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  1. British Torpedo Trailer (48405) 1:48 ICM via Hannants The British 18” Mk.XII Torpedo was an air-launched variant of the earlier Mk.XI that entered service in the early 30s. The Mark.12 was the variant used by the Fleet Air Arm and RAF Coastal Command during WWII, and could be fitted with a break-off wooden tail fairing to reduce entry speed into the water, and the nose was painted red for a training round, or the less visible black for a live round, which goes against the “red for danger” methodology normally used. The Kit This kit is a single sprue of grey styrene in a small top-opening box that contains parts for a complete torpedo, plus a trailer to transport it around the airfield. The torpedo is made first, built from two halves with a double layer screw and a pair of perpendicular fins at the rear, two of which are moulded in. The optional break-off tail is made from two rectangular end panels, with a single horizontal plane stretching between them. The wooden tail includes the tail fins of the torpedo and is a straight replacement to the standard fins, then a spacer and large spinner are fitted to the front. The guts of the trolley consists of two scissor jacks, and these are both made from four parts each that are mounted onto a slotted base, then surrounded by a framework with two small balancing wheels at either end. A short axle projects from the centre of the rails, and these mount a larger wheel with integrated tyre, plus a winder at each end that operates the scissor-jacks (on the real thing). The torpedo is lowered into the cradle along the trolley’s direction of travel to finish off. The instructions have a sprue diagram on the front page, the build steps spreading over the two central sheets, and at the rear are the painting instructions, with codes from ICM’s new paint range, plus Revell and Tamiya codes as well as colour names. There are two painting suggestions, and from the box you can build one of the following: British Torpedo Cart with a Mark.XII Training Torpedo, WWII British Torpedo Cart with a Mark.XII Training Torpedo, WWII Net photo – Copyright unknown. Conclusion A nicely detailed set that will complement any diorama scenario or even to personalise a model placed on the shelves of your cabinet. Notice the Beaufort in the background on the box top? Me too Highly recommended. Available in the UK from importers H G Hannants Ltd. Review sample courtesy of
  2. Leyland Retriever General Service (35600) 1:35 ICM via Hannants The British Army remembered the usefulness of mechanising transport that it learned from WWI, so when war became likely, British companies such as Leyland were tasked with creating a modern truck chassis to be used in the forthcoming conflict. The Retriever was a six-wheeler chassis that could be outfitted with truck bodies, cranes, or even command wagon bodies such as that used by Monty during his campaigns in Europe and the Middle East, which now resides in the Imperial War Museum. It was a flexible type, and thanks to its 6-litre, 4-cylinder petrol engine outputting over 70hp, it could carry a healthy 3 tonne load almost 200 miles before refuelling. Around 6,500 were made in total before the end of WWII, and many were put to good use after their military service in civilian use. The Kit This is a reboxing of a brand-new tooling from ICM, and the second of a series of kits using the same chassis, which already includes the early General Service (GS) cargo body that we reviewed recently. This is the standard GS Cargo, and arrives in ICM’s usual top opening box with captive inner lid. Inside are an increased nine sprues in grey styrene, a small clear sprue, seven flexible plastic tyres, a postage-sized fret of Photo-Etch (PE) and a similarly small decal sheet that is found within the glossy instruction booklet with colour painting guide on the rear page. Detail is crisp, and slide-moulds have been used to add detail to the chassis rails, with the steering wheel having a delightfully crisp set of finger grips on the inside of its circumference. The majority of the box is the same as the early boxing, with just the two new sprues that we’ve marked accordingly. New Sprues Construction begins with the ladder chassis, adding cross-rails, front suspension and the mounting point for the powered double rear axle, after which the Leyland engine is made up from a substantial number of parts along with the four-speed (and reverse) transmission and ancillaries. With the block mounted between the chassis rails at the front, the exhaust downpipe and muffler are installed from below, with a scrap diagram showing the location of the downpipe once in place. The rear axles are mounted either end of a pair of large leaf-springs that pivot around the centre, and these are joined to the motor with drive-shafts as they are slotted into the springs from above, then a number of linkages are inserted in two stages to complete the bogie. The front wheels are free-wheeling, and have brake drums at either end of the steering rack, which is then joined to the underside of the front springs and again linked to the chassis and steering wheel by rods. The rear hubs have their brake drums added to the backs of them before they have their well-moulded tyres slipped over the rim, while the front wheels have a flat back that joins to the drums already on the axle. Finally, the spare is fitted onto a two-part hub and fixed to a bracket with a turnbuckle holding it in place, then it is further attached to a larger set of bracketry for stowing between the cab and load bed. The cab starts with the new firewall with window frame to which the instrument binnacle is added on the right (correct) side, then the floor halves are installed, with the driver’s controls attached to the right hand footwell. The delicately moulded steering wheel and column with brace are slid in through the small hole in the footwell, and the engine cover is constructed from a fixed central section and two L-shaped inspection panels that allow maintenance without removing the whole cab. What initially looks like a pair of stowage boxes at the rear of the cab are in fact the crew seats, which have short back “rests” on the rear bulkhead that is joined by a pair of short sidewalls. A pair of mudguards are attached underneath the floor, then the lower cab is glued to the chassis over the engine compartment, with the radiator assembled from styrene with a PE grille and a pair of PE name badges top and bottom. With the chassis flipped over, the outlet for the exhaust is slipped through a bracket and joined to the back of the muffler, then it’s time to make up the fuel tank, which has separate end caps, and twin mounting brackets that allow it to fit onto the space between the cab and load area alongside the spare wheel. This kit is the cargo version and has a flatbed built up with low sides, bench seats and loading gate at the rear. Underneath the bed are two longitudinal beams with cross-braces slotting into the engraved grooves along its length. To each outer side of the beams are stowage boxes and diagonal mudguards, after which the sub-assembly can be mated with the chassis, then a pair of running boards are attached on brackets between the front and rear wheels. The crew are protected by a canvas roof that has sides and back fitted before it is joined to the cab, leaving just the sides open to the atmosphere, an improvement from the early model, which had no windscreen at all. The front is fitted out with two headlamps with clear lenses, and an optional “shelf” on the left side of the radiator, then side-lights are installed outboard on stalks and a hand-crank is slotted into the front of the radiator at the bottom. The wagon has a canvas cover in real life, but in the model you get the option of leaving the frame as per the Early model, which consists of four lateral inverted U-shaped supports and seven longitudinal ribs that slot into the grooves moulded into the hoops, or adding a canvas tilt. The tilt is actually the simplest option, as it is made from three parts, top and two sides, with the frames moulded into the inside for added detail. Markings It’s a truck in the British Army, so it’s going to be green apart from the canvas tilt, which will be canvas coloured. They didn’t wear much in the way of additional decoration other than number plates and the occasional unit markings. From the box you can build one of the following: British Army, 1940s Lend/Lease Consignment, Winter 1942 Decals are by ICM’s usual printers, which is a guarantee of good registration, sharpness and colour density, with a thin gloss carrier film cut close to the printed areas. Conclusion ICM have been filling a lot of gaps in the British WWII softskin range, and this will likely be very welcome, finding a place in a lot of stashes. Highly recommended. Available in the UK from importers H G Hannants Ltd. Review sample courtesy of
  3. 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
  4. Type G4 Partisanenwagen WWII German Car (35530) 1:35 ICM via Hannants Mercedes aren’t massively keen on being linked to their work on vehicles used by the Nazis during WWII, for obvious reasons. This huge touring car was developed by them on the 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. 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 2011 kit of these 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 eight sprues in grey styrene, a small sprue of clear parts, a tiny decal sheet containing instrument dials, and the instruction booklet with a page of colour profiles on the glossy back cover in full colour. Construction begins with the V8 engine with block, cylinder head, transmission, exhaust manifolds and ancillaries all depicted, which has a short drive-shaft attached at the rear, directing the power toward the back wheels. The box-section ladder chassis is next with numerous attachments to the outer edges, then cross-braces are fitted along with the big 5 litre engine. The two sides of the chassis are joined, with other additional parts supporting the central section, a stowage box on the left rail, then the lowest parts of the bodywork is attached to the front of the chassis around the engine, and the steering column is mounted on the left chassis rail. The front suspension consists of a pair of leaf-springs separating the chassis from the front axle, which has pivots for the front drum-brakes and links to the steering arm, with smaller parts completing the assembly before it is glued into the underside of the front chassis, after which it has dampers fitted on each side. The rear suspension has two inverted leaf-springs per side, one above and below the central pivot, with a pair of axles and their differential housings in between the two sides. It attaches to the chassis and drive-shaft, which also has another shaft linking the two diffs from above, plus a few control arms, then the exhaust is made up with two ribbed header tubes leading from the manifold into a single wider pipe that has a muffler and the final long exhaust that leads to the rear of the vehicle. This attaches to the right chassis rail and a linkage between the steering and front axle is dropped into place. In a rather confusing move, the rear axles are shown as being in place in step 48, but are installed in step 49, along with the steering linkage. Someone had a little hiccup there, I suspect. The six wheels are of two types, and four are made for the rear, with the front hub, tyre and contact surface moulded into one part, and the rear wall a separate part, as is the centre of the hub and drum brake housing. The front wheels don’t have a centre part, as this is already on the front axle. The vehicle can now stand on its wheels for the first time, while you attach the running boards and front wheel arch to the chassis, and the L-brackets that were fitted earlier. The firewall is made from three sections, with the windscreen and wiper arms moulded-in, that has the clear windscreen part added from inside. The dash panel with two supports is also inserted from behind, and has decals for each of the dials in the centre binnacle, with a horn and fluid pot on the engine side of the firewall. The floorpan is a single panel, but it needs a single 2mm hole drilling in the rear of the forward section, with a scrap diagram showing the correct location of the hole to help you get it in the correct place. A trio of foot pedals are glued to the angled front of the pan, then the firewall is joined to the front along with the rear section that is made from two side sections and the rear. Flipping over the bodyshell allows you to put the two double arches in place, which both have a foot-hold and stowage box hidden in the fairing between the two cut-outs, and rear light clusters attached. The boot is a trunk that is attached to the rear of the body on pegs, which has two main parts plus brackets and handles added before it is glued in place. The fuel tank and three-part armoured surround are built next, with filler tube, tie-down lugs and rear searchlight added before it is glued in under the back seats, then a pair of lower body panels under the front doors are joined while the body is upside down. Flipping the body back over, the rear bench seat is made from six parts and includes a pair of luxurious arms, plus generous cushions to keep the passengers comfortable on even the roughest terrain. The centre seats are individual units, with grab-handles on the rear, and “proper” arm on the outer side, plus a smaller tubular arm with comfort pad on the inner side. These are dropped into the bodywork and located on a couple of pegs each along with their door handles on both sides. The front seats have separate bases, but a bench rear, and while these also have grab handles for the passengers behind, they’re the only ones without arms due to the proximity of their sides to the door. A pair of B-pillars are added to the sides of the bench backs, then the two doors per side are each made up as a single unit, having glazing added to the front along with handles, winders, décor strip, and a pistol holster on both of them. These are glued into the frames on the body, and a rear glazing panel that includes the window for the rear door and the fixed quarter light in one part per side. Now the body can be joined to the chassis and I’ll be totally honest here, a weird-looking two-part pistol-shaped “box” is glued together and attached to an oval hole under the chassis. If anyone can tell me what this is, they’ll get a Tufty badge. There is a spare tyre on each side of the engine compartment, resting in a dished area in the front arches, and attached via a twist-on nut with handle. The tyres are made up from two parts in the same manner as the front wheels, and they are dropped into place along with the prototypical Mercedes grille, complete with three-star logo. You ain’t seen this, right? The side panels have six moulded-in vent-doors on both sides, while the right side has cut-outs for the down-pipes from the manifold, and both have latches and a central grab-handle, then they are topped off with the cowling top, with moulded-in vents and piano-hinge where the cowling folds up for maintenance. Headlights are added on a bar with convoy light in the middle, sidelights and number plate board are inserted between the two front fenders, with latches, handles, searchlights and short flag poles either side of the grille are all dotted around the front and sides of the vehicle, and strangely the gear lever and handbrake are installed in the front of the cab at this late stage, to be joined by the two-part steering wheel, rear-view mirror and two flip-down sun visors that fit on the top of the windscreen frame. The folded-down hood is appropriate for this vehicle, as the MG mount would baulk its closing, so the folded hood is made from two parts representing the fabric, and two additional parts for the visible parts of the framework on either side. These fit into two holes in the outer lip of the body at the rear, and can be glued in place for safety’s sake. The two MG34s are on separate mounts, and each one has a separate breech top, folded bipod and drum mag, then each one is clamped between a two-part perforated bracket and have a corrugated 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 1.4mm hole just inside the hood. Markings There is only one option offered for this kit, and that is panzer grey. It’s not going to light any fires, but that’s the colour they were, unless you wanted to do something fanciful. From the box you can build this big lump: Decals are up to ICM’s usual standards, and the tiny sheet contains just one decal for the vehicle’s instruments. Conclusion A welcome rerelease of a brute of a car that was used extensively by the Nazis. 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. Available in the UK from importers H G Hannants Ltd. Review sample courtesy of
  5. Chevrolet G7107 WWII Army Truck (35593) 1:35 ICM via Hannants 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. I’d be willing to bet that’s probably going to be one of the later boxings, even if I didn’t know that was the case already. The Kit This is a brand-new tooling from ICM, and is the first kit of a range that is inbound to your favourite model shop very soon. 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. It arrives in one of ICM’s medium-sized top-opening boxes with the usual captive inner flap, and inside are five 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, 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, which are removed for three quarters of the decal options. 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 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. Both options then have the five tilt hoops fixed into the tops of their pillars to finish off. 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 Lend/Lease vehicles were usually left in their arrival scheme of olive drab, but were personalised with unit and other markings. 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: Vehicle from Lend-Lease consignment, 1943 14th Guards Mechanised Brigade of the 4th Guards Mechanised Corps, Yugoslavia, 1944 1st Belorussian Front, Poland, Kustrin, Feb 1945 10th Guards Mechanised Brigade of the 5th Guards Mechanised Corps of the 4th Tank Army, Czechoslovakia, May 1945 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. Although undocumented, 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. Highly recommended. Available in the UK from importers H G Hannants Ltd. Review sample courtesy of
  6. Model T 1914 Fire Truck (35605) ICM via Hannants The Ford Model T has gone down in history as the world’s first mass produced car, introducing the production-line in a manner that would still be familiar to modern eyes, only perhaps with not so many robot arms flailing around. That production line ran from 1908 to 1927 with over 15 million sold. Its so-called three-speed transmission included a reverse gear rather disingenuously, and the four-cylinder 2.9 litre engine could output a whole 20bhp through the rear axle to reach a top speed of just over 40mph at some point after you floored it. It was capable of 25mpg with a light foot, and over the course of production, many different applications and body styles were envisaged for the first world-wide car, including armoured cars, trucks and fire trucks. The Kit This is a new boxing of the recently released base kit with new parts specific to its task. It is in the predominant AFV scale of 1:35, although ICM have also tooled a 1:24 series of kits that have been released alongside these to appeal to the car modellers in their main scale. It arrives in a medium-sized top-opening box with ICM’s usual captive inner lid, and inside are two sprues in grey styrene, a small sprue of clear parts, no decals and a glossy colour instruction booklet with the painting guide on the rear page in full colour. Construction begins with the radiator surround that is moulded to the front axle and has the Ford logo in the centre of the core insert, and on the header tank of the surround. This is fitted to the floor pan, which has two styles of tread-plate engraved into the footwells and the running boards between the fenders. Some small parts are added under the front, then the engine block is made up with its transmission and other ancillaries added along the way. Incidentally, this engine stayed in production until 1941, long after the Model T became extinct as a complete vehicle. The engine is fitted into the bay behind the radiator, and is plumbed into it with entry and exit hoses. Underneath is the long exhaust pipe with a single muffler box that is made from two halves with the exhaust tip moulded to the separate part that extends it to the back of the vehicle. The drive-shaft with its large differential housing is fitted between the rear drive-shafts and suspension part, and is inserted into the underside with the drive-shaft mating to the back of the angular transmission housing. Suspension braces are added to the front and rear axles, along with the steering arms that fit to the rear of the front axle, then the single-part spoked wheels with pneumatic tyres moulded-in are clipped over the ends of each axle. The wheels are very well moulded, with air valves and sharp spokes on each one, plus a well-defined rim and tyre tread detail. The early Model T had a faceted five-faced cowling over the engine until 1914, the two sides lifting up on a central hinge that ran from front to rear of the top face. The hinge is attached between the bulkhead and the radiator, and the two lift-up panels are added over the top to complete the cowling, although you could also leave one or both open to show off the engine, but you’ll need to remove a couple of ejector-pin marks, which is easily done because the cowlings are flat-surfaced and should be a little thinner to be more realistic anyway. The front floor pan has the Ford logo in the passenger well according to the instructions, but there’s just a section of ribbing there on the plastic, as well as some more treadplate patterning, and this is sandwiched between the two lower sides of the body, with a spacer at the rear. It is lowered onto the chassis and the three foot pedals and handbrake lever are inserted into their slots on the left (wrong) side. A quick trip to the furniture store has you making up the front seats (read “couch”) from an L-shaped seat pad with quilted surface, and matching texture is also present on the arms. The completed soft furnishing is fitted within an outer shell that is made from base, back and two side panels, then it is installed on the raised platform between the front and rear areas. A rear lamp is made up with a clear three-sided wrap-around lens, then the rear passenger compartment is filled with a pair of water tanks, which are three parts each, and joined together by a frame that has control wheels at the rear, along with pressure regulators with more valves on the top. A large stowage box is fitted on a frame over the tanks, and each side is perforated to form a diamond mesh pattern, with a coiled hose placed in the bottom, linked to the manifold in the rear of the vehicle. The driver’s fifth wheel has a pair of controls mounted at the top and a long column added, then it is slid into a hole in the sloped part of the floor in front of the pedal box. Two front lights are made up in the same manner as the rear lamp, but they have handed brackets to fit on the bulkhead, while a two-layered ladder is fastened to the left side of the vehicle on a pair of brackets that form part of the rear equipment area. Two more headlamps are each given clear lenses and their cylindrical bodies are made of two halves, split top and bottom. Another lamp, this time a searchlight also has a clear lens and fits to the top of the bulkhead, with a bell for the dinging-of on the opposite side next to the driver. Two types of fire extinguisher and a short drum are the final parts that fit on the right running-board, with the optional hand-crank for the engine slipped into the front under the radiator. Markings There is only one colour option supplied on the back page, and it’s not going to surprise anyone that it’s predominantly red with a bit of brass for the fitting, plus a pale grey set of tyres. When did tyres become black? There are no decals, as already mentioned, so registration and all that aren’t of any interest for a change. Cool. Conclusion ICM have done really well with this range of Model Ts in both scales, although the 1:35 kits are of more interest to me personally. Moulding is excellent, with some really crisp detail on show, both in the metal areas as well as those ever-so-comfy front seats. Highly recommended. Available in the UK from importers H G Hannants Ltd. Review sample courtesy of
  7. WWI Belgian Infantry (35680) 1:35 ICM via Hannants Ltd At the beginning of WWI, Germany demanded free passage through Belgium, and when they refused, they invaded anyway, commencing hostilities with the Belgian forces on the 3rd August 1914, with Britain declaring war on Germany the day after due to treaties between them. In the early days, there was a distinct lack of understanding of the type of conflict the various combatants were heading toward, and uniforms and equipment was still reminiscent of days gone by, with bright colours and soft helmets, plus swords carried by officers and cavalry riding horses into the face of withering fire from machine guns. The Belgian forces fought bravely against the German onslaught for a month but they and their Allies ended up pulling back, leaving most of Belgium under German occupation for the rest of the war. This figure set arrives from ICM in a small top-opening box with their usual captive inner flap, and within are three sprues of grey styrene and a single sheet of instructions, printed on glossy paper in colour. The largest sprue holds the four figures, while the two smaller ones contain lots of accessories and weapons to assist in personalising the finished articles. The four soldiers are dressed in dark blue tunics with lighter blue trousers, and are all striking a crouching pose as if they were under fire. The officer with his sword is aiming his pistol from a kneeling position with his free hand supporting some of his weight, while two of the troopers are aiming their Belgian-made Mauser M1889 rifles from the kneeling position with large packs on their backs. The final figure is cocking or reloading his rifle with a fresh stripper-clip of 5 x 7.65mm rounds. The figures are broken down sensibly to improve the detail and hide the seams as far as possible once complete, while the tails of the tunics that are hanging loose are moulded as separate parts, as are their caps, some of which can be exchanged for metal bowlers akin to the French WWI type. The instructions consist of a page of sprue diagrams with a colour chart, and a full side of colour drawings of the figures on the other side, with their parts and colours called out around them. To avoid too much confusion, the colours letters are printed in red boxes that correspond with the chart overleaf, which should keep you cool due to the constant flipping of the page. The colour key has colour names in Ukrainian and English, plus ICM’s own brand-new paint system as well as Revell and Tamiya. Conclusion There aren’t many sets of WWI Belgian soldiers out there, so this one is a welcome sight, and with ICM’s excellent sculpting and moulding, they should make up well. Highly recommended. Available in the UK from importers H G Hannants Ltd. Review sample courtesy of
  8. German AFV WWII Marder I Acrylic Paint Set (3003) ICM via Hannants ICM have been a plastic model company that is well-known to most of us for quite a few years now, and until today(ish) they haven’t had their own paint range, which is now changing. There are 77 acrylic colours in the initial range, plus three varnishes in matt, satin and gloss, all in the same 12ml plastic bottles. A conversion chart is available that will give you equivalents in AK, Tamiya, Humbrol, Gunze, Testors, RLM, RAL, FS, Revell, AK Real Color, and even Citadel paints, although there aren’t many cross-overs in that last one. This set arrives in a card box with a header tab at one end, and inside are six 12ml plastic bottle with white plastic lids and a one-time tear-off safety ring. While they bear a passing resemblance to another brand of paint from ICM’s neighbourhood, they have stated categorically on Facebook that it is not a collaboration, and having now used both brands, they are indeed substantially different in look and use. 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 by the use of varnishes, and are waterproof when dry. During testing, I used Ultimate Thinners, my go-to thinners for any acrylic paint, which really keeps down the number of bottles in my spray booth. The paint comes out of the bottle quite thickly, so it’s possible you’ll have to dilute for good brush painting use although I didn’t 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, then lay down heavier coats until you have the coverage you require. It dries quite quickly, and is touch-dry in 5-10 minutes in 20-23oc temperatures. All the solid colours went down without a hitch, while the metallic shade was a little more tricky initially. I had to start again a couple of times as I had inadvertently applied the initial coat too thickly, which had led to beading. Eventually, lighter coats with a rest between them did the trick. I suspect that could have been down to my inexpert thinning. Airbrush I sprayed out a patch of each colour on some blank credit card sized plastic sheets, taking up half for each colour except Gun Metal. As there are only five actual colours, I sprayed the full card with that, and over-sprayed a coat of Matt Varnish on one half of the gun metal to demonstrate the matting effect of the varnish. You can see the finished cards below. From a novice’s point of view with this brand, I’m pleased with the results, especially the Gun metal, which gave a good finish after my original bumblings. They are very densely packed with pigment, and the paint is almost of the consistency of custard from some of the pots, so a little will go a long way. I’m not a fastidious user of specific ratios of thinner to paint, so I usually splash in the Ultimate Thinners until it’s the consistency of semi-skimmed milk, then crack on. It might occasionally need adjustment, but it sure beats standing there for hours counting drops. I’m getting old! As always, I primed the cards to obtain a good consistent surface, for which I used a rattle can of Tamiya grey, as it was close to hand and convenient. Primers give a surface a microscopic key that helps acrylic paint stick, as well as providing an even colour over which to paint, and show-up any blemishes before you put the final coats on your models. It’s an accepted fact that acrylic paint is less robust than enamel or lacquer paint, so building up your colour coats on a firm foundation is a must if you are endeavouring to produce a good, professional, or at least half-way decent finish. Even for brush painting, it’s still a good idea, which was demonstrated when I scraped vigorously at the paint with my fingernail. Although the paint was damaged, very little of the primer was exposed, even on the Gun Metal, which had been wet 30 minutes earlier, where there was no primer visible, and absolutely zero lifting of the paint occurred when I burnished some Tamiya tape onto the surface and tore it off later in a careless and flamboyant manner. The airbrush I used for the test was a Gunze PS-770 with a 0.18mm needle, and it suffered zero blockages and no paint drying on the tip even though it was a warm day, so if your airbrush has a nozzle larger than that, and most are between 0.2 and 0.35mm, it should give you no trouble at all in that respect. Paint Brush I’m not a brush painter, so let’s get that out of the way firstly. I primed another card and brushed out a stripe of paint with an AMMO No.6 Synthetic Filbert brush, which is a flat tipped brush that has gently rounded edges. We reviewed them some time back if you’re interested here. I paused after one coat and took a picture to show the level of coverage you can expect. It was pretty good, perhaps slightly thinned due to the dampness of the brush after all but the first Middle Stone stripe, and I was pleasantly surprised at how easy it was to lay off the paint to reduce the appearance of brush strokes. The paint is very nice to use, and it spreads around well on all but the driest of surfaces, but I think the curved edges of the brush may also have helped. After the second coat there was no primer visible through the paint, and again there was very little in the way of brush marks. This is among the nicest paint I’ve brushed out, although I’m no expert due to my consistent use of an airbrush for anything but the smallest areas. If I had the full set, I’d still be tempted to use them for detail painting and dry-brushing, as the are so good. The performance of the varnish seems to have been the only drawback with a paint brush, as it has left a streaky satiny finish even after two coats from a pot that has been electronically stirred and had a glass stirring ball dropped into the pot beforehand. I’m still prepared to give it the benefit of the doubt however, as it worked well enough with the airbrush. Conclusion For a company that hasn’t been in the paint game before, ICM have hit the ground running with the quality of the paints. Some people have wondered at 12ml being a little small, but you’re not paying for any extra water to be delivered to you, so it should balance out when you’ve thinned them sufficiently. They’re excellent for airbrush and paint brush work, and if I can figure out where I went wrong brushing out the matt varnish, I’ll alter the review accordingly. Highly recommended. Available in the UK from importers H G Hannants Ltd. Review sample courtesy of
  9. Marder I on FCM 36 Base (35339) 1:35 ICM via Hannants The Marder series of Tank Destroyers were originally created to fill a need for mobile artillery that could be self-sufficient and yet work in unison with troops and tanks at the high speed of Blitzkrieg. The concept was to mount a PaK40 or captured Soviet 76 mm F-22 Model 1936 divisional field gun on a captured tank chassis that had been stripped of its superstructure and given an extended splinter shield around the gun and its crew, whilst leaving the roof open to the elements. Many of the initial Marder Is were built on French Lorraine or Czech 38(t) chassis, but a small number were constructed on the obsolete FCM 36, with a large shield that extended almost the whole length of the vehicle. FCM stands for Forges et Chantiers de la Méditerranée, who were based at Toulon in the French Riviera. They saw use on the Eastern Front initially, then also in the West after D-Day. Although they were intended to be mobile artillery that was capable of destroying most tanks at a respectable range, they were only lightly armoured to protect their crews from shrapnel, shell splinters or light arms fire from all-round, which is somewhat better than a standard artillery piece would afford its crew, although the open roof would make a tempting target for grenades or demolition packs in close combat. It would have been uncomfortable for the crew in bad weather too, necessitating a temporary tarpaulin roof to keep the precipitation out, but very little of the cold. The Kit This is a substantial re-tool of ICM’s previous FCM 36 kits, adding the specialised parts for the conversion undertaken by Baustokommando Becker at the time. It arrives in a standard ICM top-opening box with additional captive inner lid, with seven sprues in grey styrene, two flexible black sprues of track links, a decal sheet and glossy instruction booklet with colour profiles in the back pages for painting and markings. The original FCM 36 kit was only released in 2020, so it’s a modern tooling with plenty of detail and this boxing includes the majority of the interior due to the open roof. Construction begins with the lower hull, which is made up initially of the floor and two sides, with bulkheads added to the sides to support the lower sponson panels that give the vehicle more ground clearance. The running gear is made up from a three-part drive sprocket, eighteen sets of twin wheels that are fitted to eight double bogies and two singles, then the big idler wheels at the rear of the hull on sliding tensioning axles. The sloped armoured upper sponsons are installed along the way, with the mud-shedding apertures on each side. Two pairs of return rollers on the top run are glued inside the sponson, then the flexible black “rubberband” tracks are glued together, the instructions neglecting to mention that styrene glues won’t join them, so you should use super glue or epoxy instead. Each run has two sections, with the joints best placed in the centre of each run so they stand less chance of being seen on the finished model. Detail on the tracks is very nice, with twin guide horns and perforated centres like the real thing, but of course the links will curve round the ends, rather than give the correct faceted look that individual links provide. The upper hull is a new part, and has an opening at the front where the turret would have been, and has the two fender sides fitted to the rear before it is joined to the lower hull, hiding most of the upper track run. At the rear a large louvered panel and fixtures on the final-drive access hatches are glued on first, with the two exhausts and their mufflers slotted into grooves to their side, and a C-shaped manifold joining them at the top. Pioneer tools and towing eyes are the final parts for now, because the gun must be made up first. The PaK40 is begun by making up the cradle and inserting the breech, then the one-piece gun tube and part of the elevation mechanism. The cradle trunnions are held in place by the side frames, which are fixed to the arrow-shaped floor. More of the elevation mechanism is added, then the floor is mated to the hull, covering up the turret aperture, then having armoured supports slipped under the overhang. The gun’s double-layer splinter shield is slid over the barrel and glued to the gun, then the two faceted side panels are fitted out with shell racks, then attached to the side of the vehicle, to be joined by the rear wall after adding some stowage boxes inside and a pair of louvered panels to the sides. Twenty-eight shells are supplied on the sprues to be slotted into the holes in the racks nose down, then some spare tracks are fixed to the sides, and the self-defence MG34 machine gun is fitted to the front shield on a short pintle-mount. An outer splinter shield slides over the gun, and then you can put on the two-part muzzle brake, which gives the impression of a hollow barrel. Markings There are three markings options on the decal sheet, with a nice variation between them, all of which saw action (or training exercises) in 1943. From the box you can build one of the following: 931st Assault Gun Division, 2nd Battery, France, 1943 Training camp of the Mobile Brigade “West”, summer 1943 Mobile Brigade “West” 2nd Battery, Manoeuvres, Spring 1943 The decals are printed 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. Unusually for a model review, we’re going to talk about actual paint. That’s because ICM have just recently announced that they are launching their own range of paints, beginning with a set of 6 pots for this particular model, with another set for their Cobra helicopter kit in 1:32. The rest of the range will be following along in due course, totalling 77 in all. If you’d like to know more, follow the link at the end of the review (I’ll add it later). Conclusion Another peculiar, interesting example of German re-use of captured vehicles, and a nicely detailed one too. Now you can also paint your model with ICM paints, which is novel. Highly recommended. Available in the UK from importers H G Hannants Ltd. https://www.britmodeller.com/reviews/graphics/bin.jpg
  10. Leyland Retriever General Service – Early (35602) 1:35 ICM via Hannants The British Army remembered the usefulness of mechanising transport that it learned from WWI, so when war became likely British companies such as Leyland were tasked with creating a modern truck chassis to be used in the forthcoming conflict. The Retriever was a six-wheeler chassis that could be outfitted with truck bodies, cranes, or even command wagon bodies such as that used by Monty during his campaigns in Europe and the Middle East, which now resides in the Imperial War Museum. It was a flexible type, and thanks to its 6-litre, 4-cylinder petrol engine outputting over 70hp, it could carry a healthy 3 tonne load almost 200 miles before refuelling. Around 6,500 were made in total before the end of WWII, and many were put to good use after their military service in civilian use. The Kit This is a brand-new tooling from ICM, and the first of a series of kits using the same chassis, which already includes the later General Service (GS) cargo body that will be with us soon. This is the Early type GS Cargo, and arrives in ICM’s usual top opening box with captive inner lid. Inside are seven sprues in grey styrene, a small clear sprue, seven flexible plastic tyres, a postage-sized fret of Photo-Etch (PE) and a similarly small decal sheet that is found within the glossy instruction booklet with colour painting guide on the rear pages. Detail is crisp, and slide-moulds have been used to add detail to the chassis rails, with the steering wheel having a delightfully crisp set of finger grips on the inside of its circumference. Construction begins with the ladder chassis, adding cross-rails, front suspension and the mounting point for the powered double rear axle, after which the Leyland engine is made up from a substantial number of parts along with the four-speed (and reverse) transmission and ancillaries. With the block mounted between the chassis rails at the front, the exhaust downpipe and muffler are installed from below, with a scrap diagram showing the location of the downpipe once in place. The rear axles are mounted either end of a pair of large leaf-springs that pivot around the centre, and these are joined to the motor with drive-shafts as they are slotted into the springs from above, then a number of linkages are inserted in two stages to complete the bogie. The front wheels are free-wheeling, and have brake drums at either end of the steering rack, which is then joined to the underside of the front springs and again linked to the chassis and steering wheel by rods. The rear hubs have their brake drums added to the backs of them before they have their well-moulded tyres slipped over the rim, while the front wheels have a flat back that joins to the drums already on the axle. Finally, the spare is fitted onto a two-part hub and fixed to a bracket with a turnbuckle holding it in place, then it is further attached to a larger set of bracketry for stowing between the cab and load bed. The cab starts with the firewall to which the instrument binnacle is added on the right (correct) side, then the floor halves are installed, with the driver’s controls attached to the right hand footwell. The delicately moulded steering wheel and column with brace are slid in through the small hole in the footwell, and the engine cover is constructed from a fixed central section and two L-shaped inspection panels that allow maintenance without removing the whole cab. What initially looks like a pair of stowage boxes at the rear of the cab are in fact the crew seats, which have short back “rests” on the rear bulkhead that is joined by a pair of short sidewalls. A pair of mudguards are attached underneath the floor, then the lower cab is glued to the chassis over the engine compartment, with the radiator assembled from styrene with a PE grille and a pair of PE name badges top and bottom. With the chassis flipped over, the outlet for the exhaust is slipped through a bracket and joined to the back of the muffler, then it’s time to make up the fuel tank, which has separate end caps, and twin mounting brackets that allow it to fit onto the space between the cab and load area alongside the spare wheel. This kit is the cargo version and has a flatbed built up with low sides, bench seats and loading gate at the rear. Underneath the bed are two longitudinal beams with cross-braces slotting into the engraved grooves along its length. To each outer side of the beams are stowage boxes and diagonal mudguards, after which the sub-assembly can be mated with the chassis, then a pair of running boards are attached on brackets between the wheels. The crew are protected by a canvas roof that has sides and back fitted before it is joined to the cab, leaving the front and sides open to the atmosphere – lucky drivers! The front is fitted out with two headlamps with clear lenses, and an odd “shelf” on the left side of the radiator, then side-lights are installed outboard and a hand-crank is slotted into the front of the radiator at the bottom. The wagon has a canvas cover in real life, but in the model you get the frame, which consists of four lateral inverted U-shaped supports and seven longitudinal ribs that slot into the grooves moulded into the hoops. That’s the model finished, unless you want to add two small supports to the front of the roof, which are shown in a drawing at the end of the instructions. These aren’t supplied, but can be made from styrene rod or wire quite easily if your references show they were fitted to your example. Markings It’s a truck in the British Army, so it’s going to be green. They also didn’t wear much in the way of decoration other than number plates and the occasional unit markings. From the box you can build one of the following: Europe 1945 Europe 1944 Decals are by ICM’s usual printers, which is a guarantee of good registration, sharpness and colour density, with a thin gloss carrier film cut close to the printed areas. Conclusion ICM have been filling a lot of gaps in the British WWII softskin range, and this will likely be very welcome, finding a place in a lot of stashes. Highly recommended. Available in the UK from importers H G Hannants Ltd. Review sample courtesy of
  11. WWII Luftwaffe Airfield Set (DS4801) 1:48 ICM via Hannants During WWII the Luftwaffe operated from all manner of airfields, from rough temporary strips to fully furnished airfields with all mod cons of the time, including brick-built barracks and even a specially oversized bath for a visiting Hermann Göring. They often hosted numerous aircraft types at once, plus all of the attendant crew, in groundcrew and aircrew flavours. The Kit This is a boxed set of three kits that have been brought together to fit the theme, and includes a Messerschmitt Bf.109F-4 fighter (48103), a Henschel Hs.126B-1 Reconnaissance aircraft (48212), and a set of Pilots & Ground Crew (48082) to finish off the set. All of these kits have been released previously under their own individual codes, but in this compact box they represent excellent value and an exercise in convenience too. The kit(s) arrive in a small top opening box with ICM’s usual captive inner lid, and inside are three bags of sprues for the three kits. The Henschel has three sprues and two wing halves in grey styrene, a small clear sprue and decal sheet, the 109 has three in grey, one clear and a decal sheet, while the figure set is on a single sprue, each one also having their own instruction booklet and painting guide. They are all relatively modern toolings with good detail, engraved panel lines, and in the case of the figures, realistic sculpting and fabric drape. We’ve not reviewed any of these kits previously, so let’s get on with it. Henschel Hs.126B-1 This kit originated in 2010, so is of recent vintage and has plenty of detail included. Construction begins with the cockpit, which has plenty of parts, including a clear two-part instrument panel that is augmented with styrene details and is arranged around the floor panel with a rear bulkhead, rudder pedals and other controls, then the cockpit sidewalls are decked out with a substantial number of boxes, instruments, ammo cans and other parts that liven-up the interior. The gunner’s section of the cockpit is a more spartan affair with a rear bulkhead, simple seat and machine gun with concertina dump bag hanging from the breech. The fuselage can be closed up around the sub-assemblies once the engine mount is attached to the bulkhead behind, and a donut (not a real one) is inserted into the front ready to accept the engine later. A group of inserts are fitted around the front of the fuselage, and the top deck closes over the forward portion, then main wheels are made up either with or without spats and two-part wheels that are surrounded by a teardrop-shaped fairing for the spatted version. At the rear a single-part wheel, yoke and mudguard are inserted into the space under the tail, permitting the aircraft to stand on its own three wheels for the first time. The 126 has a large greenhouse canopy that affords the crew a good view of their surroundings, which is key to any recon bird. The gunner however isn’t given a canopy, so he’d better dress warmly! The pilot’s windscreen and canopy are separate parts, and are accompanied by a pair of handrails, one down each side. The engine is next, and a full rendering of the Bramo 9-cylinder radial engine is provided, from the bell-housing at the front, through the piston banks and out the back with the ancillaries. It is fitted to the donut at the front of the fuselage, then the cowling is assembled round it, after which the three-blade prop is built on the boss and secured in place with a ring that is covered over by a spinner. The wings are of the parasol variety to improve situational awareness of the crew further, totally supported by two large v-shaped struts and a set of cabane struts in front of the windscreen. All the flying surfaces are separate and have separate hinges, so can be fitted deflected, as can the rear feathers, which are supported by two struts each, almost parallel to each other. Markings You get a generous and disparate three markings options from the decal sheet, one more traditional with splinter uppers, one in a winter distemper, and the other in a North African sand camouflage. From the box you can build one of the following: 1.(H)/32, Finland, December 1941 4.(H)/23, Russia, Winter 1942 2.(H)/14, North Africa, 1941/1942 Decals are printed by ICM’s usual provider, which is a guarantee of good registration, sharpness and colour density, with a thin gloss carrier film cut close to the printed areas. Messerschmitt Bf.109F-4 This kit harks from 2006, and while it isn’t the newest 109 in the world has all the parts you’d expect, although time has introduced a little flash here and there, but it’s always preferable to short-shot parts any day of the week. For a change construction begins with the DB601E engine, which is quite well-detailed and includes exhaust stubs and flame-guards over the top. The cockpit is straight-forward, based upon an L-shaped floor with the cannon breech between the pilot’s knees, 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 engine is attached to the front by joining the bearers between the two sub-assemblies, with machine guns and ammo cans between them. With the addition of a trim wheel on the 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 by a separate rudder that can be posed deflected. The fuselage is completed by fitting the four-part cowling around the engine, adding the windscreen with bullet-proof insert, fixed rear canopy and the opener, which has a set of head-armour installed inside. The lower wing is full width and the upper halves are glued to the top, then the wingtips are inserted into the newly formed slots. The wings are brought together with the fuselage, and underneath the nose the chin intake for the oil cooler goes in, and the two radiator baths are inserted into their underwing positions then the flaps are 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. The tail wheel is a single part and slots into the rear under the tail, then it’s back to the front for the supercharger intake on the port side, and the prop with spinner and retaining ring. Markings Four markings options are supplied for the 109, again all pretty varied and colourful. From the box you can build one of the following: Ofw. Eberhard von Boremski, 9./JG3, Ukraine, May 1942 Hpt. Hans Philipp, Gruppenkommandeur of I.JG54, Siwerskaya (Leningrad area), March 1942 Lt. Hermann Graf, Staffelkapitan of 9./JG52, Rogan (Ukraine), May 1942 Lt. Heinrich Ehrler, Staffelkapitan of 6./JG5, Petsamo (Finland), July 1942 German Luftwaffe Pilots & Ground Personnel (1939-45) This set includes a combination of three pilots and four ground crew on one sprue, one of the former bearing more than a passing resemblance to Adolf Galland, complete with his customary moustache. The other officer is wearing riding trousers and boots, with his hands folded behind his back, while the third pilot is being helped into his parachute harness by one of the groundcrew. The other three figures are groundcrew in overalls, one standing with a toolbox, another with his hands out in front of him, while the final figure is on his knees working on something, screwdriver in hand. The instructions show the figures complete, and points out parts and painting suggestions for each one. The paint codes are referenced in a table overleaf using Master Model colour codes and colour names in English and Ukrainian. Conclusion A compact and bijou boxing that is full of modelling fun. The Henschel is the better of the two kits, and the inclusion of the figures is a bonus. Make sure you have enough gloss black in stock for Mr Galland’s perennially slicked back hair. Highly recommended. Available in the UK from importers H G Hannants Ltd. Review sample courtesy of
  12. le.gl.Einheitz-Pkw.Kfz.4 (35584) 1:35 ICM via Hannants Made mostly by three German companies, this all-wheel drive staff car designed by Stoewer was produced with different bodies during the early war, the most prevalent being the four-seat staff car, although it was used in other roles, notably the mobile light anti-aircraft units that were fitted with a twin MG34 mount for deployment, as depicted here. It was however complicated and unreliable, so was eventually replaced by the ubiquitous Kubelwagen. The Kit The box contains seven sprues in grey styrene plus a single clear sprue and decal sheet, with two sets of instructions with integral painting guide at the rear of the larger one. This is a re-box and amalgamation of the staff car with their recent Zwillingssockel 36, plus a few extra parts on new sprues that helps merge the two together into the completed vehicle. New Sprues Gun Sprue The chassis is first to be built up with dual springs supporting independent suspension and a driveshaft linking the two transfer boxes, plus the steering linkage front and rear. Fuel tank and stowage are placed to either side of the chassis rails and an exhaust pipe is threaded through to the engine compartment, which is filled with a full rendering of its 4-cylinder 2 litre Stoewer power plant over the front axle. The floor of the cab is built up and added to the chassis, then the three-part styrene wheels with moulded-in tread are fitted to each corner along with the radiator at the front. The firewall and a new rear passenger bulkhead are installed next with the former having instruments and transmission tunnel moulded in and pedals attached to the floor. The cab sides, boot/trunk cover, engine cowling and gear shifter are all put in place before the seats are built up from base, cushion and curved back in the front, with a large tread-plated area for the gunners that has just enough room down the sides for spare ammo cans in racks lining the lip. Two rifle points are attached to the front bulkhead, bumpers/fenders and doors are all added with steering wheel, and windscreen also made up between the front and rear compartments with tripods racked on the rear deck of the vehicle. The rear light cluster is fitted to the rear quarters with a spare wheel in between them, and the folded canvas roof above the divide between compartments. Front lights and pioneer tools are attached to the fenders, and windscreen wipers are fitted into the depressions on the frame, with wiper-motor boxes moulded into the frame for completeness. The lights and windscreen all have clear parts so the passengers don't get bugs in their teeth. The guns are built on a separate instruction sheet, and the completed assembly is shown in the main instructions being dropped into place in the rear fighting compartment. The Gun The ammo cans are made up first, joined to the twin frame, which then has the gun mounts fitted on top. The guns are still fitted with their bipods, which along with the breech cover are moulded separately to the rest of the guns. If you’re a detailer, you may want to drill out the muzzles very carefully with a tiny bit in a pin vice. With the guns on their frame, the outer frame is fitted around it in two halves, slotting into the pivot points moulded into the frame, and supported by a cross-brace lower in the frame. Another bracing strut fits across the front and has a canvas brass catcher curtain suspended beneath it that is attached to the tube by a series of rings moulded into the part. The conical base is built from two parts and inserts into a socket in the underside of the outer frame, then it’s a case of making up the seat that fits at the very rear of the outer frame, and choosing the correct sighting part for your chosen pose, pivoting the guns to an appropriate elevation during the process. A pair of scrap diagrams shows the two finished poses, and overleaf is a painting guide in greyscale that could be a tad confusing as it has no paint call-outs on the two greyscale profiles. Markings There are three theatre specific options included in the box with early war Panzer Grey the colour of choice. For whatever reason, my scanner had trouble with the grey, so please accept my apologies for the lower than usual standard of the profiles. From the box you can build one of the following: Luftwaffe Ground Units, Greece, 1940 1st Panzer Division, Greece, 1941 11th Panzer Division, Eastern Front The decal sheet is small and printed on a bright blue paper, with good register, sharpness and colour density. Conclusion It’s nice to see these more unusual kits being made from adding existing kits together with a few additional parts to create something new. Detail is excellent, and it’s a cool little early WWII vehicle. Highly recommended. Available in the UK from importers H G Hannants Ltd. Review sample courtesy of
  13. Zwillingssockel 36 Anti-Aircraft Machine Gun Mount (35714) 1:35 ICM via Hannants Zwillings is German for twin, and according to Google, sockel translates as “socket” or “base”, the former sounding vaguely suggestive. In WWII Germany, it was a twin MG34 mounted on a frame and attached to the ground/deck via a conical base with a seat for the gunner on a cantilever frame. It was often used to provide anti-aircraft cover on an S-38 S-boot in the midships position, and was also used as mobile anti-air cover in the flatbed of a vehicle. The guns could also be used to strafe targets on the ground, as the mount was capable of a substantial range of elevations, and the sights would adjust position on their supports to remain useful to the gunner at all inclinations. The Kit This is a new tool from ICM that you can just bet is also going to be seen again mounted to other kits. Truthishly, I have one such example in the review queue already. It arrives in a small top-opening box with the usual ICM captive inner flap, and within is a small sprue in grey styrene, accompanied by a sheet of A4 instructions with spot colour. The mount can be built in either horizontal or anti-air positions by swapping out the sighting frame at the very end of the build. The ammo cans are made up first, joined to the twin frame, which then has the gun mounts fitted on top. The guns are still fitted with their bipods, which along with the breech cover are moulded separately to the rest of the guns. If you’re a detailer, you may want to drill out the muzzles very carefully with a tiny bit in a pin vice. With the guns on their frame, the outer frame is fitted around it in two halves, slotting into the pivot points moulded into the frame, and supported by a cross-brace lower in the frame. Another bracing strut fits across the front and has a canvas brass catcher curtain suspended beneath it that is attached to the tube by a series of rings moulded into the part. The conical base is built from two parts and inserts into a socket in the underside of the outer frame, then it’s a case of making up the seat that fits at the very rear of the outer frame, and choosing the correct sighting part for your chosen pose, pivoting the guns to an appropriate elevation during the process. A pair of scrap diagrams shows the two finished poses, and overleaf is a painting guide in greyscale that would be a tad confusing if it weren't for the box art, as it has no paint call-outs on the two profiles. Oops! Conclusion It’s a well-detailed kit of this unusual piece of equipment, and could be used in a diorama, or to replace a mount if you have an S-38 from Italeri, or put in the back of a wagon of your choice to add some interest. Highly recommended. Available in the UK from importers H G Hannants Ltd. Review sample courtesy of
  14. RS-132 Ammunition Boxes (35795) 1:35 ICM via Hannants The Katyusha rocket launcher was loaded with a load of RS-132 rockets, which had their origins in the early 30s from a project to create a type of smokeless rocket of a standard type and diameter. The 132 was approximately 85cm long with a diameter of just over 13cm, and fins that projected 30cm from the body. It could carry just under a kilo of explosive of one of two types. The RS was high explosive fragmentation with a destructive range of 10m, while the RBS was armour piercing, although with minimal accuracy when aimed at specific targets, the latter wouldn’t have been much use unless unleashed en masse. They accelerated up to almost 800mph and had a launch radius of under 5 miles with the 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. The Kit This set from ICM is a new tool that is made to supplement and resupply a Katyusha wagon like the one we reviewed here. It arrives in one of ICM’s small top-opening boxes with a captive inner lid, and inside are four sprues of grey styrene in a resealable clear foil bag. All four sprues are identical, and from the box you can build four ammo crates, each holding four rockets apiece. Construction begins with the base and lid, each of which has two strengthening planks fixed to the outside, with a planked texture engraved in the surface. The sides of the box have the same planked surface with corner protectors, and each end has a cross-brace for lugging them around. The rockets are in two parts, and slot into three supports with semi-circular cut-outs to cradle the body. Another set close over them to hold things in place, and the lid finishes off the assembly, which is where I began scratching my head. The instructions show the lid having two hinges on the back that lock into grooves in the corresponding side. Those hinges aren’t present on the parts, but you can fix that easily enough with some 1mm rod cut to length. How do I know? I possess eyes and couldn’t resist building one up for funsies. I’ve not glued the rockets in yet as they need painting, but you can see them in their slots in the picture below. Conclusion There’s plenty of scope for weathering in this set, and with four boxes you can either put them in the back of a truck for carriage, stacked ready for use, or open on the ground. The perfect complement to a Katyusha wagon. Highly recommended. Available in the UK from importers H G Hannants Ltd. Review sample courtesy of
  15. I recently received an order from Hannants. One of the Quickboost sets was received damaged. I've tried emailing Hannants and included pictures of the unopened package to show the broken piece. A week plus later, there has been no reply from them - which I find quite disappointing. The set is still listed on their website and they do have stock. Any suggestions? TIA.
  16. Roman Gladiator (16303) 1:16 ICM via Hannants It’s a well-known fact that Romans were a bit mad, and enjoyed some realistic and sometimes fatal combat between Gladiators, Gladiators and big cats and even Christians vs big cats on occasion. The professional Gladiators were often slaves that were expendable and were pitted against each other in amphitheatres for the delight of the bloodthirsty onlookers, and probably more than a little gambling on the outcome was involved. This is a new tool from ICM, and arrives in a shallow box with the usual captive inner flap under the lid. Inside are two sprues in grey styrene and another sprue and base in black, the latter being a staple of their figure range that you will see in other boxings. The instruction sheet is simple, and an additional print of the box art is included on glossy paper for your wall if you are so minded. It is a proper dyed-in-the-wool 60s era Spartacus figure that is dressed almost identically to the famous victor in the painting Pollice Verso. He is dressed as a Murmillo and is wearing a large bronze “Cassis Crista” colander-like helmet with full facial armour and a plume bristling from the crown. His torso is unarmoured save for his mighty six-pack, wielding a Spartha with a curved tip, while his sword-arm is protected by cloth Manica armour that is wrapped with leather bands. His legs are protected at the front by bronze Ocrea, with more cloth wrappings tied with leather thongs at the rear. In his free hand he carries a Roman “Scutum” shield that would be equally at home in the possession of a Legionary, and lastly his feet are bare. His stance represents a typical on-guard pose, with feet spread wide, knees flexed and his shield forward waiting for the next onslaught. He is wearing a loincloth around his waist that is held up by a large leather belt with bronze decoration and an oversized buckle at the front. The sculpting is excellent on the figure, and the accessories such as the metal armour are finely engraved with raised details, which were 3D scanned to obtain greater accuracy. There is also a smaller round shield on the weapons sprue with handle for the rear in case you feel like personalising your build a little. You’ll be pleased to hear that behind the helmet you are supplied with a complete face to show off if you can figure out how or if the helmet opens at the front. The de facto base for this range is moulded in black, and has a top and bottom plate to close up the fluted sides, and if you elect to add some groundwork that should make for easier creation and allows you not to avoid masking during the process. Conclusion He’s a big lad, and will look great with some sympathetic painting. With a few of these on a sandy base, you could tell the story of a battle. Highly recommended. Available in the UK from importers H G Hannants Ltd. Review sample courtesy of
  17. Sd.Kfz.247 Ausf.B with Crew (35111) 1:35 ICM via Hannants The Sd.Kfz.247 was a small four-wheeled 4x4 armoured car that was ordered in small quantities to keep battalion commanders and other officer types safe whilst ranging around the battlefield marshalling their subordinates. They weren’t intended for front-line use, but were sufficiently well-armoured to withstand a 7.62mm round from a distance, although the open rear compartment would have been a tempting target for a well-tossed grenade. They were manufactured by Mercedes Benz on a Horch 108 chassis, and could maintain a good 50mph top-speed on a made-up road thanks to its 8-cylinder 3.5L Horch petrol engine. It had better off-road characteristics than its 6-wheeled Ausf.A predecessor, and saw extensive use in the early part of WWII, during the fast-paced Blitzkrieg advances through France and the lowlands. The Kit This is a reboxing of a new tool from ICM that adds a group of crew figures to the mix, but it does share a few clear parts with one of their earlier Mercedes kits, using the light lenses and little else, plus the tyres from the Horch. It is a fairly niche product with only 58 having been made and used at the beginning of WWII, but it’s an attractive armoured car, and as they intimated on their Facebook page, it bears a passing resemblance to the recently announced Tesla Cyber Truck. It arrives in ICM’s usual top-opening box with captive tray lid, and there are six sprues in grey styrene, a tree of black flexible tyres, a clear sprue, decal sheet, and a glossy-covered instruction booklet with painting guide on the rear cover, with a booklet for the figures tucked inside. Detail is excellent, as we’ve come to expect from ICM, including an almost full interior with engine, radio gear, seating for the crew and pioneer tools all depicted in styrene. Construction begins with the ladder chassis, with two beams running front to back that have a box-section profile thanks to an insert, separate suspension mounts and cross-braces, plus the two axles with their differential bulges in the middle. The upper swing-arms are fitted onto the chassis and mate with the combined hub/brake drum parts, then the steering arms and other parts are installed, the two-part twin springs per wheel are glued in, and the lower swing-arms close up the assembly. The power pack is built around the two-part block with cylinder heads, ancillaries, exhaust manifolds and timing belts added before it is inserted into the chassis over the front axle. The front bumper iron is built up and fitted with hooks, then placed at the front of the chassis rails, after which the wheels can be made, comprising three parts to the hubs, which press on either side of the flexible tyres, being well-detailed and come from an earlier Horch kit. These could be painted and weathered after a good scrub in warm soapy water to improve adhesion. This is replicated on each corner, with a keyed shaft ensuring correct location on the rear of the hubs. Attention now turns to the bodyshell, which begins with a tread-plated floor pan that has a number of parts added to the underside first, then is flipped over and receives the driver’s foot pedals. The lower sides are separate, and have doors with handles fitted, external arches and other clamshell doors, then they’re attached to the floor along with the radiator to create the angular lower hull, which is then joined to the chassis and has all the remaining underpinnings and mudflaps added along the way. With the two assembles mated, the radiator is joined up and the rest of the driver controls are installed with the instrument panel, plus decals for the dials in the dash. The gear shifter, hand brake and the crew seats are next, with a bench seat opposite the large double-stack radio rack that is built from a large number of parts into a well-detailed assembly that just needs a few cables. Another jump seat is positioned next to the radio stack, and it has tubular framing, just like the rest of the seats in this vehicle. The upper bodyshell is prepared with front drivers’ inner and outer hatches plus three more hatches on each side, with mechanisms applied from the inside, and each one is shown in a scrap diagram to assist with correct placement of the parts. A hatch on the bonnet/hood is installed, then the hull halves are mated, with an armoured panel and headlamps at the front, plus width “lollipops” on both fenders and the exhaust on the right rear one. There are numerous raised shapes on the exterior of the vehicle, which are location points for the many scabbed-on stowage boxes of various shapes that clutter the sides of the vehicle, and are joined by rear lights, covered spare wheel, towing hitch, aerial mast and the familiar pioneer tools that adorned the outside of almost every WWII German truck, tank of armoured car. Convoy light, wing mirror and another aerial finish off the build. Crew Figures The figures are all found on one sprue in a separate bag, with the instructions hidden in the main booklet as previously mentioned. Sculpting and moulding are first rate as you'd expect from ICM with impressive detail and realistic drape of clothing throughout, plus sensible breakdown of parts around belts, clothing seams etc., and once the seams are scraped smooth and a little sympathetic painting is carried out (sounds easy, doesn't it?), you should have a great-looking crew for your model. On the sprue are four figures, including a driver figure and two radio operators, one adjusting his set whilst listening in on headphones, the other with his headphones round his neck writing on a pad that is resting on his left knee. The officer of course is wearing his rank appropriate cap, binoculars and riding breeches, and is resting his right arm on the lip of the vehicle's walls and his corresponding foot propped up on a box within the vehicle. His other hand is looped through his belt/over his holster and he is leaning forward as if he is interested in what's going on. The accessories are fairly sparse due to the duties of the crew, and consist of bands for headphones, binoculars, pistol holster and notepad, while the figures themselves are broken down into separate legs, arms, torso, head with moulded in caps, or separate cap for the officer. The driver figure has his arms split at the elbow to obtain a more realistic position while maintaining detail on the hands etc., and to give a little adjustment when fitting his hands onto the steering wheel. Markings There are four decal options on the small sheet, with three in panzer grey and another in the late war dark yellow, having survived up until D-Day. From the box you can build one of the following: Sd.Kfz.247 Ausf.B Grossdeutschland, Ukraine, Summer 1942 Sd.Kfz.247 Ausf.B Russia, Autumn 1941 Sd.Kfz.247 Ausf.B Russia, Summer 1941 Sd.Kfz.247 Ausf.B France, Summer 1944 Decals are printed by ICM’s usual partner on a bright blue backing paper, having good register, sharpness and colour density as well as nice crisp instrument decals to detail the interior. Conclusion It’s a fairly rare piece of WWII German hardware, and a detailed model in the bargain, with just about everything you might need to build an excellent replica of this coupé of the armoured car world, now including a group of tasty figures. Highly recommended. Available in the UK from importers H G Hannants Ltd. Review sample courtesy of
  18. WWII British Vickers MG Crew (35646) 1:35 ICM via Hannants The Vickers Machine Gun was a development of the original Maxim, the company Vickers had bought in the late 1800s, lightened and with an inverted breech to improve the type, which entered into British service at the outbreak of WWI in insufficient numbers due partly to the price being asked for each one, which was soon rectified by accusations of war profiteering that resulted in a huge price cut per unit. It was used first by the infantry, then by the newly formed Machine Gun Corps when the lighter Lewis gun arrived on the scene. The gun remained in service throughout WWI and WWII, and was finally replaced by the General-Purpose Machine Gun in the late 60s. Quite an impressive service run, and a testament to its enduring design. The Kit This is a reboxing of the gun, which is essentially the same as the one used in WWI, but a new tooling of the crew with WWII era equipment and uniforms. It arrives in a small top-opening box with their usual captive inner flap, and has four sprues in grey styrene plus two sheets of instructions and painting guides. You have a choice of whether to build the gun up in prone or seated shooting positions in the instructions, but as the figures are seated you should choose the latter to make full use of the included figures. Construction of the gun is simple, with the breech details and firing handle attached to the ribbed or smooth barrel jacket, followed by the two arms that hold the gun in place and their central arm with adjustment wheel at the bottom. A length of finely moulded ammunition slides through the breech, and the unused end is fixed to the ammo can with more moulded rounds in an insert that sits on top of the box. The weapon is inserted into the hole at the top of your choice of tripods, then the aforementioned ammo can and the water reservoir for the cooling jacket, which is linked by a hose to the underside of the muzzle, but isn’t mentioned at all in the instructions. Depending on how you will deploy your gun, you could use a length of lead wire or similar to portray this, gluing it to the can. If you’re unsure of the correct locations, it is shown on the box top, and there are a number of good resources online. The figures are covered on the glossy instruction page, with two views of each of them showing the parts in position and giving full painting options using their usual letter codes in red. The figures are well sculpted with sensible parts breakdown into torso, head, arms and legs, with battle-bowlers that glue onto the flat tops of their heads. The gunner is in the crouched position operating the weapon with one knee down, while the ammo feeder is kneeling, feeding the link into the breech of the gun from the ammo box in front of him. Rucksacks, pouches and water bottle parts are included on the other sprues, plus a pair of Lee Enfield rifles and revolvers. You can use as many or as few of the accessories as you wish, keeping any spares for use in future projects. Colour call-outs are made throughout the build using red letters in boxes that correspond to a table on the rear that gives the paint names plus Revell and Tamiya paint codes. All the codes have the colour names in English too, so if you’re not a user of those brands you should be perfectly able to find some alternates from your preferred brand. Conclusion The machine gun was still an important part of WWII, and there were many Vickers guns used in action throughout the conflict. It’s another nice little kit either on its own or as part of a larger scene. Very highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  19. WWII French Tank Crew (35647) 1:35 ICM via Hannants We reviewed the new FCM 36 from ICM recently here, and in the same shipment there was also this figure set that will work perfectly with this kit, and could also be pressed into use on many other French WWII tanks with little or no modification. Truthfully, calling it a tank crew kit does it an injustice, as it also includes two children that are being shown around the vehicle by the crew, which you can use to create a scene, or put the little ones to one side for another day if you have a different atmosphere in mind. The box is a top-opening affair with a captive inner lid, and inside is one sprue and a single sheet instruction and painting guide, similar to those found on the back of a standard figure box. There are three tankers and two boys, two tankers are stood, presumably showing the kids around, one pointing out some part of the vehicle to the lad clutching his beret in both hands. The final figure is sat half inside the turret on the hatch, with a WWII style French tank helmet with bumper at around brow level. The other two crew are both wearing berets with badges on the front and all three are dressed differently, including pull-over, tunic and overcoat, as well as a heat-resistant gauntlet for the seated figure. The chap with the tunic has a separate rear to the back of his tunic, to give the correct overhang (underhang?) as he bends slightly forward to bring himself down to the level of the boy he’s talking to. The boys are both dressed as you would expect two young lads in WWII France to be, with shorts, socks & shoes, but with different tops as would be expected. As usual with ICM figures their sculpting is exceptional with crisp detail, realistic cloth drape and sensible parts breakdown plus loads of extra detail moulded into each part as appropriate. Conclusion The perfect accompaniment to any French tank from interwar, or early WWII to give the model some human scale. Highly recommended. Available in the UK from importers H G Hannants Ltd. Review sample courtesy of
  20. FCM 36 French Light Tank (35336) 1:35 ICM via Hannants The FCM 36 was a light infantry tank that was the result of a proposal issued by the French government in 1933 after Hotchkiss had offered a design to the ministry. Of the resulting series of designs from the different manufacturers, three were taken forward including designs by Hotchkiss, Renault and of course FCM, which stands for Forges et Chantiers de la Méditerranée, who were based at Toulon in the French Riviera. The FCM offering was well-liked due to its sloped welded armour, and was continued with despite the fact that they couldn’t get the thing working during the initial test period. It was sent back for repair, and that also turned up a number of other issues such as weak suspension and insufficient armour, increasing weight even further over the original limit. It was originally equipped with a pair of machine guns in much the same way as the German Panzer I, but one was removed in favour of a 37mm cannon, mounted in a turret that was intended to become the standard turret design for all French light tanks, despite a number of problems. One of the reasons it was well-liked was that it was considered to be the design with the most design potential, which was in part responsible for some serious delays spent working on an upgraded version that eventually came to nothing. By the time they had reverted back to the comparatively superior original it was outdated, and too late to fight the advancing Germans in any great numbers. The Kit This is a new tool of this type from ICM, so is a thoroughly modern kit, arriving in ICM’s usual top opening box with captive inner flap, holding six sprues of grey styrene, two runs of flexible black tracks, a small decal sheet and instruction booklet within, the latter having colour painting guides on both sides of the glossy rear cover. It is crisply moulded with lapped panels, rivets and weld-lines over the exterior, and although there is no interior, the crew hatches can be posed open as long as you either block the view with figures or prepare yourself for some scratch-building of any visible areas. Construction begins with the lower hull, which is made up initially of the floor and two sides, with bulkheads added to the sides to support the lower sponson panels that give the vehicle more ground clearance. The running gear is made up from a three-part drive sprocket, eighteen sets of twin wheels that are fitted to eight double bogies and two singles, then the big idler wheels at the rear of the hull on sliding tensioning axles. The sloped armoured upper sponsons are installed along the way, with the mud-shedding “windows” on each side. Two pairs of return rollers on the top run are glued inside the sponson, then the flexible black “rubberband” tracks are glued together, the instructions neglecting to mention that styrene glues won’t join them, so you should use super glue or epoxy instead. Each run has two sections, with the joints best placed in the centre of each run so they stand less chance of being seen on the finished model. Detail on the tracks is very nice, with twin guide horns and perforated centres like the real thing, but of course the links will curve round the ends, rather than give the correct faceted look that individual links provide. The upper hull is mostly complete, needing some small facets adding near the glacis, and some louvered vents on the engine deck and sides. Lifting eyes, latches and other small parts are added around the rear and sides, then are joined by a set of pioneer tools, a loop of cable, and a large bifurcated exhaust system that exits the top of the engine deck and has two mufflers, one on each rear fender with a hollow flared exhaust pipe. Stipple those with some Mr Surfacer and paint them lots of shades of rust, and they should be a nice focal point of the model. The driver’s pop-up hatch has grab handles, armoured vision port and large exposed support ram on the left side that can pose the hatch open if you wish. Hinges for the moulded-in lower panel on the glacis are also fitted at this time, as is a folded tarp on the left side. Despite the kit having no true interior, you get a full breech and coaxial machine gun that slots through a perforated inner mantlet that bears a passing resemblance to a piece of swiss cheese, then has supports added to the sides, which are in turn glued to the turret bottom with the upper dropped over it, and an outer mantlet cover slid over the barrel. The barrel is tipped with a hollow muzzle, a domed recuperator cap, and armoured bell-shaped cover for the machine gun barrel, then the various vision ports are fixed to the sides, and the large trapezoid hatch at the rear is made up and can be attached open or closed. A couple of grab-handles are glued to the sides of the hatch aperture to assist the commander in and out of the turret, then the completed assembly is twisted into position on a pair of bayonet lugs that should hold it in place throughout most of its traverse. The final task is to make up four lengths of chain from the two sprues of oval-shaped styrene parts, which are held on the towing eyes front and rear by a pair of pegs. Markings There are two decal options on the colourful decal sheet, both being French as you’d expect. From the box you can depict one of the following: FCM 36, 7th BCC, Chemery, France, 14th May 1940 FCM 36, 4th BCC, France, 10th June 1940 The decals have good registration, sharpness and colour density, with a thin gloss carrier film cut close to the printed areas. Conclusion A fairly niche subject that has been well-represented by this new kit. We understand that technical assistance was provided by Michael Brodhaeker for this project. Highly recommended. Available in the UK from importers H G Hannants Ltd. Review sample courtesy of
  21. BM-13-16 on WOT 8 Chassis w/Soviet Crew (35592) 1:35 ICM via Hannants 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 a 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 Kit This is rebox of a new tool from ICM as part of their WOT line, based upon the initial WOT8 we reviewed here. The kit arrives in a standard ICM box with their captive inner lid and a nice rendition of the vehicle and crew on the top. Inside are thirteen sprues in grey styrene, five tyres in flexible black plastic, a clear sprue, a small fret of Photo Etch (PE) brass and glossy colour instruction booklet. More than a few of the parts aren’t used in this variant, and those parts are overprinted in pink to assist you in ignoring them. Detail is excellent throughout as we’ve come to expect from ICM, and the extra figures are the icing on the cake that gives the model a human scale once complete, and will come in handy if you plan on including it in a diorama. Construction begins with the amended 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” tyre 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 should be attached with Super Glue (CA). The spare wheel and the substantial fuel tank are built next, and positioned behind the cab on their brackets. On the original kit the truck bed would now be made up (and the parts for it are still in this boxing), but for this boxing the rocket launching rails and their elevating apparatus are constructed. The eight rails are built up from three parts each to create an I-beam, it has stoppers and end plates added, then they are all threaded together on three tubular cross members. The modeller will need set the spacing of these using the provided jig, gluing them in place whilst being careful not to glue the jig in place too. The complex frame with elevation mechanism is assembled, which can be in either the raised or lowered position by swapping out the long or short elevation jack before joining the two assemblies and adding clips over the bare cross-braces. The full complement of 16 rockets are then added to the rails after adding the additional fins in the aforementioned over/under configuration. The amended flatbed for the launching system is then built up onto the curved rear mudguards and attached to the back of the truck along with a few small additions to the chassis, such as supports for the completed rocket assembly, which itself is held in place by the addition of brackets and washers around the framework. Two rear ground stabilisers are fitted to the rear of the chassis along with lights, shutters over the cab, heat/fume deflector over the radiator, windscreen wipers, rear view mirrors and extended elevation adjustment winders on the port side are all added, with folded shutters to protect the cab windows from the blast and heat when the rockets were being fired. Figures (35648) All four figures 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 and 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. Markings There are no markings in this boxing, as they weren’t technically frontline units due to the trajectory of the rockets necessitating distance between them and their targets. Unless the users daubed patriotic slogans on the sides, identification clearly wasn’t a priority. You can guess that the scheme is Soviet Green, with the rockets in steel. Conclusion Another first-rate variant from ICM of a previously overlooked British truck that was fairly common both during WWII and after. The inclusion of a Russian Katyusha conversion increases the interest to those of us that like their models to go BANG!, and for me the figures complete the package. Highly recommended. Available in the UK from importers H G Hannants Ltd. Review sample courtesy of
  22. Sd.Kfz.247 Ausf.B (35110) 1:35 ICM via Hannants The Sd.Kfz.247 was a small four-wheeled 4x4 armoured car that was ordered in small quantities to keep battalion commanders and other officer types safe whilst ranging around the battlefield marshalling their subordinates. They weren’t intended for front-line use, but were sufficiently armoured to withstand a 7.62mm round from a distance, although the open rear compartment would have been a tempting target for a well-lobbed grenade. They were manufactured by Mercedes Benz on a Horch 108 chassis, and could maintain a good 50mph top-speed on a made-up road thanks to its 8-cylinder 3.5L Horch petrol engine. It had better off-road characteristics than its 6-wheeled Ausf.A predecessor, and saw extensive use in the early part of WWII, during the fast-paced Blitzkrieg advances through France and the lowlands. The Kit This is a new tool from ICM, but it does share a few clear parts with one of their earlier Mercedes kits, using the light lenses and little else, plus the tyres from the Horch. It is a fairly niche product with only 58 having been made and used at the beginning of WWII, but it’s an attractive armoured car, and as they intimated on their Facebook page, it bears a passing resemblance to the recently announced Tesla Cyber Truck. It arrives in ICM’s usual top-opening box with captive tray lid, and there are five sprues in grey styrene, a tree of black flexible tyres, a clear sprue, decal sheet, and a glossy-covered instruction booklet with painting guide on the rear cover. Detail is excellent, as we’ve come to expect from ICM, including an almost full interior with engine, radio gear, seating and pioneer tools all depicted in styrene. Construction begins with the ladder chassis, with two beams running front to back that have a box-section profile thanks to an insert, separate suspension mounts and cross-braces, plus the two axles with their differential bulges in the middle. The upper swing-arms are fitted onto the chassis and mate with the combined hub/brake drum parts, then the steering arms and other parts are installed, the two-part twin springs per wheel are glued in, and the lower swing-arms close up the assembly. The power pack is built around the two-part block with cylinder heads, ancillaries, exhaust manifolds and timing belts added before it is inserted into the chassis over the front axle. The front bumper iron is built up and fitted with hooks, then placed at the front of the chassis rails, after which the wheels can be made, comprising three parts to the hubs, which press on either side of the flexible tyres, being well-detailed and come from an earlier Horch kit. These could be painted and weathered after a good scrub in warm soapy water to improve adhesion. This is replicated on each corner, with a keyed shaft ensuring correct location on the rear of the hubs. Attention now turns to the bodyshell, which begins with a tread-plated floor pan that has a number of parts added to the underside first, then is flipped over and receives the driver’s foot pedals. The lower sides are separate, and have doors with handles fitted, external arches and other clamshell doors, then they’re attached to the floor along with the radiator to create the angular lower hull, which is then joined to the chassis and has all the remaining underpinnings and mudflaps added along the way. With the two assembles mated, the radiator is joined up and the rest of the driver controls are installed with the instrument panel, plus decals for the dials in the dash. The gear shifter, hand brake and the crew seats are next, with a bench seat opposite the large double-stack radio rack that is built from a large number of parts into a well-detailed assembly that just needs a few cables. Another jump seat is positioned next to the radio stack, and it has tubular framing, just like the rest of the seats in this vehicle. The upper bodyshell is prepared with front drivers’ inner and outer hatches plus three more hatches on each side, with mechanisms applied from the inside, and each one is shown in a scrap diagram to assist with correct placement of the parts. A hatch on the bonnet/hood is installed, then the hull halves are mated, with an armoured panel and headlamps at the front, plus width “lollipops” on both fenders and the exhaust on the right rear one. There are numerous raised shapes on the exterior of the vehicle, which are location points for the many scabbed-on stowage boxes of various shapes that clutter the sides of the vehicle, and are joined by rear lights, covered spare wheel, towing hitch, aerial mast and the familiar pioneer tools that adorned the outside of almost every WWII German truck, tank of armoured car. Convoy light, wing mirror and another aerial finish off the build. Markings There are four decal options on the small sheet, with two in panzer grey and another in the late war dark yellow, having survived up until D-Day. From the box you can build one of the following: Sd.Kfz.247 Ausf.B Grossdeutschland, Ukraine, Summer 1942 Sd.Kfz.247 Ausf.B Russia, Autumn 1941 Sd.Kfz.247 Ausf.B Russia, Summer 1941 Sd.Kfz.247 Ausf.B France, Summer 1944 Decals are printed by ICM’s usual partner on a bright blue backing paper, having good register, sharpness and colour density as well as nice crisp instrument decals to detail the interior. Conclusion It’s a fairly rare piece of WWII German hardware, and a detailed model in the bargain, with just about everything you might need to build an excellent replica of this coupé of the armoured car world. Highly recommended. Available in the UK from importers H G Hannants Ltd. Review sample courtesy of
  23. WWI British Vickers Machine Gun Crew (35713) 1:35 ICM via Hannants The Vickers Machine Gun was a development of original Maxim, the company Vickers had bought in the late 1800s, lightened and with an inverted breech to improve the type, which entered into British service at the outbreak of WWI in insufficient numbers due partly to the price being asked for each one, which was soon rectified by accusations of profiteering that resulted in a huge price cut per unit. It was used first by the infantry, then by the newly formed Machine Gun Corps when the lighter Lewis gun arrived on the scene, and I’m proud to say my paternal Grandfather was one of the operators of this type, surviving the war despite getting gassed, and bringing home a medal for bravery into the bargain. We’ve still got his cap badge that has been polished so much that the ribs on the cooling jacket have all-but worn away. The gun remained in service throughout WWI and WWII, and was finally replaced by the General Purpose Machine Gun in the late 60s. Quite a service run. This set includes the parts of the earlier kit that contained just the MG (35712), but adds a two-man crew and lots of accessories. It arrives in a small top-opening box with their usual captive inner flap, and has three sprues in grey styrene plus three sheets of instructions and painting guides. You have a choice of whether to build the gun up in prone or seated positionss in the instructions, but as the figure is seated you should choose the latter to make full use of the included figures. Construction of the gun is simple, with the breech details and firing handle attached to the ribbed or smooth barrel jacket, followed by the two arms that hold the gun in place and their central arm with adjustment wheel at the bottom. A length of finely moulded ammunition slides through the breech, and the unused end is fixed to the ammo can with more moulded rounds in an insert that sits on top of the box. The weapon is inserted into the hole at the top of your choice of tripods, then the aforementioned ammo can and the water reservoir for the cooling jacket, which is linked by a hose to the underside of the muzzle, but isn’t mentioned at all in the instructions. Depending on how you will deploy your gun, you could use a length of lead wire or similar to portray this, gluing it to the can. If you’re unsure of the correct locations, there are a number of good resources online. The figures are covered on the glossy instruction page, with two views of each of them showing the parts in position and giving full painting options using their usual letter codes in red. The figures are well sculpted with sensible parts breakdown into torso, head, arms and legs, with peaked caps that glue onto the flat tops of their heads. The gunner is in the seated position operating the weapon, while the ammo feeder is prone, feeding the link into the breech of the gun from the ammo box in front of him. Additional rucksacks, pouches and water bottle parts are included on their sprue, with many more parts on the accessory sprue, which has a separate instruction sheet, mostly for painting purposes. There are copious Lee Enfield rifles, a Lewis gun, spades, axes, more pouches, binoculars and some battle bowlers that could be used instead of the earlier caps if desired. There are also pistols, grenades, wire cutters, a rifle mortar, pick-axe and sheath, and even a football-style rattle for signalling. You can use as many or as few of the accessories as you wish, keeping any spares for use in future projects. Colour call-outs are made throughout the build using red letters in boxes that correspond to a table on the rear that gives the paint names plus Revell and Tamiya paint codes, or Model Master for the accessories. All the codes have the colour names in English too, so if you’re not a user of those brands you should be perfectly able to find some alternates from your preferred brand. Conclusion The machine gun is an important part of WWI, and there were many Vickers guns used in the trenches. My own personal connection aside, it’s a nice little kit either on its own or as part of a larger scene. Very highly recommended. Available in the UK from importers H G Hannants Ltd. Review sample courtesy of
  24. Wight (16203) 1:16 ICM via Hannants This chap is described as a “Wight”, but one look at the box art makes it eminently clear that it’s one of the undead army from Game of Thrones. If you ignore the last season especially, it was quite a show and there will still be lots of fans out there that thought (like me) that the last season was unfulfilling, but doesn’t detract from the earlier seasons. We have had a few of these figures from ICM, the Great Other (White Walker – here, and the King of the Night (White King – here, all in 1:16 scale, and all with the same style of bases so you can build up a nice collection. Arriving in a top-opening box with captive inner lid, with a sprue of grey styrene, another in black, plus a single oval base. There is also a poster of the artwork that fits within the box for you to keep, plus a sheet of instructions that has a sprue diagram and paint code table in the rear. The parts on the sprue are well-moulded and have various textures as appropriate for this rather stinky, rotten fellow. He’s wearing the remains of some trousers with cloth shoes, and bits of armour on his shoulders, butt and one of his feet, with a patch of chain-mail on his groin, held up by an old belt. The rest of his tunic is missing below his rib cage, and his chest is easily seen through the gaps and holes in his clothes, which is achieved by adding sections of the outer layer over the chest. The arms are as thin and desiccated as the chest, and the head is equally thin, damaged and puckered, with lips shrunk back and teeth bared. Altogether a scary visage, as you can see from the magnified part of the photo. In his right hand he is carrying an old axe, which has his fingers separate in order to latch onto the axe. The base is moulded in black, and has a top and bottom plate to close up the fluted sides, and if you elect to add some groundwork that should make for easier creation and allows you not to bother with masking during the process. Conclusion If you’re a Game of Thrones fan this is definitely one for you, but it’s generic enough to also have a number of alternative uses if you’re a general figure painter. Highly recommended. Available in the UK from importers H G Hannants Ltd. Review sample courtesy of
  25. British Vickers Machine Gun (35712) 1:35 ICM via Hannants Ltd. The Vickers Machine Gun was a development of original Maxim, the company Vickers had bought in the late 1800s, lightened and with an inverted breech to improve the type, which entered into British service at the outbreak of WWI in insufficient numbers due partly to the price being asked for each one, which was soon rectified by accusations of profiteering that resulted in a huge price cut per unit. It was used first by the infantry, then by the newly formed Machine Gun Corps when the lighter Lewis gun arrived on the scene, and I’m proud to say my Paternal grandfather was one of the operators of this type, surviving the war despite getting gassed, and bringing home a medal for bravery into the bargain. We’ve still got his cap badge that has been polished so much that the ridges on the cooling jacket have all-but worn away. The gun remained in service throughout WWI and WWII, and was finally replaced by the General Purpose Machine Gun in the late 60s. Quite a service run. The Kit At 1:35 it’s a small model, although it took a fairly large crew to operate it, mostly in carrying the equipment from place to place, as it had a prodigious thirst for ammunition. The kit arrives in a small box with one sprue inside along with an A4 instruction sheet that is folded to fit the box. You can build one complete assembly from the box, but there are two guns and two tripods, the former having options for the fluted and straight cooling jackets, while the latter are set up for seated or prone operation. Construction is simple, with the breech details and firing handle attached to your jacketed barrel of choice, followed by the two arms that hold the gun in place and their central arm with adjustment wheel at the bottom. A length of finely moulded ammunition slides through the breech, and the unused end is fixed to the ammo can with more moulded rounds in an insert that sits on top of the box. The weapon is inserted into the hole at the top of your choice of tripods, then the aforementioned ammo can and the water reservoir for the cooling jacket, which is linked by a hose to the underside of the muzzle, but isn’t mentioned at all in the instructions. Depending on how you will deploy your gun, you could use a length of lead wire or similar to portray this, gluing it to the can. If you’re unsure of the correct locations, there are a number of good resources online. Colour call-outs are made throughout the build using letters in boxes that correspond to a table on the rear that gives the paint names plus Revell and Tamiya paint codes. Conclusion It’s a useful item to have in any diorama or vehicle, and with its huge length of service it can fit into many different situations. I’m looking forward to a set with figures, especially if it is WWI era. Highly recommended. Available in the UK from importers H G Hannants Ltd. Review sample courtesy of
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