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  1. V3000S/SSM Maultier ‘Einheitsfahrerhaus’ (35410) 1:35 ICM via H G Hannants Ltd The V3000 was a product of Ford’s German operation that was established before WWII as Ford Werke, and even after WWII started, Mr Ford, who was quite a fan of Herr Hitler, continued doing business with the regime, with some saying that this relationship continued much longer than it perhaps should have done. The truck was powered by a V8 petrol engine that output a respectable 95hp, with a load capacity of three tonnes and a single enclosed cabin, that while the crew compartment was angular with no consideration to aerodynamics, it kept the crew dry and warm. Initial production batches suffered from overheating issues when the weather was warmer, so later variants had larger radiators and additional vents around the bonnet to allow more cooling air into the compartment. The V3000S came into service in 1941, and was built in many forms, sometimes referred to as the Maultier when the rear axle was replaced by a track system to improve traction on poor ground, others using the long-winded Einheitsfahrerhaus, which means single cabin. As strategic resources became an issue, efforts were made to simplify production and reduce the use of metallic components, with many cabs being made from pressed wooden panels, which introduced the problem of rotting during the extreme freeze/thaw cycle that was inherent to the climate on the Eastern Front. Over 25,000 were made of all types throughout the war, and at the end of the conflict, even though Ford’s factory had led a relatively charmed life with little damage and had chosen to use slave labour despite not being forced to, the parent company was given $1.1m in war damages, and was allowed access to the profits from the WWII period. Mr Ford must have had some pretty powerful connections. The Kit This is a reboxing of a fully-wheeled kit that originated in 2010, but has had new parts added in the interim, and has also been seen in other people’s boxes over the years. It arrives in ICM’s top-opening box with a captive flap on the lower tray, and inside are five sprues in grey styrene, a clear sprue, small decal sheet inside the glossy colour printed instruction booklet, which has colour profiles of the decal options on the rear pages. Detail is good, and incorporates a full engine and bay, chassis, axles, tracks and cab features, as we’ve come to expect from ICM. Construction begins with the chassis rails, which are extended on top at the rear, then are fitted with three two-part u-clamps, after which the cross-braces are prepared by adding small parts to them to improve the detail. There are a total of six cross-beams joining the two rails together, then the leaf-spring suspension is attached underneath each end, adding extra parts at the front. The V8 engine is built upon a two-part block, which has cylinder heads and ancillaries added, plus air box, gear lever over the transmission box, and cooling fan at the front. The completed motor is dropped into the front of the chassis, with a two-part spare tyre on a double-rail in the middle of the chassis, then a choice of early or late radiators are built, one having directing tin-work to guide the air from the fan behind it. It is fitted to the front of the chassis, joined to the engine by a pair of L-shaped feeder hoses, which vary between the style of radiator you have chosen. The front wheels are made from two halves, with a stepped washer placed in the centre without glue to allow them to rotate after completion, so don’t overdo the glue. They are joined to the ends of the front axle, with a steering arm ensuring that the wheels turn in unison once they are glued in place and the axle is fitted to the leaf-springs under the chassis, which also received a straight bumper iron and two curved support rods to the sides. An exhaust is made from three parts, leading from the down-pipe across the chassis, then back toward a muffler, after which it dog-legs back across the chassis to exit in front of the rear axle. A sub-frame for the track assembly is provided, and must be detailed with several brackets and pivots, before the drive axle is built from two parts to create the thickness of the differential, fitting three-layered drive sprockets to each end, then making up four twin wheel bogeys with separate springs and a small return roller at the top. The rear axle is fitted to the open end of the sub-frame, and the idler wheels are installed on the simple axle at the other end, mounting the four bogeys, two per side on the remaining tubular axles. The track is link-and-length, using long runs across the top and bottom of the road wheels, adding short diagonals to the ends of the bottom run, then completing the rounded ends with eight individual links wrapped round the idler and drive sprockets. The completed track assembly is mounted on the underside of the chassis, and power is provided by a short drive-shaft from the transmission to the differential. The cab is begun by inserting the two radiused windscreen panels into the frame at the top of the firewall bulkhead, and placing the dashboard under it, applying a decal to depict the instruments. The floor panel with integral kick-board has the foot pedals and handbrake lever applied, then it is mated with the bulkhead, which has a lower section installed at the same time to extend it into the firewall and create the footwell. A short scuttle panel covers the space under the windscreen, and the engine bay’s side walls are fitted to mount the curved radiator grille between their front ends, after which the driver gets his steering wheel on a short column, then a bench seat is glued to the floor in two parts, adding the door frames on each side, and the rear of the cab that has the back cushion and a small window fitted before it is mated with the base and the roof is mounted. The doors each have handles and window-winders plus flat clear panes to keep the weather out. The tapering bonnet has two extensions added to the underside, plus a brace across the underside and a fin with logo down the centre, or there is an alternative with more grille cut-outs in the front of the bonnet that has a fin without logo and uses different parts, including a separate front that has the grille cut-outs moulded-in. The assemblies are brought together to complete the cab, which then has a choice of three styles of fenders, all of which require alteration to remove or shorten the crew steps that are moulded in. A convoy light, headlamps with clear lenses, door handles, fuel filler cap, width indicator lollipops, windscreen wipers, outer door handles and even a shovel are added around the exterior of the cab to finish it off. The load bed has a single floor part that is stiffened by adding five cross-members underneath, and four shallow risers around the edges, the headboard being higher than the others, with a cut-out for rear visibility. Two small three-part stowage boxes are made and fixed under opposite corners of the bed, then the front mudguards are fitted to reduce spatter from the tracks covering the cab, with no regard for those behind them. The headboard has a two-part frame for the tilt slotted into receivers moulded into the headboard, and the three sub-assemblies are then brought together to create the finished truck. Markings There are three options included on the tiny decal sheet, all in later war Dunkelgelb dark yellow, with one wearing a comprehensive brown and green camouflage scheme applied over the yellow, the other overlaid with a heavy coating of winter distemper paint that is starting to wear away into a mottled pattern in places. From the box you can build one of the following: Non-camouflage 1944 Camouflage 1944 Winter Camouflage 1944 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 A welcome re-release of the base kit in later war tracked variation, where it more closely resembles some of Soviet Russia’s output of the time, especially around the boxy cab. Plenty of detail is apparent, and construction should be straight forward, remembering that you have a choice of radiators that then informs your choice of bonnet fittings. Highly recommended. Available in the UK from importers H G Hannants Ltd. Review sample courtesy of
  2. Hello again Thanks for all the comments on my Panther. Here is another vehicle, a second part of the Eastern Front diorama I'm working on. This time 1/72 Sd.Kfz. 251 Ausf C from Dragon. As previously the crew will come later with the diorama. Here are some photos Thanks for viewing. Cheers Marcin PS. Have a Merry Christmas!
  3. Sd.Kfz.251/1 Ausf.A 1:35 ICM The Hanomag Sd.Kfz.251/1 was the mainstay of the German armoured Personnel Carrier fleet, but was flexible enough to also take up many other tasks within the Nazi War Machine, from Anti-Aircraft duties to Howitzer carriage and back again to armoured reconnaissance, which led to a lot of variants. With two steering wheels at the front, the rear was carried on tracks, giving it good clearance and rough ground capabilities that a truck simply could not manage once the going got tough. It was armoured sufficiently to deflect non-armour piercing rounds from small arms fire, but with an open top it was susceptible to both grenades and aerial bombardment, where the armour would concentrate the blast and reduce the interior to a tangled mess. The Ausf.A was used at the beginning of WWII alongside the Ausf.B, and was generally fitted with an MG.34 on the front cab wall, operated from inside. There were more than 20 official variants and more unofficial field modifications, but despite their seemingly ubiquitous nature in German service, not many were preserved after the war, and they are highly sought after now, with many examples being based upon post-war builds from Czech factories that have been made to look as convincing as possible by their restorers. While the purist may notice the differences in films, they're still a huge improvement on repainted American half-tracks from an authenticity point of view. The Kit A brand new tooling from the ICM powerhouse, this is a welcome addition to their roster, and will certainly make broaden our choice of models from which to choose from. The kit arrives in a medium sized box, with a further flap under the lid to keep the parts under control until you are ready to get in there. Under the flap are five sprues of light grey styrene, a clear sprue, and two spruelets of flexible "rubbery" parts. A small decal sheet is found slipped inside the glossy colour printed instruction booklet, completing the package. This is a full interior kit, and has the engine, crew compartment and a substantial number of interior parts, including weapons, stowage and personal belongings, so the build should result in a highly detailed model. First impressions are good, and after the initial pages detailing with sprue diagrams, the instructions jump straight into the build with the underfloor pan, which has its ladder chassis added and is then added to the interior floor, and has stowage bins added on the sponsons. The angular hull sides are held in the correct angle by butting up against the sides of the bins, and the rear bulkhead with door cut-out completes alignment. The engine compartment is fabricated from various panels including an armoured sump-guard, and work commences on the engine and compartment fittings. Suspension, steering gear and the block are assembled and fitted in turn, with colour call-outs to help you get the painting right. The firewall is fitted out with the driver's controls and inserted into a ledge within the hull, after which some engine ancillaries fit to the other side of the bulkhead. The driver's seat, bench seats and a range of tools, weapons and spare ammunition are installed with the upper hull plates off, while a hollow former marks the space between the cab and crew compartment, which will be hidden under the upper hull part when it is installed. A number of vision hatches and their hinges are supplied as separate parts, as are the engine compartment doors, plus some small flush forward stowage bins. Spare rifles and machine gun barrels are fitted to the underside of the upper hull on racks, with radio gear, drum mags for the machine guns, after which it is glued to the lower hull, trapping the two hinge frames between its halves. The angled doors are then fitted to those hinges, allowing them to operate if you have been careful with the glue. It's unusual to get this far into an AFV model without building up the wheels, but it's at this stage that it's done here. The sing-arms and stub axles slot into holes in the sides of the ladder rail, with bump-stops fitted where applicable, and the interleaved wheels are then slid onto the axles with the drive sprocket at the front. The two steering wheels are made up from two-part hubs, and have rubberised tyres fitted to them before slotting them onto the front axles, and with the three layers of road wheels installed, the tracks can be wound round the lengths, and glued with normal glue. The build is finished off with a shielded machine gun mount at the front, a tripod mount, pioneer tools, fire extinguisher, number plate, rear machine gun mount, rear view mirrors, headlamps, width indicators and aerial. Markings With this being an early mark, it's any colour as long as it's Panzer Grey, with only the number plates and the style of Balkenkreuz to differentiate between vehicles. From the box you can build one of the following: WH 726465 1.Pz.D., France, May 1940 WH 179074 1.Pz.D., Russia, July 1941 Decals are printed on a bright blue paper, have good register, colour density and sharpness, with decals for the driver's binnacle included on the sheet. Conclusion A welcome release of a Wehrmacht staple that will surely find its way into many collections, and is well detailed enough to be built out of the box for diorama purposes. Very highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  4. M3A1 Half track, pics thanks to Dave Haskell.
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