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  1. Sometime in the 1990's I think, I acquired this kit of the Mitsubishi A5M "Claude". It could be by Nichimo but I suspect it is the Fujimi version. I had read that the JNAF put a coat of protective laquer on their carrier aircraft which turned the light grey a brownish colour and the "metal finish" a sort of gold/bronze, though I gather this is now a bit suspect but I tried to replicate it, though smoke from my pipe over the years has also darkened and yellowed it a bit too. At the time I wanted to get a Ki-27 to go with it but the only one available was from Hasegawa and therefore a bit expensive so I did not bother. However ICM released one in about 2007 and I did buy that. I cannot be sure exactly how much I paid but even now they are selling for only £10.80 and I suspect that like my I-16 purchased a few years later it probably cost around £7 so is eligible for this GB. I was hesitant to build it before because like the I-16 it looked a bit complicated up front and the instructions were rather vague, but having just managed the I-16 without major problems I thought I would give it a go. It comes with 4 optional colour schemes/markings, three in light grey overall and one in the camo used in China - 2 greens and a brown on the uppers, but more of that later. It looks to be a fairly quick build except for the considerable amount of detail in and around the engine compartment and like the I-16 little of any of that will be visible so I may cheat this time - we will see. Cheers Pete
  2. Given my current workload I might be pushing my luck but I may be able to slip in one or two more builds. I guess I first started building aircraft kits in around 1956 and for the next few years I built virtually everything Airfix released including their Yak-9D in 1963 and their Il-2 in 1964. By about that time Revell had started issuing some interesting kits also, so I built their I-16 too, but at that point my WWII Russian aircraft building ground to a halt as there was nothing else about for several years unless you count the Airfix P-39Q with optional Russian markings - I built it with US Stars and Bars. Much later, probably about 15 years ago in fact, I picked up the Emhar Lagg-3, Mig -3 and Yak-3, and about 3 or 4 years ago I finally got round to building them together with a replacement Airfix Yak-9D, all my originals having been scrapped I think. 12 years ago I picked up a few more Russian aircraft, the Airfix Pe-2 and another Il-2, the HobbyBoss P-39N with Russian markings which I built earlier in this GB, the AModel La-5FN and this. I have looked up the invoice and it seems it cost me £6.50 in September 2010 from Hannants! It can be built as the type 18, 24 or 28, the main differences being the armament of which more another day. The I-16 first seems to have come to the notice of the Western airforces during the Spanish Civil War when it acquired the nickname of "Rata" or Rat, and although rather small and crude it was perhaps the first low wing monoplane fighter wih a retractable undercarriage anywhere in the world when it first flew at the end of 1933. It was of course obsolete by the start of Operation Barbarossa but still made up the bulk of the fighter force in Russia, and large numbers were either shot down or destroyed on the ground. As you can see there are not many parts and I intend to build it pretty much OOB (how many times have I said that before) - the only complicated part seems to be the front end where ICM have gone somewhat overboard on the engine detail and the cowling looks like it could be problematic - we will see in due course! I have one of their Ki-29 Nate kits and it looks just as complicated if not more so as the MG were apparently inside the lower half of the cowling, so perhaps they expect you to leave at least part of the cowling off which could spell trouble - fortunately I have plenty of filler! Looks like I almost made a start on it several years ago as I have painted the lower centre section in AII blue, but that is as far as I got. In spite of the fact it can in theory be bult in one of 3 versions, the only scheme shown is for a plane of the 72 SAP - Northern Fleet Air Force in summer 1941 though for some reason the decal sheet includes no less than 14 red stars in 2 different types - with and without black outlines - most odd! However I note Hannants are still selling 3 ICM I-16 kits - a type 18, type 24 (this kit) and a type 28 and it is still just under a tenner. I would guess that the sprues are identical and just the decs are different. More if and when I start. Pete
  3. WWII British Trucks (DS3511) 1:35 ICM via Hannants Lets face it trucks will never be as widely like or respected as other armoured vehicles used by the Army, however no Army could do without them for moving men and material around. Tanks can not move without fuel and ammunition and guess what, the trucks deliver them. Infantry often march long distances but will always find it easier to hitch a ride. Here ICM bring together three of their recent new releases in one box. Leyland Retriever 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. 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 version. For this kit there 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. 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. Model W.O.T. 6 Truck 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. This is another new tooling from ICM. The kit has 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. 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. Model W.O.T.8 Truck 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 few were converted to carry Katyusha rockets. In British service they were used as a prime mover for artillery, particularly in North Africa and Italy. 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. This is another new tool from ICM. The kit arrives as eight sprues in grey styrene, five black wheels in flexible plastic, a clear sprue, a small fret of Photo Etch (PE) brass and a tiny decal sheet. 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 wall and in front of the flatbed. 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. The bed's cross-rails mesh with cut-outs in the chassis rails, then the wing mirrors, wipers and grab handles are added to the cab, with the tilt hoops glued across the flatbed, and joined by shortened rails that support the tilt lengthways. You can also build the model with the tilt deployed by using the five parts provided on the sprues, but these don’t show the tubular framework inside, so won’t withstand close scrutiny unless you add some detail in there in the shape of wire or half-round rod. Markings There are two decal options for the vehicle, both of which are olive green with a khaki tilt. Despite being a British vehicle the white star was adopted later in the war as the universal Allies marking, which one option uses. WOT 8 1st Czech Armoured Brigade, Germany, Spring 1945 WOT 8 France, Summer 1944 The decals are printed in the usual ICM style with good register and clarity, but the yellow circles seem a little translucent, so it may be wise to prepare for them with a white base layer. 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, boxing all three of these in one package is very welcome indeed. Very Highly recommended. Available in the UK from importers H G Hannants Ltd. Review sample courtesy of
  4. The box art from the future (release date: 12.08.2021) - ref. 32114 - US Helicopter Pilots (Vietnam War) quite surprisingly doesn't display a Cobra helicopter but a Huey... Though the question: is a 1/32nd Bell UH-1D Huey helicopter kit in the ICM pipe line for 2022? To be followed Source: https://icm.com.ua/figure/us-helicopter-pilots-vietnam-war/ V.P.
  5. 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
  6. ICM is to release in 2021 several variants from the Ryan Firebee. - ref. 48400 - Q-2A (AQM-34B) Firebee with trailer (1 airplane and trailer) Source: https://www.hannants.co.uk/product/ICM48400 - ref. 48401 - Q-2C (BQM-34A) Firebee with trailer (1 airplane and trailer) Source: https://www.hannants.co.uk/product/ICM48401 - ref. 48402 - Q-2A (XM-21, KDA-1) Firebee, US Drone (2 airplanes and pylons) Source: https://www.hannants.co.uk/product/ICM48402 - ref. 48403 - Q-2C (BQM-34A) Firebee, US Drone (2 airplanes and pilons) (100% new molds) NEW - III quarter Source: https://www.hannants.co.uk/product/ICM48403 V.P.
  7. I loved this build, ICM have produced a sublime kit, with great detailing and excellent fit.
  8. ICM 1/35 ZiL-131 KshM in Chernobyl 1986 Kit: ICM 1/35 Chernobyl #1 Radiation monitoring station (ZiL-131 KshM) (#35901) Scale: 1/35 Paints: Vallejo Model Air Aftermarket: Balaton Models resin wheels Weathering: Vallejo, Ammo Mig, AK Been a year in the making, finally finished this. The Chernobyl box came with the nice background and some extra stuff such as a guard post and several figures. Partial WIP can be found here:
  9. 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
  10. ICM is to release in 2020 1/32nd Fiat CR.42 Falco kits - ref. 32020 - Fiat CR.42 Falco, WWII Italian Fighter Source: https://www.hannants.co.uk/product/ICM32020 - ref. 32021 - Fiat CR.42 LW , WWII German Luftwaffe Ground Attack Aircraft Source: https://www.hannants.co.uk/product/ICM32021 - ref. 32022 - Fiat CR.42 LW with German Pilots Source: https://www.hannants.co.uk/product/ICM32022 - ref. 32023 - Fiat CR.42AS, WWII Italian Fighter-Bomber Source: https://www.hannants.co.uk/product/ICM32023 - ref. 32024 - Fiat CR.42CN, WWII Italian Night Fighter Source: https://www.hannants.co.uk/product/ICM32024 - ref. 32025 - Fiat CR.42 Falco with Italian Pilots in tropical uniform NEW - III quarter Source: https://www.hannants.co.uk/product/ICM32025 V.P.
  11. 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
  12. 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
  13. ICM is to release 1/32nd Bell AH-1G Cobra kits - ref. 32060 - Bell AH-1G Cobra (early production), US Attack Helicopter - released Source: https://www.hannants.co.uk/product/ICM32060 - 1/32 - ref. 32061 - Bell AH-1G Cobra (late production), US Attack Helicopter NEW - IV quarter Source: https://www.hannants.co.uk/product/ICM32061 - ref. 32062 - Bell AH-1G Cobra with Vietnam War US Helicopter Pilots NEW - III quarter Source: https://www.hannants.co.uk/product/ICM32062 V P.
  14. https://www.facebook.com/ICM.Models/posts/1508778282648438 Not sure (and tried to do a search and nothing came up) if this has been notied - ICM seem to be teasing a silhouette of a Tiger Moth on their Facebook feed at the moment asking people to guess the plane in 1/32nd scale! Possible incoming announcement of a large scale Tiger Moth?
  15. de Havilland DH.82A Tiger Moth with WWII RAF Cadets (32037) 1:32 ICM The DH.82 Tiger Moth really needs no introduction. Designed by Geoffrey de Havilland and built by the de Havilland Aircraft Company the aircraft served as the the primary trainer for the Royal Air Force from 1932 until the 1950s when it was replaced by another de Havilland product the Chipmunk. Developed from the DH.60 Moth the DH.82 was called the Tiger Moth. The original aircraft was Powered by a 120 hp de Havilland Gipsy III piston engine. The DH.82A was Powered by a 130 hp de Havilland Gipsy Major piston engine and could be fitted with a hood over the rear cockpit for blind flying instruction. Further variants would be the DH.82C fitted with an enclosed hood for cold weather operations in Canada; and the Queen Bee which was an unmanned radio controlled target drone. The Kit This is a welcome new tool kit from ICM. The parts are crisp and well moulded consistent with ICMs modern tooling. The kit arrives on 3 main sprues of parts with a small clear sprue. Construction starts with the modeler drilling 4 holes in each fuselage side. The instrument panels then go in, with instruments being provided as decals, however each is a separate decal and not just one sheet for a panel. Bulkheads then go in behind each cockpit. The fuselage can now be closed up. At the rear the tailplanes go on which is a single part then the area in front of them goes on, which is a different part for each of the two decal options. The rudder can then be attached also (This has the tail skid moulded on). At the front the engine is built up and added to its bearers, The completed unit can then go on the front of the fuselage. The top engine cowl then goes one followed by the sides and at the cockpit openings the fold down sides go on. At the very front the engine front cover goes on. To finish of this section the windscreens can go on, and behind the rear cockpit the blind flying hood if fitted. We now move to the lower wing. This has a single top half with split left/right lowers. First up a number of holes need to be drilled into the wing. The top of the centre wing section from the base of the cockpit. To this part are added the control runs, rudder pedals and control columns. next up the two seats need to be fitted. Once the seats are in the top of the lower wing can be fitted to the fuselage. The struts for the top wing on the engine cowl and wings can now be added in. Now we move to the lower of the top or upper wing. Again this upper wing is split with a single lower part, and left/right uppers. Before the lower part of the upper wing can be fitted again a series of holes must be drilled. This wing can now be fitted while lining up with all the struts. Once this is on the central fuel tank is fitted followed by the left and right upper wings. Flipping the model over then fits the left/right lower main wings, and the engine under cover then goes on. Now the main structure is together we are on the finishing straight so to speak. To the upper wing the leading edge slats are attached and the the lower wing the ailerons. Next up its the turn of the basic undercarriage. The main struts and shocks are all moulded as one part to which the wheels attach, the whole unit then fits to the fuselage where the front and rear bracing struts then go on. At the tail the tailplane bracing struts attach as well. Control for the ailerons then go onto the main wing with control horns going onto the tailplanes and rudder. The prop goes on the front to finish things off. If the modeller wants to rig there model then this is shown throughout the instructions. Decals Two options are provided for on the decal sheet: No.3 Flight Training Sqn, RAF Grantham 1938 No.25 (Polish) Elementary Flyight Training School, Summer 1944 The decals look nicely printed with no issues. Figures This new set from ICM was released on its own, and these are now boxed with the Tiger Moth kit. There is one pilot getting ready for flying, two other cadets and a senior officer with a pipe. In general the moulding is crisp and clean with plenty of detail. Like all of ICM's recent figures these are well sculpted and should build up well. Conclusion It is great to see ICM releasing new tools of aircraft like this in 1/32. Highly recommended. Available in the UK from importers H G Hannants Ltd. Review sample courtesy of
  16. I've started these figures 'in the background', so to speak, so they are going to develop very slowly. I bought them ages ago with the intention of making a dispersal hut diorama based around the Spitfire that I am currently fighting with. Time will tell if anything comes of these intentions. First off, the compulsory box image, followed by the sprue. The letters presumably refer to some sort of colour chart but none came with the box, so I'm winging it, if you'll excuse the pun. The missing pieces are illustrated below. This obviously only a partly finished paint job; I really wanted to get a feel as to whether the colours looked right. Hands are Vallejo 70.860 Medium Fleshtone Uniform is Humbrol 96 RAF blue and life jacket is Humbrol 74 Matt Linen. Any comments welcome.
  17. KDA-1 (Q-2A) Firebee US Drone (48402) 1:48 ICM People think drones are a new thing for the military but in reality they are not. The Firebee was developed by Ryan for the new USAF in 1948 as a jet powered gunnery target with the first flight being in 1951. The USAF Designation was Q-2A, and when the US Navy bought them they designated them KDA-1. The original Firebees were air launched from a modified A-26, or ground launched using a RATO system. The system was later used by the US Army as well. Q-2Bs were fitted with a modified engine for higher altitudes. They were developed over time with the KDA-4 being the main USN version, however differences were mainly internal. The Royal Canadian Air Force purchased 30 KDA-4s which were launched from an Avro Lancaster Mk.10DC. The Kit This kit is a brand new tool from ICM, no doubt as a tie in for their new tool 1/48 Invaders as a Drone controller is due out. They will make interesting models though in their own right, or can be added to other models. The kit arrives on one sprue for the Drone (with 2 in this boxing) The model will be just over 100mm long when built. Here unlike the original boxing there is no ground trailer in the box so these will just be for hanging from a kit as the pylons are on the sprue. Construction is fairly basic and starts with the full length intake/exhaust for the engine. The rear engine part is installed inside the tube and it can then go together. At the front a forward baffle/bulkhead goes in and then the nose bullet goes in front of that. This can then be installed in the main body and it can be closed up. The left and right main wings are two parts upper & lower, these have a V tab on them for where they join inside the main body. The tail planes are single piece. Tip tanks go on the end of each main wing, with arrow shaped end caps on the tail planes. A faring goes on the top of the drone. Decals Three options are provided for on the decal sheet: US Navy XQ-2 Prototype Red/White as seen on the box art. USAF Q-2A Firebee 1951 - Overall Red. USN KDA-1 Firebee 1960 China Lake - Yellow/Red The decals look nicely printed. Conclusion This is a good looking kit which will look good hanging under a model, or built as a standalone model. Highly recommended. Available in the UK from importers H G Hannants Ltd. Review sample courtesy of
  18. AH-1G Cobra (Early Production) US Attack Helicopter ICM 1:32 (32060) Most modellers will instantly recognise the Bell AH-1 Cobra Attack Helicopter. The AH-1 was the first production Gunship or Attack Helicopter to see service. During the Vietnam war the US Army began to see the need for armed helicopter to escort its unarmed UH-1 Hueys into combat. In parallel to this Bell Helicopters had been investigating helicopter gunships as early as the late 1950s. In 1962 Bell displayed a mock up concept to the US Army. This Helicopter featured a 20mm gun pod, and a ball turret mounted grenade launcher. It was felt by the Army to be lightweight, under powered and not suitable. Following this the US Army launched and Advanced Aerial Fire Support System (AAFSS) competition. This competition gave rise to the Lockheed AH-56 Cheyenne heavy attack helicopter. However this proved to be to advanced for its time and was eventually cancelled in 1972 after 10 years of development (some things don't change!). Despite the AAFSS programme Bell stuck with its idea of a smaller, lighter gunship and invested its own money developing the AH-1. They used all of the proven components they could from the UH-1 platform, adding these to a newly designed fuselage. When The US Army therefore asked for pans for an interim gunship for Vietnam Bell was in a fortunate position to be able to offer the AH-1, or the Bell 209 as it was then called. Given the work Bell had already done the programme was completed in a relatively speed eight months and won the evaluation against the competition. In 1966 the US Army signed an initial contract for 110 aircraft. Some slight modifications were made to the production airframes. The heavy armoured glass canopy was replaced by Plexiglas with an improvement in performance. Wider rotor blades were fitted and the original retracting skids were replaced by simple fixed units. The G model was the initial 1966 production model gunship for the US Army, with one 1,400shp (1,000 kW) Avco Lycoming T53-13 turboshaft. Bell built over 1100 AH-1Gs between 1967 and 1973, and the Cobras would go on to fly over a million operational hours in Vietnam, approximately 300 were lost to combat and accidents during the war. The U.S. Marine Corps would use AH-1G Cobra in Vietnam for a short period before acquiring twin-engined AH-1J Cobras. The AH-1 went on to serve the US Army until it was replaced by the AH-64 Apache. The last one leaving active service in 1999. The Kit This is a brand new kit from ICM, and their first helicopter kit. The quality of the moulding is first rate from ICM with fine engraved panel lines and nice rivet detail on the tail boom and tail. While this boxing is the the early G you can see from the sprues that other versions will be along as there is the opposite handed tail, different landing skids, an upturned exhaust, different winglets and TOW missiles on the weapons sprures. The kit arrives on 5 main sprues of grey plastic and a clear sprue. As well as the main helicopter and armaments, the kit also comes with the ground handling attachments for the skids, something often missing from kits. While there is good detail on the kit and the option to open up the engine and gearbox area, this area is not massively detailed and will open itself up for the super detailer if they want. Work starts conventionally in the cockpit. The two five part armoured seats are built up and added into the main cockpit tub. Tail controls are added to the floor ,and for the pilots station a cyclic and collective columns go it. For the front seater the weapons control column is made up ad fitted in. Side controllers are also fitted for the gunner. Instrument panels and coamings go in for both stations with instruments being provided as decals. Now the cockpit is complete the visible parts of the engine/gear box and its compartment are built up. This is followed up by parts for the rotor controls. The tails are added onto the fuselage. Here there is quite a large part which overlaps to compete a good solid join. The tail rotor needs attaching to fuselage half before closing up if you want it to move. The engine / gear box parts are fitted into the right fuselage followed by the cockpit and cockpit rear bulkhead parts. The fuselage can now be closed up with additional cockpit armour panels being fitted at each side. At the rear of the engine housing the exhaust part goes in. At the front of the helo the nose goes on, being careful to choose the right parts for the decal option being modelled. Turning things over the large central fuselage insert goes on with additional parts at the nose. The chin turret is now fitted with either one or two miniguns depending on your decal option. A light goes behind the turret. The final exhaust ring goes on the back and the tip of the tail is added. Next up we concentrate on the stub wings. The two wings are built up and the weapons pylons are fitted. These are fitted to the fuselage along with the rear stabilisers towards the tail. The landing skids can then be fitted. Next up the large clear canopy parts go on. A sight is fitted to the front of the central glazing section. The front and rear large side canopy parts are fitted, these can be open or closed as need by the modeller. The access panels can be fitted to each side of the open engine/gear box area; again these can be open or closed as required. We now move to the main rotor. Each of the two blades are split upper/lower, and they are joined together. The central rotor head is made from tow parts, these are upper and lower, these sandwich in the rotor blades. Once these are on the control arms to the swashplate are then added along with the central mounting shaft. The rotor this then mounted. To finish off armaments can be added to the pylons as needed. The kit provides Two M157 7 shot rocket pods, two M158 7 shot rocket pods, two M200 19 shot rocket pods; and two M18 minigun pods. If the modeller want to use them then two pairs of ground handling wheels can be made up and attached to the back of the skids, Towing bars then can be attached to the front of the skids. Decals The decal sheet is in house from ICM, the declas look thin, in register and have minimal carrier film. 4 Options are included; 5728/47 "Blue Max", 2nd Battalion, 20th Aerial Rocket Artillery Regiment. 66-15252 / 15 - Presumed to be part of the Cobra NETT (New Equipment Transition Team) 66-15310, B Battery, 2nd Battalion, 20th Aerial Rocket Artillery Regiment., 1st Cavalry Division (Air mobile) originally from Cobra NETT and featured a two tone trial camouflage scheme. 67-15762 / "Executioner", 235th Air Cavalry, Capt Lou Bouault (Aircraft commander), Daub Ting, November 1969. Conclusion This is another great looking kit from ICM which great tooling and possibilities for future variants on the sprues. Very Highly recommended. Available in the UK from importers H G Hannants Ltd. Review sample courtesy of
  19. Chernobyl #5 Evacuation (35905) 1:35 ICM via Hannants After the partial core meltdown at Chernobyl in 1986, a massive clean-up operation was begun almost immediately to help damp down the radiation in order to help clear away and reduce the contamination that had escaped the burning reactor after the accident. Due t the highly radioactive surrounding a large area around the plant extending 30 kms was evacuate. This area of 2,827 square km was later extended to 4,143 square km. The evacuation of civilians was not immediate following the accident, but was begun once the seriousness of the accident was realised. Originally people were told they would only be gone for 3 days and to take minimal belongings, however this was only to speed up the evacuation as those in charge knew people would not be returning. Over 53,000 people mainly from Pripyat were evacuated at the start, however the expanding area of evacuation in the time following the accident meant over 135,000 people would be displaced. The Kit This figure set depicts a group of 5 evacuees, and is part of the recent Chernobyl themed series that ICM have been releasing lately. The kit arrives in a slim, top-opening box that is larger than the usual figure box, due to the cardboard diorama base that is included. It’s a new tool, so the sculpting and injection-moulding is thoroughly modern, with excellent detail. The background is also very effective for its simplicity. The five figures are 4 adults and one child with accompanying suitcases and bags. As usual with ICM figures their sculpting is exceptional with crisp detail and sensible parts breakdown into torso, legs, arms, heads etc The folding backdrop is made from a single large piece of card that has been pre-folded in three places to enable easy construction, with a tab to join the right side to the base and create the three-sides diorama. It is well-painted and has a plastic construction entrance to the building to build up and add if the modeler wants to. Conclusion Another great Chernobyl themed set that opens up many diorama possibilities separately, or when coupled with some of the other kits in their range. It was a horrific disaster that has lingering effects even today, and we would do well to remember it to avoid similar catastrophes in the future. Very highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  20. US Pilots & Ground Personnel (Vietnam War) ICM 1:48 (48087) Figures This new set from ICMs is no doubt designed for their new upcoming 1/48 scale kits, but can be used elsewhere. There is two pilot getting ready for flying, one carrying as helmet. Also in the set is another officer figure (possibly maintenance) also with two ground crew. The uniforms are Vietnam era and the sculpting is up to ICM's high standards. Conclusion This is another great set from ICM and looks like a direct add on for their new kits (though they can be used elsewhere) Highly recommended. Available in the UK from importers H G Hannants Ltd. Review sample courtesy of
  21. BQM-34A (Q-2C) Firebee with trailer (48401) 1:48 ICM People think drones are a new thing for the military but in reality they are not. The Firebee was developed by Ryan for the new USAF in 1948 as a jet powered gunnery target with the first flight being in 1951. The USAF Designation was Q-2A, and when the US Navy bought them they designated them KDA-1. The original Firebees were air launched from a modified A-26, or ground launched using a RATO system. The system was later used by the US Army as well. Q-2Bs were fitted with a modified engine for higher altitudes. They were developed over time with the KDA-4 being the main USN version, however differences were mainly internal. The Royal Canadian Air Force purchased 30 KDA-4s which were launched from an Avro Lancaster Mk.10DC. In the late 1950s the USAF Awarded Ryan a contract for a new second generation Firebee this would become the BQM-34A or Q-2C. This was a bigger airframe with longer wings. One of the main recongition features was the fact the original nose intake was replaced by a chin intake for the new Continental J69-T-29A turbojet. As well as the USAF and USN the US Army had a ground launched (With Rocket assist) designated the MQM-34D, this version having a longer wing than the USAF & USSN ones. The main launch aircraft for these new drones was the DC-130. While initial production ended in 1982 the production line was re-opened in 1989 to produce more targets. These BQM-34S featured improved avionics and a new J85-GE-100 engine. The Kit This kit is a brand new tool from ICM, following on from their original kit. Like that a trailer is also supplied. These will also no doubt be a nice addition to one of their Invader kits at some point The kit arrives on one sprue for the Drone, and a second for the trailer. The model will be just over 145mm long when built. Construction is fairly basic and starts with the full length intake/exhaust for the engine. The engine is installed inside the main body and it can be closed up, a triangular inert goes in the top. The left and right main wings are single parts, these have tabs on them for where they join inside the main body to lock together. The tail planes are also single part with tabs again to lock in place. single piece. End plates are added to the tail planes and the rudder goes on the top. The ground handling trolley is more complicated than the original. the main U support frame is built up then this adds to the side rails with a rear cross member for strength. Two axle supports go on, and then the wheels fit to these. A tow bar adds to the front. Decals Three options are provided for on the decal sheet: USN BMQ-34, Naval Base Ventura County (overall red as the box art) USN BMQ-34, 36 Mission markings. (Red with Yellow wingtips and a checker board tail) USAF BQM-34, Wallace Air Station. (Red with Yellow wingtips) USN BQM-34, circa 2000s in overall white. The decals look nicely printed, in register with no issues. Conclusion This is a good looking kit which will look good hanging under a model, or built as a standalone model. Highly recommended. Available in the UK from importers H G Hannants Ltd. Review sample courtesy of
  22. Here is my latest diorama, showing a JU-87B at Caen in France during August 1940. The aircraft is from Italeri, Kubelwagen and 2 figures from Tamiya and the rest of the figures are from ICM. Hope you like it, and all comments welcome
  23. Hi All Here's the ICM 1/35 KHD Maultier half track truck. This was my first ICM kit and all went well apart from the strangely soft plastic it is moulded from. The chassis flexes a bit which has made the cab ever so slightly off. Overall an enjoyable build though. I used Tamiya Lacquer for the first time and its certainly a bit more durable than acrylic. The truck is meant to represent a vehicle of the workshop company of 24 Panzer division but the load itself may have some US items in there as I just raided the spares box for workshop type items. Unfortunately the link and length tracks are impossible to sag and I didn't want to resort to Fruils. Usual C&C welcome Cheers David
  24. de Havilland DH.82A Tiger Moth (32035) 1:32 ICM The DH.82 Tiger Moth really needs no introduction. Designed by Geoffrey de Havilland and built by the de Havilland Aircraft Company the aircraft served as the the primary trainer for the Royal Air Force from 1932 until the 1950s when it was replaced by another de Havilland product the Chipmunk. Developed from the DH.60 Moth the DH.82 was called the Tiger Moth. The original aircraft was Powered by a 120 hp de Havilland Gipsy III piston engine. The DH.82A was Powered by a 130 hp de Havilland Gipsy Major piston engine and could be fitted with a hood over the rear cockpit for blind flying instruction. Further variants would be the DH.82C fitted with an enclosed hood for cold weather operations in Canada; and the Queen Bee which was an unmanned radio controlled target drone. The Kit This is a welcome new tool kit from ICM. The parts are crisp and well moulded consistent with ICMs modern tooling. The kit arrives on 3 main sprues of parts with a small clear sprue. Construction starts with the modeler drilling 4 holes in each fuselage side. The instrument panels then go in, with instruments being provided as decals, however each is a separate decal and not just one sheet for a panel. Bulkheads then go in behind each cockpit. The fuselage can now be closed up. At the rear the tailplanes go on which is a single part then the area in front of them goes on, which is a different part for each of the two decal options. The rudder can then be attached also (This has the tail skid moulded on). At the front the engine is built up and added to its bearers, The completed unit can then go on the front of the fuselage. The top engine cowl then goes one followed by the sides and at the cockpit openings the fold down sides go on. At the very front the engine front cover goes on. To finish of this section the windscreens can go on, and behind the rear cockpit the blind flying hood if fitted. We now move to the lower wing. This has a single top half with split left/right lowers. First up a number of holes need to be drilled into the wing. The top of the centre wing section from the base of the cockpit. To this part are added the control runs, rudder pedals and control columns. next up the two seats need to be fitted. Once the seats are in the top of the lower wing can be fitted to the fuselage. The struts for the top wing on the engine cowl and wings can now be added in. Now we move to the lower of the top or upper wing. Again this upper wing is split with a single lower part, and left/right uppers. Before the lower part of the upper wing can be fitted again a series of holes must be drilled. This wing can now be fitted while lining up with all the struts. Once this is on the central fuel tank is fitted followed by the left and right upper wings. Flipping the model over then fits the left/right lower main wings, and the engine under cover then goes on. Now the main structure is together we are on the finishing straight so to speak. To the upper wing the leading edge slats are attached and the the lower wing the ailerons. Next up its the turn of the basic undercarriage. The main struts and shocks are all moulded as one part to which the wheels attach, the whole unit then fits to the fuselage where the front and rear bracing struts then go on. At the tail the tailplane bracing struts attach as well. Control for the ailerons then go onto the main wing with control horns going onto the tailplanes and rudder. The prop goes on the front to finish things off. If the modeller wants to rig there model then this is shown throughout the instructions. Decals Two options are provided for on the decal sheet: No.3 Flight Training Sqn, RAF Grantham 1938 No.25 (Polish) Elementary Flyight Training School, Summer 1944 The decals look nicely printed with no issues. Conclusion It is great to see ICM releasing new tools of aircraft like this in 1/32. Highly recommended. Available in the UK from importers H G Hannants Ltd. Review sample courtesy of
  25. le.gl.Einheits - Pkw (Kfz.1) German Personnel Car (35582) 1:35 ICM via Hannants Ltd 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 however complicated and unreliable, so was eventually replaced by the ubiquitous Kubelwagen. The Kit This is a re-release of their kit (35581) but with new parts for a deployed soft-top roof, which hasn't yet been available with only the stowed roof released so far. The box contains five sprues in grey styrene plus a single clear sprue and decal sheet, not forgetting the instructions with integral painting guide at the rear. The additional sprue contains the new parts for the roof, but you'll still find the retracted roof parts on the original sprues in case you change your mind. New Sprue Construction begins with the chassis, which 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 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 is still available if you decide you don't want to install the new one. If you do, and that's probably the main reason you would chose this boxing, the semi-rigid side panels with the glazing panels that mostly stayed on the sprues previously are inserted into the frames which are then attached to the sills and the windscreen. The rear of the hood has a small rectangular window inserted into the flat panel, then has the corners attached before the assembly is fitted to the rear of the car. The external retraction frame drops into grooves in the sides of the rear hood, and finally the top fits on to complete the roof. Of all the joins on the hood the only ones that may need sanding and/or filling are those on the corners at the rear, as the top panel has a handy overlap so has a natural step that matches the kit's panel. 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, and these haven't been changed from the earlier boxing, as they're essentially the same vehicles but with the hood up! 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 Conclusion A welcome addition to the Kfz.1 line from ICM, and perfect for a rainy day... literally! Great detail, crystal clear parts and only a few ejector pin marks on the hood parts if you think they'll be visible. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
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