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Found 40 results

  1. B-26B-50 Invader (48281) 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 Kit This is a brand new tooling from ICM and a lot of folks have been waiting (im)patiently for it for a while now, hoping for something to replace the old Revell Monogram kit of yore. Here it is! It's the Korean War variant with the Strafer nose that we're getting first, with other options coming in due course. 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. That might give you some latitude in case you can't wait to build a WWII aircraft. 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, then a pair of bombs on their racks, the reason for which will become clear in a moment. The port fuselage half is detailed with some side console and panel parts and then has the bomb racks, 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 is appropriate for this model, but as it's a modular part that in real-world situations could be swapped for the glazed-nose in a couple of hours, you can bet your boots these parts will be joined by some additional glazing in a later boxing. The fixed lower and rear section of the nose are built up out of three parts, making space for the 40g of nose weight you are encouraged to fit before you add the single cowling panel that covers the gun bay, with a pair of four barrel gun-inserts added through the holes to depict the .50cals. You'll need to drill out the muzzles or take the lazy way out and get a set of Master barrels, such as the P-47 set until they get their own specific set. The nose section is a straight-forward butt joint to the fuselage, with a small half-moon cut-out that should help align it. 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 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 with the top turret to fit in place, with another for the dorsal turret fitted later on. The remote turrets are both made up together with the ability for the twin .50cals to be left movable if you wish. The top turret has its mechanism and ring made up first, with the two halves brought together on either side of the insert before being glued into the fuselage closing up that area. Then the gunner's compartment with simple seat and periscope is made up and installed under the glazing that sits behind the top turret. Flipping the model over, the lower turret is added to the insert and glued in place too. 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. Happily these can be fitted late in the build, so the open bays can be masked quicker than if they were present. Speaking of bays, you can depict the bomb bay open or close by using either a one piece door for closed, or two separate doors with internal detail for open. 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. Your final choice is bombs, tanks or gun-packs hung under the wings. The bombs are made up from two halves each with a spinner insert in the rear and their attachment points moulded into the port side, the gun-packs have a handed three part pod that fits around the central gun-tray, and the drop tanks are simple two-part assemblies with their attachment points moulded into the port side again. They are all mounted on pegs, and fit into their holes that you remembered to drill in the wings before you closed them up, didn't you? Markings In this initial boxing there are three options included on the decal sheet, one in bare metal, the other two in olive drab, one of which has a bare metal leading-edge panel to the tail and an all-over olive drab finish. From the box you can build one of the following: B-26B-30-DL 8th BS, 3rd BG, Iwakuni AB, Japan, Spring 1951 B-26B-56-DL 13th BS, 3rd BG, Iwakuni AB, Japan, August 1950 B-26B-61-DL 730th BS, Miho AB, Japan, Autumn 1950 The decals are printed anonymously, although they look like DecoGraph's output to my eye. 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
  2. Moskvitch 401-420A (36484) 1:35 ICM via Hannants Ltd The original Opel Kadett was unveiled in 1936 with some innovative features including a monocoque chassis, and after a minimalistic set of cosmetic upgrades in 1937/8 the K38 was born. The KJ38 was the standard limousine, while the K38 was marketed as the Spezial with better trim levels inside and out so that it lived up to its name. It was also available with a soft roof that could be removed to turn it into a cabriolet, which led to the slightly ungainly Cabriolimousine moniker. There were well over 50,000 K38s made, and as part of the reparations after the war, the Soviet Union were allowed to take their pick of some Opel designs, one of which was the K38. The factory and drawings had been ravaged during the war, so completed vehicles were taken to Russia and reverse engineered using captured German staff, resulting in the almost identical Moskvitch 400/420 with a stylised M replacing the Opel badge. The Kit The original tooling of this kit was made in 2013 and it has been reboxed by ICM and others over the years with a few changes in parts and decals. This new tooling is the soft-top four-door copy by Moskvitch, using new body parts where necessary and giving the option of modelling the canvas hood in up or down positions. The kit arrives in a small top-opening box with the usual captive lid to the tray. Inside are four sprues of grey styrene, one of clear parts, decal sheet, a bag of five flexible plastic tyres and the instruction booklet with colour painting guide to the rear. Detail is excellent and the new sprue contains the four door sides, and additional body parts that differ between the models (the hood logo being one of them). This is a full interior kit, so you also get an engine and most of the internals/underside parts too. Construction begins with the floor of the monocoque chassis into which the two bench seats are installed once the backs and cushions are assembled. Driver controls consisting of the pedals, gear shifter and hand-brake are glued in place then the instrument panel is attached to the sloped firewall and decals are provided for the two dials. The car's sides have moulded closed doors with separate windows that have frames moulded-in, and an internal structure including door cards and pillars fitted to the inside along with window-winders and handles for both sides. These attach to the sides (no surprise there!) and the nicely detailed inner wings join the external fenders, making up the basis of the engine compartment. The boot/trunk is covered by a cut-down part with a separate parcel shelf and the front screen with A-pillars has a flat glazing panel added together with a sun visor and rear-view mirror for the driver on the left side (that's the wrong side if you're not British, Australian or Japanese). The steering column and front brace are added into the engine bay, then the two-part steering wheel is attached at the other end of the column, the central part separate from the rim. The 1,074cc engine that outputs a manly 23hp to the wheels is next to be made with a two-part block, sump, manifolds and the balance of the ancillaries, plus pulleys, radiators and so forth. This fits to the front axle with the drum brakes, forming a modern(ish) subframe that is inserted into the engine compartment from below, much like the real thing. The steering linkage is added later after the exhaust is joined to the engine and suspended from blocks on the chassis underside, then the rear axle with its drum brakes, differential cover and leaf springs are put in place, joined to the transmission by its drive shaft. A cover is fitted over it at about the half-way point, and two additional braces are added to the rear axle, finishing off the underside. The wheels have single part hubs and the tyres are fitted over them thanks to their flexibility which also enables them to have a nice cross-ply tread pattern moulded-in. Flipping the vehicle over, the battery and air-box are installed in the engine bay, then the streamlined front cowl with grille and separate clear headlights are fitted to the front with the new Moskvitch badge and hood/bonnet top ornament added to finish it off. The bonnet/hood itself folds from the centreline on a narrow panel and has the short curved side panels hinged at the edges, which fold inwards under gravity as they are opened. Closing up the passenger compartment takes the two part closed hood and oval rear window part, gluing them in place from front to back. Leaving the roof open means adding two side panels over the windows that are normally hidden, then fixing the four-part folded hood at the rear, mating the curved groove in its underside with the shape of the rear. Remaining at the rear the number plate holder, its light and counterpart on the opposite side are fitted, then a choice of a separate hub with flexible tyre, or a two-part covered spare in styrene. The rear bumper has two iron brackets to attach it to the chassis, as does the front bumper with offset number plate holder. Completing the model involves adding the windscreen wipers, but no wing mirrors – that must have made changing lanes a lot of fun! Markings There are four decal options in the box, two of which are colourful, the others not so much. From the box you can build one of the following: Moskvitch 401-420A USSR late 50s Moskvitch 401-420A USSR late 50s Moskvitch 401-420A USSR late 60s Moskvitch 401-420A USSR late 60s The decal sheet contains the number plates for each option, the instrument dials, silver name-plates for the sides of the hood, and four stylised M V logos for hubcaps, but you'll have to paint the stripes for the corners of each bumper end. Conclusion Having this new “clone” version of the Opel Kadett used in the Soviet Union is a welcome addition to the line-up, and will find uses in dioramas as well as stand-alone models. Detail is excellent throughout too. Highly recommended. Available in the UK from Importers H G Hannants Ltd. Review sample courtesy of
  3. WWII German MG08 Machine Gun Team (35645) 1:35 ICM via Hannants Ltd. The MG08 was one of the primary defensive machine guns used by the Germans in WWI, and was developed from the original Maxim and adopted into service in 1908 then used throughout the war. It was belt-fed and water cooled with a canister feeding around 4 litres of water through the cooling jacket to avoid overheating the barrel and it was crewed by two. It fired between 500-600 rounds of 7.92 ammunition that was fed from an ammo box in lengths of 250 rounds at full auto while the trigger remained pulled. It was later redesigned to reduce weight by shaving bulk from the receiver and opting for a narrower cooling jacket with a shorter bipod that allowed the gun to be fired from the fully prone position. The original 08 had a rather large and heavy sled that was carried by the operators between engagements, and meant that the trigger-man was sat up in a more exposed position. It was successful that it continued in use into WWII, even though it was outdated and less well suited to the constant movement of Blitzkrieg than the MG34 due to its heavy weight and bulky tripod Consequently it was used in static defence and training situations. The Kit This kit includes two figures plus sufficient parts for one MG08 including a sled-mount, cooling reservoir and ammo box. Additionally there also an MG08/15 included on the sprues with its reduced diameter cooling jacket, breech and a wooden stock with pistol grip, supported by a thick bipod and with a large drum magazine clipped to the left side of the receiver. The top-opening box has the usual ICM captive lid inside, and there are three sprues in grey styrene inside plus three sheets of instructions for each aspect of the kit. The figures are held on one long sprue, the standard and one /15 are on another (the two sprues are linked in this boxing), and the accessory sprue contains a host of additional weapons including an MG34, MP40, pouches etc. The operator is sitting down with legs in front of him, the other feeding the linked ammunition into the receiver from a semi-prone position with his left hand feeding the link into the gun. Each figure is broken down into head, legs, arms and torso with all the usual items of a WWII Wehrmacht solider such as gas mask canister, canteen and other bags. The heads are finished off with a steel helmet from the accessory sprue and contains an additional two metal helmets for any other flat-headed German soldier figures you have. The full listing of accessories can be found of the rear of the instruction sheet along complete with codes for painting. The original MG 08 can be built on the tripod in a raised or lowered position which was achieved on the real thing by altering the geometry with a pin on either side of the front legs. This requires holes to be opened up in the curved front of the back legs which is then detailed with the elevation mechanism that is again set in two positions, the higher one being for indirect fire with the barrel tilted upward, which probably wouldn't fit the figures. The gun itself is mostly supplied as one part with the handles and pivot added along the way before it is joined with the sled which then clips to the front legs so that it can stand upright. The water can, alternate water box and two types of ammo box are then made up, the two narrower ones being open and closed, while the double-width can has a separate lid into which you can put the bottom end of the ammo belt with the other end slotted into the receiver and a short length added to the opposite side minus the bullets. You will need to provide a length of wire to connect the jacket with its reservoir to whichever version of the canister you choose to use with the caveat below. The MG08/15 is much simpler overall (much like the real thing), but the gun is made up from jacket, bipod and receiver, with the magazine added to the side, and from looking at the pictures available online it seems that the rectangular water reservoir was more often used with this lightened variant. There are no figures that would be able to use this version of the gun, but it could come in handy one day, so commit it to the spares bin in the meantime. Conclusion ICM have an incredibly skilled team of sculptors, and as you'd expect detail is excellent on the figures, machine guns and accessories and there isn't much more you could add to improve it other than the aforementioned hose for the water cooling. Highly recommended. Available in the UK from importers H G Hannants Ltd. Review sample courtesy of
  4. US Army Drivers 1917-18 (35706) 1:35 ICM via Hannants We reviewed the Standard Liberty truck that this set is intended to mesh with here a few weeks back, and that kit included a squad of US troops. This set arrives in a small top opening box with the usual ICM style captive inner lid and a single sprue of grey styrene wrapped in a resealable bag with instruction sheet. There are two figures on the sprue, and the one doing the driving is a private with putties and utility belt with braces, while the co-driver is his commander with knee-high leather boots and Captain's rank insignia on his shoulder boards. They are both in the seated position as you'd expect and the driver has his hands out grasping the wheel with his feet appropriately angled for the pedals. This is ICM, so sculpting is excellent with simple parts breakdown along natural seams speeding up assembly and preparation for paint. Each figure is broken down into head, torso and separate arms and legs. The hats are separate parts to achieve a better brim and these have a flat contact patch with the equally flat-topped heads, plus moulded-in detail of the hat band with tassles. Conclusion An excellent addition to your Liberty truck at a good price, or any other vehicle used by the US Army in WWI, although the driver may require a little adjustment if the controls for the driver are different. Highly recommended. Available in the UK from importers H G Hannants Ltd. Review sample courtesy of
  5. A-26B/C Invader Decals (D4801) 1:48 ICM via Hannants There's a brand new tool Invader in 1:48 coming from those delightful folks at ICM, who have already given us new lines of He.111, Ju.88, Dornier 17, 215, 217 etc., and show no sign of stopping, which has the be good news for us quarter-scale folks. This set of additional decals has managed to beat their new kit to our shores in order to whet our appetite for the forthcoming plastic goodness. The set arrives in a re-sealable foil bag stapled to a header card, with the decals covered by a sheet of translucent paper to keep moisture from damaging the carrier film. There are options for four bare metal airframes on the sheet, with only one set of national markings, so if you're setting up an Invader production line you'll need some appropriate stars & bars to complete your mission, but those shouldn't be hard to find (hint: there's one set in the box of the kit!). The decals are printed under ICM's banner, and are in good registration, sharpness and colour density, with a commendably thin gloss carrier film cut close to the printed areas, and underprinting of all the white areas for density. The few stencils included are crisply printed and legible under magnification, which is always a sign of good printing and attention to detail. From the sheet you can decal one of the following (or more subject to the caveat above): A-26B-20-DL, 670th BS/416th BG, A55 Melun, France Autumn 1944 A-26B-15-DT, 668th BS/416th BG, A55 Melun Spring 1945 A-26B-20-DT, 555th BS/386th BG, A92 St Trond, Belgium May 1945 A-26C-15-DT, 495th BS/344th BG, R75 Schleissheim, Germany September 1945 Additional scrap diagrams show the nose area with the engines out of the way to enable correct decaling of the red prop-warning lines and other decals in that area. On the back page the wings are covered with decal placement for the stars and wing walkway boxes. Conclusion A really nice set of decals that expand your options for the new kit (when it arrives we'll be sure to review it), or for the old Revell/Monogram kit if you have one knocking about. Highly recommended. Available in the UK from importers H G Hannants Ltd. Review sample courtesy of
  6. le.gl.Einheits - Pkw (Kfz.1) German Personnel Car (35582) 1:35 ICM via Hannants Ltd Made mostly by three German companies, this all-wheel drive staff car designed by Stoewer was produced with different bodies during the early war, the most prevalent being the four seat staff car depicted here. It was however complicated and unreliable, so was eventually replaced by the ubiquitous Kubelwagen. The Kit This is a re-release of their kit (35581) but with new parts for a deployed soft-top roof, which hasn't yet been available with only the stowed roof released so far. The box contains five sprues in grey styrene plus a single clear sprue and decal sheet, not forgetting the instructions with integral painting guide at the rear. The additional sprue contains the new parts for the roof, but you'll still find the retracted roof parts on the original sprues in case you change your mind. New Sprue Construction begins with the chassis, which is first to be built up with dual springs supporting independent suspension and a driveshaft linking the two transfer boxes, plus the steering linkage front and rear. Fuel tank and stowage are placed to either side of the chassis rails and an exhaust pipe is threaded through to the engine compartment, which is filled with a full rendering of its 4 cylinder 2 litre Stoewer power plant over the front axle. The floor of the cab is built up and added to the chassis, then the three part styrene wheels with moulded-in tread are fitted to each corner along with the radiator at the front. The firewall and rear passenger bulkhead are installed next with the former having instruments and transmission tunnel moulded in and pedals attached to the floor. The cab sides, boot/trunk cover, engine cowling and gear shifter are all put in place before the seats are built up from base, cushion and curved back at the front, with a bench seat at the rear of a similar construction that has just enough room down the sides for two Kar98 rifles to be stowed in shackles. Two more rifle points are attached to the front bulkhead, bumpers/fenders and doors are all added with steering wheel and windscreen also made up. The rear light cluster is fitted to racks for additional fuel on the rear quarters with a spare wheel in between them, and the folded canvas roof above is still available if you decide you don't want to install the new one. If you do, and that's probably the main reason you would chose this boxing, the semi-rigid side panels with the glazing panels that mostly stayed on the sprues previously are inserted into the frames which are then attached to the sills and the windscreen. The rear of the hood has a small rectangular window inserted into the flat panel, then has the corners attached before the assembly is fitted to the rear of the car. The external retraction frame drops into grooves in the sides of the rear hood, and finally the top fits on to complete the roof. Of all the joins on the hood the only ones that may need sanding and/or filling are those on the corners at the rear, as the top panel has a handy overlap so has a natural step that matches the kit's panel. Front lights, jerry cans and pioneer tools are attached to the fenders, and windscreen wipers are fitted into the depressions on the frame, with wiper-motor boxes moulded into the frame for completeness. The lights and windscreen all have clear parts so the passengers don't get bugs in their teeth. Markings There are four theatre specific options included in the box with early war Panzer Grey the colour of choice, and these haven't been changed from the earlier boxing, as they're essentially the same vehicles but with the hood up! From the bag you can build one of the following: WH-102 360 16 Pz.D, Don area, June 1942 WH-240 663 11 Pz.D, Ukraine, July 1941 WH-307 582 Panzergruppe 1 Kleist, Ukraine, July 1941 WL-22662 I./JG51 Stary Bykhov (Belorussia), July 1941 Conclusion A welcome addition to the Kfz.1 line from ICM, and perfect for a rainy day... literally! Great detail, crystal clear parts and only a few ejector pin marks on the hood parts if you think they'll be visible. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  7. British Pilots 1939-45 (32105) 1:32 ICM via Hannants During WWII our brave pilots fought to keep the Nazi enemy from invading Great Britain in the hope of remaining free after most of Europe had fallen under the jackboot of Adolf Hitler's evil empire. They went to war wearing their RAF blues, a pair of fleece-lined flying boots, Mae West life jacket, fleece-lined leather flying jacket (it gets cold at altitude), plus a leather flying helmet with goggles and sewn-in headphones with the mic in their oxygen mask so that they could communicate with their colleagues (Repeat please!) and with ground control who guided them to their foes using ground-breaking radar technology. This large scale figure set contains three of these fine young gentlemen who were entrusted with a very expensive fighter even though many of them were barely out of their teens. The set arrives in a small top-opening box with captive lid on the inner tray, and inside is a single sprue of grey styrene and a sheet of instructions that gives part numbers on the rear plus paint codes. The figures are all broken down with separate heads, torso, arms and legs and in the case of the seated pilot, his parachute pack is included for him to sit on in the cockpit. The seated pilot is dressed in overalls, ready to fly with his oxygen mask buttoned up closed, with his two fingers on his right hand up in a V-salute to indicate his readiness, the other hand on his control column. He is also belted into his aircraft with the four-point harnesses meeting in the centre of his chest at the circular quick-release buckle. The standing pilots are both in relaxed poses, although one still has his un-buttoned helmet, Mae West and his looped comms wire in hand while he looks expectantly at the sky with one hand on his hip. The other gentleman is dressed in boots and jacket but with a bare head and his pipe in-hand, free hand in pocket in the spectator role. The two helmeted figures have separate goggles for ease and sharpness of moulding and if you're feeling really skilled you could hollow the frames out to add some Micro Crystal Clear or clear acetate in there for additional realism. The figures are broken down sensibly along natural lines, and the quality of sculpting is first-rate, especially the faces, fleecy collars, pipe and twisted texture on the headset cable, although there is a little flash to remove before you paint. Clothing drape is well depicted, and even the seamlines down the sides of trousers and round pockets are depicted, giving the avid painter a good head start in cramming in detail. Markings There are no decals in the box as you'd expect with figures, but as all their insignia are covered by their jackets there are none to paint anyway. The table beneath the instructions show codes for Revell and Tamiya, plus the names of the colour if you don't have those paints or a conversion chart available. There are plenty of electronic conversion charts online these days though, which is nice. Conclusion As you'd expect, you may have to trim the seated pilot's butt and legs to get him properly seated in his aircraft of (your) choice, but as long as you plan ahead before you get too far into your project that's hardly an issue. Lovely sculpting and natural poses all-round. Very highly recommended. Available in the UK from importers H G Hannants Ltd. Review sample courtesy of
  8. WWI German MG08 MG Team (35711) 1:35 ICM via Hannants The MG08 was one of the primary defensive machine guns used by the Germans in WWI, and was developed from the original Maxim and adopted into service in 1908 then used throughout the war. It was belt-fed and water cooled with a canister feeding around 4 litres of water through the cooling jacket to avoid overheating the barrel and crewed by two. It fired between 500-600 rounds of 7.92 ammunition that was fed from an ammo box in lengths of 250 rounds at full auto while the trigger remained pulled. It was later redesigned to reduce weight by shaving bulk from the receiver and opting for a narrower cooling jacket with a shorter bipod that allowed the gun to be fired from the prone position. The original 08 had a rather large and heavy sled that was carried by the operators between engagements, and meant that the trigger-man was sat up in a more exposed position. The Kit This kit includes two figures plus sufficient parts for one MG08 including a sled-mount, cooling reservoir and ammo box. Additionally there are also two MG08/15 included in the box with its reduced diameter cooling jacket, breech and a wooden stock with pistol grip, supported by a thick bipod and with a large drum magazine clipped to the left side of the receiver. The top-opening box has the usual ICM captive lid inside, and there are three sprues in grey styrene inside plus three sheets of instructions. The figures are held on one long sprue, the standard and one /15 are on another (the two sprues are linked in this boxing), and the accessory sprue contains another one plus a host of additional weapons, pouches etc. The figures are both kneeling on one knee, one operating the trigger, the other feeding the linked ammunition into the receiver. Each figure is broken down into head, legs, arms and torso with a large backpack and a shoulder bag. The heads are finished off with a cloth cap but the accessory sprue contains an additional four metal helmets for the safety conscious. The accessory sprue covers a wide range of additional weapons from Broom Handled Mauser (my favourite), Bergmann MP18 anti-tank gun, Gewehr 98/98a, early Luger, holsters, pouches, hand grenades, water bottles, entrenching tools and bayonets. Plus of course the additional /15 machine gun. The full listing can be found of the rear of the instruction sheet along with codes for painting. The original MG 08 can be built on the tripod in a raised or lowered position which was achieved on the real thing by altering the geometry with a pin on either side of the front legs. This requires holes to be opened up in the curved front of the back legs which is then detailed with the elevation mechanism that is again set in two manners, the higher one being for indirect fire with the barrel tilted upward. The gun itself is mostly supplied as one part with the handles and pivot added along the way before it is joined with the sled which then clips to the front legs so that it can stand upright. The water can, alternate water box and two types of ammo box are then made up, the two narrower ones being open and closed, while the double-width can has a separate lid into which you can put the bottom end of the ammo belt with the other end slotted into the receiver and a short length added to the opposite side minus the bullets. You will need to provide a length of wire to connect the jacket with its reservoir to whichever version of the canister you choose to use with the caveat below. The MG08/15 is much simpler overall (much like the real thing), but the gun is made up from jacket, bipod and receiver, with the magazine added to the side, and from looking at the pictures available online it seems that the rectangular water reservoir was more often used with this lightened variant. Conclusion Detail is excellent on the figures, machine guns and accessories and there isn't much more you could add to improve it other than the aforementioned hose for the water cooling, while the length of bullets are already provided. Highly recommended. Available in the UK from Importers H G Hannants Ltd. Review sample courtesy of
  9. Great Other (16202) 1:16 ICM via Hannants [WARNING: Mild Spoilers if you haven't yet seen the show] There is a fairly well-known show called Game of Thrones from HBO, and if you have heard of it you'll probably know what a White Walker is. They're a race of cold bluish people with shrivelled skin from beyond the Wall that at the beginning of the show hadn't been seen for thousands of years, but the first person to survive an encounter also inadvertently discovered how to kill them – Dragon Glass. They have the ability to reanimate the dead by touching them, which was a welcome aspect for me, as I'm quite partial to a Zombie movie, but that's not the main thrust of the show, although it becomes more relevant toward the end. We've already had the Night King from ICM here, and now we're back with one of his retinue, who usually isn't far behind his leader when more than one of them are seen on screen. The Kit This is a new tool from ICM and it arrives in one of ICM's usual smaller top-opening boxes with the captive internal flap, and inside is one sprue of grey styrene, a smaller black sprue and separate part for the base, plus a clear sprue containing just the staff. The instructions are on a single glossy sheet of A4 with a sprue diagram on the reverse, and you also get a glossy A4 print of the artwork that should be of assistance when it comes time to get the paint out. Construction is straight forward with separate head, long hair at the back, two-part torso, separate legs with individual feet joined at the instep, arms with moulded-in shoulder armour, and four sections of his leather "skirt" armour. His hands have separate fingers to allow him to grasp the clear staff/spear, and all the skin is moulded with the shrivelled, sunken flesh that's typical of their species. Because the leather skirt is made from strips, some part of his butt can be seen between the sections, so be warned that there are a couple of wrinkly cheeks to cope with, but this realism extends no further, leaving a featureless "Action Man" crotch at the front. The spear is clear (sorry about the rhyme) and differs from the box art and instructions which depict it as having a wooden or leather wrapped shaft. The part has the ice blade, but has a spiral groove running down the clear shaft, so check your references and if you feel the urge to wrap it with strips of leather (which is what it looks like to me) or replace it entirely, feel free to do so. The base is a sculpted oval affair, with separate top and bottom sections that you can either paint or add a little ground work to as you see fit. Markings There are no decals as you'd expect, and the instructions tell you to paint the body white and give him blue eyes. The "real" thing was actually a myriad of subtle shades of blue with translucent whitish highlights that will be taxing to replicate, but if done well will look exceptional. I'd seriously think about installing a couple of dim blue LEDs in the eye sockets too, as if you don't, someone else will. Conclusion If you ignore the somewhat clumsy and unsatisfactory ending of the show, GoT has a huge following, and this should appeal to the intersection of fans and figure painters on an imaginary Venn diagram. He's not dressed identically to the screen figure that he mostly resembles, but that's probably got a lot to do with licensing and plausible deniability. Highly recommended. Available in the UK from importers H G Hannants Ltd. Review sample courtesy of
  10. Type AG 1910 Paris Taxi (24030) 1:24 ICM via Hannants Ltd. The Renault built Type AG Taxi de la Marne got its name after a fleet of these vehicles were pressed into service transporting French troops to the First Battle of the Marne in WWI. It was very popular as it was one of the first taxis to be able to automatically calculate the fare due to the inclusion of a meter in the interior, which you can just make out in th picture above. As well as service during the early war it was also popular in Paris and London in the early 1900s The Kit This is a new tool in the predominant vehicle model scale from our friends at ICM, and depicts a colourful rendition of the vehicle in civilian service. It arrives in ICM's standard top-opening box with a captive inner lid, and inside are five sprues in grey styrene, a single clear sprue, two flexible sprues with black tyres plus the spare, decal sheet and instruction manual. It is a full detail kit with 10hp engine and detailed underside plus crystal clear glazing panels for the enclosed passenger cab. Construction begins with the chassis rails with moulded-in rear leaf-springs and two cross-members that are then added to the lower bodywork along with brackets for the running boards on both sides. The little engine is made up of six parts and its transmission from a further three, with both assemblies brought together on a sub-frame at which point the exhaust stub is fitted then it is inserted into the main chassis from below. Flipping it over the firewall and the pedals are slotted in between the front fenders, and this section is set aside while the coachwork is made up from individual panels, starting with the stepped floor. The divide between driver and passenger has two flat panes of glass to keep the weather out, and curved sides reminiscent of the carriages from which they descended. The driver's floor, rear parcel area and the comfortable passenger seat are inserted, and the carriage-style roof is made up with a small rear window. The doors are each made up from two layers with the glass between them, and once fitted with handles they can be posed open or closed, hinging back in suicide door style. The driver has a more utilitarian bench seat with padded backrest attached to the bulkhead behind him, then the chassis and coachwork are joined, the rear suspension, exhaust and steering column are added from below. A sump guard and front axle are added later along with the driveshaft and rear axle while it is upside down, and once righted, the sloping bonnet and less-than-generous side rails that intended to prevent the driver from falling out are installed either side of his seat. There is also an elongated S-shaped "folding mechanism" attached to the side of the passenger hood, which still persists today in some American limousine and hearse designs as a purely cosmetic homage to the original coachwork. The wheels are all spoked and have separate flexible black plastic tyres that slip over the rims. Detail here is good with bolts, rivets and the air valve for these early pneumatic tyres all moulded into the hubs, while the tyres have a faint pattern moulded into them. The spare wheel is mounted on a rim on the right running board, and also has a flexible tyre provided in the box, then it's a case of adding the steering wheel, horn, gear shift and the driver's folding awning that fixes to the front of the coachwork with a short frame inside that allows the real one to fold back if desired. The final items are the two lamps with clear three-sided lenses and the taxi's major innovation, the meter, complete with little flag-shaped arm. Markings One rather colourful scheme is provided in the instructions with a choice of three number plates for front and back, the word "Libre" in white and again on a red background, plus another decal for the front of the meter. The chassis and wheels are painted yellow with yellow accents around the bonnet, and the bodywork is predominantly red with black hood and seat cushions as per the box top. Conclusion The Type AG was quite an important advance in Taxis for the day with the innovative meter, plus the smoothing of the ride quality thanks to pneumatic tyres, which must have been a luxury back then. Not my usual scale, but a nice model none-the-less. Highly recommended. Available in the UK from importers H G Hannants Ltd. Review sample courtesy of
  11. Standard B Liberty Truck with WWI US Infantry (35652) 1:35 ICM via Hannants Ltd. The Liberty truck was a collaboration between the major US manufacturers and the Quartermasters Corps to reduce the need to carry spare parts for every weird and wacky truck that might find its way into service. The aim was to cut down on the breadth of inventory they needed to keep in stock to maintain the vehicles, and to reduce the training needed for their mechanics who only needed to be familiar with one main design. Production began in mid 1917 as American was becoming more involved in the Great War and with very few alterations over 9,000 were made before the ending of hostilities. The vehicle's engine was also a collaboration and pushed out a staggering 52hp linked to a 4-speed box that drove all wheels, propelling the truck to a break-neck 15mph on a good road, drinking a gallon every seven miles at best, which with a 22 gallon tank gave it a fairly short range. The Kit This isn't a brand new tooling, but was released in 2018 so it's barely out of the "new" range. This reboxing contains an additional set of US WWI Soldiers with their distinctive "mountie" hats from the era. It is a high quality kit with a lot of detail that provides a full interior, erected tilt and bare frame options and engine. The kit arrives in a standard ICM box with four sprues for the truck and two more for the soldiers, plus a clear sprue and decal sheet between the pages of the instruction booklet. Two additional sheets of instructions are included for the soldiers and their accessory sprue. Construction begins with the chassis with leaf suspension fore and aft, then spacer rails to join them together, radiator, axles and steering gear. The rear axle is a substantial chunk and has large drum brakes with a drive-shaft leading to a central transfer box in the middle of the chassis. Front mud guards, bumper bar with rebound springs are added, then it's time to add the wheels with two singles at the front, and two pairs at the rear all with spoked hubs and moulded-in solid rubber tyres around the rim. There is a choice of hub caps on the front wheels, then the engine is made up from 11 parts and dropped in place on the chassis behind the radiator along with a two-part manifold and short exhaust pipe that you'll have to take a small drill to if you want it hollow. The connection to the radiator from the block sprouts from the top of the engine, and at this early stage the gear shifter is installed on the top of the box, ready for the crew cab later. The cab is formed on an stepped floor part that has tread-plate moulded in, to which the sides, full-width bench seat and the firewall with dashboard and fuel tank are attached. Two foldable crew steps are stowed under the floor, and the steering column inserts almost vertically into a hole in the floor, then the assembly is added behind the engine allowing the cowling to be fitted together with a perforated grille that sits forward of the cowling by a few scale inches. The hand brake attaches to the side of the transmission hump, and then it's time for the load bed. The floor is stiffened by five lateral ribs and the front wall is added and braced by the side panels, which also have 4 stiffeners, then two stowage boxes are glued in place under the floor at the front. The tailgate is made up from two thicknesses and is added at whatever variation of open or closed you fancy, then the whole bed is fitted to the chassis on tabs and depressions to get the correct location. Back in the cab the steering wheel, searchlight with clear lens and horn are all fitted, the last two on the top of the dash, and two headlamps again with clear lenses are attached to the outside front of the cab. The area is then decorated with a multitude of grab handles, closures and two towing hooks at the front of the chassis rail. A starter handle is inserted into the front, and the cab's tilt is made up from three styrene parts with two clear portholes and it too is fitted to the cab. The cover for the cargo bed can be modelled either hidden away with just the framework visible, or with the canvas draped over for a bit of variety. The framework option is quite delicate, so care will be needed when taking the frames off the sprues to avoid breakage. There are five of them and they fit at intervals to the sides with a substantial overlap for strength. The covered parts comprise front section, two sides with the exposed parts of the frames sticking down, a rolled-up rear cover, and separate roof section. All have realistic drape and creases moulded in, and your only task is to hide the seams before you apply paint, whilst avoiding breaking off the ends of the frames that hang down. The Figures Four soldiers are supplied on one sprue with their equipment on another sprue. They are all standing with one taking a photo of the others on a box-brownie type camera, while the others walk along, only one of which is acknowledging the camera with a wave. They are broken down into separate heads, hats, torsos, legs and arms, with the arms broken down further where sensible, and the walkers each have a large kit bag that is slung over both their shoulders with rucksack type straps, and over that are their rifles, the slings for which you'll have to make yourself from foil or tape. The accessory sprue contains a plethora of weapons and accessories, most of which you either won't use or can be dotted around this and any other models of the period you may make, including battle bowlers, pistols, pouches, tools, a Lewis gun and other oddities. The instructions show the part locations for each sprue and a combined assembly and painting diagram that is covered in little arrows, with the remaining sheet showing construction of the accessories, their painting and even the names of each item on the sprue, which is very helpful. Markings There are two decal options for the truck, both of which are the same colour, olive green for the body, and khaki for the canvas areas. The sheet is small and includes a few stencils, divisional badges and a warning to carry no more than 3 tons. Conclusion A beautifully detailed kit of an early truck from WWI with the bonus of some very nicely moulded US soldiers into the bargain. Highly recommended. Available from Importers H G Hannants Ltd. In the UK Review sample courtesy of
  12. Wehrmacht Off-Road Cars (DS3503) Stoewer Kfz.1, Horch 108 & DB L1500A 1:35 ICM via Hannants Ltd. War takes place over almost any kind of terrain which is why many military softskins are all-wheel drive with low-ratio gutsy transmission that trade top speed for terrain handling grunt. During WWII the Nazis had a plethora of such vehicles, some home-brewed while others were taken from their conquests and pressed into service. Stoewer, Horch and Daimler Benz were German companies that produced such vehicles seeing action in many theatres carrying staff, troops to and from the front lines, as well as arms, ammunition and stores from place to place. The Kit This is another of ICM's reboxings of existing kits in useful groups that would often be seen together, or used on the battlefield in close proximity. This set includes three personnel vehicles in the one box, and as well as the convenience, there's a decent saving on buying them all separately. The various kits are all recent releases with excellent detail throughout, but for the ease of description we'll handle them separately. They arrive in a newly themed box with each kit/set in its own resealable bag and separate instruction booklets and decals for each one. le.gl.Einheits - Pkw (Kfz.1) German Personnel Car (35581) Made mostly by three German companies, this all-wheel drive staff car designed by Stoewer was produced with different bodies during the early war, the most prevalent being the four seat staff car depicted here. It was however complicated and unreliable, so was eventually replaced by the ubiquitous Kubelwagen. The bag contains four sprues in grey styrene plus a single clear sprue and decal sheet, not forgetting the instructions with integral painting guide at the rear. The chassis is first to be built up with dual springs supporting independent suspension and a driveshaft linking the two transfer boxes, plus the steering linkage front and rear. Fuel tank and stowage are placed to either side of the chassis rails and an exhaust pipe is threaded through to the engine compartment, which is filled with a full rendering of its 4 cylinder 2 litre Stoewer power plant over the front axle. The floor of the cab is built up and added to the chassis, then the three part styrene wheels with moulded-in tread are fitted to each corner along with the radiator at the front. The firewall and rear passenger bulkhead are installed next with the former having instruments and transmission tunnel moulded in and pedals attached to the floor. The cab sides, boot/trunk cover, engine cowling and gear shifter are all put in place before the seats are built up from base, cushion and curved back at the front, with a bench seat at the rear of a similar construction that has just enough room down the sides for two Kar98 rifles to be stowed in shackles. Two more rifle points are attached to the front bulkhead, bumpers/fenders and doors are all added with steering wheel and windscreen also made up. The rear light cluster is fitted to racks for additional fuel on the rear quarters with a spare wheel in between them, and the folded canvas roof above. Front lights, jerry cans and pioneer tools are attached to the fenders, and windscreen wipers are fitted into the depressions on the frame, with wiper-motor boxes moulded into the frame for completeness. The lights and windscreen all have clear parts so the passengers don't get bugs in their teeth. Markings There are four theatre specific options included in the box with early war Panzer Grey the colour of choice. From the bag you can build one of the following: WH-102 360 16 Pz.D, Don area, June 1942 WH-240 663 11 Pz.D, Ukraine, July 1941 WH-307 582 Panzergruppe 1 Kleist, Ukraine, July 1941 WL-22662 I./JG51 Stary Bykhov (Belorussia), July 1941 Horch 108 Type 40 (35505) This is a relatively new tooling from ICM, dating from 2015, with nine sprues in grey styrene, plus a clear sprue, a floppy sprue of black flexible tyres, a small decal sheet and the aforementioned instruction booklet. The model is built up on its ladder chassis, including the engine, transmission, suspension with nicely moulded springs, plus body supports, brake hoses and exhaust system. Overall it's a very neatly detailed underside, with the engine being the focal-point. The hubs are split between inner and outer halves, which facilitates easy painting of the wheels and tyres separately, and installation of the tyres on the hubs without struggle. The coachwork is assembled on the floor plate, which has the rear wheel arches moulded in and stops at the firewall, with spaces for the driver's pedals in the left foot well. The body sides are added, with moulded-in framework, and the dashboard is fitted between them to stabilise the assembly. The dash has a decal for the instruments, a handgrip for the co-driver, heater ducting and a lever beneath the steering column, which is added later. The front inner arches are glued to the underside of the body, and a rear load cover with moulded-in seatback is applied over the rear arches, after which the two rear doors and their handles are installed. A delicate (in this scale) framework is fitted between the rear seats and the driver's area, with the fifth wheel behind the driver, and two bench seats facing each other in the rear compartment, which also have delicate framework under their cushions. The front seats are individual, but of similar construction, and have space for the supplied KAR98 rifles between them, with two more pairs fitted in the rear compartment. The windscreen is of the flip-down type, and has two separate panes added to the frame, with no windows supplied for the sides as it is modelled with the hood down. The doors can be fitted opened or closed, with their own separate handles inside and out. Once the chassis and body are mated, more of the underpinnings are added, and the radiator with cooling fan are attached along with the louvered bonnet and front bumper irons. At the rear the hood is constructed from four parts, sitting on top of the load cover in a folded state, as there isn't an option for a raised hood on this variant. Wing mirrors, pioneer tools, front headlights with clear lenses, and number plates are dotted around to finish off the build. Markings Four decal options are supplied on the small sheet, with unit, number plate and tyre pressure stencils being about all that is to be seen. All options are from the Eastern front, with three shown in Panzer Grey, and one in the Sand Yellow scheme used later in the war. From the box you can build one of the following: 8.Pz.Div, Soviet Baltic, 1941 – grey Russia, Summer 1942 – grey Russian, Autumn, 1942 – grey KG 51, Russia, Summer 1943 – Dark Yellow '43 L1500 (Kfs.70) WWII German Personnel Car (35525) This is the larger of the three vehicles manufactured by Mercedes Benz in a predominantly personnel role, but it was also built as a truck in small quantities. There are three sprues in grey styrene, plus one of clear parts, and the black and white instruction booklet with decal sheet slipped inside. It is a full-detail kit that includes a chassis and engine compartment, together with all the associated underpinnings. Construction begins with the chassis-rails, leaf-spring suspension and crew-steps attached to the outer edges, joined together by a number of perforated cross-braces plus the front bumper and rear towing bracket. The drive train and axles are assembled along with the three-part styrene wheels separate from the chassis, but it may be prudent to at least test-fit them to the chassis before the glue sets so that they retain the correct shapes. The transfer box is at the centre of the assembly with drive-shafts leading to the axles, and it is added to the chassis with the exhaust between them, and at the front a well-detailed engine is installed, built from 16 parts. The body is then begun with the firewall which has the dashboard, driver controls and steering wheel attached along with the two-pane windscreen with clear panels added from behind. The crew seats are assembled on a raised box and a rear compartment, the boot/trunk if you like, is built up to be incorporated into the body. The bodywork begins with the tread-plated floor, onto which the rear wheel wells are fitted, then the side body panels with cut-outs for their separate doors, rear panel with moulded-in doors and the already-assembled firewall with windscreen. Next are the gearstick, seats, spare wheel and frame that helps keep the spare wheel in place and supports the front bench seat, which faces the rear seats so the troops can stare at each other while they travel. The canvas hood is supplied as a four-part folded assembly and rests over the top of the trunk area, leaving much of it exposed as a kind of "parcel shelf". The body is joined to the chassis and the engine compartment is cowled in either the opened or closed position along with the distinctive Mercedes 3-pointed star on the grille. The front mudguards are also installed and are decorated with headlights with clear lenses, convoy light and width indicators plus side mirrors, door handles and a rear-view mirror inside the screen. Underneath, two stowage areas are added between the front and rear wheels, one boxed in, the other a framework. Rear number plate and lights finish off the build. Markings As often is the case with ICM, there are four decal options included in various patterns and colours but as the side profiles are in black and white it's hard to tell without referencing the table on the opposite side of the page. Looking on the bright side, the constant flipping back and forth will help create a draught to keep you cool. Grossdeutchland Division, Ukraine, Summer 1942 Grossdeutchland Division, Kharkov, Summer 1942 North Africa, Summer 1942 Italy, Summer 1944 The decals are printed on a strange lavender coloured paper, but are otherwise identical in registration, sharpness and colour density to their usual fare, so well up to the task. There are instrument decals included for the instrument panel, which is always nice. Conclusion If you want some WWII German Personnel cars for your collection/stash or for a diorama or two, then these are just the ticket, with lots of good quality detail and decal options that give the modeller plenty of choice of finishes. Very highly recommended. Available in the UK from Importers, H G Hannants, Ltd. Review sample courtesy of
  13. Kadett K38 Cabriolimousine WWII German Staff Car (35483) 1:35 ICM via Hannants The original Kadett was unveiled by the then Opel chief in 1936 with some innovative features including a monocoque chassis, and after a minimalistic set of cosmetic upgrades in 1937/8 the K38 was born. The KJ38 was the standard limousine, while the K38 was marketed as the Spezial with better trim levels inside and out so that it lived up to its name. It was also available with a soft roof that could be removed to turn it into a cabriolet, which led to the slightly ungainly Cabriolimousine moniker. There were well over 50,000 K38s made, and it was only natural that some of them ended up in military service, predominantly as Staff Cars to transport officers of for them to drive themselves around in. Curiously, as part of the reparations after the war, the Soviet Union were allowed to take their pick of some Opel designs and they chose the K38. The factory and drawings had been ravaged during the war, so completed vehicles were taken to Russia and reverse engineered using captured German staff, resulting in the almost identical Muskovich 400/420 with a stylised M replacing the Opel badge. The Kit The original tooling of this kit was made in 2013 and it has been reboxed by ICM and other over the years with a few changes in parts and decals. This new tooling is the first attempt at the soft-top variant by ICM, using new body parts where necessary and leaving the hard roof on the sprues in favour of a new canvas moulding. The kit arrives in a small top-opening box with the usual captive lid to the tray. Inside are four sprues of grey styrene, one of clear parts, decal sheet, a bag of five flexible plastic tyres and the instruction booklet with colour painting guide to the rear. Detail is excellent and the new sprue contains both the stretched hood in closed position and the retracted hood complete with detailed end parts as well as some additional body parts that differ between the models. This is a full interior kit, so you also get an engine and most of the internals/underside parts too. Construction begins with the floor of the monocoque chassis into which the two bench seats are installed once the backs and cushions are assembled. Driver controls consisting of the pedals, gear stick and hand-brake are glued in place then the instrument panel is attached to the sloped firewall and decals are provided for the two dials. The car's sides have moulded-closed doors with separate windows that have frames moulded-in, and an internal structure including door cards and pillars fitted to the interior along with handles and window-winders for both sides. These attach to the sides (no surprise there!) and the nicely detailed inner wings join the external fenders, making up the basis of the engine compartment. The boot/trunk is covered by a cut-down part with a separate parcel shelf and the front screen with A-pillars has a flat glazing panel added together with a sun visor and rear-view mirror for the driver on the left side (that's the wrong side if you're not British, Australian or Japanese). The steering column, front brace and a triangular box section are added into the engine bay, then the two-part steering wheel is attached at the top end of the column, the central part separate from the rim. The 1,074cc engine that outputs a huge 23hp to the wheels is next to be made with a two-part block, sump, manifolds and the balance of the ancillaries, plus pulleys, radiators and so forth. This fits to the front axle with the drum brakes, forming a modern(ish) subframe that is inserted into the engine compartment from below, much like the real thing. The steering linkage is added later after the exhaust is joined to the engine and suspended from blocks on the chassis underside, then the rear axle with its drum brakes, differential cover and leaf springs are put in place, joined to the transmission by its drive shaft. A cover is fitted over it at about the half-way point, and two additional braces are added to the rear axle, finishing off the underside. The wheels have single part hubs and the tyres are fitted over them thanks to their flexibility which also enables them to have a nice cross-ply tread pattern moulded-in. Flipping the vehicle over, the battery and air-box are installed in the engine bay, then the streamlined front cowl with grille and separate clear headlights are fitted to the front with a badge and optional hood/bonnet ornament added to finish it off. The bonnet/hood itself folds from the centreline on a narrow panel and has the short curved side panels hinged at the edges, which fold inwards under gravity as they are opened. Closing up the passenger compartment takes the two part closed hood and oval rear window part, gluing them in place from front to back. Leaving the roof open means adding two side panels over the windows that are normally hidden, then fixing the four-part folded hood at the rear, mating the curved groove in its underside with the shape of the rear. Remaining at the rear the number plate holder and its light and counterpart on the opposite side are fitted, then a choice of a separate hub with flexible tyre, or a two-part covered spare in styrene. The rear bumper has two iron brackets to attach it to the chassis, as does the front bumper with a central over-rider. Completing the model involves adding the windscreen wipers either as a pair or only for the driver, plus two wing mirrors (oh the luxury!), then the offset front number plate and the convoy light that resembles a flattened German helmet. Markings There are four decal options in the box, which include the cream civilian option from the front of the box, two grey vehicles and one dark yellow option from later in the war. From the box you can build one of the following: Germany, Summer 1939 Wehrmacht, Poland, September 1939 Ambulance, Germany, Summer 1940 Staff Car, France, 1943 Decals are printed anonymously, with good registration, sharpness and colour density for the task at hand, with a thin gloss carrier film cut close to the printed areas. Conclusion While not a brand-new tooling, the addition of the new parts adds interest and will find uses in dioramas as well as stand-alone models. Detail is excellent throughout too. Highly recommended. Available in the UK from Importers H G Hannants Ltd. Review sample courtesy of
  14. American Gasoline Loaders 1910s (24018) 1:24 ICM via Hannants Designed to complement their Ford Model T Delivery truck in the same scale, which we reviewed last year here, this two figure set from ICM comes in a small box with captive lid on the tray. There are three sprues inside, one holding the parts for the figures, the other two identical and holding the canisters that they will be moving. The figures are split down with separate heads, hats, legs, arms and torsos, with a couple of forearms separated out to achieve the desired pose and keep the detail. On fine gentleman is dressed in dungaree-style overalls and a flat cap, hefting a large canister, while the other crouches within in the van's load bed with his hands forward ready to accept it, wearing a similar cap, a shirt and ¾ length trousers with socks and shoes. Sculpting is excellent with tons of detail moulded in and realistic drape and creasing to the fabric parts. Although substantially larger than my usual 1:35 figures the level of detail included has been increased accordingly so that they don't look bland. This is especially evident in the hands and faces, which have superb detail and are different enough so that they don't look like they came out of a mould, even though they did! Highly recommended. Available in the UK from importers H G Hannants Ltd. Review sample courtesy of
  15. German MG08 Machine Gun (35710) 1:35 ICM via Hannants The MG08 was one of the primary defensive machine guns used by the Germans in WWI, and was developed from the original Maxim and adopted into service in 1908 then used throughout the war. It was belt-fed and water cooled with a canister feeding around 4 litres of water through the cooling jacket to avoid overheating the barrel. It fired between 500-600 rounds per minute of 7.92 ammunition that was fed from an ammo box in lengths of 250 rounds at full auto while the trigger remained pulled. It was later redesigned to reduce weight by shaving bulk from the receiver and opting for a narrower cooling jacket with a shorter bipod that allowed the gun to be fired from the prone position. The original 08 had a rather large and heavy sled that was carried by the operators between engagements, and meant that the trigger-man was sat up in a more exposed position. The Kit This little kit includes sufficient parts for one MG08 including a sled-mount, cooling reservoir and ammo box on two sprues with a short instruction booklet. Additionally there is also an MG08/15 included in the box with its reduced diameter cooling jacket, breech and a wooden stock with pistol grip, supported by a thick bipod and with a large drum magazine clipped to the left side of the receiver. The vanilla 08 can be built on the tripod in a raised or lowered position which was achieved on the real thing by altering the geometry with a pin on either side of the front legs. This requires holes to be opened up in the curved front of the back legs which is then detailed with the elevation mechanism that is again set in two manners, the higher one being for indirect fire with the barrel tilted upward. The gun itself is mostly supplied as one part with the handles and pivot added along the way before it is joined with the sled which then clips to the front legs so that it can stand upright. The water can, alternate water box and two types of ammo box are then made up, the narrower two being posed open and closed, while the double-width box has a separate lid into which you can put the bottom end of the ammo belt with the other end slotted into the receiver and a short length added to the opposite side minus the bullets. You will need to provide a length or wire to connect the jacket with its reservoir to whichever version of the canister you choose to use with the caveat below. The MG08/15 is much simpler overall (much like the real thing), but the gun is made up from separate jacket, bipod and receiver parts, with the magazine added to the side, and from looking at the pictures available online it seems that the rectangular water reservoir was more often used with this lightened variant. Conclusion Detail is excellent and there isn't much more you could add to improve it other than the aforementioned hose for the water cooling. If you're wondering about crewing it, there's a figure set coming soon from ICM (35711) that includes two soldiers to turn it into a deadly weapon. Highly recommended. Available in the UK from Importers H G Hannants Ltd. Review sample courtesy of
  16. Model T 1917 Touring WWI Australian Service (35667) ANZAC Drivers 1917-19 (35707) 1:35 ICM Via Hannants Formed in 1914, the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) played a substantial part in WWI often in areas that are seldom given the prominence of the Western Front. They were a major player in Gallipoli where they were heavily mauled due to the Lions led by Donkeys approach that pervaded at the time. They also served in Palestine and Egypt, and it was the former where they used the then new Ford Model T to replace the previous vehicles that were suffering due to the poor availability of spares, They used six of them as Light Armoured Cars, often mounting weapons in a manner that became more familiar in WWII in the shape of the LRDG. The Kits The kits arrive in the usual ICM top-opening box with the captive flap on the lower tray and artwork depicting the contents on the lid. Whoever puts those lids together certainly makes them tight and difficult to get off even after cutting the tape between the two parts. Model T 1917 Touring WWI Australian Service (35667) Inside the box are two sprues in grey styrene and one in clear, a tiny decal sheet and glossy instruction booklet with painting and decaling guide printed in colour on the rear. Detail is excellent as we've come to expect from ICM, and the small size of the vehicle is immediately evident as the four mudguards moulded into the vehicle's floor give away the dimensions. Despite being small, this is a full-detail kit and includes a nicely detailed representation of the engine using 11 parts, a two part radiator that is moulded into the front axle and attaches to the front of the body shell along with four eyes inside the engine compartment. The completed engine is dropped in behind the rad and with the chassis upended the exhaust is put in place linked to the exhaust manifold on the side of the block. The rear axle of the Model T was suspended on a single lateral leaf-spring, and this is next to be constructed along with the differential and drive shaft assembly. This is also fitted to the underside with various swing-arms and the steering mechanism, then the four single-part wheels are installed and the model is righted once you've had a few moments to appreciate the detail of the wheels, which even have the valves moulded-in. The vehicle looks a bit odd with no upper body, so with the steering column fitted the crew compartment is made up from front, sides and back which have the doors moulded in and the base of the windscreen mount added as a separate part. The cylindrical fuel tank is fitted across the cab in a gap in the floor, and additional fuel is glued to the front bulkhead as a row of four jerry cans in a box leaving space for the wheel as this is a right-hand drive vehicle. The foot pedals and handbrake are added on the right and the bench seats are made up from bottom cushions (literally!), stiff back with additional cushion and armchair-like sides. Before these are fitted the fuel tank is boxed in and then they can be fixed in place alongside the folded four-part hood and the steering wheel complete with boss and two stalks, one of which was the throttle, surprisingly enough. The pedals on the floor didn't work exactly as you or I would expect either, so it's probably for the best that few of us will ever get chance to drive one. The windscreen can be found on the clear sprue as you'd expect as can the rear light, the front ancillary light and both of the wing-mounted headlights. The screen is in two parts with a C-shaped frame attached to the two halves and a pivot to allow them to be folded or opened. Another pair of fuel cans are attached to the left running board and a spare tyre (no spokes) is found on the right. Markings There is only one colour and that is olive green used on both decal options, both of which were used in Palestine in 1918. Each one has a code on its bonnet/hood and a unit crest on the rear passenger door as you can see below. Available in the UK from importers H G Hannants Ltd. ANZAC Drivers 1917-19 (35707) Cars won't go anywhere without crew and they help to give a vehicle a sense of human scale. This set complements the Model T above, which is why it's here. Inside is one sprue of grey styrene that holds parts for two figures in ANZAC uniforms with their wide-brimmed hats. They are broken down into head, torso, arms, legs and hats with one of the co-driver's arms split between two parts to allow better adaptation to any weapon he might be tasked with. The instructions show the location and number of each part and give painting instructions that refer to a table over the page with Revell and Tamiya codes listed. They do give the gentlemen a slightly sun-burned look through their choice of flesh tone, but that's just a point of amusement to my childish mind and doesn't really matter a jot. Available in the UK from importers H G Hannants Ltd. Review sample courtesy of
  17. Heinkel He.111H-6 North Africa (48265) 1:48 ICM via Hannants The He.111 was originated in secrecy, disguised as a civilian transport in the mid-30s, but once Nazi Germany came out of the closet and disregarded the Versailles agreement, it immediately became clear that they were rearming in a major way. The early civilian and military variants had a more traditional stepped canopy, and there is a famous piece of film that is used and reused in documentaries showing a D or "Dora" variant dropping bombs during the Spanish Civil War as part of the Condor Legion, which was Hitler's proving ground for his new designs and Blitzkreig tactics. Various revisions followed until the P, which introduced the now-iconic stepless fully glazed cockpit, which improved both aerodynamics and the pilot's situational awareness. The P series saw limited action in WWII as it was replaced by the more competent H variant, substituting Junkers Jumo 211 engines, detuned to give it the throbbing beat that was to be heard over Britain almost until the end of the war. The H-3 had an improved version of the engine and increased numbers of machine guns for self-defence. As is often the case with wartime development, the end of the Battle of Britain saw the introduction of the H-4 with better engines and external bomb racks. The H-6 also had improvements in design. The Jumo 211 F-1 engine gave it increased performance, and defensive armament was upgraded with one 20 mm MG FF cannon in the nose, one MG 15 in the ventral turret, and in each of the fuselage side windows with some carrying remotely-operated tail-mounted MG 17s. The performance of the H-6 was also improved; the climb rate was higher and the aircraft could reach a slightly higher ceiling, despite its all-up weight increasing. The Kit This is an adaptation of the (relatively) newly-tooled range of 111s from ICM which we reviewed recently, and a rebox with different decals of the European theatre H-6 that we also reviewed in mid 2018. ICM have improved the quality of their products substantially over recent years, and this extends to all their products that we have seen during this time. The kit arrives in their lidded top-opening box with a glossy card lid and painting to top it off, with 11 sprues in medium grey styrene, two in crystal clear styrene, an instruction booklet in line-drawn colour, and a long decal sheet that can be found ensconced within the booklet. On opening the bags, it is very apparent that this is a thoroughly modern tooling, with lots of lovely details, crisp moulding, and some very clever engineering on display. This version also includes torpedoes which the variant used on shipping off the African coast in the Med. Construction starts with the two wing spar parts, which are separated by the gear bay roof assemblies and a walkway part. Additional detail is added to the bulkheads along with the fuselage walkways and a smaller bulkhead toward the tail, with the lower portion of the mid-upper "turret" ring attached to the floor. The cockpit floor is then assembled with rudder pedals, instrument panels, seat and control linkages, slotting into the front spar once finished. An additional chair and the overhead instrument panel are installed later in the build. As a prelude to closing up the fuselage, the tail wheel is fitted together, which has the wheel separate and consists of five parts. Preparation of the fuselage halves involves adding the inserts into the wing roots and making good the join; inserting the paired side windows; adding ammo can racks; radio panel; the pilot's control column, and more glazing in the ventral gondola. The spar/cockpit assembly is then fitted to the starboard fuselage half and the port side is added along with some glue. The rudder is separate and fits to the fin with actuators, then the missing fuselage panels between the spars are added, which of course will need painting and fettling in if you're bothered about the "endoscope brigade". If you are intending to fit the tail armament option then the tail cone will need to be cut off at the marked line and the new one added with a barrel inserted in the small hole. The mid-upper insert is designed to cater for different gun installations, and has a crisp serrated ring moulded-in, with controls and bracing strut added before it is installed into the fuselage opening, closing off much of the rear fuselage. There is no bomb bay interior to this kit, but the side walls are included and add a little structural strength to the assembly before being closed in. At this point the wings are begun, with the lower sides added to the fuselage/spar assembly first. The ailerons are separate, and are built up before the uppers are added, as are the elevators, and the two engines, which are provided in their entirety, along with much of the ancillary equipment and engine mounts. The completed Jumo 211s are fitted to the front of the spars and depending on whether you want to display them or not, and then enclosed by cowling panels, radiators and the intake/outlet ramps. The bottom cowlings can be split to reveal the engine detail, which is a good way of showing off the detail without ruining the lines of the aircraft. The upper wings and ailerons are fitted, the remaining cowling panels with the exhausts are added, with the latter having a decent indent at the tip to simulate being hollow, and finally the nose glazing, which has a machine-gun and the aforementioned overhead instrument panel, which is moulded in clear styrene and is provided with a decal for the instruments. The nose "cone" is a separate clear part, and it too is fitted with a machine gun with a choice of single or twin drum mags and dump bag for the spent brass. Another two MGs are fitted to the front and rear glazing on the gondola, and the mid-upper gun is added to the turret ring, along with the protective clear shroud at the front. A different nose cone is provided if using the heavier armament and a different underside blister noses is included. A new clear rear canopy segment is also included on the new sprue box with a hole for yet another machine gun, a choice of parts for the front glazing of the gondola and a choice of open or closed upper turret is also included. The main wheels are each built up from two halves, and placed between the twin legs that have the main retraction jacks moulded in, and secured with a number of cross-braces between the two legs. An additional ram is fitted within the bay, attached to the rear cross-brace. The gear bay doors fit to the bay sides with large tabs, as do the bomb bay doors if you are using them, and these last parts have the correctly separated four "petals" that are seen on the real thing, rather than a single panel. The props are made up from a single part with two part spinner and back plate, which fit onto the engine's output shaft through the vented front of the cowlings. The weapons included in this boxing give the modeller the choice of a pair of bombs on streamlined pylons that attach over the bomb bay doors and each bomb has fin stiffeners and anti-sway braces to add detail, or a nicely detailed pair of torpedoes that have raised details on the body and a set of steering vanes around the screw. Behind that is a four-louver box-tail that helps with entry into and control once in the water. Markings There are three markings options in this boxing, all of which are desert themed with a base of Afrika Brown RLM79 over RLM78 blue. From the box you can build one of the following: Stab StG3, Libya, Sept 1941 Sonderkommando Blaich, Africa, Jan 1942 2./KG26 Grosseto, Italy Dec 1942 The decals are up to ICM's usual standard and although they're not marks as such, they give the impression that they are by DecoGraph with good registration, sharpness and colour density, and a thin gloss carrier film cut close to the printed areas. The stencils are dealt with in the front page of the painting instructions on a bare airframe so that they don't clutter up the individual markings options. Conclusion Another impressive Heinkel He.111 from ICM with plenty of detail from the box, crystal clear parts and good quality decals. If you have a hankering for a North African 111, then this might just be for you. Available in the UK from importers H G Hannants Ltd. Review sample courtesy of
  18. German Command Vehicle Crew 1939-42 (35644) 1:35 ICM via Hannants During WWII German Blitzkreig operations there would be command vehicles dotted about the battlefield to maximise situational awareness and give the shortest distance between troops/vehicles and their commanders, which was essential for a fast-moving offensive. Although they weren't intended to be in the vanguard, they were close enough to stay in touch and could occasionally become involved in the actual combat inadvertently, so some form of armour was necessary to keep the high value targets relatively safe from stray bullets. Often the Sd.Kfz 251 was used as they were proof against small arms fire and shrapnel, excellent over rough ground while giving sufficient space for a commander and radio operators in the rear. Other vehicles were used, but there's a 251 on the boxtop so we're safe to assume that these figures are patterned to work with them, and you can see our review of the ICM kit here. The set arrives in a figure sized top opening box with additional captive lid inside, and has a single sprue of mid-grey styrene and a short instruction sheet inside. On the sprue are four figures, including a driver figure and two radio operators, one adjusting his set whilst listening in on headphones, the other with his headphones round his neck writing on a pad that is resting on his left knee. The officer of course is wearing his rank appropriate cap, binoculars and riding breeches, and is resting his right arm on the lip of the vehicle's walls and his corresponding foot propped up on a box within the vehicle. His other hand is looped through his belt/over his holster and he is leaning forward as if he is interested in what's going on. The accessories are fairly sparse due to the duties of the crew, and consist of bands for headphones, binoculars, pistol holster and notepad, while the figures themselves are broken down into separate legs, arms, torso, head with moulded in caps, or separate cap for the officer. The driver figure has his arms split at the elbow to obtain a more realistic position while maintaining detail on the hands etc., and to give a little adjustment when fitting his hands onto the steering wheel. Conclusion Sculpting and moulding are first rate as you'd expect from ICM with impressive detail and realistic drape of clothing throughout, plus sensible breakdown of parts around belts, clothing seams etc., and once the seams are scraped smooth and a little sympathetic painting is carried out (sounds easy, doesn't it?), you should have a great-looking crew for your 251. Highly recommended. Available in the UK from importers H G Hannants Ltd. Review sample courtesy of
  19. Dornier Do.217N-1 Night Fighter (48271) 1:48 ICM via Hannants Ltd. The origin of the Do.217 was the Do.17 flying pencil as it was colloquially know, to extract more power from the engines, extend its range and give it a better bomb load amongst other improvements. The resulting airframe was a good one and left the early war designs in its wake becoming known as a heavy bomber in Luftwaffe service, something they were very short of throughout the war. It was also a versatile aircraft much like the Ju.88, and was adapted to many other roles like its predecessors, including the night fighter role, to which it was suited, although not initially. Various engine types were used through the endless rounds of improvements, with radial and inline engines fitted in a seemingly random pattern throughout the aircraft's life. The first night fighter was the J-1 with radial engines, had a crew of three in an enlarged cockpit and solid nose sporting four MG17 machine guns for concentrated forward fire. The crews disliked it however, and criticism led to an order to cease production of the night fighter variants, which Dornier either didn't receive or chose to ignore. This resulted in the improved N series, which eventually entered service in small numbers as the N-1 and N-2 variants. The N-1 was first into production and used the DB603 inline engine with the defensive armament sometimes removed and replaced by wooden blanking plates to lessen weight and improve handling. The Kit Although the aircraft itself it a very close relative to the Do.17 and Do.215, this is quite a different tooling due to the changes made to the fuselage and cockpit, the inline engines that are partially moulded into the top of the wing. There are some common parts, but the sprues are all new layouts from what I can make out as I don't have access to all the various boxings that have been released. Detail is of course good, with lots of engraved panel lines, raised details where appropriate and a pair of Daimler Benz engines with optional cowlings, detailed cockpit and gear bays, and new crystal clear glazing. Inside the top opening box with inner flap on the lower part you will find six sprues in grey styrene, one in clear styrene, a decal sheet and instruction booklet with decal options printed on the glossy outer cover. Construction begins with the pilot's small raised floor with seat and substantial head armour surrounding its rear, the instrument panel with control column and bomb-sight attached, then the port sidewall is added to the fuselage with the sub-assemblies affixed to their mounting point. A pair of bulkheads are fitted fore and aft along with a short spar unit that pierces the fuselage and is linked to the rear plectrum-shaped bulkhead by a long panel that is useful if you were wanting to pose the bomb bay open. You can leave these parts out if you wish, but I'd be tempted to add it for a bit of extra strength. Later on the bay is detailed with ribbing before the doors are added in the open position. The starboard fuselage half has its sidewall inserted next together with more floor and a crew seat plus some boxes at the rear, then the fuselage can be closed up as long as you have remembered the bracket in the tail wheel bay. The solid nose is added to the front along with a gun-pack insert just under the cockpit floor, then the tail wheel yoke, two part wheel and surround. The upper wing closes up the fuselage and is joined by the lower wings, which in turn receive the separate aileron parts, then the big H-tail is made up and this straddles the fuselage closing up the last gap (apart from the cockpit). The engine nacelles have their fairings moulded into the wings, but the bulk of the cowling is supplied as a separate sub-assembly that is made up from halves with bulkheads and the boxed in areas of the wheel bays, plus a radiator bath underneath and a streamlined cowling over the top. This is done in mirror image (minus the engines, which are identical) on both nacelles, with shrouded exhausts and a four-bladed prop. If you are using the engines and leaving the cowlings off, you cut off the front of the nacelle during construction to reveal the firewall to which a nicely detailed rendition of the DB engine is added on each side with supercharger, radiator and engine mounts giving extra detail. The wheel bays are filled with an H-shaped strut with mudguard, retraction jack and two part wheel held between the two legs. The gear bay doors are fitted to the edge of the bays and then the sub-assemblies are added from below to the wings. Most people will likely leave the gear off until after painting, but there you are. Finishing off the airframe involves the rear of the under-nose gondola with its single machine gun and glazing, the bomb bay doors in either open or closed configuration with an additional fuel tank in the forward part of it as was sometimes carried, which to my way of thinking is the only reason for displaying the doors open. A pair of tail wheel doors are added, then the model is flipped over and the rear gunner's seat and circular mount are fitted at the rear of the cockpit and that corresponds with the hole in the rear of the single-part glazing. The gun and its fairing are glued in place after this, and a set of armoured front windows are glued to the front. I'd use some clear gloss here to bond the two layers, being careful not to get any bubbles between the layers. Aerials, gun muzzles under the nose, clear searchlight at the tip of the nose and the radar dipoles are the last items fixed in the instructions with good reason as they're rather delicate. Markings Night fighters. Black, right? Not this one, and from the four options available on the sheet, only one of them is black. The others have RLM76 undersides and RLM75 grey uppers, with two also having an RLM74 splinter pattern that extends onto the fuselage and a choice of low or high demarcations. There are scrap diagrams of the inner tail fins, and an alternative nose for option B, which has the lower RLM76 area covered with blotches of the camo colours. From the box you can build one of the following: GG+YD Rechlin, Germany, Spring 1943Reviews GG+YG Rechlin, Germany, Summer 1943 05+SM I./NJG 3, Denmark, 1944 3C+DV II./NJG 4, Germany, late 1943 The decals are crisp with good registration, colour density and sharpness, but are printed anonymously but look a lot like DecoGraph to this reviewer. Instrument decals are included on the sheet along with a substantial number of stencils that are dealt with separately on the page before the profiles to avoid confusion. Conclusion I have a thing about night fighters so I'm a little biased, but these new kits from ICM are excellent and provide the right amount of detail at a good price, with some unusual or lesser known subjects and variants. Long gone are the days of only a couple of models of Dornier's successful bomber range in this scale. Very highly recommended. Available in the UK from importers H G Hannants Ltd. Review sample courtesy of
  20. Army Group "Centre" Summer 1941 (DS3502) L3000S truck, Kfz.1 Car, Driver Set & German Infantry 1939-42 1:35 ICM via Hannants Ltd. During the early stages of Operation Barbarossa - the invasion of Soviet Russia, different groups were established to take local control over the rapidly advancing troops and materiel, as Blitzkreig made traditional central control difficult due to its speed and ferocity. Group Centre as its name suggests charged through Belarusian territory with Moscow their ultimate target, but due to various issues that required splitting of their forces they never reached their goal. The Kit This is a combined set that takes a number of their existing kits into a themed box of a mobile command post with two vehicles and eight figures in total, coupled with a decent saving on buying them all separately. The various kits and sets are all recent releases with excellent detail throughout, but for the ease of description we'll handle them separately. They arrive in a newly themed box with each kit/set in its own resealable bag and separate instruction booklets and decals for each one. le.gl.Einheits=Pkw (Kfz.1) German Personnel Car (35581) Made mostly by three German companies, this all-wheel drive staff car designed by Stoewer was produced with different bodies during the early war, the most prevalent being the four seat staff car depicted here. It was complicated and unreliable, so was eventually replaced by the ubiquitous Kubelwagen. The bag contains four sprues in grey styrene plus a single clear sprue and decal sheet, not forgetting the instructions with integral painting guide at the rear. The chassis is first to be built up with dual springs supporting independent suspension and a driveshaft linking the two transfer boxes, plus the steering linkage front and rear. Fuel tank and stowage are placed to either side of the chassis rails and an exhaust pipe is thread through to the engine compartment, which is filled with a full rendering of its 4 cylinder 2 litre Stoewer power plant over the front axle. The floor of the cab is built up and added to the chassis, then the three part styrene wheels with moulded-in tread are fitted to each corner along with the radiator at the front. The firewall and rear passenger bulkhead are installed next with the former having instruments and transmission tunnel moulded in and pedals attached to the floor. The cab sides, boot/trunk cover, engine cowling and gear shifter are all put in place before the seats are built up from base, cushion and curved back at the front, with a bench seat at the rear of a similar construction that has just enough room down the sides for two Kar98 rifles to be stowed in shackles. Two more rifle points are attached to the front bulkhead, bumpers/fenders and doors are all added, with steering wheel and windscreen also made up. The rear light cluster is fitted to racks for additional fuel on the rear quarters with a spare wheel in between them, and the folded canvas roof above. Front lights, jerry cans and pioneer tools are attached to the fenders, and windscreen wipers are fitted into the depressions on the frame, with wiper-motor boxes moulded into the frame for completeness. The lights and windscreen all have clear parts so the passengers don't get bugs in their teeth. Markings There are four theatre specific options included in the box with early war Panzer Grey the colour of choice. From the bag you can build one of the following: WH-102 360 16 Pz.D, Don area, June 1942 WH-240 663 11 Pz.D, Ukraine, July 1941 WH-307 582 Panzergruppe 1 Kleist, Ukraine, July 1941 WL-22662 I./JG51 Stary Bykhov (Belorussia), July 1941 Typ L3000S German Truck (35420) Standardising from 1940 on the Mercedes Benz design in order to simplify spares and maintenance, the L3000S was one of many variants of the truck to see service. Powered by a 4 cylinder 4.85 litre diesel engine with four-wheel drive and able to carry up to 3 tonnes of cargo, it was a workhorse that saw service in almost every theatre of WWII where there was a German presence with almost 30,000 made. Consisting of three large sprues, a clear sprue, three pairs of rubberised tyres, decal sheet and instructions, this is a full engine kit with detailed chassis, multi-part engine assembly, cab and truck bed. Construction begins with the chassis and engine, suspension and exhaust, then moves to the front fenders, driveshafts attaching the rear axle in place, and steering arms at the front, both attaching to the leaf suspension. The wheels have two-part hubs that the rubbery tyres slip over, with two at the front and two pairs on different style hubs on the rear axle. The crew cab is made up with floor, instrument panel with decals, bench-style seat, then the various external panels that box in the crew. There is a small window to the rear, and the main windscreen aperture is moulded into the roof and firewall cowling, while the doors are separate mouldings that can be posed open or closed with separate winders and handles, plus clear panels all round the cab. Before the engine bay is boxed in the cab is joined with the chassis, then the front bumper/fender is glued to the end of the chassis rails and the three-part cowling with separate radiator is dropped between the front wings to complete the chassis. If you were minded, you could score the top panel of the cowling to display the engine, and if the thickness of the part bothered you, you could cut a new one from brass using the original as a template and rolling the edges. The smaller parts such as lights, number plate holders and windscreen wipers are fitted after the cargo bed has been made up. The cargo bed is built on the floor, with upstands latching into their hinge-points and the addition of front fixed panel and the rear door giving it some rigidity. Five cross-braces are added underneath and are joined together by two additional longitudinal rails where they join with the chassis. A spare wheel, stowage boxes and spare fuel cans in cages are then fitted to the underside with the rear mudguards suspended from boxed in sections. The bed fits onto the chassis by a quartet of pegs that locate in corresponding slots in the chassis rail, then the aforementioned lights, pioneer tools and windscreen wipers are glued in place around the model. Markings There are four options on the decal sheet, only two of which are theatre specific to this boxing and painted grey. Not everyone will stick to the theme though, which is fair enough as it's your model. From the box you can build one of the following: WH-272 104 Ukraine, Summer 1941 WL-34548 Russia, Summer 1942 WH-858 842 North Africa, Summer 1942 WH-76836 Italy, Summer 1944 German Drivers (1939-44) (35642) This small set from ICM gives you four figures to fill those empty seats. It is single sprue with four figures and It's safe to say that all of them are posed in the seated position, while two are dressed in standard Wehrmacht uniforms with a forage and patrol cap on their heads. One other figure has a smock coat over his uniform with a lace-up neck, and the final one is an officer with a rather relaxed hand draped over the top of his steering wheel. Two of the drivers forage cap and smock guy are looking to their left (the two on top on the box art), while patrol cap guy seems to be looking at his steering wheel, perhaps at a map? Each figure comes broken down as torso, individual legs and arms, head and hat, with a couple of ammo pouches for the belt around the smock bedecked gentleman. The instructions are on a single sheet of glossy paper, with part numbers and colour call outs that reference a chart on the rear that shows Revell and Tamiya colour codes, plus the name of the colour in English and Ukrainian (that's a guess). Sculpting and moulding is excellent as we have come to expect from ICM, and the figures will doubtless fit a lot of applications without any adjustment. German Infantry 1939-42 (35639 & 35638) This set contains four figures in standing and walking poses on one sprue and a pair of smaller sprues that contains various weapons suitable for the period. The obligatory officer standing about with a map and binoculars, a machine gunner toting his MG34 on his shoulder with a length of link round his neck (on its own sprue), his assistant carrying a fresh box of ammo in each hand, and a gentleman with an MP40 and ammo pouches gesticulating with his index finger, either assisting the officer with his geographical ruminations or telling the MG crew where to go, in the nicest of terms of course! The figures are all broken down into head, torso, arms and legs with separate helmets on the weapons sprue and the officer's cap on the figure sprue. The weapons sprue also contains the aforementioned MG34 and MP40, plus a Kar98 rifle, ammo cans and pouches, gas mask canisters, bipods, entrenching tools, water bottles, pistol pouch, two sets of binoculars and map case. The usual ICM quality of moulding and sculpting apply here, along with sensible breakdown of parts as discussed above. Conclusion This is a great combination set that offers a lot in the box that would keep you busy for quite a long time, and for the price of one large tank model (i.e. almost half its individual RRP). Two vehicles and eight figures plus weapons in total, and lots of lovely detail that just begs to be made into a diorama. Very highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  21. Junkers Ju.88D-1 Reconnaissance Aircraft (48240) 1:48 ICM via Hannants The Ju-88 was designed as a schnellbomber in the mid 30s, and at the time it was faster than current fighter designs, so it was projected that it could infiltrate, bomb and escape without being intercepted. That was the theory anyway. By the time WWII began in the west, fighters had caught up with the previously untouchable speed of the 88, and it needed escorting to protect it from its Merlin equipped opponents. It turned out to be a jack of all trades however, and was as competent as a night fighter, dive bomber or doing reconnaissance as it was bombing Britain or the Russians. They even popped a big gun on the nose and sent it against tanks and bombers, with variable success. The A series sported a pair of Jumo 211 engines in cylindrical cowlings producing over 1,000hp each, and was improved gradually up until the A-17. The D series were Reconnaissance versions of the A-4 and A-5, being designated D-1 and D-2 respectively. The tropicalised versions were D-3 and D-4 (again, respectively), and the D-5 was fitted with a metal VDM prop instead of the wooden one fitted by Junkers. The Kit This is another in the extending line of Junkers 88 kits from ICM, making the most of their tooling and giving us modellers the best chance of getting our preferred variant. The D-1 differs from the A-4 by reducing the defensive armament carried to save weight, although most of the rear-facing guns were retained, as the speed advantage from the weight loss wasn't that great and was partly reduced due to carrying the cameras. The D-1 also didn't sport dive brakes, similar to its progenitor, for obvious reasons! The box is the usual top-opening with an inner lid style, and inside you will find eight sprues in grey styrene, two in clear, decal sheet and a glossy covered instruction booklet with spot colour inside, and the decal options in full colour on the back cover. If you have been lucky enough to see any of the previous versions, you'll know that detail is right up there in terms of quality and crispness, with ICM really improving over the last few years - great news for modellers, as they aren't frightened of tackling what to us may seem niche subject matters. This edition contains identical plastic to the A-11 I reviewed a while back, although different parts are left on the sprues this time around. Construction of the fuselage begins with the addition of sidewall details in the capacious cockpit area. Rear bulkhead, side consoles and seats are all added to the cockpit sides for a change, with an insert in the fuselage for the circular Peilgerät (PeilG) 6 antenna and tail wheel added into the starboard side. You are also instructed to drill two 6mm holes in the lower aft fuselage to accept the clear covers for the reconnaissance cameras, with precise measurements given so that you locate them in the correct area. The instrument panel is supplied with decals, and fits into the fuselage during joining. The missing floor is added to the lower fuselage panel that includes the lower parts of the inner wings and gives the structure some strength. It also receives the rudder pedals, control column, tail-wheel and the two remaining crew seats before being joined to the fuselage. The tail plane has articulated flying surfaces, and the wings are supplied as top and bottom, with the flaps and ailerons separate from the box, and neat curved fairings so they look good when fitted at an angle. The flaps include the rear section of the soon-to-be-fitted nacelles, which are added as separate parts to avoid sink-marks, and these and the ailerons run full-span, terminating just as the wingtip begins. This variant was fitted with the under-fuselage gondola, and each side has separate glazing panels inserted from inside, and a seam running vertically through its length. It is added to the hole in the underside of the fuselage, with the rear glazing plus zwilling mounted machine guns and a solid nose later in the build. At this time the landing gear is made up on a pair of upstands that are added to the underwing in preparation for the installation of the nacelle cowlings. The engines have to be built up first though, consisting of a high part count with plenty of detail, and a rear firewall that securely fits inside the cowling. Even though this is an in-line engine with a V-shaped piston layout, the addition of the annular radiators gives it the look of a radial, with their representation added to the front of the cowling, obscuring much of the engine detail. The side panels can be left off to show all that detail however, and I'm sure Eduard will be along with some in-scale opened panels in due course. The cooling flaps around the cowling are separate, and the exhausts have separate stacks, which aren't hollow but are large enough to make drilling them out a possibility. The completed nacelles fit to the underwing over the top of the main gear installation, securing in place with four pegs, two on each side of each nacelle. The props are made from spinner, backplate and a single piece containing all three blades, sliding onto a pin projecting from the engine front, which will require some glue if you want to keep them on. At this point the instructions recommend adding the canopy glazing, which consists of a choice of two faceted nose cones, and the main greenhouse for the cockpit. The "clean" nose has no machine gun, but mounts a camera in its place, while the other option has a small hole in the lower left that is filled by a large single gun on a short sled. The rear portion is made from two additional parts due to its double "blown" shape to accommodate the two rearward gun positions that it retains, so that the gunner's head isn't constantly bouncing off the canopy with all the attendant German cursing. The guns are fitted through the windscreen from the inside and the two circular ports on the rear, although no ammo feed is supplied. Under the wings the dive spoilers are omitted, but four bomb crutches on aerodynamic mounts, with bombs supplied are shown installed (for some options), and these have two of their fins moulded separately along with the stabilising struts that fit into notches in the fins. Unless the aircraft was performing armed reconnaissance, these would have been left behind to save weight. While the airframe is flipped over, the two-part wheels and twin main gear bay doors are added, both having good detail and the former a radial tread. Addition of the canopy mounted antenna completes the build, but this is likely to be done long after main painting for safety's sake. Markings The kit includes four markings options, and the first page of the painting section details the application of the numerous stencils that are supplied in the kit in black and white. There are no Swastikas on the sheet, but the Balkenkreuz are included, so if you're going for historical accuracy and your country doesn't consider it inappropriate even in historical context, you'll have to source your own. From the box you can build one of the following: 5.(F)/122, Russia, Winter 1942 2.(F)/22, Russia, Winter 1942 1.(F)/120, Norway, Autumn 1941 1.(F)/121, Libya, 1942* *Some online sources note that this is an A-4Trop, others that it is a D-2, which is a tropicalised D-1. Check your references if you are interested in this option. The colours are picked out using letters that correspond to a table on the front page, which gives the names and paint codes in Revell and Tamiya ranges, so should be easy to convert to your paint system of choice. The decals are printed in-house and have good register, colour density and sharpness, with additional instrument dials included on a clear carrier film to help with cockpit painting. All of the stencils are legible, and overall they inspire confidence, with a thin carrier film cut close to the printing.  Conclusion Another in a growing line of really well done Ju.88s. plenty of detail from the box, crisp moulding, clear canopies and good engineering. Just double-check that decal option and you're away! Review sample courtesy of
  22. I would like to extend my gratitude to the owner of Hannant's London branch who, after phoning him, gladly replaced two kits that had come with missing things without hesitation. The Spit didn't have part 47, and the Junkers didn't have the instructions.
  23. USAAF Pilots (1941-1945) 32104 1:32 ICM With more large scale aircraft kits arriving ICM have seen the chance to get a figure set out there of US Pilots. Here we have 3 figures walking to (or from) their aircraft carrying their parachutes. There are separate parts for the back harnesses which have to be used as the backs of the figures are recessed for them. The three figures all have different head gear od the period. While the set calls them pilots they could be used to represent other aircrew personnel. The instructions are on a single sheet of glossy paper, with part numbers and colour call outs that reference a chart on the rear that shows Revell and Tamiya colour codes, plus the name of the colour in English and Ukrainian (that's a guess). Sculpting and moulding is excellent as we have come to expect from ICM, and the figures will doubtless fit a few different scenarios. Conclusion A useful set of figures to add a little human scale to your latest USAAF project, with typical quality from ICM's figure people. Available from their UK importers, H G Hannants Ltd. Review sample courtesy of
  24. WWI British Tank Crew (35708) 1:35 ICM via Hannants With the introduction of the landships that became known as Tanks after the codename given to them during transport, a new breed of soldier came into being. The Tanker. Many of them had no clue where they were heading when they were signed up for service in these new armoured vehicles, but their bravery was without question. Going into battle in a clanking metal box with shards of metal spall hitting them every time a bullet impacted the outside, the frequent breakdowns leaving them stranded on the battlefield, as well as the noxious fumes from the engine that often left them feeling light-headed and nauseous. Add to that the fact that once the enemy got over their initial terror, they became bullet and shell magnets, drawing heavy fire from the opposition. This figure set depicts the British crews and arrives in a slightly oversized figure shaped box with a top opening lid and captive inner flap. Inside is a single grey styrene sprue and a glossy instruction sheet with a sprue diagram on one side and painting and build instructions on the other. The sprue contains parts for four figures, all of which have separate arms, torso, legs and heads, with map case, revolver holster and gas mask bags as additional parts. The theme of the set has them looking at a map for perhaps an upcoming engagement with one crew member hunkered down pointing at a map with a stick, an officer stood with a stick looking down at the map whilst holding a map case. The other two figures are both stood upright with their heads bowed as if viewing the map, one with his battle bowler on his head and arms behind his back, the other with it in his hands in front of him. The kneeling man also has his helmet in his hand, while the officer has a cap that is made of two parts to obtain the correct shape. The officer is also wearing putties above his boots, and the bare-headed standing figure is wearing spats, while the remaining figures have their trousers loose over their boots. Painting instructions are given around the drawings, using a letter code that corresponds with a chart of Revell and Tamiya paints on the opposite side that also has the colour names if you don't use those brands. Sculpting of the figures is excellent as you would expect from ICM, and the parts breakdown is sensible, with a view to improving detail whilst minimising any filler, breaking along seams or belts where possible. Highly recommended for anyone wanting to add a little human scale to their WWI tank diorama. Available in the UK from importers H G Hannants Ltd. Review sample courtesy of
  25. Leichttraktor Rheinmetall 1931 (35330) 1:35 ICM via Hannants Ltd. After WWI the German military were forbidden from developing any serious form of weapons by the Versailles Treaty, so did so underground, with the assistance of their then-friends the Soviet Union providing the trials grounds. The name Leichttraktor translates literally to "Light Tractor", which was part of the subterfuge, and both Rheinmetall and Krupps produced design proposals for consideration for VK31. Rheinmetall created prototypes, which were a fairly unusual (for the time) engine-first design, with the fighting compartment for the four crew and turret bearing a 37cm cannon at the rear. The tracks were suspended using leaf springs, and an order for around 300 examples were made initially, but later cancelled after testing. Only the two prototypes were made, due to the vehicle's poor performance and reliability, especially the tracks, which were prone to slipping off the poorly designed wheels, and were hard to swap due to their poor design. The Kit This is a new tool of a very dead-end in German tank design. It is a small tank, so there are only five sprues of grey styrene in the small box, plus four lengths of black flexible tracks, a tiny clear sprue, a small decal sheet and the instruction booklet. Detail is good throughout as we've come to expect from ICM, with plenty of external detail, including the spiral exhaust mufflers. Construction begins with the upper deck for a change, which has two engine access panels with individual louvers fitted beforehand, and a smaller armoured cone-shaped hatch further back toward the turret ring. Either side are two crew hatches, the left of which stands proud of the deck, while the right hand hatch is flush with the deck. More louvers are added to the front bulkhead before it and the top deck are attached to the right side of the hull, then it has the floor and rear bulkheads glued into place and is finally closed up by adding the left side. The rear bulkhead has a crew hatch on the right side, which is added along with a bunch of shackles and towing eyes, with none at the front. The road wheels are made up in four pairs per bogie, which are held in place by two sets of triangular parts trapping the small wheels in place. There are three of these per side, plus two double-bank return rollers, and another pair on the lower run just aft of the front-mounted idler wheel. The idler and drive sprocket are both made of two parts, with the teeth on the drive wheel central within the flat outer section. With the wheels done, the mud-shedding fenders are constructed from the outer panel and a run of box-sections, and they are then fixed to the hull sides with two pins locating them firmly. The process is repeated on the other side, and the rubber tracks, which are accurate to the initial designs that are mostly rubber with metal inserts, and these are made up from two sections each with one run each side. You will need to use super-glue for the joins, as liquid glue doesn't melt the plastic they are made of, as I tried. The top plates are fitted last to the rear three quarters of the track run, and then attention turns to the turret. Despite this being an exterior-only kit, there is a nicely detailed full breech included in the kit, which is made up over six steps, then set aside to wait for installation. The turret is supplied in two halves, with crew access hatches in each side, which are separate parts and could be left open if you desire. The two halves are brought together around the breech, and sealed in by the turret ring below, and the fairly featureless circular roof part. The mantlet is next, covering the interior of the breech, and is completed by adding the coaxial machine gun mount and the barrel, which is a single part with a short insert at the dangerous end to give it a hollow muzzle. The turret is then decked out with two roof-top vents, lifting eyes and other small parts before it is twisted onto the hull and held in place by a pair of bayonet lugs. The clear headlight lenses are fitted to the domed rear and attached to each side of the front, and a wrap-around railing is glued around the aft area of the hull and turret area. The fun-looking (is that even possible?) exhaust exits the right side of the hull and travels over the fender, with a spiral muffler and short tip - this section being made in two parts to achieve the correct shape. Markings Due to the fact that only two of these vehicles ever existed, there is one colour option, which is a three tone dark sand with brown and green camouflage over the top, somewhat reminiscent of the late war camo used by the Nazis in WWII. The decals are on a tiny sheet with three crosses the only content, which are printed to a good enough standard for the task in hand. You can of course paint it any colour you fancy if you're going off-book for your finish. Conclusion A nicely rendered model of this failed attempt to create a light tank prior to the Panzer I, which was actually a lot more suited to the task and performed well in the early days of the German expansionist attempts. It's also dinky, so won't take up much space on the shelf once built, and if you're feeling adventurous you could always hack it up and create the drop-top early version that had a windscreen where the turret front was later to be found. There are some pictures of them online if you're up for a challenge. Highly recommended. Available from UK Importers HG Hannants Ltd. Review sample courtesy of
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