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  1. German Command Vehicle Crew 1939-42 (35644) 1:35 ICM via Hannants During WWII German Blitzkreig operations there would be command vehicles dotted about the battlefield to maximise situational awareness and give the shortest distance between troops/vehicles and their commanders, which was essential for a fast-moving offensive. Although they weren't intended to be in the vanguard, they were close enough to stay in touch and could occasionally become involved in the actual combat inadvertently, so some form of armour was necessary to keep the high value targets relatively safe from stray bullets. Often the Sd.Kfz 251 was used as they were proof against small arms fire and shrapnel, excellent over rough ground while giving sufficient space for a commander and radio operators in the rear. Other vehicles were used, but there's a 251 on the boxtop so we're safe to assume that these figures are patterned to work with them, and you can see our review of the ICM kit here. The set arrives in a figure sized top opening box with additional captive lid inside, and has a single sprue of mid-grey styrene and a short instruction sheet inside. 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. Conclusion 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 251. Highly recommended. Available in the UK from importers H G Hannants Ltd. Review sample courtesy of
  2. Army Group "Centre" Summer 1941 (DS3502) L3000S truck, Kfz.1 Car, Driver Set & German Infantry 1939-42 1:35 ICM via Hannants Ltd. During the early stages of Operation Barbarossa - the invasion of Soviet Russia, different groups were established to take local control over the rapidly advancing troops and materiel, as Blitzkreig made traditional central control difficult due to its speed and ferocity. Group Centre as its name suggests charged through Belarusian territory with Moscow their ultimate target, but due to various issues that required splitting of their forces they never reached their goal. The Kit This is a combined set that takes a number of their existing kits into a themed box of a mobile command post with two vehicles and eight figures in total, coupled with a decent saving on buying them all separately. The various kits and sets are all recent releases with excellent detail throughout, but for the ease of description we'll handle them separately. They arrive in a newly themed box with each kit/set in its own resealable bag and separate instruction booklets and decals for each one. le.gl.Einheits=Pkw (Kfz.1) German Personnel Car (35581) 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 depicted here. It was complicated and unreliable, so was eventually replaced by the ubiquitous Kubelwagen. The bag contains four sprues in grey styrene plus a single clear sprue and decal sheet, not forgetting the instructions with integral painting guide at the rear. 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 thread 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 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 at the front, with a bench seat at the rear of a similar construction that has just enough room down the sides for two Kar98 rifles to be stowed in shackles. Two more rifle points are attached to the front bulkhead, bumpers/fenders and doors are all added, with steering wheel and windscreen also made up. The rear light cluster is fitted to racks for additional fuel on the rear quarters with a spare wheel in between them, and the folded canvas roof above. Front lights, jerry cans 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. Markings There are four theatre specific options included in the box with early war Panzer Grey the colour of choice. From the bag you can build one of the following: WH-102 360 16 Pz.D, Don area, June 1942 WH-240 663 11 Pz.D, Ukraine, July 1941 WH-307 582 Panzergruppe 1 Kleist, Ukraine, July 1941 WL-22662 I./JG51 Stary Bykhov (Belorussia), July 1941 Typ L3000S German Truck (35420) Standardising from 1940 on the Mercedes Benz design in order to simplify spares and maintenance, the L3000S was one of many variants of the truck to see service. Powered by a 4 cylinder 4.85 litre diesel engine with four-wheel drive and able to carry up to 3 tonnes of cargo, it was a workhorse that saw service in almost every theatre of WWII where there was a German presence with almost 30,000 made. Consisting of three large sprues, a clear sprue, three pairs of rubberised tyres, decal sheet and instructions, this is a full engine kit with detailed chassis, multi-part engine assembly, cab and truck bed. Construction begins with the chassis and engine, suspension and exhaust, then moves to the front fenders, driveshafts attaching the rear axle in place, and steering arms at the front, both attaching to the leaf suspension. The wheels have two-part hubs that the rubbery tyres slip over, with two at the front and two pairs on different style hubs on the rear axle. The crew cab is made up with floor, instrument panel with decals, bench-style seat, then the various external panels that box in the crew. There is a small window to the rear, and the main windscreen aperture is moulded into the roof and firewall cowling, while the doors are separate mouldings that can be posed open or closed with separate winders and handles, plus clear panels all round the cab. Before the engine bay is boxed in the cab is joined with the chassis, then the front bumper/fender is glued to the end of the chassis rails and the three-part cowling with separate radiator is dropped between the front wings to complete the chassis. If you were minded, you could score the top panel of the cowling to display the engine, and if the thickness of the part bothered you, you could cut a new one from brass using the original as a template and rolling the edges. The smaller parts such as lights, number plate holders and windscreen wipers are fitted after the cargo bed has been made up. The cargo bed is built on the floor, with upstands latching into their hinge-points and the addition of front fixed panel and the rear door giving it some rigidity. Five cross-braces are added underneath and are joined together by two additional longitudinal rails where they join with the chassis. A spare wheel, stowage boxes and spare fuel cans in cages are then fitted to the underside with the rear mudguards suspended from boxed in sections. The bed fits onto the chassis by a quartet of pegs that locate in corresponding slots in the chassis rail, then the aforementioned lights, pioneer tools and windscreen wipers are glued in place around the model. Markings There are four options on the decal sheet, only two of which are theatre specific to this boxing and painted grey. Not everyone will stick to the theme though, which is fair enough as it's your model. From the box you can build one of the following: WH-272 104 Ukraine, Summer 1941 WL-34548 Russia, Summer 1942 WH-858 842 North Africa, Summer 1942 WH-76836 Italy, Summer 1944 German Drivers (1939-44) (35642) This small set from ICM gives you four figures to fill those empty seats. It is single sprue with four figures and It's safe to say that all of them are posed in the seated position, while two are dressed in standard Wehrmacht uniforms with a forage and patrol cap on their heads. One other figure has a smock coat over his uniform with a lace-up neck, and the final one is an officer with a rather relaxed hand draped over the top of his steering wheel. Two of the drivers forage cap and smock guy are looking to their left (the two on top on the box art), while patrol cap guy seems to be looking at his steering wheel, perhaps at a map? Each figure comes broken down as torso, individual legs and arms, head and hat, with a couple of ammo pouches for the belt around the smock bedecked gentleman. The instructions are on a single sheet of glossy paper, with part numbers and colour call outs that reference a chart on the rear that shows Revell and Tamiya colour codes, plus the name of the colour in English and Ukrainian (that's a guess). Sculpting and moulding is excellent as we have come to expect from ICM, and the figures will doubtless fit a lot of applications without any adjustment. German Infantry 1939-42 (35639 & 35638) This set contains four figures in standing and walking poses on one sprue and a pair of smaller sprues that contains various weapons suitable for the period. The obligatory officer standing about with a map and binoculars, a machine gunner toting his MG34 on his shoulder with a length of link round his neck (on its own sprue), his assistant carrying a fresh box of ammo in each hand, and a gentleman with an MP40 and ammo pouches gesticulating with his index finger, either assisting the officer with his geographical ruminations or telling the MG crew where to go, in the nicest of terms of course! The figures are all broken down into head, torso, arms and legs with separate helmets on the weapons sprue and the officer's cap on the figure sprue. The weapons sprue also contains the aforementioned MG34 and MP40, plus a Kar98 rifle, ammo cans and pouches, gas mask canisters, bipods, entrenching tools, water bottles, pistol pouch, two sets of binoculars and map case. The usual ICM quality of moulding and sculpting apply here, along with sensible breakdown of parts as discussed above. Conclusion This is a great combination set that offers a lot in the box that would keep you busy for quite a long time, and for the price of one large tank model (i.e. almost half its individual RRP). Two vehicles and eight figures plus weapons in total, and lots of lovely detail that just begs to be made into a diorama. Very highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  3. Dornier Do.217N-1 Night Fighter (48271) 1:48 ICM via Hannants Ltd. The origin of the Do.217 was the Do.17 flying pencil as it was colloquially know, to extract more power from the engines, extend its range and give it a better bomb load amongst other improvements. The resulting airframe was a good one and left the early war designs in its wake becoming known as a heavy bomber in Luftwaffe service, something they were very short of throughout the war. It was also a versatile aircraft much like the Ju.88, and was adapted to many other roles like its predecessors, including the night fighter role, to which it was suited, although not initially. Various engine types were used through the endless rounds of improvements, with radial and inline engines fitted in a seemingly random pattern throughout the aircraft's life. The first night fighter was the J-1 with radial engines, had a crew of three in an enlarged cockpit and solid nose sporting four MG17 machine guns for concentrated forward fire. The crews disliked it however, and criticism led to an order to cease production of the night fighter variants, which Dornier either didn't receive or chose to ignore. This resulted in the improved N series, which eventually entered service in small numbers as the N-1 and N-2 variants. The N-1 was first into production and used the DB603 inline engine with the defensive armament sometimes removed and replaced by wooden blanking plates to lessen weight and improve handling. The Kit Although the aircraft itself it a very close relative to the Do.17 and Do.215, this is quite a different tooling due to the changes made to the fuselage and cockpit, the inline engines that are partially moulded into the top of the wing. There are some common parts, but the sprues are all new layouts from what I can make out as I don't have access to all the various boxings that have been released. Detail is of course good, with lots of engraved panel lines, raised details where appropriate and a pair of Daimler Benz engines with optional cowlings, detailed cockpit and gear bays, and new crystal clear glazing. Inside the top opening box with inner flap on the lower part you will find six sprues in grey styrene, one in clear styrene, a decal sheet and instruction booklet with decal options printed on the glossy outer cover. Construction begins with the pilot's small raised floor with seat and substantial head armour surrounding its rear, the instrument panel with control column and bomb-sight attached, then the port sidewall is added to the fuselage with the sub-assemblies affixed to their mounting point. A pair of bulkheads are fitted fore and aft along with a short spar unit that pierces the fuselage and is linked to the rear plectrum-shaped bulkhead by a long panel that is useful if you were wanting to pose the bomb bay open. You can leave these parts out if you wish, but I'd be tempted to add it for a bit of extra strength. Later on the bay is detailed with ribbing before the doors are added in the open position. The starboard fuselage half has its sidewall inserted next together with more floor and a crew seat plus some boxes at the rear, then the fuselage can be closed up as long as you have remembered the bracket in the tail wheel bay. The solid nose is added to the front along with a gun-pack insert just under the cockpit floor, then the tail wheel yoke, two part wheel and surround. The upper wing closes up the fuselage and is joined by the lower wings, which in turn receive the separate aileron parts, then the big H-tail is made up and this straddles the fuselage closing up the last gap (apart from the cockpit). The engine nacelles have their fairings moulded into the wings, but the bulk of the cowling is supplied as a separate sub-assembly that is made up from halves with bulkheads and the boxed in areas of the wheel bays, plus a radiator bath underneath and a streamlined cowling over the top. This is done in mirror image (minus the engines, which are identical) on both nacelles, with shrouded exhausts and a four-bladed prop. If you are using the engines and leaving the cowlings off, you cut off the front of the nacelle during construction to reveal the firewall to which a nicely detailed rendition of the DB engine is added on each side with supercharger, radiator and engine mounts giving extra detail. The wheel bays are filled with an H-shaped strut with mudguard, retraction jack and two part wheel held between the two legs. The gear bay doors are fitted to the edge of the bays and then the sub-assemblies are added from below to the wings. Most people will likely leave the gear off until after painting, but there you are. Finishing off the airframe involves the rear of the under-nose gondola with its single machine gun and glazing, the bomb bay doors in either open or closed configuration with an additional fuel tank in the forward part of it as was sometimes carried, which to my way of thinking is the only reason for displaying the doors open. A pair of tail wheel doors are added, then the model is flipped over and the rear gunner's seat and circular mount are fitted at the rear of the cockpit and that corresponds with the hole in the rear of the single-part glazing. The gun and its fairing are glued in place after this, and a set of armoured front windows are glued to the front. I'd use some clear gloss here to bond the two layers, being careful not to get any bubbles between the layers. Aerials, gun muzzles under the nose, clear searchlight at the tip of the nose and the radar dipoles are the last items fixed in the instructions with good reason as they're rather delicate. Markings Night fighters. Black, right? Not this one, and from the four options available on the sheet, only one of them is black. The others have RLM76 undersides and RLM75 grey uppers, with two also having an RLM74 splinter pattern that extends onto the fuselage and a choice of low or high demarcations. There are scrap diagrams of the inner tail fins, and an alternative nose for option B, which has the lower RLM76 area covered with blotches of the camo colours. From the box you can build one of the following: GG+YD Rechlin, Germany, Spring 1943Reviews GG+YG Rechlin, Germany, Summer 1943 05+SM I./NJG 3, Denmark, 1944 3C+DV II./NJG 4, Germany, late 1943 The decals are crisp with good registration, colour density and sharpness, but are printed anonymously but look a lot like DecoGraph to this reviewer. Instrument decals are included on the sheet along with a substantial number of stencils that are dealt with separately on the page before the profiles to avoid confusion. Conclusion I have a thing about night fighters so I'm a little biased, but these new kits from ICM are excellent and provide the right amount of detail at a good price, with some unusual or lesser known subjects and variants. Long gone are the days of only a couple of models of Dornier's successful bomber range in this scale. Very highly recommended. Available in the UK from importers H G Hannants Ltd. Review sample courtesy of
  4. Junkers Ju.88D-1 Reconnaissance Aircraft (48240) 1:48 ICM via Hannants The Ju-88 was designed as a schnellbomber in the mid 30s, and at the time it was faster than current fighter designs, so it was projected that it could infiltrate, bomb and escape without being intercepted. That was the theory anyway. By the time WWII began in the west, fighters had caught up with the previously untouchable speed of the 88, and it needed escorting to protect it from its Merlin equipped opponents. It turned out to be a jack of all trades however, and was as competent as a night fighter, dive bomber or doing reconnaissance as it was bombing Britain or the Russians. They even popped a big gun on the nose and sent it against tanks and bombers, with variable success. The A series sported a pair of Jumo 211 engines in cylindrical cowlings producing over 1,000hp each, and was improved gradually up until the A-17. The D series were Reconnaissance versions of the A-4 and A-5, being designated D-1 and D-2 respectively. The tropicalised versions were D-3 and D-4 (again, respectively), and the D-5 was fitted with a metal VDM prop instead of the wooden one fitted by Junkers. The Kit This is another in the extending line of Junkers 88 kits from ICM, making the most of their tooling and giving us modellers the best chance of getting our preferred variant. The D-1 differs from the A-4 by reducing the defensive armament carried to save weight, although most of the rear-facing guns were retained, as the speed advantage from the weight loss wasn't that great and was partly reduced due to carrying the cameras. The D-1 also didn't sport dive brakes, similar to its progenitor, for obvious reasons! The box is the usual top-opening with an inner lid style, and inside you will find eight sprues in grey styrene, two in clear, decal sheet and a glossy covered instruction booklet with spot colour inside, and the decal options in full colour on the back cover. If you have been lucky enough to see any of the previous versions, you'll know that detail is right up there in terms of quality and crispness, with ICM really improving over the last few years - great news for modellers, as they aren't frightened of tackling what to us may seem niche subject matters. This edition contains identical plastic to the A-11 I reviewed a while back, although different parts are left on the sprues this time around. Construction of the fuselage begins with the addition of sidewall details in the capacious cockpit area. Rear bulkhead, side consoles and seats are all added to the cockpit sides for a change, with an insert in the fuselage for the circular Peilgerät (PeilG) 6 antenna and tail wheel added into the starboard side. You are also instructed to drill two 6mm holes in the lower aft fuselage to accept the clear covers for the reconnaissance cameras, with precise measurements given so that you locate them in the correct area. The instrument panel is supplied with decals, and fits into the fuselage during joining. The missing floor is added to the lower fuselage panel that includes the lower parts of the inner wings and gives the structure some strength. It also receives the rudder pedals, control column, tail-wheel and the two remaining crew seats before being joined to the fuselage. The tail plane has articulated flying surfaces, and the wings are supplied as top and bottom, with the flaps and ailerons separate from the box, and neat curved fairings so they look good when fitted at an angle. The flaps include the rear section of the soon-to-be-fitted nacelles, which are added as separate parts to avoid sink-marks, and these and the ailerons run full-span, terminating just as the wingtip begins. This variant was fitted with the under-fuselage gondola, and each side has separate glazing panels inserted from inside, and a seam running vertically through its length. It is added to the hole in the underside of the fuselage, with the rear glazing plus zwilling mounted machine guns and a solid nose later in the build. At this time the landing gear is made up on a pair of upstands that are added to the underwing in preparation for the installation of the nacelle cowlings. The engines have to be built up first though, consisting of a high part count with plenty of detail, and a rear firewall that securely fits inside the cowling. Even though this is an in-line engine with a V-shaped piston layout, the addition of the annular radiators gives it the look of a radial, with their representation added to the front of the cowling, obscuring much of the engine detail. The side panels can be left off to show all that detail however, and I'm sure Eduard will be along with some in-scale opened panels in due course. The cooling flaps around the cowling are separate, and the exhausts have separate stacks, which aren't hollow but are large enough to make drilling them out a possibility. The completed nacelles fit to the underwing over the top of the main gear installation, securing in place with four pegs, two on each side of each nacelle. The props are made from spinner, backplate and a single piece containing all three blades, sliding onto a pin projecting from the engine front, which will require some glue if you want to keep them on. At this point the instructions recommend adding the canopy glazing, which consists of a choice of two faceted nose cones, and the main greenhouse for the cockpit. The "clean" nose has no machine gun, but mounts a camera in its place, while the other option has a small hole in the lower left that is filled by a large single gun on a short sled. The rear portion is made from two additional parts due to its double "blown" shape to accommodate the two rearward gun positions that it retains, so that the gunner's head isn't constantly bouncing off the canopy with all the attendant German cursing. The guns are fitted through the windscreen from the inside and the two circular ports on the rear, although no ammo feed is supplied. Under the wings the dive spoilers are omitted, but four bomb crutches on aerodynamic mounts, with bombs supplied are shown installed (for some options), and these have two of their fins moulded separately along with the stabilising struts that fit into notches in the fins. Unless the aircraft was performing armed reconnaissance, these would have been left behind to save weight. While the airframe is flipped over, the two-part wheels and twin main gear bay doors are added, both having good detail and the former a radial tread. Addition of the canopy mounted antenna completes the build, but this is likely to be done long after main painting for safety's sake. Markings The kit includes four markings options, and the first page of the painting section details the application of the numerous stencils that are supplied in the kit in black and white. There are no Swastikas on the sheet, but the Balkenkreuz are included, so if you're going for historical accuracy and your country doesn't consider it inappropriate even in historical context, you'll have to source your own. From the box you can build one of the following: 5.(F)/122, Russia, Winter 1942 2.(F)/22, Russia, Winter 1942 1.(F)/120, Norway, Autumn 1941 1.(F)/121, Libya, 1942* *Some online sources note that this is an A-4Trop, others that it is a D-2, which is a tropicalised D-1. Check your references if you are interested in this option. The colours are picked out using letters that correspond to a table on the front page, which gives the names and paint codes in Revell and Tamiya ranges, so should be easy to convert to your paint system of choice. The decals are printed in-house and have good register, colour density and sharpness, with additional instrument dials included on a clear carrier film to help with cockpit painting. All of the stencils are legible, and overall they inspire confidence, with a thin carrier film cut close to the printing.  Conclusion Another in a growing line of really well done Ju.88s. plenty of detail from the box, crisp moulding, clear canopies and good engineering. Just double-check that decal option and you're away! Review sample courtesy of
  5. I would like to extend my gratitude to the owner of Hannant's London branch who, after phoning him, gladly replaced two kits that had come with missing things without hesitation. The Spit didn't have part 47, and the Junkers didn't have the instructions.
  6. USAAF Pilots (1941-1945) 32104 1:32 ICM With more large scale aircraft kits arriving ICM have seen the chance to get a figure set out there of US Pilots. Here we have 3 figures walking to (or from) their aircraft carrying their parachutes. There are separate parts for the back harnesses which have to be used as the backs of the figures are recessed for them. The three figures all have different head gear od the period. While the set calls them pilots they could be used to represent other aircrew personnel. The instructions are on a single sheet of glossy paper, with part numbers and colour call outs that reference a chart on the rear that shows Revell and Tamiya colour codes, plus the name of the colour in English and Ukrainian (that's a guess). Sculpting and moulding is excellent as we have come to expect from ICM, and the figures will doubtless fit a few different scenarios. Conclusion A useful set of figures to add a little human scale to your latest USAAF project, with typical quality from ICM's figure people. Available from their UK importers, H G Hannants Ltd. Review sample courtesy of
  7. WWI British Tank Crew (35708) 1:35 ICM via Hannants With the introduction of the landships that became known as Tanks after the codename given to them during transport, a new breed of soldier came into being. The Tanker. Many of them had no clue where they were heading when they were signed up for service in these new armoured vehicles, but their bravery was without question. Going into battle in a clanking metal box with shards of metal spall hitting them every time a bullet impacted the outside, the frequent breakdowns leaving them stranded on the battlefield, as well as the noxious fumes from the engine that often left them feeling light-headed and nauseous. Add to that the fact that once the enemy got over their initial terror, they became bullet and shell magnets, drawing heavy fire from the opposition. This figure set depicts the British crews and arrives in a slightly oversized figure shaped box with a top opening lid and captive inner flap. Inside is a single grey styrene sprue and a glossy instruction sheet with a sprue diagram on one side and painting and build instructions on the other. The sprue contains parts for four figures, all of which have separate arms, torso, legs and heads, with map case, revolver holster and gas mask bags as additional parts. The theme of the set has them looking at a map for perhaps an upcoming engagement with one crew member hunkered down pointing at a map with a stick, an officer stood with a stick looking down at the map whilst holding a map case. The other two figures are both stood upright with their heads bowed as if viewing the map, one with his battle bowler on his head and arms behind his back, the other with it in his hands in front of him. The kneeling man also has his helmet in his hand, while the officer has a cap that is made of two parts to obtain the correct shape. The officer is also wearing putties above his boots, and the bare-headed standing figure is wearing spats, while the remaining figures have their trousers loose over their boots. Painting instructions are given around the drawings, using a letter code that corresponds with a chart of Revell and Tamiya paints on the opposite side that also has the colour names if you don't use those brands. Sculpting of the figures is excellent as you would expect from ICM, and the parts breakdown is sensible, with a view to improving detail whilst minimising any filler, breaking along seams or belts where possible. Highly recommended for anyone wanting to add a little human scale to their WWI tank diorama. Available in the UK from importers H G Hannants Ltd. Review sample courtesy of
  8. Leichttraktor Rheinmetall 1931 (35330) 1:35 ICM via Hannants Ltd. After WWI the German military were forbidden from developing any serious form of weapons by the Versailles Treaty, so did so underground, with the assistance of their then-friends the Soviet Union providing the trials grounds. The name Leichttraktor translates literally to "Light Tractor", which was part of the subterfuge, and both Rheinmetall and Krupps produced design proposals for consideration for VK31. Rheinmetall created prototypes, which were a fairly unusual (for the time) engine-first design, with the fighting compartment for the four crew and turret bearing a 37cm cannon at the rear. The tracks were suspended using leaf springs, and an order for around 300 examples were made initially, but later cancelled after testing. Only the two prototypes were made, due to the vehicle's poor performance and reliability, especially the tracks, which were prone to slipping off the poorly designed wheels, and were hard to swap due to their poor design. The Kit This is a new tool of a very dead-end in German tank design. It is a small tank, so there are only five sprues of grey styrene in the small box, plus four lengths of black flexible tracks, a tiny clear sprue, a small decal sheet and the instruction booklet. Detail is good throughout as we've come to expect from ICM, with plenty of external detail, including the spiral exhaust mufflers. Construction begins with the upper deck for a change, which has two engine access panels with individual louvers fitted beforehand, and a smaller armoured cone-shaped hatch further back toward the turret ring. Either side are two crew hatches, the left of which stands proud of the deck, while the right hand hatch is flush with the deck. More louvers are added to the front bulkhead before it and the top deck are attached to the right side of the hull, then it has the floor and rear bulkheads glued into place and is finally closed up by adding the left side. The rear bulkhead has a crew hatch on the right side, which is added along with a bunch of shackles and towing eyes, with none at the front. The road wheels are made up in four pairs per bogie, which are held in place by two sets of triangular parts trapping the small wheels in place. There are three of these per side, plus two double-bank return rollers, and another pair on the lower run just aft of the front-mounted idler wheel. The idler and drive sprocket are both made of two parts, with the teeth on the drive wheel central within the flat outer section. With the wheels done, the mud-shedding fenders are constructed from the outer panel and a run of box-sections, and they are then fixed to the hull sides with two pins locating them firmly. The process is repeated on the other side, and the rubber tracks, which are accurate to the initial designs that are mostly rubber with metal inserts, and these are made up from two sections each with one run each side. You will need to use super-glue for the joins, as liquid glue doesn't melt the plastic they are made of, as I tried. The top plates are fitted last to the rear three quarters of the track run, and then attention turns to the turret. Despite this being an exterior-only kit, there is a nicely detailed full breech included in the kit, which is made up over six steps, then set aside to wait for installation. The turret is supplied in two halves, with crew access hatches in each side, which are separate parts and could be left open if you desire. The two halves are brought together around the breech, and sealed in by the turret ring below, and the fairly featureless circular roof part. The mantlet is next, covering the interior of the breech, and is completed by adding the coaxial machine gun mount and the barrel, which is a single part with a short insert at the dangerous end to give it a hollow muzzle. The turret is then decked out with two roof-top vents, lifting eyes and other small parts before it is twisted onto the hull and held in place by a pair of bayonet lugs. The clear headlight lenses are fitted to the domed rear and attached to each side of the front, and a wrap-around railing is glued around the aft area of the hull and turret area. The fun-looking (is that even possible?) exhaust exits the right side of the hull and travels over the fender, with a spiral muffler and short tip - this section being made in two parts to achieve the correct shape. Markings Due to the fact that only two of these vehicles ever existed, there is one colour option, which is a three tone dark sand with brown and green camouflage over the top, somewhat reminiscent of the late war camo used by the Nazis in WWII. The decals are on a tiny sheet with three crosses the only content, which are printed to a good enough standard for the task in hand. You can of course paint it any colour you fancy if you're going off-book for your finish. Conclusion A nicely rendered model of this failed attempt to create a light tank prior to the Panzer I, which was actually a lot more suited to the task and performed well in the early days of the German expansionist attempts. It's also dinky, so won't take up much space on the shelf once built, and if you're feeling adventurous you could always hack it up and create the drop-top early version that had a windscreen where the turret front was later to be found. There are some pictures of them online if you're up for a challenge. Highly recommended. Available from UK Importers HG Hannants Ltd. Review sample courtesy of
  9. Lastkraftwagen 3.5T AHN with German Drivers (35416) 1:35 ICM via Hannants The original AHx design by Renault could carry a load of 2 tonnes, and when Germany conquered France they ordered more into production and the larger AHN, which was capable of carrying 4 tonnes, but was designated 3.5 tonnes by the Wehrmacht, probably as a safety feature. The AHN was equipped with a 4L straight six petrol engine coupled to a four speed gearbox. From introduction in 1941 to the end of WWII they served in all theatres, and around 4000 were built in various forms. The Kit Stemming from a new tool in 2014, this is a reboxing with the addition of a handsome set of driver figures that we reviewed separate here a little while ago, although they were previously moulded in sand-coloured styrene. Inside the box are six sprues of grey styrene, the figure sprue also in grey, a clear sprue, a bag of flexible plastic tyres, decal sheet and instruction booklet with colour figures instructions interleaved. This is a full detail kit, and construction starts with the chassis, which is built from rails and cross-members, into which you install the engine when it has been assembled from a decent amount of parts to give good detail. The radiator slots into the front, and then suspension is added in the front and rear using leaf springs, which are then fixed to axles after the exhaust has been glued to the chassis rails. Steering linkages are fitted into the left side of the engine, joining up with the front axle's steering rack, and then the wheels are added, made up from the flexible tyres slipped over the styrene hubs. The rear wheels are paired for weight distribution, so have twin hubs joined together with a castellated mating surface. Fuel tank, spare wheel, drive-shaft and towing hitches are then installed to finish off the lower of the vehicle. The snub-nosed cab is next to be fabricated, and this begins with the stepped floor, which has crew steps added to the underside, and then has the two doors fixed to the sides after the clear windows are put in place, with the front completed in the same manner. Inside the cab an air filter box, instruments (with decal), driver controls and comfy-looking barrel-backed seats are all glued in place after painting, and the rear panel with small rear-view window finishes off the framework. The crew doors have glazing added and are attached to the front edge of their aperture in open or closed positions as you see fit, while the roof goes on as a single part, and has a couple of ejector-pin marks to square away if you think they will be seen. At the front is a distinctive radiator grille, which has an emblem design added to the front, and then gets fitted to the hole in the nose, plus a filler cap above it. The truck bed has a complex arrangement of supports underneath, which are slotted together on two central rails and surrounded by side frames, after which the floor is dropped on top and the sides are added. The rear mudguards underneath are attached via a pair of supports that mate with small blocks under the bed and ridges on the semi-cylindrical guards themselves. The number plate sits low on the rear, and side frames are added to the tops of the bed's uprights, with a large roof part fitted with longitudinal slats to complete top frame/tilt. Both the bed and cab are fixed to their slots in the tops of the chassis rails, and as the final step the lights, windscreen wipers, convoy light and wing mirrors are all attached to the sloping front and sides of the cab. Now for some paint. Markings There are four markings options in the box, and all but two of them have different schemes, giving plenty of variation in finish, as well as depicting one from each of the major theatres (with the exception of Africa). From the box you can build one of the following: Lastkraftwagen ANH Russia, Winter 1941 – Panzer Grey Lastkraftwagen ANH Ukraine, Summer 1942 – Panzer Grey Lastkraftwagen ANH France, 1944 – Dunkelgelb (dark yellow) with sprayed on green camouflage Lastkraftwagen ANH Italy, 1943 – Dunkelgelb The decals are printed in the Ukraine, and consist of black and white with good registration, colour density and sharpness, as we've come to expect from ICM's decal printers. Unfortunately, the profiles were all greyscale, which wouldn't scan well, so rather than show you four seemingly identical profiles, you'll have to use your imagination and the words above instead Conclusion A well-detailed kit of this funny-looking French wagon, with the added bonus of four crew figures, including an officer and three from the lower ranks. Well worth a look. Highly recommended. Imported to the UK by H G Hannants Ltd. Review sample courtesy of
  10. Pz.Kpfw.T-34-747(R) (35370) 1:35 ICM Models via Hannants The T-34 gave the German invaders something of a shock when they first encountered it during operation Barbarossa, their attempt at conquering the Soviet Union, and they were instrumental in reversing the tide through both their impressive performance and weight of numbers, due to their simple construction and the overwhelming industrial capability of the Russian factories. Even when the Germans were knocking on the gates of Moscow and Stalingrad, production was shifted lock-stock-and-barrel further east with barely a flicker, and in Stalingrad there are stories of fresh tanks rolling off the production lines and straight into combat. The simple design used tried and tested technology, together with innovative sloped armour that increased its effective thickness when hit in the horizontal plane. It was initially fitted with a powerful 76mm gun, while It's diesel power plant gave it a good speed over most terrains, and as production ramped up there were over 1,000 produced each month, plenty to replace losses and more besides. The Germans had a habit of pressing captured equipment into service, which didn't help their already stretched resources, but they still did it. The T-34 in German service was given a standard designation that included its original name and the (R) designation to signify its foreign origins (Russich). They were fairly well-used on the Eastern front due to their armour and ruggedness, as well as the fact that they were better engineered to withstand the harsher conditions of the Russian winters than the technically superior engineering of the German tanks, which suffered badly with frozen tracks and had higher ground pressure than the T-34. Sometimes a more Germanic cupola was fitted on the original commander's hatch, but this was by no means a standard fitment, especially when the going got tougher for the Nazis. The Kit Stemming from a relatively recent 2015 tool from ICM, this is a release with new parts to depict a captured vehicle, and it arrives in their usual box with the extra flap over the lower tray. Inside are six sprues and two hull halves in green styrene, tracks and towing cables in flexible black styrene, decal sheet and the instruction booklet, which is printed in colour and has profiles at the rear for painting and markings. From the description above, you'll note that these are rubber-band tracks, which suits some and not others, and if you're a fan of metal or individual link styrene tracks, you've probably got your favourite brands already. The detail is nice, especially the sand-cast texture of the turret, which was often rougher than a badger's bottom in their haste to get them out of the door and at the Nazis in defence of their homeland. The rest of the armour is moulded smooth, and has some rather good-looking weld-beads around the various parts of the hull. There's room for improving the detail with some etched grilles etc., but for most of us the detail is pretty good out of the box, and even though this is an exterior only kit, you get an almost complete breech if you want to pose the turret hatches open, plus a driver's position. For a change the build begins with the upper hull, detailing it with bow machine gun installation with a movable ball, the armoured vents and filling in the other cut-outs on the engine deck, plus the driver's large hatch at the front, which is best left closed unless you're planning on scratching a full interior to back up the seats! The rear bulkhead, armoured exhaust spats and the pipes themselves are all added at the back, and it is then put to the side while the lower hull is prepared with some holes that need drilling, the suspension boxes gluing in behind the hull sides, and the fender extensions added at the rear. After saying there's no interior, there is a pair of control levers and two comfy seats to fit inside the lower hull, but unless you're crowding the area with some beefy figures, there's still a big gap behind them that might be seen. The axles with their swing-arms are all fitted to the hull after the two halves are joined, with two attachment points, the final-drive housing is built up at the rear, and the idler axle slots into the front in preparation for the road wheels, which are supplied individually to make into pairs before they are glued onto the axles. The same happens to the idler and drive sprockets on both sides, then some light detail is applied to the hull in the shape of towing shackles, tie-down bars, and the tracks are joined, then installed. The tracks are in two parts each, which link together seamlessly, but don't react to liquid cement at all, so use super glue (CA), although the instructions are mute on the subject. Aligning the joins at the centre of the track run should hide any visible seams, especially if you're going to paint and weather them with some mud and grit. The turret begins with the breech, which has a coaxial machine gun on the right along with a dinner-plate mag and sighting gear, which slots into the inner mantlet once it has been trapped in place by the exterior armoured part. The lower turret is then glued into the inner lip of the upper part to hide the join, and the front moving section of the mantlet is glued in place along with the tip of the coax MG. The prominent gun sleeve is made up from three parts and fits to the mantlet inside its weld-bead, and has the two part barrel slid through it and into the hole in the inner part. It might be as well to deal with the barrel's seam before you insert it, and with careful alignment it should be fairly simple work. More tie-down rails, lifting lugs and a rotating periscope are fixed to the outer turret, and it is then inserted into the hull, locking in place with a bayonet fitting. That's not the end, as there are four large stowage boxes that you may need depending on which decal variant you opt for. The rear boxes are angled to fit the aft bulkhead, while the side boxes are simple rectangles with moulded-in clasps and lid. Additional track-links are attached to the fenders, barrel cleaning rods in a box, plus the Germanic convoy lights and rolled up tarpaulins, plus the two towing cables, which are in flexible plastic with styrene eyes at each end, and finally you are entreated to cut a piece of 0.3mm wire to 86mm for the radio antenna. Markings Russian green? Nope. These Beutepanzers were a horse of another colour, and two of the examples shown here have a base coat of Field Green, while the other two are Dunkelgelb and winter white, so if you can add up you'll discover that there are four options out of the box. If you can't add up, there are four options in the box You can build one of the following: GrossDeutchland Division, Russia, Winter 1943 – white distemper finish Kursk, July 1943 – Dunkelgelb squiggles over Field Green Kursk, July 1943 – Dunkelgelb Kursk, July 1943 – Field Green The decal printing is unattributed, but has good sharpness, colour density, and registration between the black and white is fine on my sample. All the decals are crosses either in white, or black and white, with one cut into three sections due to being applied over the hatches on the turret top (Option B). Conclusion Another nice model of a T-34, with the added interest of being a captured example. It should also confuse the heck out of some people, which is an added bonus! The decal sheet is heavily weighted toward Kursk, but it was an important battle, so hardly surprising that the Germans threw everything into it. Lovely detail on the turret and weld lines, and even the tracks are well moulded. Highly recommended Available in the UK from their importers, H G Hannants Ltd. Review sample courtesy of
  11. Model WOT6 British WWII Truck (35507) 1:35 ICM During WWII, Ford UK built a great many vehicles for the British war effort, as well as some 34,000 Merlin engines for Spitfires, Lancasters and Hurricanes. The WOT.6 was a 4x4 light truck (3 ton capacity) with a short cab that housed a 3.6L V8 engine pumping out a fairly paltry 85hp that could get it to 75mph eventually. The engine's location under the cab gave the load bed plenty of space on the chassis rail, and also gave the truck a sit-up-and-beg look. The heat from the radiator had to be redirected by a fairing to prevent it being ingested by open windows, thereby cooking and possibly even poisoning the crew if it wasn't in the best of health. Over 30,000 were built in a number of configurations, and they were in service from 1942 to the end of the war, with those in good enough shape carrying on into the early 60s. The Kit Another new tooling from ICM, who are working their way through the entire WWII vehicle list at quite a speed, while doing something similar to much of the Soviet back catalogue at the same time. The kit arrives in a small box with their usual top flap on the lower tray, and inside the outer clear foil bag are seven sprues in medium grey styrene, a clear sprue in its own bag, four flexible black plastic tyres and a sheet of Photo-Etch (PE) parts, each in their own bags, plus a small decal sheet. The instruction booklet completes the package, and is printed on glossy white paper in colour, with black and red used for the diagrams throughout, and the decal options printed in colour at the rear. British WWII softskins aren't much of a priority for many companies, so it will be happily anticipated by many for that reason, and due to the vast improvement in ICM's tooling in recent years they will be pleased to see that they have packed in a lot of detail to this release, and you can almost bank on there being other versions forthcoming in time if this one sells well. Perusing the sprues shows plenty of detail all over, with the occasional ejector pin that's unavoidable if you're expecting top quality detail on both sides of parts. Common sense has prevailed however, and all the marks are in areas where they either won't be seen, or where they're relatively easy to make good. The construction phase begins with the chassis, which is made up from two main rails, with sub-rails and spacers holding things together, and front suspension moulded into the outer rails. With the chassis completed by adding the rear end, attention turns to the engine, which is a complete rendering, and made up from a good number of parts for detail, including the block, pulleys, transmission and a short drive-shaft that threads through the holes in the cross-members. The two long exhaust pipes with mufflers go under the chassis on each side, and the rear suspension is fitted, which is a substantial set of leaf-springs, then the axles and drive shafts are attached to the suspension and transfer box. Brake drums, fuel tanks, steering arms and struts are all installed before the wheels are built-up around the rubbery black tyres, which have tread details moulded-in, and are finished off by the addition of the hubs, which attach from both sides, and are then detailed with additional parts before they are slotted onto the axles. The undercarriage is almost done, and it's time for the upper surfaces, beginning with the engine bay, which has the front wheel-arches moulded in, and is then detailed with lights, front rail, radiator and some additional ancillaries to keep the engine running. You even get a pair of lower hoses for the radiator to mate it to the engine, and two more longer ones diving diagonally down into the topside of the engine from the top of the rad. There's going to be a bit of painting needed, as the engine can be seen from the underside, even though access is limited. The bay sides are planted, and are joined by internal covers and instrumentation on top, which have a few decals to detail them up. Some of the driver's controls are added on the right side (the correct side) of the engine, and a pair of seats are built up and added to the square bases installed earlier, then the front of the cab is detailed with clear parts and window actuators, before the sides are attached to the edges and lowered onto the chassis, then joined by the simple dash board and steering wheel on its spindly column. The doors are separate parts and have clear windows, handles and window winders added, then joined to the sides in either the open or closed position or any variation of the two. The cab is a bit draughty at the moment, until the rear panel and the roof are added, the latter having a pop-up cover on the co-driver's side, with a couple of PE grilles then added to the front radiator frames after being bent to shape. Now for the truck bed, beginning with the sides, which have two stiffeners added, then are covered with bumpers along the top and bottom edge of the outside face. The bed floor fits into a groove into the bottom, and is kept square by the addition of the front and rear sides. Under the bed are a number of stowage boxes and racks for additional fuel or water cans, which are happily also included, then they are joined by the two parts per wheel that form the wheel arch that are braced on the outside with two small struts. Then it's the fun part! Adding the bed to the chassis, which is kept in the correct place by two ridges under the bed that mate with grooves in the chassis rail. At the front, two light-hoods are fitted above the lights, and the prominent pedestrian unfriendly hood that deflects the rain and hopefully redirects the engine heat from being sucked back into the open front windows on a hot day. The cab is detailed with additional lights, horn, wing mirrors, grab-handles and even some pioneer tools, then the windscreen wipers. Moving backwards, the four c-shaped hoops that support the canvas tilt are applied to the outside of the bed sides, reaching roughly half-way down the sides to obtain a strong join in both 1:1 and 1:35. The final act is to add seven rods along the length of the roof section of the tilt frame, which will need some careful alignment to ensure all the hoops are vertical and correctly spaced. Now you can paint it, but you've probably got a lot of that done already in truth. Markings It's a softskin, so British green is the colour you'll be using the most of. There are four decal options in the box, and all of them look very similar to the casual observer as there are minimal markings due to the subject in hand. The decal sheet is pretty small as a result, but it's also quite colourful due to the unit markings that are included. From the box you can build one of the following: France, Summer 1944 L5496558 France, 1944 Great Britain, Summer 19445 30YX68 Great Britain, Summer 1945 Decals are printed in-house, and have good register, colour density and sharpness, which include those useful instrument dials with black backgrounds. Conclusion As soon as I saw this in the box I thought it was an interesting subject, and it looks like ICM have made a nice little replica here. Plenty of detail, some PE parts, and some rubbery tyres for those that don't want to have to paint them. Very highly recommended. Available in the UK from their Importers, H G Hannants Ltd. Review sample courtesy of
  12. Junkers Ju.88C-6B German WWII Night Fighter (48239) 1:48 ICM via Hannantss The Ju-88 was designed as a schnellbomber in the mid 30s, and at the time it was faster than current fighter designs, so it was predicted that it could infiltrate, bomb and escape without being intercepted. That was the theory anyway. By the time WWII began in the west, fighters had caught up with the previously untouchable speed of the 88, and it needed escorting to protect it from its Merlin equipped opponents. It turned out to be a jack of all trades however, and was as competent as a night fighter, dive bomber or doing reconnaissance as it was bombing Britain. They even popped a big gun on the nose and sent it against tanks and bombers, with variable success. The C series aircraft were supposed to be primarily heavily armed fighters or ground attack, fitted with a collection of extra guns in a metal nose. Once Allied bombers started popping up over Germany however, they were quickly retasked with nightfighter duties, in which they found their ultimate role. The specification retained the gondola under the nose, but this was often removed in the field to reduce weight and increase top speed, all of which gave them an edge over an unmodified airframe. After design was completed, the C-4 was the first to enter production, with 120 made, split between new builds and conversions of the A-5 on which they were based. With the addition of radar the C-6 took over from the C-4, and with a solid nose and radar "whiskers" it was found to be a capable night fighter. The C-6b was fitted with either FuG 202 Lichtenstein BC or later a FuG 212 Lichtenstein C-1 radar, and was replaced later by the 6c that also sported the deadly Schräge-muzik upward firing 20mm cannons. The Kit This is another retool of ICM's new line of Ju.88s, and they seem intent on providing us with all the variants we could ever need, which has got to be good news. This one uses the earlier Ju.88A-11 as a base, which we reviewed here, using seven of its sprues plus the main clear sprue, and adds two new sprues, with an additional canopy sprue to give us the C-6b Night fighter, so essentially it has the same plastic in the box as the earlier C-6 that we reviewed here. In case you don't feel like doing the calculations for yourself that's nine sprues of grey styrene, two of clear, a sheet of decals and a glossy instruction booklet. As you can probably imagine, there will be a number of parts left in the box after you have completed your model, and these are marked out in red on the map inside the front cover. The major differences centre around the solid nose, exhaust flame hiders, and inside there is a difference in the seating layout due to the absence of a bomb aimer, and there is a fighter-style gunsight mounted on the instrument panel for obvious reasons. In the nose are a set of ammo boxes to feed the guns, while the wings and tail are identical for our purposes, as is the landing gear. The gondola under the cockpit is repurposed as a gun pack as per the daytime C-6, with slight changes to the housing parts, and an insert for the two guns, while the glazing is still used. The rear of the gondola has an optional redundant single gun mount glazing, and unused Zwilling twin-mount glass, or it can be populated with a pair of machine guns depending on your decal choice, with the glazing in the front present as well. ICM provide two inline Jumo 211J engines, which have plenty of detail moulded in and just need a bit of wiring to complete them if you plan to show them off. They are installed in the nacelles against a bulkhead, with separate cowling panels to allow you to display the engine and pose the cooling flaps open or closed. A set of tubular flame hiders are provided to cover up the exhaust stubs, which prevent the pilot from having his night vision ruined, and makes it more difficult for enemy aircraft to spot them. Now we get to the nose. There are two solid nose cones on the new sprues, so take care when selecting which one to use, as the there are others lurking nearby. There are four guns in the nose of each option, but only the bottom one is depicted fully, which has a breech cut from the provided parts glued inside the nose. All the muzzles are separate sections that are glued from the outside, and they don't have hollow muzzles, partly due to their small size. The earlier radar fit has a profusion of smaller dipoles on its straight whiskers that project from the front of the cone, while the later ones have fewer larger dipoles with L-shaped mounting arms that begin at the sides of the nose to space them out. The new canopy has no mounting for the forward firing machine gun, and this is then joined with the two part aft glazing, which has a pair of bulged mounts for more machine guns, so is moulded in two parts. Using a non-melting glue such as GS-Hypo cement will save you from any canopy fogging due to glue being absorbed into the previously clear parts. Markings There are four decal options from the box, with the common stencils for them noted on each drawing due to lack of space to devote a full page to them this time. The decals have good registration, sharpness and colour density, with a thin semi-gloss carrier film cut close to the printed areas, with instrument panel decals on the sheet. From the box you can build one of the following: Junkers Ju-88C-6b, pilot – Lt. Wilhelm Beier, 10./NJG1, Leeuwarden, Oct 1942 Junkers Ju-88C-6b, pilot – Maj. Heinrich Prinz zu Sayn-Wittgenstein, Stab.IV/NJG5, Orel (Russia), Spring 1943 Junkers Ju-88C-6b, 3./NJG4, Mainz, March 1944 Junkers Ju-88C-6b, 6./NJG2, Kassel, Spring 1944 Conclusion Another smashing boxing of this long-lived and successful type that was a true multi-role aircraft, and night fighters are definite draw, especially for me. Detail and ease of construction is there, along with a selection of different markings that should please a lot of people. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  13. Heinkel He 111H-16 (48263) 1:48 ICM via Hannants The He.111 was originated in secrecy, disguised as a civilian transport in the mid-30s, but once Nazi Germany came out of the closet and disregarded the Versailles agreement, it immediately became clear that they were rearming in a major way. The early civilian and military variants had a more traditional stepped canopy, and there is a famous piece of film that is used and reused in documentaries showing a D or "Dora" variant dropping bombs during the Spanish Civil War as part of the Condor Legion, which was Hitler's proving ground for his new designs and Blitzkreig tactics. Various revisions followed until the P, which introduced the now-iconic stepless fully glazed cockpit, which improved both aerodynamics and the pilot's situational awareness. The P series saw limited action in WWII as it was replaced by the more competent H variant, substituting Junkers Jumo 211 engines, detuned to give it the throbbing beat that was to be heard over Britain almost until the end of the war. The H-16 was a product of the experience of the Battle of Britain, and from the H-11 onward, improved armament and armoured glass for the gunners was introduced along with additional armour around the crewed areas, some of which could be jettisoned in an emergency. Additional improvements were made to the -16 in communications and radar equipment, with the capability added to carry an external load over the bomb bay by the installation of a rack. The H series continued until the H-23, although there were also a number of side-projects such as the Z, Zwilling with two airframes joined by a central aerofoil and sporting five engines, designed to tow the Me.321 Gigant glider. The Kit This is a revision of the recent new tooling by ICM, who have raised their game substantially over the recent years. The kit arrives in their lidded top-opened with a glossy card lid and painting of a care-worn example on the front, with ten sprues in medium, grey styrene, two in crystal clear styrene, an instruction booklet in line-drawn colour, and a long decal sheet that can be found ensconced within the booklet. On opening the bags, it is very apparent that this is a modern tooling, with lots of lovely details, crisp moulding, and some very clever engineering on display. The cockpit and partial interior will require some thought for painting, but if you get the order right, you should minimise the swearing when you have to reload the airbrush for the Nth time. The new parts include a new insert for the dorsal gun station, the choice of two under-belly trays, guns, props, wheels and bombs, which are spread over three sprues, two of which are identical. The clear parts are augmented by a new sprue that contains armoured and adapted parts to accommodate the double-Zwilling mounts that were used in the gondola and flank gun positions in this variant. Construction starts with the two wing spar parts, which are separated by the gear bay roof assemblies and a walkway part. Additional detail is added to the bulkheads along with the fuselage walkways and a smaller bulkhead toward the tail, with the lower portion of the mid-upper "turret" ring attached to the floor. The cockpit floor is then assembled with rudder pedals, instrument panels, seat and control linkages, slotting into the front spar once finished. An additional chair and the overhead instrument panel are installed later in the build. As a prelude to closing up the fuselage, the tail wheel is fitted together, which has the wheel moulded-in, and consists of three parts. Preparation of the fuselage halves involves adding the inserts into the wing roots and making good the join; inserting the paired side windows which now have alternative parts and twin machine guns; adding ammo can racks; radio panel; the pilot's control column, and more glazing in the ventral gondola. The spar/cockpit assembly is then fitted to the starboard fuselage half and the port side is added along with some glue. The rudder is separate and fits to the fin with actuators, then the missing fuselage panels between the spars are added, which of course will need painting and fettling in if you're bothered about the endoscope-equipped viewers. The mid-upper insert is designed to cater for the revised gun installation, and has a lovely serrated ring moulded-in, with controls and bracing strut added before it is installed into the fuselage opening, closing off much of the rear fuselage. The bomb bay is left on the sprues in this boxing, with the opening covered either by a large raised area with five sets of bomb shackle slots, or two raised sections that can carry two larger bombs. The bombs themselves are built up from two halves that have two fins moulded-in, and a single part that fits on the tail forming the other two fins in a cruciform layout. To these are added stiffening brackets, with either five smaller bombs or two larger ones to fill the station layout that you have chosen. At this point the wings are begun, with the lower sides added to the fuselage/spar assembly first. The ailerons are separate, and are built up before the uppers are added, as are the elevators, and the two engines, which are provided in their entirety, along with much of the ancillary equipment and engine mounts. The completed Jumo 211F-2s are fitted to the front of the spars and depending on whether you want to display them or not, and then enclosed by cowling panels, radiators and the intake/outlet ramps. The bottom cowlings can be split to reveal the engine detail, which is a good way of showing off the detail without ruining the lines of the aircraft. The upper wings and ailerons are fitted, the remaining cowling panels with the flame damping exhausts are added, which could do with drilling out to simulate being hollow, and finally the nose glazing, which has a machinegun and the aforementioned overhead instrument panel moulded in clear styrene, has a decal for the instruments. The nose "cone" is a separate clear part, and it too is fitted with a machine gun with a single drum mag and dump bag for the spent brass. Another two MGs are fitted to the new rear glazing part on the gondola, and the mid-upper gun is added to the new rear-facing armoured glass, along with the protective clear shroud at the front. The main wheels are each built up from two halves, and placed between the twin legs that have the main retraction jacks moulded in, and secured with a number of cross-braces between the two legs. An additional ram is fitted within the bay, attached to the rear cross-brace. The gear bay doors fit to the bay sides with large tabs, and the new props are made up from a single part with two part spinner and back plate, which fit onto the engine's output shaft through the vented front of the cowlings. Markings There are four decal options included in the box, two in winter distemper finishes, the other two in RLM70/71 splinter pattern over RLM65 with the unit markings and codes to differentiate between them. From the box you can build one of the following: He.111H-16 5./KG4, Eastern Front, Winter 1942-3 He.111H-16 2./Schleppgruppe 4, Eastern Front, Winter 1942-3 He.111H-16 Stab II./KG53, Eastern Front, September 1943 He.111H-16 2./KG100, Eastern Front, September 1943 Decals are printed by ICM, with good registration, sharpness and colour density, with a thin gloss carrier film cut close to the printed areas with a few exceptions around some of the fuselage codes. These can easily be cut off before they are applied however, so it's not an issue. Conclusion The He.111 is a truly iconic shape, and we're long overdue a new tooling of the type in this scale. This new variant adds breadth to the range, giving the modeller a number of Eastern Front options that played an important part in the war there. Very highly recommended. Available from UK Importers, H G Hannants Ltd. Review sample courtesy of
  14. Sd.Kfz.251 Ausf.A with German Infantry (35103) 1:35 ICM via Hannants The Hanomag Sd.Kfz.251/1 was the mainstay of the German armoured Personnel Carrier fleet, but was flexible enough to also take up many other tasks within the Nazi War Machine, from Anti-Aircraft duties to Howitzer carriage and back again to armoured reconnaissance, which led to a lot of variants. With two steering wheels at the front, the rear was carried on tracks, giving it good clearance and rough ground capabilities that a truck simply could not manage once the going got tough. It was armoured sufficiently to deflect non-armour piercing rounds from small arms fire, but with an open top it was susceptible to both grenades and aerial bombardment, where the armour would concentrate the blast and reduce the interior to a tangled mess. The Ausf.A was used at the beginning of WWII alongside the Ausf.B, and was generally fitted with an MG.34 on the front cab wall, operated from inside. There were more than 20 official variants and more unofficial field modifications, but despite their seemingly ubiquitous nature in German service, not many were preserved after the war, and they are highly sought after now, with many examples being based upon post-war builds from Czech factories that have been made to look as convincing as possible by their restorers. While the purist may notice the differences in films, they're still a huge improvement on repainted American half-tracks from an authenticity point of view. The Kit This is a reboxing of kit number 35101 of the same vehicle, but with the addition of a set of German Infantry (4 figures) to accompany it. We reviewed the original kit here, where you can see all the pictures below, as well as the build process and our thoughts on the model. This boxing arrives in a similar box, with the additional sprues for the figures taking up any spare space within, and on the exterior it has a new painting, which represents the more relaxed theme of the figures, which are either walking with their transport, or standing offering directions. In addition to the five grey sprues there are three in sand coloured styrene (the figures), a clear sprue (just the headlamps are used), and the flexible tracks and wheels. The instruction booklet follows the same format, and is actually the one from the earlier box, but with the instructions for the figures slipped inside, along with a separate page for sprue diagrams and painting guide for the accessories that come with the figures. The figures are four in number, and come as separate torsos, legs, arms, heads and helmets/hats. Shoulder bags, weapons and all the usual parts such as gas mask canisters, water bottles, entrenching tools, ammo pouches, pistols, binoculars, weapons and bayonets are included, most of which are found on the smaller sprue. The third sand sprue contains two lengths of link for the MG34 that is included on the aforementioned smaller sprue, which were sometimes carrier over the shoulders for easy access in event of contact with the enemy. These are moulded in a more flexible styrene, and are also a slightly different colour to the others, which can hopefully be seen from the pictures. An officer is included looking at a map, while another soldier points with one hand, with an MP40 in his other. The other two figures are depicted walking, one with an MG34 over his shoulder and a scarf of bullets, the other with boxes of ammo in his hands, and his rifle slung over his shoulder. As always with ICM, the sculpting it excellent, and the level of detail in the accessories of similar quality. Painting call-outs are included in the Revell and Tamiya ranges, with colour names in English and Ukraine for those without access to one of the many online paint conversion tools. Markings As this is the same kit, the same markings options are supplied this time around, with Panzer Grey being the colour scheme of the era. It also explains why there are no MG42s included on the weapons sprue. WH 726465 1.Pz.D., France, May 1940 WH 179074 1.Pz.D., Russia, July 1941 Conclusion We liked it first time around, and like it still, especially with the addition of these figures, which add a human scale to the model, and lend themselves to a diorama base, possibly at a crossroads in France? Highly recommended. Available in the UK from Hannants and other model shops Review sample courtesy of
  15. Hope this is the right place for this query... I have a 1:72 Fujimi F-4 I'm going to do as an RAF camo bird. I wanted to get hold of some Xtracolour to paint it in, but that seems really difficult to get hold of. Hannants website (the abomination that it is!!) says that they are sold out of RAF Dark Green (X001) which I think is one of the three I need. I have seen comments about shipping being expensive for this stuff as it's deemed hazardous, or something. I have seen mention of Xtracrylic which seems to be a water based equivalent. Are these any good? They don't seem to appear on Hannants website either, mind you.. Any hints on where I could get hold of the gloss paints for RAF camo? Cheers, Al.
  16. Typ L3000S Light Truck ICM 1:35 From 1940 onwards the German army, by standardizing and simplifying the numerous types of trucks, tried to improve the procurement of spare parts and facilitate repairs. The result was the standard 3 ton truck, which all German manufacturer snow used as a basis for construction. This was also the basis on which the motor manufacturer in Cologne produced the "V3000S" from 1941 onwards. Various bodies and sets of equipment were available. A typical recognition feature was the oval radiator grille and one-piece windscreen. In total about 25,000 examples were built. The "V 3000 S" came to be used on all fronts in the Second World War and was indispensable for supplying the troops with goods of all kinds. The Model This is an all new tooling, replacing the rather complicated older releases. The model arrives in a strong box with a separate top sleeve with a nice artist’s representation of the vehicle on the front. Inside, within a large poly bag, are three sprues of light brown styrene and, in a separate poly bag, one clear sprue. On initial inspection the parts are really well moulded, clean, with no sign of flash. There are a number of moulding pips, some of which are on quite fragile looking parts, so care should be taken when removing. The sprue gates attaching items like the cover rails are also quite heavy and I can see these parts breaking if not careful. The build starts with the nicely detailed engine with the block and gearbox halves glued together followed by the addition of the rocker covers, starter motor, alternator, front engine mounts, cooling fan, air filter, cooling pipes, gear stick and other sundry items. The instructions then move on to the chassis rails with the addition of five cross members and rear chassis end piece, to which the towing eye, cover and pin are added. To the top of the main rails the two sub rails are added. The front and rear leaf springs are fitted along with the rear axle and transfer box. Turning the rails over the engine can now be fitted plus the exhaust system, which comprises of seven parts, and looks particularly fragile so it may be an idea to build in situ rather than as a separate assembly the instructions call for. The two driveshafts are then be added, as are the radiator/front chassis end piece. The steering rack assembly is built up using the four parts provided and, if the modeller chooses can be built up so that the front wheels are posable, although this may make it rather fragile, particularly the rear tie rod. After fitting the various brackets and supports as well as the front bumper and tow hooks, it’s onto the wheels, these come as single piece tyres plus inner and outer hubs. There are seven provided, singles for the front, doubles for the rear and a spare which fits on the chassis behind the cab and under the bed The building of the cab begins with filing off the ejection pins marks on the underside of the floor, before fitting the pedals, steering column, steering wheel and handbrake handle. The seat support and cushion is fitted to the floor, whilst the windscreen, instrument panel, with decal instruments, are fitted to the roof/front part of the cab. Onto the rear panel of the cab the seat back and rear screen are attached. The next assembly for the cab is the bonnet, which is made up of left and right hand parts, bonnet and radiator grille. The completed bonnet cannot easily be made to be posed either open, which is a shame. To finish off the front, the mud guards/foot plates are attached along with the doors, which are made of the external panels, door cards, clear parts, and door handles. Last details are the wing mirrors, lights, wipers; grab handles, spade, triangular roof marker, jerry can and its support bracket. The last assembly is the truck bed, with the bed itself being fitted with the side, rear, and front plank sections. On the underside, five lateral strengthening beams, and two longitudinal beams are fitted. The spare wheel is also attached, along with two storage boxes, two three piece Jerry can cages, complete with four piece Jerry can, and the two wheel arch attachment sections. A third storage box and the two wheel arches are then fitted and the assembly is ready to be attached to be attached to the chassis. To complete the build the windscreen wipers, wing mirrors, grab handles, pioneer tools, headlamps, hood ornament and convoy triangle are glued into their respective positions. Decals Apart from the instruments mentioned above, the small decal sheet gives the modeller four options. The decals are nicely printed, clear and in good register with a slightly matt finish. The options:- Typ L3000S, Ukraine, Summer 1941, in Panzer Grey overall Typ L3000S, Russia, Summer 1942, in Panzer Grey overall Typ L3000S, North Africa, Summer 1942, in Africa Corp Brown Overall Typ L3000S, Italy, Summer 1944, in Dark Yellow overall with Olive Green stripey blotches. Conclusion This is another great truck kit from ICM and a much easier build than their previous releases. The details straight from the box are still good, and there is plenty of scope to add extra detail, particularly to the engine and the very empty cargo bed. Once built and weathered this truck will make a nice component to a multi-vehicle diorama, or on its own with a bit of imagination and some figures, one or two of which would have been nice to have been included in the kit. There doesn’t appear to be anything that would trouble anyone other than complete beginners, so I can quite happily recommend this nice and quite interesting truck. Review sample courtesy of
  17. Greetings from the Depths of the Old Cold War. Here is my planned build The recent Hannants re-release of the Gannet ASW complete with bags stuffed full of resin loveliness. Which I'm going to convert into a smart blue COD Bird with these Xtradecals offering which will need slight adjustment to get her to Ark Royals Bird. Luckily although there are no COD pods in 48th HERE is a cracking thread showing how @Derek B made the 72nd masters. Then HERE HERE and HERE are very useful threads on the other differences. My Thanks to all those who contributed to these posts especially @DamienB for his point by point build. Most of what I achieve is because of their help and generosity providing information. There is also THIS and THIS in the very helpful walk round section here on BM, again my Thanks to those who shared information with us. I've got the 4+ Book and am borrowing Warpaint 23 on the Gannet is there anything else that's useful? Is there any sort of manual for the COD.4 especially showing the two seats apparently in the rear cockpit? See you later alligators
  18. Hi, I’m trying to find out where my parcel is that was sent 27 days ago (I received an email from Hannants confirming the 'dispatched' status) and should have been delivered within 5 days. My emails via orders@ and sales@, bar the first, aren’t answered. Furthermore, postal services don't have my address on record for the week in and weeks after which the parcel was supposedly sent, so I fear Hannants never sent it despite entering my order as dispatched in the system - something that can perhaps easily happen when an item is in high demand and needs to be sent within a short time span. EDIT: Case is solved. There was no trace of the package (Dutch post usually gives an internal tracking number to parcels, but still they couldn't locate it, and having worked there, knowing something about the inner workings of mail services, I became quite worried) but in the end this is all down to a couple of mistakes that have nothing to do with Hannants. Thanks to David Hannant for replying on this forum, much appreciated! Jay
  19. Hey, I am a new guy in modelling and I´m asking myself for a long time some questions. 1. I am searching for a shop selling Xtracolor paints, I checked Hannants, Aviation Mega Store, Martola and Falsh-aviation. 2. Is there any way to get BA Blue X322, KLM Light Blue X302, Korean AIr Blue X308, Airbus Industrie Grey X359, MICA 1 X368, Virigin Atlantic Grey X367, Boeing Grey X301 and Corrogard X331? 3. When there aren´t a way, please let me know If there are any alternatives. - Greetings from Germany L.B.
  20. In the latest hot sheet, Hannants say that they are not going to be able to get any more AZ or Sword kits. Presumably this also applies to Admiral and (more importantly) KP. This reads like a problem to my modelling choice, if they are to disappear from the UK altogether. Is this because these companies have arranged for some other distributor in the UK? If so, I can see why Hannants doesn't want to name who it is. Or is there some other reason?
  21. New Sword Lightnings coming soon. Early marks. Im excited.
  22. http://www.hannants.co.uk/product/AMU03672
  23. If you get the chance to be in the area of Lowestoft then a visit to Hannants is highly recommended. Don't be put off by the fairly plain frontage when you approach their car park, just like a fine wine or chocolates, the pleasure is to be found inside the wrapping! The entrance is through the left-hand single door which leads into the mail-order area and reception where you will be asked to sign in. Once signed in you can browse through the decal boxes along the long counter directly in front of the entrance. There is also a seating area for SWMBO's! To get to the main warehouse, where all the kits are, you will need to pass through the reception area and go through the double doors at the back of the room. The staff are really friendly and helpful; they are happy to answer any queries and will leave you to browse through the stock on your own. Each of these shelving units is over 100ft long and stuffed full of kits and aftermarket sets . Just some of the rows and rows of trays containing Aftermarket part sets. You'll need a supermarket trolley here! The kits are stacked floor to ceiling, literally! so there should be something for everyone here.
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