpit by joining the engine bearers, then between the two sub-assemblies are placed a pair of machine guns and ammo canisters. With the addition of a trim wheel on the fuselage sidewall and some paint, the fuselage can be closed up around the completed interior. The elevators are each single parts, and are installed in their slots, then joined later by a separate rudder that can be posed deflected. Two side cowlings are installed around the engine and the fuselage is joined to the lower wing, which is full width and has the upper halves glued to the top, then the wingtips are inserted into the newly formed slots. The windscreen with bullet-proof insert is glued in place along with fixed rear canopy and the opener, which has a set of head-armour installed inside. The supercharger intake trunk is applied to the left side of the cowling, and underneath the nose the chin intake for the oil cooler goes in, then the two radiator baths are inserted into their underwing positions with the flaps put into their tracks in the trailing edge. The narrow track main gear legs are each made up from strut, captive bay door and wheel, which are narrow enough to be moulded from a single part each, and these are both laid flat into the gear bays, as the 109 has no use for its wheels in the Mistel configuration. The tail wheel is a single part and slots into the rear under the tail, then it’s back to the front for the prop with spinner and retaining ring. Markings Two similar markings options from the same locations as the Ju.88s (predictably) are supplied for the 109 and can be seen in the sheet above, and from the box you can build one of the following: German Research Institute for Gliding (DFS), Ainring, Germany, 1944 Nordhausen, Germany, Early 1944 Joining the Kits There is a complex drawing of the undersides of the 109 and top of the 88 showing exactly where the various holes should be drilled in the two aircraft to enable you to fit the supports for the 109. The main support parts are three V-shaped struts under the centre of the fighter, and a single support pole under the tail, with a lazy-V shaped antenna behind the supports, probably relocated from the spine during the conversion. Conclusion The Mistels were a sign of desperation from the Nazis to an extent, although the Allies also sent some worn out B-17s and B-24s to Germany piloted by radio control, one of which famously killed one of the Kennedy family by detonating prematurely over England. A nice pair of well-detailed kits depicting the less well-known phase of development of these composite aircraft from WWII. Highly recommended. Available in the UK from importers H G Hannants Ltd. Review sample courtesy of
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