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  1. AH-1G Arctic Cobra ICM 1:32 (32063) 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 plans 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 AH-1G could be fitted with the The M-35 Gun System, this was a single M195 20mm cannon (a short-barrelled version of the six-barrel M61A1 Vulcan) on the port inboard pylon of the AH-1G. 950 rounds of ammunition were stored in boxes faired to the side of the aircraft. The system was primarily pilot controlled, but featured dual controls to be either pilot or gunner controlled. For this purpose the pilot was provided with a M73 sight. Some Cobras were tested by the US Army in low temperature conditions in Alaska. These were painted white with Arctic Red markings, these were known as Arctic Cobras. 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. This boxing comes with an additional sprue for the M-35 Gun System. 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. The side applique armour panels can be fitted to the model if needed as these parts are marked as optional. 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 (if modelling option 3 then the anti IR upturned exhaust is fitted) 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. If fitting the M-35 Gun System then one of the pylons is left of the left stub wing as the gun fits directly to the inboard station here. The two large ammunition panniers fit to each side of the fuselage. A cross feed links the two sides at the front, and at the rear the feed to gun itself goes on. Decals The decal sheet is in house from ICM, the decals look thin, in register and have minimal carrier film. 3 Options are included; 69-16440, Elmendorf AFB, Alaska 1975 67-15767, 120th Aviation Co. "artic Knights", Fort Richardson, Alaska 1973 66-15250, Fort Richardson, Alaska 1968 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
  2. ICM has announced a new diorama set with a re-release from its old (2008) 1/72nd MiG-29 "9-13" Fulcrum-C". - ref. - Soviet military airfield 1980s - Mikoyan MiG-29 "9-13", APA-50M (ZiL-131), ATZ-5 and Soviet PAG-14 Airfield Plates - Diorama Set - NEW - release Q4 2022 Source: https://www.hannants.co.uk/product/ICMDS7203 V.P.
  3. Here's my entry the Dornier Do17 Z10, its not going to look very different to my Z7 so I'm considering doing some extreme weathering to it as a plane that lasted longer than it should have. It will give me an opportunity to experiment and develop my painting techniques. This model will be the 2nd to last example of the Dornier Night Fighters in my collection.
  4. About time I got my build up and running or I won't stand a chance of finishing it before my next GB commitment looms into view! I got this kit last year on an offer from Jadlam and it ended up costing me the same as the standard package from ICM but comes with masks, etched brass, resin wheels and some more interesting colour schemes. I quite like the box art too. Just to prove that the goodies are still securely wrapped; Certainly fills the box doesn't it. Here's the etched set, not usually a fan of this stuff but it would be wrong to not try to use it; And the resin goodies, wheels and conversion parts for one of the options; Speaking of options, most of the ones are for aircraft from the Battle of Britain in the standard 70/71/65 scheme (meh) but there are others which appeal to me, starting with this pair; I do like the look of the one with the black undersides, and no it hasn't got a bad case of the mumps those are flotation devices as the Z-5 was operated over water a lot and they are in the resin goody bag. I like the Greece based one because of the large theatre markings and I have an interest in the MTO, which brings me nicely onto the next set of possibilities; A proper MTO finish! I like that sand one a lot. Those of you who know my builds will also know that I have a thing for temporary Winter schemes too, so both these appeal. Looks like a have a difficult decision to make in the near future! There is also a Finnish option on the decal sheet but I built an ICM Z-2 as a Finnish Z-3 5 years ago; I enjoyed that build and can't see why this one should be any different, time to pull my finger out and get started! Craig.
  5. American Civil War Confederate Infantry Set #2 (35024) 1:35 ICM via Hannants Ltd The American Civil War was triggered partly by slavery, and the fact that the Northern or Union states had abolished it, while the South or Confederate states wanted to retain the status quo and keep their slaves by seceding from the union. It started in April 1861 and lasted for four years, at the end of which General Lee signed the surrender almost exactly on the four-year anniversary. By that time much of the infrastructure of the Southern US was in ruins, although some Confederate soldiers carried on fighting until later that year. Some four million slaves were released, with their rights established during the following Reconstruction era, although progress is still ongoing. The Kit This is the fifth set from ICM depicting the American Civil War in the predominant AFV scale, so that if you have a cross-over of interests, the two types of models won’t look out of place side-by-side in your cabinet. Union & Confederate Soldiers, a Civil War arms set and a second set of Union fighters, now it is time for a second set of Confederate soldiers. This set arrives in ICM’s smaller top-opening box with captive inner lid, and inside are three sprues of grey styrene, two of which were previously included in the armament set. The instructions consist of drawings of each soldier with part numbers in black, and paint codes called out by a letter within a small red box. This relates to a table under the sprue diagrams over the page, giving colour swatches, colour names, ICM’s own paint codes, plus Revell and Tamiya codes that should enable most modellers to find an equivalent even if they don’t have any of those brands. This set, like those preceding it, contains parts for four figures of the Confederate army, who generally wore a grey tunic and pants, as opposed to the blue tunics of the Union. The figures are shown in battle, striking various action poses. One man is wearing his bedroll diagonally across his chest and is bringing the bayonet of his rifle down over his head in a stabbing motion, another is carrying out a similar action but with his butt-stock, while the third uniformed soldier is running forward with his bayoneted rifle held to the front. The fourth soldier is not in uniform, but is wearing civilian clothes and is also wearing a bedroll round his torso, defending himself with his rifle braced in both arms across his body. As always with ICM, the sculpting is excellent, especially the faces, moulding clean, with excellent natural poses and drape of materials. Parts breakdown is sensible and generally along the seamlines of garments, with separate arms, heads, torso, legs and various types of hats. Their equivalent of modern-day webbing is also present on the sprues, looking quite ungainly in comparison, as do the massive flint-lock rifles, made even longer by their bayonets. The weapons are on the two smaller sprues, along with pouches, water bottles, mugs, loose bayonets, holstered and loose pistols, swords in and out of scabbards, and even a trumpet for rudimentary battlefield communications. Conclusion If you’re interested in the American Civil War, and a lot of people are, these figures are excellent examples of the Confederate side of things, with superb-looking figures that should look even better once suitably painted. Highly recommended. Available in the UK from importers H G Hannants Ltd. Currently out of stock, but there’s a 10% reduction for pre-orders for the next shipment. Review sample courtesy of
  6. I loved this build, ICM have produced a sublime kit, with great detailing and excellent fit.
  7. 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 - released Source: https://www.hannants.co.uk/product/ICM32061 - ref. 32062 - Bell AH-1G Cobra with Vietnam War US Helicopter Pilots - released Source: https://www.hannants.co.uk/product/ICM32062 Special Hobby boxing - ref. SH32082 - Bell AH-1G Cobra "Early Tails over Nam" V P.
  8. For my entry I’ll be doing yet another ICM Dornier, this time a Do 215B-5 nightfighter in the one true scale. I’ll be doing Helmut Lent’s machine which fits into my aircraft of the aces theme. Here’s the box and sprues and a bit of aftermarket. As I’m going away for my first holiday away in over two years for the whole of May so I may not start until I get home. AW
  9. ICM is to release 1/48th Gotha Go-242 kits. Gliders to put alongside the ICM's 1/48th Heinkel He.111Z Zwilling, I suppose! - ref. 48225 - Gotha Go-242B, WWII German Landing Glider (100% new molds) - March2022 Source: https://www.hannants.co.uk/product/ICM48225 - ref. 48226 - Gotha Go 242A, WWII German Landing Glider Source: https://www.hannants.co.uk/product/ICM48226 V.P.
  10. Gotha Go.242B Glider (48225) 1:48 ICM via Hannants Germany broke new ground in WWII in the successful use of Paratroop landings in gliders that met with some initial successes, although that method of delivering soldiers and materiel hasn’t seen much use since the end of WWII, possibly following the experiences of the Allies later in the war and around D-Day. Gotha created the small DFS 230 that was used by Fallschirmjager units during the early part of the war, and the RLM subsequently issued a specification for a larger glider that could carry 20 fully equipped troops into action, or alternatively bring equipment of an equivalent weight to the battle. Gotha’s offering was a simple tapered box on wings, but with a twin-tail boom that allowed the cargo version to unload from the rear using a simple flip-up rear fuselage, and later the troop carrier could also unload from the rear with the addition of new doors. The type entered service soon after its initial flight in 1941, with over 1,500 manufactured in various guises. The initial A series was split into troop and cargo types, with the following B series being improved from experience and sporting upgraded landing gear, plus double rear doors for faster troop exit. A further C series was intended for water landings using a boat-shaped hull to carry explosive-laden small boats to maritime targets, although that never reached service. Gotha later added engines in nacelles that extended the twin booms past the leading edge of the wings, allowing it to get aloft under its own power, rather than being towed by a Heinkel He.111 or adapted Stuka, but take-off was marginal with a heavy load, so RATO bottles were developed to give the aircraft an extra boost. The Kit This is a brand-new kit of this boxy glider, and the first of a number of variants no doubt. Despite their difficulties at the moment, ICM have worked hard to keep on producing kits, and our collective hats have to go off to them for that. The kit arrives in a top-opening box that has the Ukrainian flag emblazoned in the top right corner, and a painting showing the aircraft from below with its jettisonable landing gear clearly visible. The outer lid is extremely tight, and if you can get it off the usual captive inner lid is exposed, with eight sprues in grey styrene, one of clear parts, the instruction booklet in spot colour, and a long narrow decal sheet. The first thing that’s evident on perusal of the sprues is that the aircraft is larger than I expected, and the designers at ICM have put a lot of effort into the detail that’s moulded-into the model, especially the sections that are fabric over a tubular framework. Construction begins with the large floor space, which is made up from the fabric outer skin with visible ribbing, onto which the floor surface added in two sections, after drilling a number of 1mm holes in the skin first. The forward section is then enclosed by a tubular framework that stops at the centre bulkhead, which also has short spars moulded-in, with a bulkhead between the passenger and pilot sections. The twenty passenger seats are each made from horizontal and vertical sections that are then arranged into two rows of 10 and are fitted out with diagonal braces that mate with the rear legs, plus a length of top brackets that allow the seats to stand clear of the wall. Both rows are glued into the passenger compartment either side of the central spar, and a triangular section of framework is attached to the aft section of the area, following which the side walls are made up from two parts each and a number of windows that are applied from the inside. These are fixed to the floor assembly along with the roof once the cockpit is made up. Note that there are a few ejector-pin marks to erase on the interior if you're interested. Punched discs of styrene sheet, CA, or filler should do the trick. This is a training variant, so the controls are duplicated on both sides of the cockpit, starting with a well-detailed pair of rudder pedals that each comprise of four parts. The control column differs between stations, with the trainee having a two-part right-angle column with separate yoke, while the trainer has a straight stick for when he needs to take over. The seats differ too, as the trainee has a sturdier five-part seat that has an adjustment wheel, while the instructor has a simple two-part affair. These are all inserted onto a cockpit floor that is placed within the front of the fuselage at the time when the sides and roof are both added with a single tube bracing the top of the diagonal rear divide. The insertion and addition of the sidewalls are shown out of order in the instructions, but allowances have to be made for the little things under the circumstances. The cockpit surround is incomplete at this stage, having the nose added along with a simple instrument panel on a pair of supports fitted, then underneath a clear window is inserted beneath the instructor’s feet, plus two panels of side glazing and a single windscreen part that has an optional 0.8mm hole drilled in it before fitting if you are mounting the guns. Take it easy if you decide that’s the option for you, as clear styrene is much easier to damage because of its brittle nature. Light pressure and plenty of patience is the way to go. The wings of the 242 are necessarily long, as once the towing aircraft cuts it loose, the only way is down, so a long glide slope is an absolute necessity. The wings are each moulded as top and bottom skins, which have some lovely ribbing and other details moulded-in as you can see above, and have the flying surfaces as separate sub-assemblies of two parts each. Once the halves are joined, they have the front fairings of the booms added top and bottom, then have the two flap sections and long ailerons slotted into the trailing edges. This is repeated twice of course, and the two wings are slotted onto their projecting spar sections, taking care to put them on with the leading edges and canopy pointing in the same direction. A pair of supports are added underneath in recessed sockets, although I’d be tempted to leave those off until after main painting was complete so they don’t get damaged. The aft section of the fuselage is missing at this stage, giving it the look of a “ute”, but this part is next to be assembled. The tapering sides have windows inserted from inside and the internal framework added, then they are spaced apart by three more framework sections, after which the lower part with window, internal floor with steps, and roof with framework and observation window (the reason for the steps) added, to be finished off with a transparent end cap giving even better field of view, just in case they’re being stalked by a fighter from behind. The door pivots upward between the booms, and can either be glued closed, or propped open with five supports holding it at the correct angle. The booms are simple and made from two parts each, with separate rudders and a single elevator panel with separate flying surface. The instructions show the completed assembly being offered up to the rear of the model, but it may be more sensible to glue one boom in place first, then add the other with the elevator once the glue is set on the first boom. A number of actuators and mass balances are added all around the flying surfaces, but first the landing gear struts are added, beginning with the two main gear legs that are simple two-part assemblies with a corrugated gaiter over the suspension tube. The nose gear is a strange affair, made from a two-part yoke that traps the wheel between it, with a pair of V-shaped braces (moulded as one part) at the front, which fixes to the underside of the nose. The main wheels and nose wheel are each are two parts, and the former slide over the short axles to complete the gear. The final parts are used for two optional self-defence machine guns that are fixed to the windscreen and in front of the observation window in the aft section of the fuselage. Markings There are two decal options on the sheet, both very similar and sporting yellow wingtips with a tail band in the same colour. ICM have also included a printed template for masking the copious glazing that’s present on this aircraft, which should come in handy, and save some hassle, even if you’re OK with masking things up yourself. From the box you can build one of the following: Gotha Go.242B-2 Schleppgruppe 4, 1943 Gotha Go.242B-2 Germany, 1942 Decals are by ICM’s usual partner, which is a guarantee of good registration, sharpness and colour density, with a thin gloss carrier film cut close to the printed areas. Conclusion This is cool. The side profile alone sells it to me, but I do like the weird stuff. The detail is excellent, and apart from wishing there was a little more variety in markings options, it’s a big thumbs up for a kit that has been produced under very difficult circumstances. Very highly recommended. Available in the UK from importers H G Hannants Ltd. Review sample courtesy of
  11. At the Moscow "Мир детства 2021" expo, ICM has announced a 1/35th Sikorsky CH-54 Tarhe kit for 2022. Source: AlexGRD V.P.
  12. Benz Patent-Motorwagen 1886 (24042) 1:24 ICM Easy Version We’ve been addicted to petroleum for over a century now, but in the late 1800s the predominant motive power source was still steam, although that simply a transfer another form of fossil fuel, usually coal. When Karl Benz applied for a patent for his Motorwagen in 1885, it became the first petrol-powered production vehicle that was designed from the outset to use this method of propulsion. When you look at its three-wheel design it appears to have been the product of the mating between a horse carriage, a bicycle and a grandfather clock, with a little bit of chaise longue thrown in for good measure. A rear-mounted engine with a solitary cylinder, two seats without any weather protection and a kind of tiller for steering doesn’t really gel with our understanding of what represents a car these days, but they had to start somewhere. There were only 25 made, but the precedent had been set and travelling at a heady 16kmh was found to be quite fun and started us down the long road to becoming die-hard petrol-heads, much to our environment’s distress. The Kit This is a partial re-tooling of ICM’s 2020 kit of this pivotal vehicle, and although it was way out of my usual wheel-house I was quite taken with it, especially when I opened the box to reveal the quality of the contents. This boxing proudly bears the Ukrainian flag in the top right corner, and the build has been simplified to include styrene spoked wheels to appeal to those that were perhaps put off by the Photo-Etch (PE) spokes and drive-chain of the original boxing. This boxing has one main sprue for the majority of the parts, with two new smaller sprues in the same grey styrene for the wheels and chain. We have a stapled-together colour inkjet printed instruction booklet with our boxing, which may be down to the fact that things are very difficult in the Ukraine at time of writing, thanks to Russia’s efforts (that’s all I’m going to say). The fact that ICM are still able to produce models at all is an amazing feat, so more power to their elbow, and also to the rest of Ukraine with their current struggle. This boxing has styrene moulded spoked wheels that should appeal to folks that either don’t like PE, don’t want to spend the time putting the multi-media wheels together, or for whatever other reasons known or unknown. Instead of wrangling the mixture of PE spokes and styrene tyres, you just have to glue two styrene halves together and make sure you align them so your tyres have the correct tubular carcass profile. Construction begins with the subframe and suspension, which looks more like a carriage than a chassis. Leaf-springs support the main axle beneath the slatted foot well, and an additional frame is applied to the rear with a set of three small pulley-wheel parts fit on a bar and form a transfer point for the drive-belt that’s added later, with a choice of two styles for the centre section. At the very rear of the chassis is a stub-axle that mounts a huge flywheel made up from two parts to create a rim, then the single-cylindered engine is built, bearing more than a passing resemblance to an air compressor that you might have under your desk somewhere. There are a few colour choices called out along the way, and the finished assembly is then mounted on the cross-rail, overhanging the flywheel. Various small ancillary parts are added to the engine “compartment”, another drive pulley is mounted perpendicular to the large flywheel, then the two are joined by the drive band, which you can make up from the two straps on the sprue, or by creating your own that fully wraps around the pulleys for a more realistic look. A toolbox is added next to the engine, then fuel and radiator tanks are built and installed along with their hosing. There is a surrounding frame for the seat added to the small upstands on the chassis, which holds the moulded upholstered cushions to which the framed back and side-rests are fixed, with extra padding attached to the back and arms before it is inserted and glued in place. The power that has been transferred to an axle under the foot well is sent to the wheels by a bike-style chain, which is moulded in styrene with the rings as well as the links, having one per side. The wheels are each made from two halves that have half of the tubular tyre moulded into the rim, so their assembly is straight forward and includes zero PE. The shape of the parts also sets the correct dish to the wheels with a hub added like a bike wheel. There are two large wheels and one small and it would be well worth scraping the seams and painting the insides of the spokes beforehand. The main wheels slot straight onto the axle, while the front wheel is clamped in place by a two-part yoke, much like a set of forks on a bike. In order to steer the vehicle, the tiller is made up from a few parts and slots into the footwell floor, with a small step added to the right front corner of the well to ease access. A steering linkage joins the fork and tiller together, a small adjustment wheel projects from the footwell, possibly a fuel valve? I don’t know, as I’m not quite that knowledgeable on the subject, and it was before my time. The final part is a long brake lever, which is probably intended to make up for the lack of servo assistance by using leverage. Markings There are no decals in the box again, as there isn’t enough of a vehicle for anything other than a lick of paint. The colours for each part are called out in boxed letters as the build progresses, and that’s a very good idea for such a stripped-down framework with assemblies strapped to it. The codes refer back to a chart on the front of the booklet that gives ICM’s own paint brand, Revell and Tamiya codes plus the colour names in English and Ukrainian. Conclusion The original was a totally left-field hit from my point of view, and this boxing although simplified slightly is still well detailed, very cool and just as endearing. Extremely highly recommended. Available in the UK from importers H G Hannants Ltd. Review sample courtesy of
  13. ICM is to release 1/48th Douglas B-26K Counter Invader kits. - ref. 48279 - Douglas B-26K Counter Invader, USAF Vietnam War Attack Aircraft - released Source: https://www.hannants.co.uk/product/ICM48279 - ref. 48280 - Douglas B-26K with USAF Pilots & Ground Personnel NEW - released Source: https://www.hannants.co.uk/product/ICM48280 V.P.
  14. This is ICM's recently released AC-40 Firetruck, which is a re-tool of their previous Zil-131 truck. The real thing dates back to the early '70's, although the 137A upgrade represented by the kit first appeared in '84. They're still in extensive use in Russia and the former bloc countries, and the marking option I went with is for a fairly current vehicle based in Vinnytsia, Ukraine. It's a pretty good kit overall, although a few errors with the parts and instructions seem to have crept in during the re-tooling from the basic Zil truck. The only really weak point are the vinyl tyres, which I had to essentially melt to remove the ragged moulding line around the tread. They'd be much better swapped with resin replacements. The real things seem to be quite patchy and faded, so I tried to represent that with the paint job and weathering. Thanks for looking Andy
  15. Just because you can never have too many Spitfires, while waiting for paint to dry on my triple Malta Spitfire builds, I started an ICM Spitfire Mk IXc from the movie 'Battle of Britain'. The ICM kit is no Eduards, but is fairly accurate in outline, (and is in the stash, anyhow). I started with the wings, removing the canons, canon bulges, and lots of filling, sanding, and rescribing. I also had to shorten the landing gear legs quite a bit, replace the inaccurate wheels, and reprofile the fat propeller blades. I filled the lower cockpit wing roots and added stringers, scratch built a throttle and landing gear control, and then turned to the ugly seat. it needed thinning, new sides, bottom and front, as well as a back pad. I'm using an Eduard's photo etch QR belt (this is 1969, after all), and also using a left over tubular exhaust from an Eduard's kit. I've got some paint on the interior, so close up can begin ... Oh yes, I also had to do something with the weird square spade grip! It's going to be open canopy, but with the access door closed, Robert Shaw's 'Rabbit leader' has a nice set of crosses across the door that I don't want to loose! Thanks for looking, Colin
  16. 10.5cm leFH 16(Sf) Auf Geschutzwagen FCM36(f) (35340) 1:35 ICM via Hannants Ltd The Geschutzwagen (gun vehicle) series of Self-Propelled Howitzers 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, similar to the Marder, but with indirect fire from behind the lines their stock-in-trade. The concept was to mount a large diameter howitzer 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. Like the early Marders, they were built on captured French tank chassis, such as the obsolete FCM 36, with a large shield that extended almost the whole length of the vehicle, housing a WWI era 105mm leFH 16(Sf) howitzer, which was of 1916 vintage. Incidentally, FCM stands for Forges et Chantiers de la Méditerranée, who were based at Toulon in the French Riviera. Only a very few of these vehicles were made due to the relatively small number of FCM36 chassis that were originally captured, and some say that as few as eight were built, although there are numbers as high as 12 mentioned elsewhere. Either way, there weren’t many. They saw service in Europe during the relatively inactive period after their conquest of France and before D-Day, and by 1944 there weren’t any on charge according to records, which up until that point were pretty reliable. The tank was only lightly armoured to protect their crews from shrapnel, shell splinters or small 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. However, they weren’t meant to be near the front line under normal circumstances, so it mattered less than it did with direct fire vehicles such as Marders. It would however have been uncomfortable for the crew in bad weather necessitating a temporary tarpaulin roof to keep the precipitation out, but very little of the cold. The Kit This is another re-tool of ICM’s previous FCM 36 kit, adding the specialised parts for the conversion undertaken by Baustokommando Becker at the time. It arrives in a standard ICM top-opening box that has a 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 that are cut back slightly to accommodate the different upper hull, as shown in an accompanying diagram, 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 adjustable tensioning axles. The sloped armoured upper sponsons are installed along the way, with the mud-shedding apertures on each side, idler adjustment mechanisms and some towing eyes on the back plate. 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 having the correct faceted look that individual links provide. The upper hull is a new part that was also seen on the recent Marder I kit, 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 shrouded exhausts and their mufflers slotted into grooves to their side, and a shallow C-shaped manifold joining them at the top. Pioneer tools and towing eyes are fitted later, because the gun must be made up first, after adding a driver’s panel and vision slit it fixed into the top of the glacis plate. The WWI era 10.5cm leFH 16(Sf), is begun by making up the combined cradle and breech, then adding the cradle trunnions and elevation mechanism on both sides, after which the floor is made up with the underfloor ammo storage depicted by gluing the 36 striking plate charge sections of the two-part ammunition into the box-sections in the forward floor. It is mated to the hull on a substantial C-shaped plinth with a locking washer, covering up the former turret aperture, then adding aim adjustment wheels before the gun’s splinter shield is begun by adding the two faceted side panels and the cheek parts, the former having been fitted out with shell racks, radio boxes and machine gun ammo canisters. The forward splinter shield that moves with the gun barrel is added outside the main shield, preventing stray rounds or shrapnel from entering the cab or damaging the gun slide, the latter part comprising two sides with angled front to deflect frontal shots. A louvered panel is fixed into depressions on each of the side walls, and the back panel with moulded-in access hatch are glued onto the rear of the crew compartment, then two sets of 21 x 105mm shells and a few more separate charges with striker plates are placed next to them. At this stage the pioneer tools can be attached to the exterior compartment walls at the rear of the vehicle, with light cluster, spare track links and barrel cleaning rods at the front, plus an antenna perched atop the side wall to the rear, and a self-defence MG34 machine gun on the front, then you can put on the two-part muzzle brake that gives the impression of a hollow barrel. Markings There are three markings options on the small decal sheet, with variation between them and some interesting camouflage schemes, all of which saw service in 1943. From the box you can build one of the following: Mobile Brigade West, 1943 931st Assault Gun Division, France, 1943 Training Camp of Mobile Brigade West, Summer 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. Conclusion Another peculiar, niche, but interesting example of German re-use of captured vehicles, and a nicely detailed one too. Of course, it looks a bit strange and top heavy, but that’s part of its appeal. Available in the UK from importers H G Hannants Ltd. Review sample courtesy of
  17. Hello! Here is another model that landed in my workshop, the first one because in such a large for me scale 1:32. And the hero that landed in the workshop is Fiat CR.42 "Falco" in the already mentioned scale 1:32 from the company ICM. 32020. In the box we find 6 frames of grey plastic and one transparent, a decal and a manual with two variants of camouflage. On the frames the manufacturer has placed a whole range of accessories for building various versions of the "Falco", which is included in the ICM offer. Returning to the mouldings, ICM has included different surfaces on the model, so where the surface is covered with sheet metal it is smooth, and where it is covered with canvas, apart from the realistic reflection of the canvas deflection it also has a different surface texture corresponding to that of the canvas. ICM has also included in the instructions a template for making masks for the windshield, but I will write about it later when I am at that stage of building the Fiat. ICM has also released a very nice supplement not only for "Falco" in the form of a set of Italian pilot figures, which will also fit other models of Italian aviation. I'm going to use following extras while building my model: Eduard 33979 Eduard 33271 seatbelts. Yahu models YMA3267 instrument panel CMK 5141 main wheels - ordered and waiting for delivery. KAGERO TOPDRAWINGS 102 Fiat CR.42
  18. OV-10A Bronco US Attack Aircraft (48300) 1:48 ICM via Hannants The Bronco was conceived as a light attack, long loiter aircraft of modest size, enabling it to operate from roads close to the combat zone. As so often seems the case, the final design turned out to be much larger and heavier due to the requirements of the avionics and ejection seats, thus limiting its use to conventional airfields. The twin boom aircraft first flew in 1965 and was destined to serve with the US Navy, Airforce and Marines as a replacement for the Cessna O-1 Bird Dog & O-2 Skymaster. The Marines were the first to take the OV-10 into service as a forward air controller platform operating both night and day missions. Whilst the Bronco is best known for its operations in Vietnam, it also served in later conflicts as late as the Gulf War before being retired from US service in 1995. The USAF received Broncos in 1968 and deployed the aircraft in the Forward Air Control (FAC) role, using smoke laying methods initially, and later using laser targeting designators. Eventually it carried its own ground attack armament including rockets, machine guns and bombs that gave it the capability of Light Attack Aircraft, and made it a daunting prospect for the enemy to see overhead. Seven export contracts were signed with other foreign operators including Germany, Columbia and Indonesia, the very last of which will be leaving service in the near future after long service. The Kit This new tooling from ICM relieves us all of the ancient Testors kit with its legendarily incorrect wings and nacelle locations, which could only have been fixed with the help of a Paragon Designs set. This is a relief for this modeller, as there were also other blank areas that would have required some further work. Back to the matter in hand. A 100% new model from ICM, which arrives in one of their standard top opening boxes with the captive inner lid, and has ten sprues in grey styrene, one in clear, two sheets of decals and a glossy instruction booklet with spot colour inside and glossy colour profiles on the back pages. De-bagging the sprues reveals the detail is excellent, and the booms have raised as well as engraved rivets on their surface, which is just as it should be if you check out any walk arounds that get close enough to the aircraft to see them. The clear parts have been engineered so that they fit together as individual facets, and are crystal clear, allowing the modeller to see their hard work in the cockpit, providing they don’t put any gluey fingerprints on the glazing during the build. Overall, it looks like it will build into an excellent replica of the aircraft. Construction begins predictably with the cockpit, starting with the crew seats, of which there are two. The base of the seats are made from the curved lower and cushion, while the backs are formed from a shell with two cushions, one for the pilot’s back, the other for the headbox. The two elements are brought together and a small part is added to the headbox, then different rear detail and a launch rail are added to the rear of them both. There are colour call-outs as we go along, and two warning decals are supplied for the seats, although these are shown applied to the cushions, which seems odd, but having checked some references, that’s where they go. Every day’s a school day! The rear seat is glued to the cockpit floor which has a bulkhead and a shelf moulded into the rear, then side consoles are fixed onto the floor around the seat with control column on a lateral support, and a throttle quadrant that sits on top of a raised portion of the port console. A divider between the two seats is prepared with rudder pedals and other details, then has a choice of either of two instrument panels added atop the flat section, based on your decal choice. These are well detailed and have dial decals for each option. The divider is glued in place, then the front cockpit is made up starting with the seat again, but with a different set of launch rail parts with “antennae” to the side of the headbox. He too gets a control column and floor-mounted rudder pedals, after which the seat is bracketed by side consoles that have detailed tops, but no decals which is a shame. A bulkhead for within the footwell of the front cockpit is created from a number of parts, and fixed in place with the details facing forward, forming the rear bulkhead of the nose gear bay. The pilot gets a well-appointed instrument panel with coaming and decal, plus a number of small parts sitting on top of the coaming. This is glued in, and more details are added to the rear shelf in the shape of equipment boxes that probably have festive twinkling lights on the real thing, especially at Christmas. The cockpit is put to the side briefly while the crew nacelle is prepared with interior sidewall details, plus an internal frame that runs up the side of the canopy. You are advised to align this with the canopy sides, which have a shallow groove running top to bottom, so it would be an idea to glue the parts, then tape the canopy sides in place and align the frame with the groove, taping it in place until the glue sets. With the sides complete and painted internally, the cockpit can be secured inside and locked in place by bringing the two halves together. Providing you have painted the front of the crew nacelle, the nose gear bay is already complete and just needs the main strut, a diagonal support that goes far back under the canopy, and a pair of bay doors. The underside of the cockpit floor is then covered over by a well-detailed underside panel that has recesses ready for the stubby weapons pylons, and has a small central strake added toward the rear. Here it will be key to align the nacelle skins before the glue sets to avoid having to make good later and risk losing any of that lovely detail. The weapons “wings” need four holes drilling in their underside if you are going to hang weapons from them, then they are closed up around a small rectangular insert that the barrels later plug into, the wingtips are added, and each one has an insert applied to the leading edge that makes up the rest of the fairings for the weapons. These are glued into their recesses on the underside, and are fitted with shackles on the twin pylons on their undersides if you plan on using weapons. Another small nose gear door fits to the diagonal leg, and the four-part nose wheel with separate hub parts is first trapped between the yoke, which is then glued to the bottom of the nose strut along with the other half of the oleo scissor-link. I suspect this could be a weak point of the nose gear, so ensure you leave this to set up for a good while before attempting to put weight on it. The addition of the four gun barrels to the winglets and a couple of sensors completes the crew nacelle for now. The upper wing of the Bronco is a single full-width part that also has a section of the fuselage upper and the twin boom tops moulded-in, while the underside is in four sections. Before the two surfaces are joined, two spar sections are attached to the upper wing straddling the future location of the engine nacelles, and if you plan on adding wing pylons, there are a few holes to be drilled in the outer lower panel of the wings. All the flying surfaces are separate and the twin flap sections per side are made of three parts laminated together, while the ailerons are a single part each to which are added balances and trim actuators. When completed, the six flying surface sections are fitted to the cut-outs at the rear of the wing unit along with a pair of actuators for the ailerons, a pair of exhaust deflectors on top of the engine nacelles, and a large sensor blister at the centre-rear. The wing assembly is then mated to the crew gondola, and the canopy is begun. The blown windscreen that offers the pilot a good field of view has a sight fitted to the top centre before it is glued to the front of the cockpit, then has the clear canopy roof put in place, bridging the gap between the windscreen and cockpit rear. The two canopy sides are next, and these parts are each single pieces, which doesn’t give the modeller the opportunity to prop the front two sections in the open position without taking their life in their hands and cutting the parts with a razor saw or fine scriber and a lot of trepidation. No doubt an aftermarket company will step-in here. Building of the two nacelles begins with the gear bays, which starts with the making of the gear legs that have two main partss and a Y-shaped insert that traps the lower section in place but leaves it movable. Two more parts make up the suspension strut, which are also trapped in place by a V-shaped insert, and then glue is applied to the previously mobile joint, setting the correct angle for the leg permanently. It is glued to the stepped bay forward roof with a number of small parts, after which it is joined by the detailed sidewalls, rear bulkhead and another few parts to close over the rear of the roof and add more detail. The nacelle sides have a couple of holes drilled on each side, and these are joined around the bay assembly, capped off at the front by the intakes and propeller backing plate. Underneath, the triangular inserts with their many raised rivets are glued in carefully to avoid damaging that lovely detail, and two optional towel-rail antennae are glued into the holes on the sides of the nacelle. The two-part rudder is fixed to the tail, and an exhaust is made up from two halves, with baffles within. Align these carefully to minimise the join-line and check your references to get these right. A small intake is added to the side of the nacelle just forward of the exhaust. This process if carried out twice of course, in mirror-image so your Bronco doesn’t fly round in circles. The large horizontal elevator panel is made from top and bottom surfaces plus the elevator itself, and this is slotted into position between the nacelles as they are glued into place under the wings. You might need to grow another hand or two to make this happen, or get yourself one of those wonderful jigs like that of EBMA to help hold everything in place for this. Four optional shark-fin spoilers can be glued onto their corresponding slots in the top of each wing if you wish, or leave them in the box for a clean upper wing. The twin props have the three blades moulded as one, with a front and back boss, and take care to install the correct props on the nacelles, as the blades (and the turboprop engines) are handed, spinning in opposite directions to cancel out the effect of torque steer. A windscreen wiper and various sensor lumps are added around the fuselage, with more underneath, at which point you’ll notice that the main gear is without wheels. Each of these are made of a two-part wheel and two-part hub, with no weighting moulded-in, although that’s easily remedied by a quick sanding of a flat-spot on the bottom, just don’t overdo it so it looks like it needs more air. Fun with weapons is next, and this modeller thinks that the Bronco looks best when loaded for bear, as they say. There are two wing pylons on long supports to add to the outer wing panels, then it’s just a case of choosing which munitions you want to hang from them. There is a diagram showing which weapons can be fitted to which pylons, but if you’re aiming for realism, check your references to establish real-world load-outs for training and live-fire missions. In the box you get the following: 2 x LAU-33 twin rocket pods 2 x LAU-069A 21 rocket pods 2 x Mk.77 Incendiary bombs 2 x LAU-68 6 rocket pods 2 x 150gal fuel tanks 2 x Mk.81 Lowdrag iron bombs with optional daisy-cutter fuse 2 x Mk.81 Snakeye iron bombs with optional daisy-cutter fuse 2 x Mk.82 Snakeye iron bombs with optional daisy-cutter fuse 2 x Mk.82 Lowdrag iron bombs with optional daisy-cutter fuse 2 x LAU-10A 4 rocket pods The detail of the individual weapons is excellent, with multiple parts for fins, fuses and rockets, and only the seamlines to clean up along the way. The canopy is about as clear as can be, so it’s going to be important to mask it up before you inadvertently ruin the startling clarity. Although masks aren’t included in the box, there is a handy template near the back of the instructions that you can place tape on and cut out masks for your use on the model. Each section is numbered and there is another drawing showing their location on the canopy. Very handy! Markings There are five options in the rear of the instructions in various shades of grey and camouflage green, and there’s also a new paint set from ICM themselves that gives you all the shades you’ll need to paint the majority of the airframe as depicted in this boxing. You can read about that in a later review that we’ll link back once we’ve had chance to spray them out. From the box you can build one of the following: OV-10A 155471 Light Attack Sqn. 4 (VAL-4), ‘Black Ponies’, Binh Thuy, 1971 OV-10A 155456 Marine Observation Sqn. 6 (VMO-6), Quang Tri, 1969 OV-10A 67-14649, 20th Tactical Air Support Sqn., Da Nang, 1972 OV-10A 155416 Marine Observation Sqn. 2 (VMO-2), Da Nang, 1969 OV-10A 155416 Marine Observation Sqn. 2 (VMO-2), Da Nang, 1970 The 4th and 5th options depict the same airframe at different periods, which possibly had light grey wings earlier in its career, which was later painted green on the topside, and may have been painted a lighter or darker grey on the underside. The profiles give you the option and leave it up to you. Decals are printed by ICM’s usual partners, with good registration, sharpness and colour density, with a thin gloss carrier film cut close to the printed areas. The weapons all have stencils to apply, which are shown next to each profile, as their colours varied over time. There are also rear and white tip decals for the props, and the large wide T-shapes on the upper wings are also included as decals, as are the tapered exhaust gas “hiders” on some of the decal options. Conclusion I’m a happy bunny. I’ve always liked the Bronco, and this new tooling is an excellent looking model that is crammed full of detail that will doubtless encourage new decal sheets into the market to cater for the many buyers. The launch of the paint set is a clever move, encouraging modellers to try their new(ish) paint system. You know you want to! Very highly recommended. Available in the UK from importers H G Hannants Ltd. Review sample courtesy of
  19. Greetings Friends- Here is my latest build: an Excellent ICM kit, the Do-17Z-2 in 1/48. I really liked the kit and the fit problems were my own. I always have trouble fitting clear parts to opaque and the ventral gun section moved on me. I really liked the kit and am very happy with the result. The decals were by Owl and for F1+HH which I have a photo of it and it lacks the ID markings of the commonly portrayed F1+FH with the Devil insignia. Kagero also did a profile of it and this is the one I did. The Paint is Mr. Color 70/71 and 65 lightened a pinch. The Stencil and insignia decals are Eduard and were excellent. The Clear is Tamiya. Only adds were Eduard 'Look' Instrument and harness kit and Eduard Resin Do17Z Wheels. Oh yea, I added quickboost exhausts kit. Enjoy and comments welcome! Let me know what I can improve.
  20. ICM is to release 1/48th Cessna O-2 kits in 2020 - ref. 48290 - Cessna O-2A Skymaster, American Reconnaissance Aircraft - released Source: https://www.hannants.co.uk/product/ICM48290 - ref. 48291 - Cessna O-2A US Navy Service - released Source: https://www.hannants.co.uk/product/ICM48291 V.P.
  21. "Jin Dog" JD-1D Invader US Navy Aircraft (48287) 1:48 ICM via Hannants The good old B-26 Marau… no, wait. The A-26 Invader? Hang on, erm... B-26 Invader. That's it, as long as it's after 1948 as that's when it was re-designated as the B-26 by the US Air Force to confuse us, and later on back to the A-26 just to complete my befuddlement. It was developed a little after the Marauder and despite using the same engines it was designed totally separately from its tubular colleague. It was designed to replace the A-20 Havoc, but it was initially less than popular in the Pacific theatre where its poor cockpit visibility due to the canopy and engine position rendered it unloved by the first users. It was more popular in the European theatre and was accepted as replacement for the Havoc fairly quickly. Two types were designed, The C with a glass bomber nose and the B with a full metal nose filled with either 6 or 8 .50cal machine guns, which coupled with the three in each wing gave it quite a punch, deserving of the Strafer title. It also had a pair of turrets on the fuselage mid-upper and dorsal positions, which were both operated by a single gunner using a complex remote mechanism that flipped between the upper and lower turrets depending on where the gunner was looking through his binocular sights. This trained the guns accordingly and also calculated the correct offset for parallax and lead, but was very complex and caused some delays to it entering service, and even more issues with maintenance in the field. After the war it served in Korea, early Vietnam engagements and other conflicts, ending its days in US service with the Air National Guard in the early 70s. It continued in civilian service as a fire bomber and in other roles, such as actor in the film Always with Richard Dreyfuss playing its brave but ill-fated pilot. The US Navy would use the Invader originally designating it JD-1, giving rise to the nickname Jin Dog. They were used for secondary roles such as target towing, and drone carriers. The drone carriers being JD-1D, leter DB-26Js. The Kit This is a brand new tooling from ICM, with extra parts for the US Navy version. The main difference ion this boxing is the inclusion of underwing rockets and the 6 gun solid nose. . It arrives in the familiar top opening box with a captive inner lid on the lower tray, and inside are eight sprues in grey styrene, one in clear, a decal sheet and the instruction booklet. A quick look over the sprues reveals that panel lines are very crisp, narrow and restrained, the surface is matt and very neat-looking, with plenty of engraved and raised details on the parts, plus subtly indented flying surfaces mimicking their fabric covering. You might also notice that there are parts for an open or closed canopy, the open one having the flat top surface, while the closed canopy has the slightly blown roof that was used after 1944 to improve visibility. Construction begins with the cockpit, creating the pilot's seat, instrument panel (with instrument decals) with built-in door to the nose, centre console with throttle quadrant before adding those and the single control column to the floor. The aft compartment is built up around the front wing spar with a set of radio gear hanging from a pair of risers. The port fuselage half is detailed with some side console and panel parts, nose gear bay sides, forward spar with radio gear, rear spar in the centre of the bomb bay, sloped aft bulkhead and another frame behind that, followed by the cockpit floor, so you'll have to do some detail painting as you go. After this the starboard fuselage side is prepped, and here's where a little cautionary note about sink-marks on the exterior of my sample needs making. The right side of the cockpit and bomb bay with its detailed ribbing has caused the shallowest of sink-marks on the exterior, which would be best dealt with using a little filler before you get busy building. You could have dismissed it as oil-canning of the skin if it were consistent and on both sides, but as it isn't you'll need to decide whether you're going to fix it. Happily the majority of it is in areas that are open enough to allow easy sanding back of filler, so it shouldn't slow you down very much. I'll be using some Tamiya Basic on mine in due course and have no doubt it will be just fine. A 0.8mm hole is drilled in the section behind the canopy and the two remaining bomb racks are added inside along with an internal detail panel, nose gear bay side, and a hatch that does a credible impression of a toilet lid. With that and a quantity of detail painting you can then slide the starboard fuselage over the two spars, and it would be a good idea when fitting those spar parts to let them set up with the starboard fuselage taped in place to ensure they make the correct angle when they're set in place permanently. The instructions then have you building up the tail feathers, with the elevators having separate single-part flying surfaces, plus a two piece rudder to attach to the moulded-in tail fin. The gun-nose appropriate to the decal option being built needs to be selected and added.. The nose for this version is made up from three major parts with equipment going in, the glass nose is then added., and at the rear the access bulkhead. The nose can then be fitted The wings are next, and the lower parts have a smattering of flashed-over holes ready to drill out for bombs, gun-pods or drop tanks, plus three cartridge ejection chutes to be cut out for the wing mounted .50cals. The modeller will also need to open up the holes for mounting the rockets if using them. The faces of the in-line radiator baths are added to the lower wings and then it's already time to bring the halves together. You'll notice that there are fairings and a hump in the upper wing where the engine nacelles will be, and these are separate assemblies to be built up later. First, the separate two-section flaps (oddly with no deployed option), and the ailerons are prepared and added to the trailing edge of the wings, the latter being of one piece each and slotting into wing via two tabs. The tip lights and underwing landing lights are added from clear parts, and a small insert is glued into the wing that includes three more barrel stubs each and will again need drilling out. At this stage the instructions have you sliding the wings onto the spars and gluing them in place. Whether you'd rather wait until you've added the engine nacelles though is entirely up to you though. There are of course two engine nacelles and these build up pretty much identically apart from their outer skins, which are handed to fit their respective fairings as you'd expect. They are split vertically, and each half has internal structure moulded-in, with bulkheads added fore and aft of the gear bays, coupled with bay lip inserts that bulk out the edges and also hold captive their bay door. This may require some clever masking and a little care during handling, but it shouldn't hold you back too much, as the hinge-points are relatively robust. The two halves are joined together, the prominent intake on the top of the nacelle is made up from two parts, then is added to the nacelle front which is in turn glued to the rest of the nacelle, with the completed assemblies attached to the wings from the underside, as yet without their engine cowlings or props. The engines are added later in the build, and the Twin Wasps are depicted in their entirety with both banks of pistons, push-rods, ancillaries and reduction housing at the front, plus the collector ring and exhausts at the rear, the latter made up from eight parts each. So that they are fitted correctly and mesh properly with the nacelles, they are attached using a jig that is discarded later, so remember not to glue it in! Again the engines are identical and interchangeable with each other, and they fit to the nacelles with a teardrop-shaped tab, after which the engine cowling is slotted over them. The cooling flaps are last to be added in four sets around the rear of the cowling. The top of the fuselage is still open at this point, as it has an insert to be fitted which encloses where the turret was. The gunner's compartment; now the controllers compartment is added along with the new glass area for the top. Another clear light is added to the very rear of the fuselage, and attention turns to the landing gear, which is of the tricycle variety as became the fashion in late war. Each of the three tyres are made from two halves with separate hubs applied from either side, then hung on their respective legs, which have retraction jacks and scissor links added along the way. This is nice to see, as it's always a little tricky to join two doors and get them aligned with the fuselage so there's minimal join-lines. The main airframe is ostensibly complete save for some antennae and the props, and if you've been sparing with the glue when assembling the engines, the latter should still spin once complete. Pylons for the drones are added to the wing and a single part to close the bomb bay is added. Markings In this initial boxing there are two options of drone controllers in Gloss Sea Blue with yellow wings & tail, along with orange stripes. From the box you can build one of the following: JD-1D 89075, VU-3, US Navy 1950s. JD-1D 140356 US Navy, China Lake 1958 The decals are printed anonymously. They have good registration, colour density and sharpness, and include a number of stencils that are legible with the right eyeware. If you forgot to ream out those cartridge chutes in the wing before you closed them up, some kind soul has added two decals with three black rectangles to help you out. Conclusion This model should make a fair few people happy, and consign a lot of old Monogram kits to deep stash or eBay as a result. Detail is excellent and made so much nicer by the matt surface, and there's a fair proportion of the interior included for what is bound to be a popular kit. Smear a little filler into those light sink-marks before you get started, and no-one will know they're there. Keep 'em coming ICM! Very highly recommended. Available in the UK from importers H G Hannants Ltd. Review sample courtesy of
  22. This is the old ICM mould of the MiG-25PD.I added a resin cockpit and the rest is OOB.The model is painted with Tamiya and Gunze acrylics.The decals came from begemot. Regards,Dragan
  23. Hello everyone! This it is my recently finished He 111H-16 (German bomber), scale 1/48. The ICM kit (No48263) it was pretty good I can say. The model is brush painted and the colors used were a mix of Tamiya and Vallejo Model Air. Marking: He 111H-16, 5./KG 4, Eastern Front, Winter 1942-1943. Small description from the instructions: In the beginning of 30s It was appeared in the world an idea of high-speed bomber that could outstrip contemporary fighters. One of the objectifications of this conception became the twin-engine bomber He 111 designed by German Heinkel Flugzeugwerke AG company. Since the December of 1942 it were produced He 111H-16 planes with liquid-cooled Jumo 211F-2 engines of increased power, with VS wooden wider horde propellers and more powerful armament. This variant could carry up to 3000 kg bombs internally and externally, The He 111H-16 was the last mass produced variant of Heinkel's medium bomber. It were produced approximately 1155 aircraft up to the end of 1943. He 111H-16s saw service on all fronts as night bombers, transports and glider tugs. I hope you like it and thanks for watching!
  24. USAAF Pilots 1944-45 Paint Set (3012) ICM via Hannants Ltd ICM have long been a plastic model company that is well-known to most of us, but until recently they haven’t had their own paint range, which has now changed. There are 77 acrylic colours in the initial collection, 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 direct cross-overs in that last one. The paint is undiluted, so will need thinning by between 40-60% with water or acrylic thinner for use with an airbrush, and they naturally have a semi-gloss finish that can be adjusted later by the use of varnishes, and are waterproof when dry like most acrylics. During my testing I used Ultimate Thinners, my go-to thinners for any acrylic paint, which helps keep the number of large bottles in my spray booth to a minimum. The paint comes out of the bottle quite thick and viscous, so it’s possible you’ll have to dilute for serious brush painting use although I used it neat during testing, so a small bottle will go a long way in either case. It sprays well when diluted, and like a lot of acrylics a light coat is best initially, then followed quickly after by heavier coats until you have the coverage you require. It dries quite quickly, and is touch-dry in 5-10 minutes in those long-gone summery 20-23oc temperatures, unless you’re in the antipodes as I write this. I have used them to create a number of spray-out cards and spoons for other sets in the range, and they both spray and brush very well, with little issue other than my inexpert application by brush. We recently reviewed a 1:32 figure set from ICM called “A Photo to Remember”, which depicted three pilots posing for a portrait in front of their aircraft, which you can read here. This set is intended to complement these figures, and it includes the following colours, but it would be useful to add white if you don’t already have it for lightening the colours to create many other shades: 1002 Black 1008 Deep Brown 1052 Hull Red 1068 Olive Green 1044 Basic Skin Tone 1059 Green Ochre On the rear of the box are drawings of the figures that are identical to the set mentioned above, with colour call-outs in their own codes, and suggests that they may also be useful for additional ICM kits, such as 1:48 USAF Pilots & Groundcrew 48088, 1:32 A Photo to Remember 32116 and 1:32 USAF Pilots 1941-45 32104. That’s just a few ICM models, but I doubt they’d complain if you used them in conjunction with other manufacturers’ kits. Highly recommended. Available in the UK from importers H G Hannants Ltd. Review sample courtesy of
  25. Over All of Spain The Sky is Clear (DS7202) Tupolev SB-2M-100 Bomber & 2 x Bf.109E-4 1:72 ICM via Hannants Ltd The Spanish Civil War was an ideal proving ground for the nascent Luftwaffe, and a large number of German aircraft and crew were involved under the name Condor Legion, as “volunteers”, flying early Bf.109s and similar era aircraft from the German arsenal on the side of the Nationalists. Communist Soviet Union was supplying the other side with inventory from its arsenal as well as crews during the early stages in a pseudo proxy war of sorts, but the Fascists won with a lot of help from Germany. Although Spain remained neutral in name, they never forgot the help they received from the Nazi, and often assisted them in a clandestine manner. The conflict gave the Luftwaffe sufficient experience that they could run rings around the relatively inexperienced foes they faced, sometimes in outdated machines, in the run up to and in the early days of WWII, allowing their pilots to rack up seriously large numbers of kills that possibly gave them a false sense of superiority when they came up against the RAF. The Set This is a new boxing that contains two Bf.109E-3s from the Condor Legion, and a Tupolev SB-2-100 from the Spanish Republic Air Force. Messerschmitt Bf.109E-3 (72131) The Messerschmitt BF 109 was certainly the most numerous, and probably the best known of all the aircraft used by the Luftwaffe during the Second World War. Almost 34,000 examples were produced between 1937 and 1945, and the type saw active service in every theatre in which German armed forces were engaged. Powered initially by the relatively low powered Junkers Jumo engine and later by various iterations of the more powerful Daimler Benz DB600 series of inverted V-12 engines, the later variants of the BF 109 could achieve speeds of up to 400mph. In comparison with the early A, B, C and D variants, the E, or ‘Emil’, was a significant redesign. It featured the more powerful Daimler Benz engine and better armament consisting of two wing-mounted MG/FF/M 20mm cannon and two MG17 7.9mm machine guns mounted in the cowling above the nose. The E-4 also featured improved armour for the pilot, and improved cockpit canopy which afforded the pilot a better view and was also easier to produce. Whilst the E-1 and E-3 were blooded during the later phases of the Spanish Civil War, it was the E-4 that formed the backbone of the Luftwaffe’s fighter force during the Battle of Britain. During this phase of the war, the E-4 was found to be a close match, in terms of overall performance, to the Supermarine Spitfire, although each type had different strengths and weaknesses in comparison to the other. The Kit There are two identical Bf.109E-4 kits in the box, and they originate from a 2004 tooling, but don’t let that put you off. There’s a good amount of detail on the single grey sprue, and a choice of separate or closed up canopies on the clear sprue. The instructions are simplicity itself, and consist of two half pages plus a sprue diagram and internal painting chart. Construction begins with the cockpit, which has a respectable seven parts, including a clear gunsight. The fuselage closes up around the assembly and has a boxy lump representing the outline of the Daimler Benz engine moulded-in, with a single part cowling that covers the block and a supercharger intake on the left side. The wing lowers are full-width with separate topsides, and all the flying surfaces are moulded-in, as are those in the elevators, while the rudder is separate, as are the support struts under the elevators. The landing gear have separate struts and doors, plus a single-part wheel, one per side. With the model inverted the gears, the chin-mounted oil cooler, pitot, aileron horn-balancers and the tail wheel are fitted, then flipped-over a choice of three-piece canopy for opening, or two-part for closed canopies are installed along with the aerial mast, two wing-mounted machine guns, plus three-part prop and spinner that are held in place with a two-part collar finish the build. Aren’t 1:72 kits quick to build? There are of course two of those, so you get to do that twice. Tupolev SB 2M-100 Katiushka (72161) Tupolev’s first variant of the SB series of light bomber were supplied to the Republic forces in 1936, 31 delivered by freighter, of which a number were later captured by the Nationalists, who were the ones that used the name Katiushka in common parlance. Initially, they were too fast to be caught by the enemy, but once the Bf.109s came into theatre, the losses mounted and they were withdrawn from front-line service. Some of them survived into the 50s in the hands of the victors. The Kit This is a reboxing of the 2005 kit of this funny-looking aircraft. It’s a two-engined type and is a more complex build than the 109s, with six sprues in grey styrene, one of clear parts, and an instruction booklet that spans several pages. Construction begins with the bomb-load, which are in three sizes and come in two halves with separate fins, with a choice of which to use later in the build. With those out of the way, the centre section of the airframe is made up, which includes the inner panel of the wing up to the engine nacelles, which have their fronts missing at this stage. Two full-width spars stiffen the assembly, and bomb carriers as well as some of the internal structure of the engine nacelles and gear bays are added along the way. The cockpit is a simple one and fits to the front of the forward spar, with the instrument panel attached to the inside, and the pilot’s controls attached to the upcoming nose section. The nose of the aircraft is separate, as is the tail, and both these areas are detailed with seats, weapons and glazing before they are closed up, with the fuselage trapping the rudder in place. The three sections are joined after making up the two nacelles for the Klimov M-100 12-cylinder engines, which were little more than license-built Hispano-Suiza units. The nacelles are made from four parts each, with the louvers moulded on top and shutters on the forward face, each of them having a two-blade prop fixed in place with a washer before they are glued in place. As the nacelles are fitted, an additional panel is inserted into the top space with a U-shaped exhaust insert partially hidden beneath. The outer wings are each made from top and bottom halves plus a separate aileron per side, and the elevators are each a single fin and separate flying surface, which almost completes the airframe. Once the glue is dry, the clear parts for the pilot and rear gunner are fitted, with choices for each of them, and the peculiar nose canopy is fixed along with a choice of twin machine guns. The rear gunner has a U-shaped mount for this gun, which you also have two choices for. A pitot probe slides into the leading edge of the port wing, and a few small parts are dotted around the clear nose. The last steps involve fixing the single-part main wheels between the yoke of the main gear legs, which are backed up by two extra parts per side, and unless you plan on posing it in flight, you cut the bay doors in two and glue them in place, two per bay. The tail wheel slots into the rear, and there’s an option to add a piece of wire as actuator for the rudder. The bomb bay is similarly moulded as a single part that can be glued in as-is, or split down the middle to show off the bomb load that you made up initially. The smallest bombs attach vertically to a small palette in the front of the bay, while two medium or one large bomb can replace them, with two more small bombs in the aft of the bay. Markings The set has its own set of painting instructions in colour, as the 109 instructions don’t have their own. The SB-2 has its own markings choices in the back of the instructions, but those are superfluous and there are no decals for them, so try to ignore them. From the box you can build all three models with no alternative options. This is why you bought this boxing though, so build away: Bf.109E-3 2.J/88, coded 6.107 Legion Condor, Spain, spring 1939 Bf.109E-3 2.J/88, coded 6.91 Legion Condor, Spain, spring 1939 SB 2M-100, 24th Bomb Group, Republican Air Force, Spain, spring 1939 Decals are by ICM’s usual partners, which is a guarantee of good registration, sharpness and colour density, with a thin gloss carrier film cut close to the printed areas. Conclusion This boxed set includes three models of recent vintage, and while there’s a small amount of flash here and there, detail is pretty good, and once the flash is gone there’s good models to be made. Highly recommended. Available in the UK from importers H G Hannants Ltd. Review sample courtesy of
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