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Found 18 results

  1. 1:35 Railway Tools & Equipment MiniArt Catalogue # 35572 Available from Hannants for £10.99 Back in the days of yore, before portable arc welders, mass-produced tools and battery drills etc., your average railway worker would still of course need to maintain his stretch of track so those lumbering steam locos would get to their destinations safely. There are of course a number of 1/35 locos and wagons available for which to create some nice dioramas, but until this new release from MiniArt, you might have been struggling to find period rail tools and equipment for it. Struggle no more! MiniArt’s new release is packaged into one of their smaller, slim but glossy boxes, this time depicting the whole gamut of the railwayman’s arsenal of equipment. You’ll notice a barrow, buckets, lantern, lump hammer, blowtorch, and even a small ear-trumpet to listen to the track to see if any trains are likely to arrive on the scene of a maintenance job. Inside the box, a small clear heat-sealed sleeve contains SIX light grey sprues, plus another small sleeve with one further small sprue containing the buckets and clear lantern lenses. MiniArt has also employed some excellent slide-moulded parts to make your project a little easier to handle. Sprue Bf The basic layman’s tools are provided here, and you’ll see a lump hammer, small hammer, straight crowbar for moving rail sleepers, pickaxe, shovel and spade. Of course, these are single-piece items and no assembly is required. Just cut, clean and paint. Sprue Bg On this sprue, you’ll find the gas tank and blowtorch ensemble, which only requires a length of wire to represent the connecting hose. Note also a two-part wrench, spanners, standard crowbar and a wood plane. The latter is slide-moulded for a nice one-shot part! Sprue Bh The multipart lantern is represented here, made up from numerous parts, as well as an oilcan, grips, ear-trumpet and a broad shovel. Sprue Ef Here we have the smallest sprue, with parts for two sizes of bucket. The base on these is a separate part, and again, slide-moulding is used to good effect, so you don’t have to remove a seam. Sprue F1 & F2 These are simply the lenses for the lantern, with one moulded in clear, and the other in clear red. A small nub will need to be snipped off before use. Sprue Kd (x2) Two rail sleepers are included here, moulded as halves, with the joint being along the corners. You’ll only need to remove a diagonal seam on the end of each sleeper. These parts have an excellent wood grain detailing too. Sprue Kh Our last sprue contains the parts for the barrow. This comprises 10 parts and looks great when built up. Note, of course, the single, wooden spoke wheel too. A very agricultural-looking item but fitting perfectly the era. Again, wooden parts are detailed with a grain pattern. The back of the packet contains the assembly instructions, as well as a paint guide, with colours given for Vallejo, Mr.Color, Life Color, Tamiya, Testors, AK etc. Probably more options than your average kit would normally list. A parts map is also included on the obverse side of the box. You will note that the instructions themselves are very clear in their approach, with line drawings used to represent the construction, and clear part annotation. Some wire will need to be added, for the bucket handles, and in the case of the lantern, a small colour image is presented to help you with painting this nice little addition. Of course, some smaller items such as the ear-trumpet do not need assembly and aren’t represented on the instructions. However, you can look at the box front for a colour representation of that item. Conclusion A wonderful and comprehensive little set that will provide invaluable to railway diorama modellers, and typically those that model period steam locos, as this appears to be the era to which these tools pertain. Beautifully realised, engineered and moulded, this set is very easy to construct, has plenty of detail and will provide those little touches that really help a diorama come alive. It’s also a very reasonably priced release. Go check it out! My sincere thanks to MiniArt for supplying this sample for review. Click the link at the top of the article to purchase directly from Hannants.
  2. 1:32 Polikarpov I-153 ‘Chaika’ ICM Catalogue # 32010 Available from Hannants for £35.99 The Polikarpov I-153 Chaika (Russian Чайка, "Seagull") was a late 1930s Soviet biplane fighter. Developed as an advanced version of the I-15 with a retractable undercarriage, the I-153 fought in the Soviet-Japanese combats in Mongolia and was one of the Soviets' major fighter types in the early years of the Second World War. The aircraft was of mixed metal and wood construction, with the fuselage structure being based on chromium-molybdenum steel with duralumin skinning on the forward fuselage, and fabric covering on the fuselage aft of the front of the cockpit. The aircraft's wings were made of fabric covered wood, while the tail surfaces were of fabric covered duralumin. The aircraft was fitted with a tailwheel undercarriage, with the mainwheels retracting rearwards, rotating through 90 degrees to lie flat in the wing roots, being actuated by cables operated by a pilot-driven handwheel. The solid rubber tailwheel did not retract but moved in conjunction with the rudder. The I-153 first saw combat in 1939 during the Soviet-Japanese Battle of Khalkin Gol in Mongolia. The Japanese Army Air Forces' Type 97 Fighter (Nakajima Ki-27) Nate proved a formidable opponent for the I-15bis and I-16 but was more evenly matched with the I-153, which retained agility inherent to biplanes while featuring improved performance. While the overall I-153 performance was satisfactory, some significant problems were revealed. Most troublesome was the absence of a firewall between the fuel tank mounted in front of the cockpit and the pilot. Combined with strong draft coming in through the wheel wells, fuel tank fires invariably resulted in rapid engulfment of the cockpit and severe burns to the pilot. In addition, the M-62 engine suffered from a service life of only 60–80 hours due to failures of the two-speed supercharger. The Polikarpov I-153 Chaika never flew with any Spanish Air Force units during or after the Spanish Civil War. Two earlier variants of this aircraft, the I-15 and the I-15bis, did fly with the Republican Air Force during the conflict and, later, captured examples of both types were used by the Fuerzas Aéreas till the early 1950s. Three I-153s are still flying. Extract courtesy of Wikipedia The kit Well, we weren’t expecting this in 1/32! ICM are rapidly becoming well known for their excellent choice of kit subject, coupled with some rather nice engineering and kit production standards. Some will hark to the old days when kit fit may have been less than stellar, but it’s time for those to move on a little. ICM, as with many of their peers, now use CAD to assist them in design. I’ve partially constructed their 1:48 He 111 and mostly built their Ju 88C-6 kit with nothing to report on in terms of some of the mud I recently saw flung at them on one forum. Anyway, I digress. This release is packaged into ICM’s now familiar single-piece corrugated box that is extremely robust, and has a glossy product box top lid depicting a low-flying Chaika with all guns ablaze. Lifting the lid reveals a large, clear and resealable sleeve containing THREE large sprues of light grey styrene. Also in there is a single sprue of clear plastic, packed into another protective sleeve. In the bottom of the box lies the instruction manual and within this, a single decal sheet is tucked. Sprue A We’re straight into the action with this sprue, containing the fuselage halves and three-part lower wings, amongst other components. Looking at the fuselage first, the external textures are nicely refined with a very realistic fabric and stringer representation of the rear fuselage, along with details such as the spring-loaded footstep cover plate, plus delicate panel lining at the forward half, including fastener and louvre detail. The latter aren’t moulded as open slots, but they are so fine that a simple wash will be all that’s needed here. To facilitate the upper wing fixture, the upper forward fuselage is an open area that will accept the full-span wing section. Note that the rudder is also moulded separately, therefore can be posed dynamically. Some cockpit sidewall detail is moulded within the fuselage, such as rib and stringer details, and this will of course be supplemented by the tubular cockpit tub. ICM has moulded the lower wing also as a full span unit, and all parts of this are to be found on this sprue. External wing surfaces are also resplendent in the same realistic and subtle fabric and rub textures as seen on the fuselage, with munition mounting hardpoints also present. The fuselage centre section is moulded with the openings for the main gear wells and retract channels. When it comes to the upper wing panels, recesses are moulded within the strut hardpoints, and should provide good, clean and positive strut placement. Those struts on the I-153 are broad, single units, and are delicately moulded on this sprue. Rigging points are also moulded, but I think these are best being drilled out before you reach that stage. Note that the main gear well ceilings are moulded onto the inboard edge of the upper wing panels. Also on this sprue are the cockpit floor, two-blade propeller, two-part wheels with integral hubs, a superbly defined instrument panel with empty gauges for affixing the instrument decals, multipart engine cowl panels, and landing gear doors with nicely detailed interiors. I note that some minor clean-up of seams will be required on some parts, but nothing at all onerous. Sprue B The second sprue holds the last of the major airframe parts, such as the three-part upper wing. As with the lower wing, the main panel is moulded full-span, sans ailerons. As well as the subtle rib and fabric detail, and external wing stiffening strip. A separate full-span elevator is provided, and the construction of this and the stabilisers is quite traditional, with a tab to fit to the fuselage. Ailerons are moulded as one-part items, with a nice, thin trailing edge. As with the previous I-16 kit, the Shvetsov M-62 radial engine is very nicely moulded as front and rear halves. Cooling fin detail is nicely defined, but of course, that seam runs right through it. If it’s anything like the I-16 kit, you’ll barely able to see the joint when assembled. Also remember that the engine is buried deep in the cowl, and unless you have a panel or so removed, you’ll hardly see anything in there. The forward cowl and engine firewall are also moulded here, as is the pilot seat. Sprue C This really is the detail parts sprue, with components here for the tubular cockpit tub (seat brackets, two-part control stick, pistol, consoles and oxygen tank etc) There are a variety of underwing munitions choices, and this is where you’ll find them. The engineering of the bombs is so that the fins remain thin, and the seams minimal. Also note in the exhaust parts in this photo. You will need to hollow out the ends though. A number of other engine parts are moulded here, but you will need to be super careful in cutting them from the sprue in some cases. Almost surgical precision will be needed. The munitions rails are also nice and sharp and have positive wing attachment points. Some of the finer parts will still require a little paring of the seam lines, with the edge of a fresh scalpel, but the details are sharp. Just a little lead wire added to these cockpit frames, will be all that you really need, unless you want to go the further mile and utilise Eduard’s new sets for this specific kit. I must admit that they do actually look very good. Undercarriage struts are also nicely depicted and sharp in detail. The angled plunger axle will ensure a nice snug fit to the wheels. Sprue D A very small, clear sprue holds just 6 parts. The main one of course being the windscreen. Other parts here include the wingtip and rudder lights, plus the windows in each of the main gear bays. Clarity of the parts is excellent, and no mould flaws are to be seen. Decals The decals for this model are a very simple but well-presented affair. A single sheet contains the markings for three machines, with these being no more than a variety of red stars, some with borders and circles, and the various numbers. No stencils are provided, but a single instrument decal is. I’m not actually too keen on that and would look at using something from an aftermarket sheet. At the very least, you would need to punch the dials out. Printing is very good, being nice and thin, plus with minimal carrier film. Colour is also solid and registration is perfect. The four schemes are: I-153, 70thIAP (Fighter Regiment), Khalhin-Gol, August 1939 I-153, 72ndSAP (Mixed Regiment) of Nord Fleet Air Force, Vaenga, 1941 I-153, 15thIAP (Fighter Regiment), Lithuania, June 1941 I-153, flown by Major P.I. Biskup, 71stIAP (Fighter Regiment) of Baltic Fleet Air Force, Lavansaari, Summer 1942 Instructions ICM’s instructions style is unfussy and clear to follow. This A4-size manual has construction broken down into 55 stages with shaded line drawings and good reference to painting. Paint codes are given for Model Master paints, as well as the colour name so you can check your stash of other manufacturer’s colours. A very small amount of rigging is needed, but this is so simple that it really shouldn’t be a concern for those who would normally shy away from a biplane. The last pages of the manual are taken over with the colour schemes, which are all reasonably different, and there should be something there to suit most modellers. Conclusion Whilst our hobby had been waiting for a new-tool I-16, perhaps we didn’t know that we were equally waiting for the I-153 too! If you are into Soviet WW2 aviation, and even if you aren’t, I think this is one of those releases that you’d seriously enjoy building and would look equally as good in your completed collection. Even though this is a biplane, this is no flimsy model. Both the upper and lower wings are secured firmly to the fuse, and the two struts are broad not particularly fragile. Rigging is also a cinch, with about 6 lines in total. Detail is also particularly good in terms of surface renderings and internal representation. At around £35, this should be one to consider. Build something a little different! My sincere thanks to ICM for the review sample seen here. To purchase, click the link at the top of the article.
  3. 1:35 German Grenades & Mines Set MiniArt Catalogue # 35258 Available from Hannants for £12.35 Every self-respecting soldier can only operate properly when they have the correct weapons for the field. And we don’t just mean rifles, machine guns, carbines and mortars. Some of the more subversive and violent aspects of war, both close and remote combat, need the use of explosives, whether these are simply lobbed at the enemy through an open window or door as house clearance, or by laying them underground in the hope that it’s an enemy protagonist (and not civilian) will tread on them and be sent to meet their maker. War…it’s a bloody business. MiniArt’s new set comprises a whole swathe of nasty explosive devices which is guaranteed to make any battle go with a bang. As the box art shows, this set contains the famous Stielhandgranate (stick grenade) and other deadly incarnations of it, landmines (both pressure and magnetic activated), crate of Model 39 egg grenades, crate of Heft Hohladung Granate magnetic mines, and even the low-tech Molotov Cocktails for some extra whizz-bangs! The back of the box shows the same image as the front. But minus the background. Here, you will find the references for painting and decaling. Paint codes are given for Vallejo, Mr.Color, Life Color, Tamiya, Testors, AK etc. The illustrations themselves are excellent and a great reference for detail painting your new set of fireworks. Inside the box, a single clear sleeve contains SIX sprues of light grey styrene with a total of 113 parts. Another sleeve within this also contains a sprue of clear green and one of clear red parts (40 in total). To complete the set, a small decal sheet is included, as is a card sleeve containing a photo-etch fret of a further 12 parts. This set comprises 125 pieces of lethal ordnance. Sprue Ab Here we have both magnetic and pressure activated mines, comprising each of two plastic parts. Very simple to assemble and nicely detailed. These will be supplemented by the fitting of handles from the photo-etch fret which is included. Sprue Ac (x2) No weapons here, but these two sprues make up the open-topped crates into which the Molotov Cocktails will be stored. The various parts have a convincing wood grain texture to them. The crate will look convincing if painted in a wood colour and then overpainted with an actual finish colour before being worn using the hairspray technique to antiquethings a little. Sprue Ad A whole crate of Heft Hohladung Granate magnetic mines is included, and here are the parts for assembling the crate and the weapons. The mines are moulded in rows of four and have separate fuse which needs to be fitted to each. As with all wooden parts, a convincing grain texture is moulded on the crate sections. Locking clasps are included as PE parts. Sprue Ae This sprue contains two varieties of Stielhandgranate (M43 ‘potato masher’ and M24), plus a small number of loose weapons such as the Heft Hohladung Granate, and Model 39 egg grenade. An option to make a Stielhandgranate bundle (Geballte Ladung) is also included. Sprue Ag The largest sprue in the box contains parts to build a crate of Model 38 egg grenades, plus one case and one crate of Stielhandgranate. The weapons themselves aren’t separate and are moulded in rows to make things easier. Sprue Aq (x2) One sprue of each clear red and clear green wine bottles are moulded here, with 20 bottles on each sprue, giving you a battle-busting 40 Molotov Cocktails to equip your soldiers with. These are superbly moulded and are removed from the sprue which connects to the bottom of each bottle. Labels are included for these as decals, so all you need to do is to pop them in the supplied crates when complete. PE Here we have handles, latches and a strap for the Stielhandgranate bundle. Only twelve parts to play with here, which is nicely made and come in a protective card sleeve. Decals All of those crates, mines, Molotovs and cases could use a few stencils and labels etc. This rather packed little sheet of decals has enough to keep you toiling for a few hours. Note also that some signage is also present, and for these specific decals, you’ll need to affix them to a backing of plasticard, so as to create the board. Decal production is excellent with printing being nice and thin, and with everything in register. Carrier film is also minimal. Instructions A single, double-sided sheet contains the instructions for this kit, clearly printed and easy to follow, over a total of 9 stages. Paint references are also supplied throughout. Conclusion I’m really quite a fan of these small detail sets from MiniArt, despite not actually being any good at diorama work! This set is well thought out and engineered, as well as moulded and presented. Details are excellent throughout and this set would perfectly complement MiniArt’s own Panzerfaust set. For not much more than a tenner, you get a full range of perfectly-formed explosive weapons and a really nice decal sheet too, plus the small PE fret. Definitely one to consider for your next WWII dio! My sincere thanks to MiniArt for sending this kit out for review. To purchase, click the link at the top of the article.
  4. 1/48 Junkers Ju 88A-4 WWII Axis Bomber ICM Catalogue # 48237 Available from Hannants for £27.99 The Junkers Ju 88 was a German World War II Luftwaffe twin-engine multirole combat aircraft. Junkers Flugzeug- und Motorenwerke (JFM) designed the plane in the mid-1930s as a so-called Schnellbomber ("fast bomber") that would be too fast for fighters of its era to intercept. It suffered from a number of technical problems during later stages of its development and early operational roles but became one of the most versatile combat aircraft of the war. Like several other Luftwaffe bombers, it served as a bomber, dive bomber, night fighter, torpedo bomber, reconnaissance aircraft, heavy fighter and, during the closing stages of the conflict in Europe, as a flying bomb. Despite its protracted development, the aircraft became one of the Luftwaffe's most important assets. The assembly line ran constantly from 1936 to 1945 and more than 16,000 Ju 88s were built in dozens of variants, more than any other twin-engine German aircraft of the period. Throughout production the basic structure of the aircraft remained unchanged. Without a doubt, the Junkers Ju 88 was one of the most versatile and adaptable aircraft to have been used during WW2. Entering service as the war was literally starting (on the day of the Polish attack), the Ju 88 became successful for its numerous famous and infamous roles, starting out as a light bomber/dive bomber, and when losses started to mount around the time of the Battle of Britain, it was moved into other theatres of war, such as North Africa, and against shipping in the Mediterranean with a torpedo-carrying variant. Where it is perhaps best known are for its roles as both a heavy fighter and night-fighter, in which it excelled. The A-4 was an improved variant. It had a longer wingspan due to redesigned wingtips. It also had a more powerful defensive armament. Power was provided by two Jumo 211 J-1 or J-2 engines (1410 hp) driving wooden bladed propellers. A reinforced undercarriage was also introduced, as was a provision for four external bomb racks. Courtesy of Wikipedia. The kit There has certainly been some mileage seen in the moulds for ICM’s rather sweet Ju 88 kit, with there now being TWELVE incarnations that have been released across the ICM, Hasegawa, Special Hobby and Revell labels, with Special Hobby creating their own resin and injection plastic parts to accompany the base ICM plastic. This particular Ju 88A-4 version was released about April/May of this year. I certainly wouldn’t be surprised to see more incarnations of this kit in future, hopefully covering a number of the other exotic machines that were derived from the base Ju 88 airframe. In fact, a C-6b night-fighter seems to be slated for later this year. There is of course a reason why we are seeing this kit being given multiple releases and that is simply because it is the definitive tooling of this important aircraft that is currently available, and with so many Ju 88 versions that existed, modellers are going to want to build the one that is specific to their interests, such as the heavy fighter, torpedo aircraft etc. Packaged into ICM’s very sturdy, full corrugated cardboard box, with a colourful and glossy product lid that depicts a Romanian machine at rest on an airfield, this kit consists of a single clear sleeve that holds all EIGHT medium-grey sprues and a single clear one. Around about 250 parts makes up this release. Thankfully, the clear sprue is separately bagged within the main sleeve and all of the others are tightly packed up against each other, so no space for them to jiggle and rub against each other. A 24-page A4 manual is included, and a single decal sheet finalises the contents. I know that some modellers can be driven to frustration by the engineering choices that some companies make, but with this kit, ICM has boxed clever. As we know, it has been designed to accommodate other versions so as to maximise the tooling, but none of this is done to the disadvantage of the modeller. Some very intelligent design work can be seen here, such as the fuselage halves being full length, so no need to graft on different nose versions. The fin is also separate, indicating something from the 88G family, maybe. Wing root fairings are moulded to the fuselage and are tabbed, meaning that the upper wing panels can easily sit on these and provide a positive location point. Another touch of genius is a single piece lower fuse and inboard wing panel section. When this is fitted to the fuselage, and then the wing panels added, the lower seam will be totally hidden under the broad nacelle structure. The nacelles themselves will then locate into the undersides via tabs. If you’ve ever seen the Revell 1/32 kit, you’ll know that there is a sturdy structure within the nacelle that the undercarriage is mounted to. Looking at this model, I think that whilst you may need to fit that mounting structure prior to the nacelle, it appears that you can probably fit the landing gear later, after painting. All control surfaces on this model can be posed, with the rear of the nacelles being separate for this purpose. You may need to fiddle things with this, and I can’t comment further without test fitting this one. Two detailed Jumo211 engines are included in this kit, with the provision to display one/either of them. These really do look very good, with each unit containing around 15 parts per engine, including the firewall and associated plumbing. The engines must be installed within the nacelle before the whole assembly is offered to the wing. You’ll need to make sure your painting and masking regime is good here. Cowl radiator flaps are presented as open only, so to pose these in the more aesthetically pleasing closed position, you will need to do a little surgery. Propellers are supplied as single piece units, and the spinner comprises of the typical back-plate and front section. If you expect a lot from the cockpit area, in terms of detail, then this won’t disappoint. There are already a number of Eduard sets for this, pertaining to the earlier Luftwaffe A-4 release, so there’s always plenty to choose from if you wish to detail this model further. As no seatbelts are included in this kit, you will definitely need to sort out that omission. The office area is very well-appointed, with nicely moulded fuselage sidewall details, superbly equipped radio rear bulkhead, ammunition racks and drums, detailed instrument panel, side consoles with delicately rendered instruments, two-piece control column, rudder pedal assemblies, seats with intricate mounting points etc. I don’t really think there would be much to add in here, with the exception of some colour PE, perhaps. When assembled the cockpit will most certainly be a very busy and visual area. The bola gondola is well-appointed too, and this area is moulded separately to the underside fuselage and can be fitted later in assembly. Surface detail is everything you would expect from a modern-tooled model, with finely engraved panel lines and port details. There are also no rivets at all, so if you do want them, then you’ll have to get out Rosie. Plastic quality here is excellent with no flaws or obtrusive ejector pin marks. Clear plastic parts, both ICM and Special Hobby, are superb, with excellent clarity and nicely defined frame details. Of course, this particular kit does vary in a number of aspects, from previous releases, and looking through the parts maps does indicate a large number of parts that should NOT be used with this particular release. In fact, the original Sprue C has been supplemented with Sprue C1. This contains whole new engine nacelles, propellers, spinners, annular radiator intakes, tabbed fin and rudder, fuselage spine section with dipole etc. Parts not to be used are clearly defined on the parts map by being shaded in pink. Decals An ICM-printed decal sheet contains markings for FOUR marking schemes, with all printing being in solid, authentic colour, with minimal carrier film and also being both nice and thin. Registration is perfect too. As well as markings, a full suite of stencils are included as are instrument decals. The instruments are probably better punched out from the decal and applied individually, so you don’t have to attempt to get the decal to conform to the raised panel details. My only reservation is having to assemble the swastikas on the Finnish scheme, as these are produced with all arms as separate decals. The four schemes in this release are: Ju 88A-4, Grupul 5 Bombardment, Romania, 1944 Ju 88A-4, 3/1 Bombazo szazad of Hungarian Air Force, Russia, 1943 Ju 88A-4, 1/PleLv 44, Onttola, Finland, Summer 1944 Ju 88A-4, 3/PleLv 44, Finland, Summer 1944 Instructions ICM’s instruction manuals are very attractive and easy to follow, with 102 easy-to-follow stages that shouldn’t present any issues with assembly. The first part of the manual highlights the colours needed for completing this model (Revell and Tamiya paints), as well as parts maps of the sprues. The rear of the manual has two pages for the four schemes, printed in colour and with good decal placement notes, plus a page denoting stencil placement etc. Conclusion Another excellent Ju 88 release, and as this is Revell, you know that the price point is spot on. This kit currently retails for around £30 or less in the UK, and I think that relates to excellent value for money when you look at the detail levels that are provided here. The A-4 was a pretty common variant from around the end of the BoB until the latter stages of the war, so doubtless that this specific release will prove to be popular. I certainly hope to see more in future. This kit doesn’t have any PE parts, so for at least the seatbelts, you might want to consider some of Eduard’s aftermarket sets for the other ICM/Revell variants. Most parts will be completely usable in this release. Of course, this is an in-box review, but I am currently building the C-6 version and have found very little in the way of problems, with everything being straightforward and fitting superbly. ICM’s engineering seems to be logical and sensible, and without the annoyances of the earlier, unrelated Dragon releases. Highly Recommended My thanks to ICM for the review sample seen in this article. To purchase directly, click the link at the top of this article.
  5. 1:48 Do 17Z-2 WWII Finnish Bomber ICM Catalogue # 48246 Available from Hannants for £27.99 The Dornier Do 17 was designed as a lightweight, fast bomber that could, in theory, outrun any attempts by fighters to shoot them down. The long thin fuselage of the aircraft led to its nickname of ‘flying pencil’, and its shoulder mounted wing carried two engines, whilst its tail design was of twin fin/rudder arrangement, typical of that on the Bf 110. Initially powered by inline Daimler-Benz/BMW engines, but these were changed in favour of two Bramo 323 radials. A crew of three were carried, and up to 1000kg of bombs could be carried internally. Civil War in Spain saw the first baptism of fire for the Do 17, operating with the Condor Legion. Many of these pilots were unknowingly honing their skills for future operations against Poland, leading to the start of WW2, and eventually to the skies over Britain in 1940. It was here that the Do 17 became seriously outclassed by British fighter defence. The main version was the Do 17Z, which is the subject of this kit. The Z-2 mounted the new Bramo 323P-1 engine (1,000 hp), which was specifically tuned to the performance needs of the Do 17 by decreasing supercharger power at lower altitudes and thus improving low-level performance. The increase in take-off power allowed the bomb load to be increased from 500 to 1,000 kg However, the combat range with a full 1,000 kg bomb load was a very short 330 km. Armament was further upgraded by adding another pair of guns firing out of the sides of the upper part of the pod, but as the three guns were all fired by a single gunner, only one of them could be fired at a time. The kit At the time of writing, this is the fourth incarnation of this 1/48 release from ICM, with this being the second Z-2 variant. The first Z-2 release depicted this same aircraft in native Luftwaffe markings. ICM’s style of packaging is probably one of my favourites, with the kit being supplied in a one-piece, sturdy corrugated cardboard box with a locking tab, and a separate product lid which sits over this. The glossy lid depicts a single Do 17Z-2, resplendent in its Finnish markings, taking off from a snow-laden airfield in a blizzard. This scheme is also shown on the box side. There are two schemes with this release, both quite different, with in a flat black and olive camp ensemble, and the other being the same, but with a randomly applied white colour, creating a tricolour camouflage. Inside the box, a total of five light grey sprues are packaged into a single re-sealable clear wallet, and a clear sprue is also slipped into there, protected within its own sleeve. In the bottom of the box, a 20-page A4 instruction manual is to be found, with a long, narrow decal sheet tucked within it. This release contains no photo-etch parts, instead leaning on companies such as Eduard, should you want to detail your model further. This certainly helps to keep down overall costs. Sprue A You can certainly see why this aircraft was called the flying pencil when you look at the fuselage halves. This was supposed to be the very essence of the Schnellbomber, but alas, the Do 17 was easy prey whilst undertaking that particular role. The characteristic fuselage is moulded with an open belly for the various loadouts or fuel tank assembly (the latter, for the purpose of this kit), and of course, the upper fuselage is open due to the shoulder-mounted wing that will be fitted here. For the tail-plane, the traditional slots are included on both port and starboard. ICM has created some very fine external detail in the way of panel lines and various access ports and panels. These are both very narrow and even in depiction. They should take a wash beautifully. Note that the airframe is devoid of any rivet detail, leaving a blank canvas for those of us who wish to add this. Internally, the fuselage doesn’t have any detail to speak of, but instead location holes and slots for the separate detail parts. One thing I really do like about this release is the rib and fabric depiction of the control surfaces. This is superbly rendered and doesn’t look at all exaggerated. All control surfaces are separately moulded, and you will find them here, as well as the stabiliser and fin parts. It is worth mentioning too that the Z-10 nose cone is still on this sprue, as is the clear part (Sprue E) for the infrared detector for target illumination. Without delving further, I’m not sure if a Z-10 can be made from this release, but it does look pretty favourable. All the parts do seem to be here. Other parts you will find here are the fuselage bulkheads and two bomb bay door options (both open or closed). A small number of parts are slated as not for use in this release. Sprue B Only three parts here. These are for the full-span upper wing, and two lower wing panels. You will note that the ailerons are moulded separately, but the landing flaps are integral and not poseable without either aftermarket or with some surgery and scratch-work. ICM has designed the wing so the gear bay openings are moulded into the lower panels, with some rudimentary, corresponding interior detail on the underside of the upper wing panel. The nacelles and the remainder of the detail is separate. Externally, that detail is very neat, with thin and uniform panel lines and port details This model is not riveted, and for me, that leaves things looking pretty bare, so I will add the various rivet and fastener lines when it comes for me to build this kit. Sprue C Parts here mainly concern the engine nacelles and main gear interiors, plus the general internals for both the cockpit and bomb bay. A two-piece fuel tank is found here, moulded with its support straps. This will occupy half of the bomb bay. For the main gear bays, left and right walls are supplied, with moulded structural details, and also forward and rear bulkheads. The idea here is that these will be installed to the wing, complete with the retraction units for the main gear, and then the nacelles are built around these. Looking at the instructions, I do think that the retraction units can be fitted later, or at least I think so (don’t quote me!), making overall assembly and painting easier. Bar a couple of small parts, everything on this sprue is for use in this release. In amongst the numerous parts, you’ll find a lot of components for the cockpit, such as the two-part instrument panel, consoles, seats with their lattice weave, pilot floor and rudder pedals, control stick, avionics, machine guns, etc. Sprue D (x2) This sprue is supplied twice and deals with those items for which multiples are needed, such as the engine, cowls, propeller, spinner, main gear wheels, mudguards, oleo struts, engine bulkheads and mounting frames etc. Bombs are also found here, as are a couple of MGs and saddles, plus the bomb mounting racks. The engine is excellent and comprises an exhaust system for which separate manifolds and stubs are included. ICM has chosen to depict their wheels without any load, so you will need to sort the weighted appearance yourself. A few seams lines here and there on parts, but nothing out of the ordinary. Sprue E If you hadn’t already guessed, this is the clear sprue, and it is identical to all previous incarnations of this kit, including the glass nose. There are also two different greenhouse canopies included, with only one slated for use with this particular kit release (with the rear, side MG positions). For use here are the clear blister as well as the clear parts for around the nose, and the lower gondola glazing. Three parts are included for the latter, but only one is to be used for this variant. Transparency is excellent, with reasonably thin, distortion-free plastic that has no visible or unsightly patina. Framing lines are nicely depicted and those frames are frosted. Full marks. Decals The decals for this release are printed onto a long but narrow sheet and are very basic by nature. I’m not a fan of how ICM has chosen to break down the swastika on these, with the main decal being a blue cross on a white circle, but each blue swastika arm needing to be added separately. If you don’t add these precisely, they’ll look odd. Printing is nice and thin, with solid colour and minimal carrier film. Everything is also in register. No stencils are supplied, but decals are included for the instrument panel. The two schemes in this kit are: Dornier Do 17Z-2, 3/LeLv 46, Finnish Air Force, February 1942 Dornier Do 17Z-2, 2/LeLv 46, Finnish Air Force, Autumn 1942 Instructions This is a rather nice 20-page A4 publication with the schemes printed on the glossy cover, and the construction sequence within, broken down into 84 stages. Illustrations are by means of both shaded and line-drawn images, with paint references given throughout for both Revell and Tamiya colours. Conclusion I quite like this release as it gives plenty of detail out of box and still leaves areas to improve further, should you wish to. ICM are surely one of my favourite players in this hobby, releasing the sort of subjects that cry out for my attention. You may have seen their Ju 88 kits reviewed here, both in their own label and under names such as Special Hobby and Revell. Quality is excellent, my experience so far shows their kits to fit superbly. This really isn’t an expensive kit and provides amazing value for money in an age where everything seems to be getting more expensive by the day. I’ve always wanted a reasonably large scale Do 17, and with these new ICM releases, I’m certainly not disappointed! Highly recommended. My sincere thanks to ICM for supplying this kit for us to review. To purchase directly, click the link at the top of this article.
  6. James H

    1/48 Heinkel He 111H-6

    1/48 Heinkel He 111H-6 ICM Catalogue # 48262 Available from Hannants for £41.99 The Heinkel He 111 was a German aircraft designed by Siegfried and Walter Günter at Heinkel Flugzeugwerke in 1934. Through development it was described as a wolf in sheep's clothing because the project masqueraded the machine as civilian transport, though from conception the Heinkel was intended to provide the nascent Luftwaffe with a fast, medium bomber. Perhaps the best-recognised German bomber due to the distinctive, extensively glazed greenhouse nose of later versions, the Heinkel He 111 was the most numerous Luftwaffe bomber during the early stages of World War II. The bomber fared well until the Battle of Britain, when its weak defensive armament was exposed. Nevertheless, it proved capable of sustaining heavy damage and remaining airborne. As the war progressed, the He 111 was used in a variety of roles on every front in the European theatre. It was used as a strategic bomber during the Battle of Britain, a torpedo bomber in the Atlantic and Arctic, and a medium bomber and a transport aircraft on the Western, Eastern, Mediterranean, Middle Eastern, and North African Front theatres. The He 111 was constantly upgraded and modified but became obsolete during the latter part of the war. The German Bomber B project was not realised, which forced the Luftwaffe to continue operating the He 111 in combat roles until the end of the war. Manufacture of the He 111 ceased in September 1944, at which point piston-engine bomber production was largely halted in favour of fighter aircraft. With the German bomber force virtually defunct, the He 111 was used for logistics. The H variant of the He 111 series was more widely produced and saw more action during World War II than any other Heinkel variant. Owing to the uncertainty surrounding the delivery and availability of the DB 601 engines, Heinkel switched to 820 kW (1,100 hp) Junkers Jumo 211 powerplants, whose somewhat greater size and weight were regarded as unimportant considerations in a twin-engine design. When the Jumo was fitted to the P model, it became the He 111H. German-built He 111s remained in service in Spain after the end of the Second World War, being supplemented by Spanish licence-built CASA 2.111s from 1950. The last two German-built aircraft remained in service until at least 1958. The H-6 variant (the subject of this review) was a torpedo bomber and could carry two LT F5b torpedoes externally. It was powered by Jumo 211F-1 engines, had six MG 15s and one MG FF cannon in forward gondola. The kit I think it would be pretty fair to say that 1/48 Heinkel He 111 kits have been few and far between over the last years. In fact, before the initial ICM He 111H-3 version which was released towards the end of 2017, the last was another re-boxing of the old Monogram kit that dates back to 1994, and seen subsequently under Revell, Hasegawa, and Revellogram labels. It seemed that almost every other German twin had seen some release or other, apart from another Heinkel. Well, when ICM announced that they were to give us a newly-tooled He 111H-3, it was fair to say that many Luftwaffe fans were extremely pleased. The breakdown of the model also invited future versions to be released, and 6 months later, this is exactly what we got. ICM has a reputation for accurate model kits, with plenty of detail inside as well as refined external details. Their Ju 88 kits have seen numerous version releases, both with ICM themselves, and also with Revell and Special Hobby. No one can accuse ICM’s newer kits of having flimsy boxes, as per one German manufacturer. This one comes in a sturdy corrugated cardboard box with a locking tab, and with a separate, glossy product lid sat snugly over this. Box art depicts a France-based machine flying relatively low over the French countryside, towards dusk, with one box edge showing a couple of the FOUR schemes that can be built from this H-6 torpedo-carrying version. Once you cut through the clear disc tabs, remove the lid and open the box, you will find SEVEN sprues of medium-grey styrene and ONE of clear, tightly packed into a single clear sleeve. Normally I don’t like this approach, but there was pretty much no way these were going to rub over each other. The clear sprue was also packed into a separate sleeve within this main one. Now, those 7 sprues are actually common to the previous He 111H-3 release, as a second clear sleeve contains a further FIVE light grey sprues, and a separately bagged clear one. This brings the total sprue count to FOURTEEN! Of course, a healthy parts count is on definitely on the plate here. A heavy 28-page instruction manual lay in the bottom of the box, and tucked within this is a long and narrow decal sheet. This kit contains no PE parts. Sprue A Our first sprue brings us two of the main parts; namely the fuselage halves. It’s impossible to ignore these, so I’ll look at them first. These are very similar to how Revell went about their 1/32 kit, in that the upper forward fuselage is a separate piece, that can of course be an indication of other variants coming our way. Externally, detail is superb and very refined, with evenly and neatly recessed, narrow panel lines and a slightly proud wing root fairing with rivet fasteners. Elsewhere, however, no rivets are depicted. I quite like the difference that a riveted surface creates with a finished project, so will add these myself with a beading tool. The rudder is moulded separately, as is the belly. With the latter, two parts options are provided on this sprue, and those are for a bomb-doors closed, and doors open option. That certainly negates any ill-fitting doors that wouldn’t perhaps sit flush. Perhaps one thing that I’m not keen on are the aerial arrangement runners that are moulded to one of the lower fuselage halves. This makes removing seams a far more difficult task. Easy to fix though: slice off the detail and fit it later when seams are gone. Only a niggle really. Internally, I think ICM have made a very reasonable job of recreating the structural elements of this aircraft, with such detail extending from the nose, back to just aft of the belly gondola. There are some ejector pin marks though, but these are generally shallow enough to simply rub them away with a fibreglass pen, or other lightly abrasive tool. You will note that due to moulding limitations, ICM has had to produce a wing root insert to glue into position within the fuselage, and you might want to blend this in to the surrounding detail. This is the same solution that HK Models used on their 1/32 B-17 Fortress kits. Similar inserts exist for the lower bomb bay walls, but these sit primarily between the two main spar and bulkhead parts that form the basis of the construction. Note also the port and starboard wheel well walls, as well as the ceiling for this area. Fore and aft walls are moulded to the main spars. These walls will provide basic constructional elements and could/should be enhanced further by the modeller, with a little plasticard and wire. I’m not going to really criticise this due to the price of the kit, and the area providing a far more than adequate basis for detailing further. Other parts on this sprue are for the lower gondola, cockpit sidewalls, and radio equipment wall. Sprue B1 & B2 Both of these have the wing upper and lower panels as their main components, moulded with integral landing flaps. I would quite have liked to have seen these separate, and it will take some work for the modeller to achieve. However, the ailerons are separate items, moulded as halves on one of these sprues. As per the fuselage, external wing detail is very refined, with superbly thin and even panel lines and port access details. No rivets here again, except for key lines and those around fuel tank panels and upper nacelle fairings. Internally, positive channels are moulded for the main wing spars, creating what looks to be a very sturdy and unambiguous assembly. Going back to the ailerons, these have very subtle rib and fabric details, and shouldn’t need any toning down. Other flying and control surfaces are moulded here also. These are the stabiliser, elevators and rudder, moulded as traditional halves. These of course exhibit the same finesse as seen generally on external surfaces. Sprue C (x2) Where there are generally multiples of specific components, then these are the sprues on which you will find them. This model is equipped with two complete Junkers Jumo 211 A-3 engines, comprising of almost 20 parts each. I really am very impressed with the detail on these, and they certainly convincing against my reference material, including personal photographs of the 211. As with the wheel bays, just a little lead wiring should be all that’s needed to bring these to life. Unusually, the prop shafts are moulded into the main engine halves, instead of having a separate, captive pin that will allow the props to rotate. I did say this model had a full interior, and further evidence is seen here with multipart bomb bay cages, plus a full complement of eight SC500 bombs that sit within the cage’s vertical cells. Don’t get too excited though, as these AREN’T for use with this H-6 release! Nice additions to your spares box though. Other parts on this sprue include the numerous engine cowl parts, and the forward cowl ring with its characteristic lightening holes. Wheels are moulded as halves, but these aren’t weighted. They also aren’t used, as alternatives are provided on a new sprue, but they still aren’t weighted. Maybe Eduard will oblige us… Sprue D1 Unless it’s tied into more future releases, I admit that I don’t understand the nomenclature of the sprues D1 and D2. They seem unrelated. This particular sprue contains those two chunky main spars, complete with integral fuselage bulkheads and moulded bulkhead and main gear bay details. Note also other internal bulkheads, and for the cockpit itself. ICM has designed a rather tidy main cockpit, that is generally spread over both this sprue and D2, and should look great as it is, out of box. No doubt that Eduard will still be able to persuade us to invest further though. Decals are provided for enhancing the cockpit further, and these are clearly labelled on the instructions sheet. Internal parts on this sprue include the rear cockpit wall, cockpit floor, multi-part pilot seat with head armour, ammunition racks etc. Other parts here include the upper fuselage deck with moulded cupola gun traverse gearing, engine cowl to wing cowl fairings, splayed bomb bay door option, tail wheel that is moulded in situ with strut, and the main gear bay doors. Unusually, these last items have no detail moulded internally. This would definitely need addressing. Sprue D2 Someone at ICM had the foresight to include most of this kit’s more fragile and smaller parts on this sprue, meaning you can safely stash this to one side during the course of building. On here you will find the undercarriage struts and braces, ammunition rack components, rudder pedals and linkages, smaller cockpit components, control yoke and torsion tube, bomb aimer/co-pilot seat, MG mounts, etc. Sprue E This last sprue of generic He 111 parts contains all of the clear components. Where the varying items have sections that aren’t a part of a window etc. then these are frosted. Framing is pretty good, and this shouldn’t be too difficult to mask up for airbrushing. Even easier if Eduard release masks for this kit. What I do note is that whilst the clear areas have a good transparency, these areas look a little rippled, and more so when you look at through them to things in the distance. However, whilst this isn’t particularly good, if you look at things that are in close proximity to the clear areas, then this isn’t as noticeable. I have some faith that this won’t be too obvious when the model is complete, but don’t quote me. The He 111’s famous glazed nose is comprised of three parts. Care will definitely be needed in assembling these. Two options are supplied for the lower gondola glazing, as are weapons too. Note that the instrument panel is moulded here too. I’ve never seen the point of clear IPs, but that might only be my mileage. Instrument decals are supplied for this and other cockpit areas, but you may choose to punch out the individual dials and apply them separately. It certainly makes for a cleaner finish. Sprue E1 This new, clear sprue contains just four parts. Two of these are for the upper gunner position and the options here are for an open glazed area with a retracted canopy, or a closed version. I’m glad to see they provided optional parts instead of having to assemble this. The remaining two parts are for the front and rear of the ventral gondola. The standard of glazing here is actually nicer than the main canopy parts. Sprue G The first of our new grey sprues contains two underbelly sections. One of these is for the torpedo-carrying machine, and the other for the one carrying an external bomb payload. There are some slight differences here. Of course, the ETC racks sit over the He 111s bomb doors, and with this machine, you won’t fit the internal bomb racks. They are showed as not for usewith this release. Two scheme options provided in this kit have the tail with the rear-facing MG. Parts are provided here for that, but you will need to take a saw to the kit and remove the original tail. Maybe a slight oversight in ICM’s original modular design. The last parts are for the new tail wheel strut and ventral gondola. Sprue F (x2) These identical sprues contain the new props and spinners, two-part exhausts (thus hollow!), and external bomb load. Sprues H1 & H2 Not wanting to waste time and cost, of course, ICM has provided the same sprues in this release as for the Ju 88A-4/Torp. After all, they are the same weapons. Just remember that the racks won’t be needed as they are moulded to the underside of the new parts on Sprue G. The torpedoes themselves are moulded as halves, with separate propulsion impellors and a fin modification unit that is similar to the ones that the Japanese used on their torpedoes at Pearl Harbour, allowing the torpedo to operate very close to the water’s surface. Detail on these is excellent, and laden with two of these, this He 111 version should look particularly unusual and menacing. Decals One decal sheet is included, and there is no indication of where it is printed. I am assuming this is a homebrew ICM product. Printing is fairly thin and carrier film is minimal. Everything also appears to be in full register. No swastikas are included. A full set of stencils is included, along with the markings for the FOUR machines. These are: He 111H-6, 3./KG26, Norway, Summer 1941 He 111H-6, Stab I/KG26, Bardufoss, Norway, July 1942 He 111H-6, 8./KG53, Poland, June 1941 He 111H-6, 7./KG27, Russia, November 1941 Instructions I quite like ICM’s approach to the assembly manual, with the result being totally clean in approach and fuss-free. Starting with a history of the type, plus a colour chart for both Revell and Tamiya paints, a full parts plan is then printed, and then 116 constructional sequences. Assembly illustration is very clear, with colour annotation and selective use of shading to make some drawings clearer, such as where the 3D could mess with your mind! The last pages are taken over with a stencil drawing and four colour profiles for the supplied schemes. Decal placement and paint application is clear. Conclusion This appears to be a pretty accurate-looking kit with all the right curves in all the right places, and also a very intuitive and interesting assembly sequence. For example, you can’t build the wing separately to the fuselage, as the through-spars incorporate fuselage interior, and the bomb cells are loaded into the fuselage after main fuselage assembly, complete with the lower belly. Apart from the ripples in the glazing (which I don’t think will be too noticeable when assembled), the quality of this kit really is excellent, and ICM are setting new standards, outside of their Asian counterparts. This is also a kit with serious value for money, coming in at around £40. Plenty of buildability and one of those kits that really excites me. Hopefully, I’ll make a start very soon. My sincere thanks to ICM Model Kits for the review kit seen here. To purchase this one for yourself, click the link at the top of this article.
  7. James H

    1/48 Junkers Ju 88C-6

    1/48 Junkers Ju 88C-6 ICM Catalogue # 48238 Available from Hannants for £27.99 The Junkers Ju 88 was a German World War II Luftwaffe twin-engine multirole combat aircraft. Junkers Flugzeug- und Motorenwerke (JFM) designed the plane in the mid-1930s as a so-called Schnellbomber ("fast bomber") that would be too fast for fighters of its era to intercept. It suffered from a number of technical problems during later stages of its development and early operational roles but became one of the most versatile combat aircraft of the war. Like several other Luftwaffe bombers, it served as a bomber, dive bomber, night fighter, torpedo bomber, reconnaissance aircraft, heavy fighter and, during the closing stages of the conflict in Europe, as a flying bomb. Despite its protracted development, the aircraft became one of the Luftwaffe's most important assets. The assembly line ran constantly from 1936 to 1945 and more than 16,000 Ju 88s were built in dozens of variants, more than any other twin-engine German aircraft of the period. Throughout production the basic structure of the aircraft remained unchanged. Without a doubt, the Junkers Ju 88 was one of the most versatile and adaptable aircraft to have been used during WW2. Entering service as the war was literally starting (on the day of the Polish attack), the Ju 88 became successful for its numerous famous and infamous roles, starting out as a light bomber/dive bomber, and when losses started to mount around the time of the Battle of Britain, it was moved into other theatres of war, such as North Africa, and against shipping in the Mediterranean with a torpedo-carrying variant. Where it is perhaps best known are for its roles as both a heavy fighter and night-fighter, in which it excelled. The Ju 88C series of standard fighter-bomber versions from the C-2 onwards culminated in the Ju 88 C-6, applying experience acquired with the A-4 bomber, equipped with the same Jumo 211J engines but replacing the "beetle's eye" nose glazing with a smoothly curved all-metal nose, pierced only by the barrels of its forward-firing offensive armament. The C-6 was used mostly as fighter-bomber and therefore assigned to bomber units. As a reaction to the increasing number of attacks on German shipping, especially on U-boats in the Bay of Biscay, from July 1942 it started flying anti-shipping patrols and escort missions from bases in France. V./Kampfgeschwader 40 being formed to operate the C-6. Courtesy of Wikipedia. The kit There has certainly been some mileage seen in the moulds for ICM’s rather sweet Ju 88 kit, with there now being TWELVE incarnations that have been released across the ICM, Hasegawa, Special Hobby and Revell labels. This particular Ju 88C-6 version was released about a month ago from the date of this review, and of course sees the original manufacturer’s progression through some of the key Ju 88 versions. I certainly wouldn’t be surprised to see more incarnations of this kit in future, hopefully covering a number of the other exotic machines that were derived from the base Ju 88 airframe. There is of course a reason why we are seeing this kit being given multiple releases and that is simply because it is the definitive tooling of this important aircraft that is currently available, and with so many Ju 88 versions that existed, modellers are going to want to build the one that is specific to their interests, such as the heavy fighter, torpedo aircraft etc. Packaged into ICM’s very sturdy, full corrugated cardboard box, with a colourful and glossy product lid that depicts a low flying C-6, possibly over the Bay of Biscay, this kit consists of a single clear sleeve that holds all NINE medium-grey sprues and two clear ones. A total of about 250 parts makes up this release. Thankfully, the clear sprues are separately bagged within the main sleeve and all of the others are tightly packed up against each other, so no space for them to jiggle and rub against each other. A 24-page A4 manual is included, and a single decal sheet finalises the contents. This release sees the addition of three new sprues, catering to the change in nose, equipment and canopy. I know that some modellers can be driven to frustration by the engineering choices that some companies make, but with this kit, ICM has boxed clever. As we know, it has been designed to accommodate other versions so as to maximise the tooling, but none of this is done to the disadvantage of the modeller. Some very intelligent design work can be seen here, such as the fuselage halves being full length, so no need to graft on different nose versions. The fin is also separate, indicating something from the 88G family, maybe. Wing root fairings are moulded to the fuselage and are tabbed, meaning that the upper wing panels can easily sit on these and provide a positive location point. Another touch of genius is a single piece lower fuse and inboard wing panel section. When this is fitted to the fuselage, and then the wing panels added, the lower seam will be totally hidden under the broad nacelle structure. The nacelles themselves will then locate into the undersides via tabs. If you’ve ever seen the Revell 1/32 kit, you’ll know that there is a sturdy structure within the nacelle that the undercarriage is mounted to. Looking at this model, I think that whilst you may need to fit that mounting structure prior to the nacelle, it appears that you can probably fit the landing gear later, after painting. All control surfaces on this model can be posed, with the rear of the nacelles being separate for this purpose. You may need to fiddle things with this, and I can’t comment further without test fitting this one. Two detailed Jumo211 engines are included in this kit, with the provision to display one/either of them. These really do look very good, with each unit containing around 15 parts per engine, including the firewall and associated plumbing. The engines must be installed within the nacelle before the whole assembly is offered to the wing. You’ll need to make sure your painting and masking regime is good here. Cowl radiator flaps are presented as open only, so to pose these in the more aesthetically pleasing closed position, you will need to do a little surgery. Propellers are supplied as single piece units, and the spinner comprises of the typical back-plate and front section. If you expect a lot from the cockpit area, in terms of detail, then this won’t disappoint. Whilst there is no specific Eduard sets for this release at the time of writing, some areas could still use some of the sets designed for the ICM release. As no seatbelts are included in this kit, you will definitely need to sort out that omission. The office area is very well-appointed, with nicely moulded fuselage sidewall details, superbly equipped radio rear bulkhead, ammunition racks and drums, detailed instrument panel, side consoles with delicately rendered instruments, two-piece control column, rudder pedal assemblies, seats with intricate mounting points etc. I don’t really think there would be much to add in here, with the exception of some colour PE, perhaps. When assembled the cockpit will most certainly be a very busy and visual area. The bola gondola is well-appointed too, and this area is moulded separately to the underside fuselage and can be fitted later in assembly. Surface detail is everything you would expect from a modern-tooled model, with finely engraved panel lines and port details. There are also no rivets at all, so if you do want them, then you’ll have to get out Rosie. Plastic quality here is excellent with no flaws or obtrusive ejector pin marks. Clear plastic parts, both ICM and Special Hobby, are superb, with excellent clarity and nicely defined frame details. Of course, this particular kit does vary in a number of aspects, from previous releases, and looking through the parts maps does indicate a large number of parts that should NOT be used with this particular release. In fact, the original Sprue C has been supplemented with Sprue C1. This contains whole new engine nacelles, propellers, spinners, annular radiator intakes, tabbed fin and rudder, fuselage spine section with dipole etc. Parts not to be used are clearly defined on the parts map by being shaded in pink. Another sprue that takes a major hit on unused parts is the engine sprue. Here, you can discount all of the bomb parts, and guns/ammo drums etc. There are THREE new sprues in this particular torpedo bomber version, and it will come as no surprise to find out that two of these, H & H1, contain the reworked gondola with fixed rear facing guns, solid nose with gun apertures, forward fuselage window blanking plates, machine guns, ammunition containers for forward guns, optional exhaust shrouds, etc. Whilst I note that a single MG has been provided for the lowermost nose gun position, the others are simply represented as stubs which fit into the nose apertures. The savvy modeller could possibly work out the remaining details and install them too. One of the new sprues (H) has only one part for use with this release, with the other solid noses and nightfighter aerial arrays being scheduled for a later release. The new clear sprue contains the main canopy area, minus the upper, rear glazed sections which are supplied on the original sprue. Again, clarity and framing definition is excellent. Decals An ICM-printed decal sheet contains markings for FOUR marking schemes, with all printing being in solid, authentic colour, with minimal carrier film and also being both nice and thin. Registration is perfect too. As well as markings, a full suite of stencils are included as are instrument decals. The instruments are probably better punched out from the decal and applied individually, so you don’t have to attempt to get the decal to conform to the raised panel details. No swastikas are supplied. The four schemes in this release are: Ju 88C-6, 11./ZG.26, Mediterranean, Summer 1943 Ju 88C-6, 11./ZG.26, Mediterranean, 1943 Ju 88C-6, 13./KG.40, Lorient, France, November 1943 Ju 88C-6, 4./KG.76, Taganrog, Russia, Fall of 1942 Instructions ICM’s instruction manuals are very attractive and easy to follow, with 96 easy-to-follow stages that shouldn’t present any issues with assembly. The first part of the manual highlights the colours needed for completing this model (Revell and Tamiya paints), as well as parts maps of the sprues. The rear of the manual has two pages for the four schemes, printed in colour and with good decal placement notes, plus a page denoting stencil placement etc. Conclusion Another excellent Ju 88 release. This kit currently retails for around £30 or less in the UK, and I think that relates to excellent value for money when you look at the detail levels that are provided here. The C-6, for me, is one of the more attractive versions of this aircraft and certainly paved the way for the later BMW-powered G versions with their nightfighter prowess. This kit doesn’t have any PE parts, so for at least the seatbelts, you might want to consider some of Eduard’s aftermarket sets for the other ICM/Revell variants. Most parts will be completely usable in this release. Of course, this is an in-box review, and I’ve not looked at the fit of this. I have seen a small number of Ju 88 kits built though, and spoken to modellers who have built others, and they claim no real problems in construction. ICM’s engineering seems to be logical and sensible, and without the annoyances of the earlier, unrelated Dragon releases. Highly Recommended My thanks to ICM for the review sample seen in this article. To purchase directly, click the link at the top of this article.
  8. 1:24 Model T 1913 Speedster ICM Catalogue # 24015 The Ford Model T (colloquially known as the Tin Lizzie, Leaping Lena, or flivver) is an automobile produced by Ford Motor Company from October 1, 1908, to May 26, 1927. It is generally regarded as the first affordable automobile, the car that opened travel to the common middle-class American; some of this was because of Ford's efficient fabrication, including assembly line production instead of individual hand crafting. The Ford Model T was named the most influential car of the 20th century in the 1999 Car of the Century competition, ahead of the BMC Mini, Citroën DS, and Volkswagen Type 1. Ford's Model T was successful not only because it provided inexpensive transportation on a massive scale, but also because the car signified innovation for the rising middle class and became a powerful symbol of America's age of modernisation. With 16.5 million sold it stands eighth on the top ten list of most sold cars of all time as of 2012. The Speedster was but one of many customs offered in 1913 by independent manufacturers, giving the owner a less expensive option to the very popular (and expensive) Stutz Bearcat and Mercer Raceabout. Usually the chassis was lowered four inches, called “underslinging”, the wheelbase slightly extended, and the basic 40 HP motor “hopped up” with a Roof or RAJO Overhead Valve Conversion (OHV), a hot cam, balanced crankshaft with pressure oiling, and side-draft or up-draft carburettors. And of course, the stock body was replaced with a sharp looking “Speedster Body” complete with a monocle windshield, and the heavy wooden wheels were replaced with strong and lightweight wire wheels. Some cars retained standard Ford wings, and some did away with them altogether. A complete kit of radiator, hood, floorboards, rear gasoline tank, and body could be purchased for around $100. The Speedster body wasn't just for looks; it made the Model T go faster by making it lighter, cutting down the frontal area, and streamlining it. Just making these changes could add 10 to 15 miles an hour to the top speed. Edit courtesy of Wikipedia and Speedsters.com The kit The Model T 1913 Speedster is packaged into ICM’s now familiar style, robust corrugated box with integral lid, covered by a separate glossy product lid that has an artwork of one of these beautiful little vehicles sat demurely on a path/road in either a country park or out in a rural area. The side of the box has three profiles of the vehicle. Removing the lid and opening the box, we find a single re-sealable clear sleeve containing FIVE sprues of light grey styrene (two sprues (A & are co-joined), two small sleeves each containing a clear sprue, and also a sleeve with the solid rubber tyres, moulded in an off-white/cream coloured vinyl. In the bottom of the box lies an instruction manual. No decals are supplied with this kit. They simply aren’t needed. It’ll be your painting job that will show this model off to its best advantage. Assembly begins with the engine. I’m not sure how this compares with other versions, bearing in mind that the Speedster engine is technically different. I don’t know how those changes would impact the exterior of the engine. This area comprises around a dozen parts, spread over the first two sprues. Construction of the engine centres around the main engine block which is assembled as halves, and then progresses to the cylinder head block, manifold, cooling fan and driver belt, and mounting lugs. Detail really is very fine and nice and sharp too, with sprue gates being thoughtfully placed so as not to interfere with any intricacy of any component. With the engine built, the characteristic FORD radiator is assembled and then secured to the forward leaf-spring suspension before being fitted to the Speedster’s lower body. This latter part is moulded with the forward and rear mudguards, and also the running boards with the Ford company logo on them. The mudguards have a decorative trim to them, and the interior floor has a very fine grip detail moulded into it. The engine can now be mounted into the lower body, along with radiator cooling pipes and rear axle and leaf-spring suspension. A two-part exhaust system is them installed, as are the various drive bars and rear axle bars that lock the unit into place, so it doesn’t move. Underneath the Model T, detail is quite rudimentary, but that is how the car was, and ICM has made a very nice job of recreating this. To cover the engine, a two-piece rear firewall is added to the chassis, followed by a hinge plate and two separate engine covers which look like they could be posed in an open position, albeit with no internal details. One sprue contains the wheel hubs, with their wooden spokes and wood/metal rims. These were actually artillery wheels, with the metal equivalent being produced in the late 1920s. The central mounting hub plate is also present, along with securing bolts. ICM has included three sets of cream/white vinyl tyres for this model, in roughly the correct colour as was used, and the tyres are different for front and back. The reason for three sets is that you’ll need a tyre for the spare that’s carried on the rear body. After all, you wouldn’t want to break the law!! Covering over the moulded floor details of the lower body is a secondary car floor onto which is fitted the four-part fuel tank with Ford logo, and the driver and passenger seats. The latter are moulded as two-part items with realistic upholstery and uneven cushions from the application of many human bottoms! With the floor and seating in place, the foot pedals and steering wheel can be added. This version doesn’t have a windscreen per sé, but does have a clear round window mounted onto a frame which attaches to the steering wheel column. An unusual but very elegant solution. Final details include the forward headlamps, front lamps and tail lamp, plus the spare wheel etc. Two clear sprues are included, with one of these being specific to this release (steering column-mounted window), and the other containing parts for the lamps etc. Most parts on the larger clear sprue aren’t for use on this release. Instructions are provided as a glossy 12-page A4 booklet, starting with a history of the type, paints reference for Revell and Tamiya colours, and a parts map with shaded out parts for those not in plat. Over 50 clear constructional stages illustrate the building of this model, and there’s nothing that should trip anyone up as everything looks nice and simple to build. The last page of the book shows the painting guide for this Speedster. Again, you should have no issues in completing this as the scheme looks straightforward. It may be easier to paint some parts before adding them to the overall kit. Conclusion ICM is making real headway with their range of Model T-based kits, and this is a little stunner. Beautifully detailed and straightforward in construction, this model will look like a gem is you take all the right precautions when applying that paint scheme. It will definitely benefit from some good high-gloss painting. One of the more attractive versions of Ford’s iconic vehicle, this one should definitely be on your shopping list. My sincere thanks to ICM for sending the review sample seen here.
  9. 1/35 Sd.Kfz.251/1 Ausf.A ICM Catalogue # 35101 The Sd.Kfz. 251 (Sonderkraftfahrzeug 251) half-track was a WW2 German armoured fighting vehicle designed by the Hanomag company, based on its earlier, unarmoured Sd.Kfz. 11 vehicle. The Sd.Kfz. 251 was designed to transport the Panzergrenadiers (German mechanized infantry) into battle. Sd.Kfz. 251s were the most widely produced German half-tracks of the war, with at least 15,252 vehicles and variants produced by various manufacturers and were commonly referred to simply as "Hanomags" by both German and Allied soldiers. There were four main model modifications (Ausführung A through D), which formed the basis for at least 22 variants. The initial idea was for a vehicle that could be used to transport a single squad of 10 Panzergrenadiers to the battlefield protected from enemy small arms fire, and with some protection from artillery fire. In addition, the standard mounting of at least one MG 34 or MG 42 machine gun allowed the vehicle to provide suppressive fire for the rifle squad both while they dismounted and in combat. The armour plates were designed to provide protection against standard rifle/ machine gun bullets (like the 7.92×57mm Mauser bullet). The front-facing plates were 14.5mm thick; the sides were steeply angled, V-shape 8mm thick plates. This level of armour provided protection against normal (non-tungsten) rifle AP round, which could pierce about 8mm of vertical armour. Positive aspects of the open top included greater situational awareness and faster egress by the infantry, as well as the ability to throw grenades and fire over the top of the fighting compartment as necessary while remaining under good horizontal cover. The downside was a major vulnerability to all types of plunging fire; this included indirect fire from mortars and field artillery, as well as small arms fire from higher elevated positions, lobbed hand grenades, even Molotov cocktails, and strafing by enemy aircraft. There were 23 official variants, and sundry unofficial variants. Each variant is identified by a suffix to the model number, however, there was some overlap in the variant numbers. The Sd.Kfz. 251/1 Schützenpanzerwagen was a standard personnel carrier, and the Ausf.A Ungepanzerte. This was made with plain steel 5mm plates instead of armour, to make up numbers due to slow initial 251 production. Around 350 made up to mid 1940. Extract from Wikipedia The kit ICM’s presentation is both attractive and robust, with the lid of this box simply being a product identifier, as there is a complete, lidded corrugated box beneath it. Artwork is up to ICM’s usual high standard with an image of the Hanomag on operations in France. Small clear tape tabs hold the lid in position and when these are cut through and removed, the box below is a single-piece affair with a tabbed lid. Inside, there are FIVE light grey styrene sprues packed into a single clear sleeve, one clear sprue individually packed, and a sleeve containing black vinyl parts for the tracks and wheels. A small decal sheet is enclosed, as is the instruction manual, of course. Construction begins with the lower hull plate and its port and bolt details. With the side panels and forward engine bulkhead attached, this assembly is then fitted to a part that comprises the fenders and crew compartment/interior. It does become clear at this stage that this particular model also has the complete interior, including engine. With the fenders loaded out with their stowage boxes, the interior assembly continues with the application of the fighting compartment sidewalls that sit up against the stowage bins, rear bulkhead into which the door will later fit, and armoured engine sump panel etc. Underneath the Hanomag, a lot of detail has been incorporated into the forward wheels assembly with the leaf-spring suspension bar and axle, plus the drive pinions. A really nice touch here is that the front of the Hanomag has a lower armoured plate with a maintenance panel that can be displayed in an open position, so you can create a detail diorama and show off all the effort within. The Maybach HL 42 6-cylinder petrol engine is next to be constructed, comprising of around 20 parts, and this will build up into a more than reasonable reproduction of the real thing, complete with fan belts, authentic crank case and block, magnetos and carburettors, etc. The drivers compartment has a forward bulkhead with blank gauge faces into which the decal instrumentation will affix. The fighting compartment is festooned with equipment such as blankets, ammunition canisters and boxes, weapons, jerrycans etc. ICM has moulded the upper hull with the various vision ports as separate parts, for both the driver and soldiers in the fighting compartment. Whilst the instructions show these as being closed, it looks easy enough to pose them in a lifted position. The two-piece engine access doors are also separate, as are the engine side panel access positions. Again, a dream for those who wish to finish their model in a diorama, or simply as a study of a vehicle with detailed interior. Internally, the upper hull is also very detailed, with the vision port mechanisms, rifles, battery and radio set etc. The rear doors are provided as separate parts, and although shown closed, I’m pretty sure you could model these in an open position without too much effort. Two identical sprues are supplied for the drive and road wheels, with other parts included for the fighting compartment benches, ammunition, weapons and those vision port mechanisms, but to name a few. Black vinyl tracks are included, as are the front drive wheels. Like vinyl, or loathe it, these are very nicely moulded and should look very good when fitted. If you hate making up track links, like me, then I’m more than happy with this for a vehicle such as the 251. Decals A small sheet contains the various licence plates, national markings and instruments for the driver’s compartment. I think these are printed by ICM too, with everything being suitable thin, with opaque colour, minimal carrier film and perfect registration. The four schemes supplied are: Sd.Kfz.251/1 Ausf.A, 1.Pz.D., France, May 1940 Sd.Kfz.251/1 Ausf.A, 2.Pz.D., Greece, May 1941 Sd.Kfz.251/1 Ausf.A, 1.Pz.D., Russia, July 1941 Sd.Kfz.251/1 Ausf.A, 1.Pz.D., Russia, November 1941 Instructions These are provided by means of a 28-page A4-size manual, with some colour artwork and history printed on the cover. A paint guide is also supplied here for Revell and Tamiya colours. Inside the manual, a parts map is supplied with unused parts shaded out. Construction itself takes place over 103 stages, using clear and uncomplicated line drawings, sans shading. The last two pages contain the four schemes, albeit almost identical except for the licence plates. One machine also has a radio mast fitted. Conclusion A superbly detailed model with a very respectful parts count, despite the tracks being vinyl. All areas of the 251 have been faithfully recreated and provide the modeller with many options that a kit from this particular price range would not normally cater to. Whilst I have a Dragon kit in stash, it certainly cost far more than this release, and most definitely a whole lot more. Despite the detail therein, this shouldn’t be tool challenging a project and will prove to be an ideal candidate for armour modellers ranging from newcomer to those who require that little extra. A superb kit! My sincere thanks to ICM for providing this kit for review on Large Scale Modeller.
  10. JeroenPeters

    ICM I-16 Type 28

    1/32 I-16 type 28 ICM Catalogue No32002 Available from Hannants for € 37,63 Introduction The I-16 was one of those designs that pushed the envelope and paved the way for new fighter designs. A closed cockpit, monoplane design, metal plating and a retractable landing gear. It’s licensed built Wright Cyclone SR-1820 9 cilinder engine (Shvetsov M-25) with it’s large diameter made the I-16 look short and stubby. This didn’t give the plane the menacing look of sleeker designs, but it proved it’s worth nonetheless. A whole series of improvements followed the first designated production type of the I-16 type 4. Most changes were made in the engine and guns / cannons. The type we’re looking at today however is the type 28. It differed from the type 24 (also released by ICM and reviewed by James Hatch here) only in armament: 2x ShKAS and 2x ShVAK. The ShKAS being a 7.62mm machine gun and the ShVAK being a 20mm cannon. The ShKAS mounted in the nose and ShVAK mounted in the wings. The major differences between the early type 10 and the late model 24 and 28 are the presence of flaps, a tailwheel instead of skid, a second cockpit door on the starboard side and the Shvetsov M-63 engine replacing the M-25 version. The different materials used in this plane make it perfect to model ‘without paint’. We see a laminated fuselage, linen, aluminium and putty. The method of the laminated fuselage is basically the same as we saw on WW1 Albatros fuselages and even the WW2 Mosquito fuselage. Not that easy to replicate due to the angled wooden planks, but if you manage to pull it off, you’ve got a winner. I managed to find a pagethat shows the different materials. The Kit Let me start by saying that the I-16 has been covered pretty decently before by Azur and Special Hobby. Having built the Special Hobby kit I know the detail is quite sufficient and that there are numerous detail sets to spice it up. Eduard has done various sets for the cockpit, exterior and masks which I can all recommend. You can also get yourself a Yahu Models instrument panel and HGW harnesses. Vector has done a great Shvetsov M-25 engine (which fits the type 10/17. I myself managed to get my hands on a few sets by Contact Resine (a French company) which include a thin cowling, cockpit set and wheels. In line of order, these kits have been released of the I-16: 1997 – Azur released the I-16 Type 10 2004 – Special Hobby added new parts and released the type 10/17 2008? – Special Hobby added new parts and released the type 24 2008? – Special Hobby added new parts and released the type 10 with ski’s (Finnish service) 2011 – Special Hobby added new parts and released the type 10/17 (Chinese & Japanese service) 2017 – ICM releases a fully new tool kit of the type 24 (review by James Hatch) 2017 – Revell releases this same kit (type 24) under their brand with new decals 2018 – ICM added new parts and releases this new type 28 When you lift the box top, a full closed internal box appears, which give it a sturdy construction. Only four sprues (including the clear sprue) make up this kit. The first thing that strikes is the quality of the moldings. No flash anywhere. Really crisp moldings. Since I have an unbuilt Special Hobby I-16 in the stash, I decided to make some comparisons. Sprue A This sprue contains the fuselage halves, tail, rudder, cowling, wheels and ailerons. The tail was fabric, so we see some sagging between the ribs of the tail. Not too much. The nose / cowling had radiator louvres. I like that you get to pose these open or closed by rotating the louvre disc inside. A feature that is not present on the Special Hobby kit, where it’s always closed. Why? Because the Special Hobby kit doesn’t include an engine and this kit does! Also: this kit offers separate ailerons (and separate elevators). Also not an option in the Special Hobby kit. The I-16 had a mostly wooden fuselage. This means there are not a lot of rivets to be found. In that sense the Special Hobby and ICM fuselage don’t show a lot of discrepancies. You do however get some more detail in the ICM wheels. I also have Fabflight resin wheels which show a complete different bolt layout. Make sure you study your references before changes out the wheels. You’ll find a lot of alterations exist. The top cowling is supplied as a separate piece. This enables you to show of the guns and engine. I bought myself (and built) the Vector M-25 engine once. The Type 28 featured the M-63 engine though, so it wouldn’t be right for this version. Still, I love the detail that comes with this kit! Engine mounts are included, guns, so you’ll only have to add a few wires and scratch the fasteners of the cowling to do a decent open engine model! Fuselage halve: Top cowling: Radiator louvres: Wheels: Ailerons: Sprue B Here we have the wings, more cowling parts, prop, gear, prop hub and wheelbay doors. The wheelbay doors show some more pronounced detail than the Special Hobby ones’. An interesting difference comes to light when you look at the bottom mid wing section. Delicate rivet detail on the ICNM kit versus round discs on the Special Hobby kit. The surface texture of the main wings is almost non existant on both kits. As said: a nice feature of the ICM kit is that the ailerons are provided as separate parts, enabling you to pose them up or down. The gear legs are really nice and way nicer than the Special Hobby ones’. Crisp and detailed. Underwing surface detail: Compared to Special Hobby: Upper wing detail: Compared to Special Hobby: Radiator: Prop: Gear legs: Wheel doors: Sprue C and D Wow! The Shvetsov M-63 engine. A real gem. Pretty complete right out of the box. The ShKAS guns (see my photo for reference), lovely exhaust stubs. It’s all there. When we look at the cockpit we are greeted with the same level of detail and completeness. Or aren’t we…? I’m kinda missing seatbelts here! A quite prominent and visible feature in this open cockpit. I don’t understand this, because everything else seems to be there. The instrument panel is a transparent plastic part. Transparant? Why? Decals are provided for the instruments, so this part might as well have been grey plastic. I would recommend getting the Yahu or Eduard offering for this part. Other than that the cockpit is up to par with the big brands. The windscreen is lovely. Really clear and with a nice sharp edge for the cockpit framing. The Shvetsov M-63 engine: Compared to my Vector M-25 engine: Cockpit floor: ShKAS guns: And here's the real deal: Cowling underside: Spinner, typical for type 28: Gunsight: Windscreen: Instrument panel: Compared to Special Hobby: Decals Decals for two schemes are provided. Both rather dull to be real honest. A dark green top and flat light blue underside. Both sporting the red star and white numerals. Still, if you look at the work of Daniel Zamarbide Suarez, you might get some inspiration to turn dull green into a lively scheme! The decals look great but don’t seem to be printed by the usual suspects. Still, for a subject like this, I would recommend spraying the insignia on. But who am I? Scheme 1: I-16 type 28, 45thAviation Division, Southern Front, Odessa area, Late June 1941 Scheme 2: I-16 type 28, 72nd Mixed Regiment of the Northern Fleet Aviation, August 1941 Instructions: Overal: This kit is an improvement over the older Special Hobby kits. In terms of fit, detail and molding quality. The fact that it includes a full engine, lovely cockpit, guns, separate ailerons etc… very welcome. The only thing I don’t get is the omission of seatbelts. With only a few upgrades (instrument panel, seatbelts) this kit can be turned into a winner. Check out Daniel's work: Highly recommended. Our sincere thanks to ICM for providing this kit for review.
  11. 1/35 Pz.Kpfw.VI Ausf.B King Tiger (late production) with full interior ICM Catalogue # 35364 Available for around £38.00 The Tiger II is a German heavy tank of the Second World War. The final official German designation was Panzerkampfwagen Tiger Ausf. B, often shortened to Tiger B. The ordnance inventory designation was Sd.Kfz. 182. It is also known under the informal name Königstiger (the German name for the Bengal tiger), often translated literally as Royal Tiger, or somewhat incorrectly as King Tiger by Allied soldiers, especially by American forces. The Tiger II was the successor to the Tiger I, combining the latter's thick armour with the armour sloping used on the Panther medium tank. The tank weighed almost 70 tonnes and was protected by 100 to 185 mm (3.9 to 7.3 in) of armour to the front. It was armed with the long barrelled 8.8 cm KwK 43 L/71 anti-tank cannon. The chassis was also the basis for the Jagdtiger turretless tank destroyer. The Tiger II was issued to heavy tank battalions of the Army and the Waffen-SS. It was first used in combat with 503rd Heavy Panzer Battalion during the Allied Invasion of Normandy on 11 July 1944, on the Eastern Front. The first unit to be outfitted with Tiger IIs was the 501st Heavy Panzer Battalion, which by 1 September 1944 listed 25 Tiger IIs operational. Henschel won the design contract, and all Tiger IIs were produced by the firm. Two turret designs were used in production vehicles. The initial design is often misleadingly called the "Porsche" turret due to the belief that it was designed by Porsche for their prototype; in fact, it was the initial Krupp design for both prototypes. This turret had a rounded front and steeply sloped sides, with a difficult-to-manufacture curved bulge on the turret's left side to accommodate the commander's cupola. Fifty early turrets were mounted to Henschel's hull and used in action. The more common "production" turret, sometimes called the "Henschel" turret, was simplified with a significantly thicker flat face, no shot trap (created by the curved face of the earlier turret), and less-steeply sloped sides, which prevented the need for a bulge for the commander's cupola and added additional room for ammunition storage. The Tiger II was developed late in the war and built in relatively small numbers. Orders were placed for 1,500 Tiger IIs — slightly more than the 1,347 Tiger I tanks produced — but production was severely disrupted by Allied bombing raids. Among others, five raids between 22 September and 7 October 1944 destroyed 95 percent of the floor area of the Henschel plant. It is estimated that this caused the loss in production of some 657 Tiger IIs. Only 492 units were produced: one in 1943, 379 in 1944, and 112 in 1945. Full production ran from mid-1944 to the end of the war. Extract from Wikipedia The kit This box is about the same depth as many other ICM kits that I’ve seen and handled recently, but it covers a larger footprint, with the box being quite wide. As is standard with ICM kits, the box itself if a rigid, corrugated type with a fold open lid which is locked into place with tongues and a tab. On top of this, the attractive and glossy lid shows a really good artwork of a King Tiger head-on, with its turret turned slightly sideways. I always think a good artwork sets the stall out for a kit. When I was a kid, it was the picture on the box that always grabbed my attention first. Inside the box, a total of TWENTY-TWO sprues are included, moulded in either light grey or black styrene. All of these are packed into two re-sealable clear sleeves. One sprue (A) is actually bisected into 3, to allow the parts to fit in the sleeve, and I have included those sections in the sprue count. Three sprues are simply the upper hull, lower hull bottom, and the new barrel that is specific to this release. In the bottom of the box is a 36-page A4 manual, a single fret of PE parts, and a small decal sheet. There are over 700 plastic parts in this kit, plus the 11 PE parts, so this will be welcome challenge in comparison with the previous ICM release of this kit which didn’t have an interior. That previous incarnation also had the dreaded vinyl tracks, but this new release has separate track links. Simply for ease of reference, here are all sprues and PE in this release, along with notes on how many are included. Sprue A Sprue B Sprue C Sprue D (x4) Sprue E Sprue F (x4) Sprue G Sprue H (x2) Sprue K Sprue L Sprue M Sprue N Sprue P Photo Etch Construction of this model begins with the interior of the Henschel turret. Now, I by no means think that whilst this kit claims to have a full interior, that it does actually have that. What I do think ICM has created here is a very good representation of the main elements of a full interior, but there are omissions that I can see, with my rather limited subject knowledge in this area. I recently purchased David Parker’s excellent book on the 1/16 King Tiger, and although David did super-detail his large-scale kit, it does highlight a few basic omissions in the ICM kit, such as the wooden roller that assists with ammunition loading, the side inner armour plates that flank the ammunition stowage area, and the TzF9B monocular scope. Having said that, ICM’s kit provides an admirable point from which to begin a similar, if somewhat less hard-core journey. The main elements within the turret are indeed there, such as the detailed loading block, main gun recuperator/recoil mechanism, 8.8cm ammunition racks, gunner and loader seats, etc. This kit has a new barrel too, and whilst the old one is still in situ on sprue E, it’s not to be used. Sprue G provides you with the part to be used. This is moulded as a single piece except for the muzzle brake and rear section. There is a faint seam on the barrel itself too. What is unusual about this model is the breakdown of the lower and upper hull. The upper hull is moulded with fenders in situ. Detail is very good with excellent weld seams, fasteners and bolts, plus the engine intake cooling intakes. It might have been an idea to have had extra open panel choices here to show off the interior, but the engine access panel is a separate part. As for clean-up, all there is to remove is the remains of the small moulding sprue that is located in the turret ring area. What is unusual about the lower hull floor is that the sides are moulded separately, whereas the rear plate is included in the floor moulding. The underside of the hull has superbly moulded access panels, and the interior detail ties nicely to those ports and also has the small standoffs for the torsion bars to sit upon. The Henschel turret is also nicely depicted and is moulded with the front section as a separate part, whereas the rear of the turret is in situ, minus the escape hatch. Again, weld seams are depicted with finesse, and the rear plate depiction is excellent, with the keyed joint. Hatches and cupola are separate. Something that this kit doesn’t have is clear parts, so any periscope details won’t have that proper glass appearance. A plastic grey plastic periscope ring is to be inserted within the cupola instead. Ideally, this will need painting black and then a high gloss to simulate the glass. You will notice another unusual engineering quirk in this kit, in that the swing arms are separate to the torsion bars, and these seems to be glued between the two hull sides, with the swing arms also being glued into position at a later stage of construction. So, unlike the likes of Rye Field Model, where you can have the choice of working torsion bars and articulated wheels, with this model, you aren’t given that option. That doesn’t mean that you can’t make these work as you may want. Looking at the parts, I think it’s feasible. Inside the hull, ICM has supplied the modeller with a very busy interior which you may still need to check out against reference for its level of completeness, but however, this area is still crammed with details. The rear hull has the Maybach engine, fuel tanks etc. all nicely detailed, and the intake fans are supplied in PE. All you need to do is to twist the fan blades into position and install them. Quite a nice touch. A detailed bulkhead separates the engine from the rest of the hull. Crew areas in this tank are nicely appointed, with transmission, drive and brake units all included, but there do seem to be some omissions, such as the radio set that took such a prominent position when looking at David Parker’s excellent book on his 1/16 build. No braided copper wire is provided in this kit for external cables. These are moulded in plastic. Also quite unusual are the various pioneer tools having their clasps moulded in plastic, despite the kit containing PE parts for other areas. It would have been good to have seen these are photo-etch parts. I’m pretty sure the tracks aren’t workable, but they do look easy enough to build. This appears to be something that needs to be done in stages also. Four sprues of black plastic contain all the parts for this. A single decal sheet provides all you need for the four schemes on offer here. This is well printed, being nice and thin and with solid colour and minimum carrier film. Everything is also in register. The schemes are: Pz.Kpfw. VI Ausf.B, s.Pz.Abt. Feldherrnhalle, Hungary, March 1945 Pz.Kpfw. VI Ausf.B, s.Pz.Abt. 503, Danzig, March 1945 Pz.Kpfw. VI Ausf.B, s.Pz.Abt. 501, Ardennes, December 1944 Pz.Kpfw. VI Ausf.B, Stab/s.Pz.Abt. 501, Ardennes, December 1944 A 36-page A4 instruction manual details the build over a total of 155 construction sequences, with paint references given for Revell and Tamiya paints. The illustrations are in line drawing format and are easy to follow. There shouldn’t be any ambiguity at all. The kit looks fairly easy to build despite the 700+ parts. A parts map is given at the front of the manual, showing those components not for use in this release. The last two glossy pages are given over to the colour schemes. Conclusion Whilst I really do like this release, there are other ways of creating a 1/35 King Tiger with a full interior, such as the Meng kit which requires their own aftermarket interior set, or with the Takom kit that has the interior included, they are both going to cost you more than this release. That could be up to twice the cost of the ICM kit. If you don’t want to include anything extra to what this kit offers, or you’re happy to do some scratch-building (and relish the extra challenges), then this could well be the kit for you. For a kit that can be bought for £38 (and I have seen it for around £5 less than that), then ICM’s kit represents good value for money and will build up into a very detailed model. The lack of any clear parts is a little disappointing too, especially when ICM has gone to the trouble of creating quite a nice addition to the armour market. In all though, this is a very reasonable release and could really provide the basis for an excellent rendition of the King Tiger. Recommended My sincere thanks to ICM for providing this kit for review.
  12. James H

    1:48 Do 17Z-7

    1:48 Do 17Z-7 ICM Catalogue # 48345 Available for around £28 The Dornier Do 17 was designed as a lightweight, fast bomber that could, in theory, outrun any attempts by fighters to shoot them down. The long thin fuselage of the aircraft led to its nickname of ‘flying pencil’, and its shoulder mounted wing carried two engines, whilst its tail design was of twin fin/rudder arrangement, typical of that on the Bf 110. Initially powered by inline Daimler-Benz/BMW engines, but these were changed in favour of two Bramo 323 radials. A crew of three were carried, and up to 1000kg of bombs could be carried internally. Civil War in Spain saw the first baptism of fire for the Do 17, operating with the Condor Legion. Many of these pilots were unknowingly honing their skills for future operations against Poland, leading to the start of WW2, and eventually to the skies over Britain in 1940. It was here that the Do 17 became seriously outclassed by British fighter defence. The main version was the Do 17Z, which is the subject of this kit. The Z-7 variant had a solid nose that contained four forward-firing MG17. The last remaining, mostly intact Do 17Z was recovered from the waters off the Kentish coast and is not being preserved at RAF Cosford. The kit At the time of writing, this is the third incarnation of this 1/48 release from ICM, with this being the first Z-7 variant thus far. ICM’s style of packaging is probably one of my favourites, with the kit being supplied in a one-piece, sturdy corrugated cardboard box with a locking tab, and a separate product lid which sits over this. The glossy lid depicts a single Do 17Z-7 at dusk, in a simple but evocative image. This scheme is also shown on the box side. In fact, there are two schemes with this release, but they are nigh on identical, with only the fuselage code being slightly different. As Henry Ford once purportedly said, regarding his Model T car, “you can have any colour as long as it’s black”. Well, it is a night fighter after all. Inside the box, a total of six light grey sprues are packaged into a single re-sealable clear wallet, and a clear sprue is also slipped into there, protected within its own sleeve. In the bottom of the box, a 20-page A4 instruction manual is to be found, with a small decal sheet tucked within it. This release contains no photo-etch parts, instead leaning on companies such as Eduard, should you want to detail your model further. This certainly helps to keep down overall costs. Sprue A You can certainly see why this aircraft was called the flying pencil when you look at the fuselage halves. This was supposed to be the very essence of the Schnellbomber, but alas, the Do 17 was easy prey whilst undertaking that particular role. The characteristic fuselage is moulded with an open belly for the various loadouts or fuel tank assembly (the latter, for the purpose of this kit), and of course, the upper fuselage is open due to the shoulder-mounted wing that will be fitted here. For the tail-plane, the traditional slots are included on both port and starboard. ICM has created some very fine external detail in the way of panel lines and various access ports and panels. These are both very narrow and even in depiction. They should take a wash beautifully. Note that the airframe is devoid of any rivet detail, leaving a blank canvas for those of us who wish to add this. Internally, the fuselage doesn’t have any detail to speak of, but instead location holes and slots for the separate detail parts. One thing I really do like about this release is the rib and fabric depiction of the control surfaces. This is superbly rendered and doesn’t look at all exaggerated. All control surfaces are separately moulded, and you will find them here, as well as the stabiliser and fin parts. It is worth mentioning too that the Z-10 nose cone is also still on this sprue, as is the clear part (Sprue E) for the infrared detector for target illumination. Without delving further, I’m not sure if a Z-10 can be made from this release, but it does look pretty favourable. All the parts do seem to be here, including bombs (Sprue D) for the Z-2 version, plus the glazed nose (Sprue E). It appears that only the inclusion of the Z-7 nose and the decals are what makes this is a Z-7 release. Other parts you will find here are the fuselage bulkheads and two bomb bay door options (both open or closed). A small number of parts are slated as not for use in this release. Sprue B Only three parts here. These are for the full-span upper wing, and two lower wing panels. You will note that the ailerons are moulded separately, but the landing flaps are integral and not poseable without either aftermarket or with some surgery and scratch-work. ICM has designed the wing so the gear bay openings are moulded into the lower panels, with some rudimentary, corresponding interior detail on the underside of the upper wing panel. The nacelles and the remainder of the detail is separate. Externally, that detail is very neat, with thin and uniform panel lines and port details This model is not riveted, and for me, that leaves things looking pretty bare, so I will add the various rivet and fastener lines when it comes for me to build this kit. Sprue C Parts here mainly concern the engine nacelles and main gear interiors, plus the general internals for both the cockpit and bomb bay. A two-piece fuel tank is found here, moulded with its support straps. This will occupy half of the bomb bay. For the main gear bays, left and right walls are supplied, with moulded structural details, and also forward and rear bulkheads. The idea here is that these will be installed to the wing, complete with the retraction units for the main gear, and then the nacelles are built around these. Looking at the instructions, I do think that the retraction units can be fitted later, or at least I think so (don’t quote me!), making overall assembly and painting easier. Bar a couple of small parts, everything on this sprue is for use in this release. In amongst the numerous parts, you’ll find a lot of components for the cockpit, such as the two-part instrument panel, consoles, seats with their lattice weave, pilot floor and rudder pedals, control stick, avionics, machine guns, etc. Sprue D (x2) This sprue is supplied twice and deals with those items for which multiples are needed, such as the engine, cowls, propeller, spinner, main gear wheels, mudguards, oleo struts, engine bulkheads and mounting frames etc. Bombs are also found here, but these aren’t for use with the Z-7, as are a couple of MGs and saddles, plus the bomb mounting racks. The engine is excellent, and comprises an exhaust system for which separate manifolds and stubs are included. ICM has chosen to depict their wheels without any load, so you will need to sort the weighted appearance yourself. A few seams lines here and there on parts, but nothing out of the ordinary. Sprue E If you hadn’t already guessed, this is the clear sprue, and it is identical to all previous incarnations of this kit, including the glass nose. There are also two different greenhouse canopies included, with only one slated for use with this particular kit release. For use here are the clear blister and separate armoured windscreen that fit to the main greenhouse, as well as the clear parts for around the nose, that will be painted over, and the lower gondola glazing. Transparency is excellent, with reasonably thin, distortion-free plastic that has no visible or unsightly patina. Framing lines are nicely depicted and those frames are frosted. Full marks. Sprue F This small sprue contains one part for the Z-7 nose, complete with nicely moulded apertures for the forward firing MG. No detail is moulded within the nose, and no guns are supplied to fit within this, so to complete this as would be seen, some scratch work will be required, plus a trip to your spares box for the guns and ammunition bins/feeds. This kit does include the MG stubs for you to fit into the apertures. Decals Decals for this release are very basic by nature, with enough for two slightly different schemes. Printing is nice and thin, with solid colour and minimal carrier film. Everything is also in register. No stencils are supplied, but decals are included for the instrument panel. The two schemes in this kit are: Dornier Do 17Z-7, R4+HK, I./NJG2 Dornier Do 17Z-7, R4+FK, I./NJG2 Instructions This is a rather nice 20-page A4 publication with the schemes printed on the glossy cover, and the construction sequence within, broken down into 81 stages. Illustrations are by means of both shaded and line-drawn images, with paint references given throughout for both Revell and Tamiya colours. Conclusion I quite like this release as it gives plenty of detail out of box and still leaves areas to improve further, should you wish to. ICM are surely one of my favourite players in this hobby, releasing the sort of subjects that cry out for my attention. You may have seen their Ju 88 kits reviewed here, both in their own label and under names such as Special Hobby and Revell. Quality is excellent, my experience so far shows their kits to fit superbly. This really isn’t an expensive kit and provides amazing value for money in an age where everything seems to be getting more expensive by the day. I’ve always wanted a reasonably large scale Do 17, and now I have one. I’m certainly not disappointed! Highly recommended. My sincere thanks to ICM for supplying this kit for us to review.
  13. James H

    1/32 I-16 Type 24

    1/32 I-16 Type 24 ICM Catalogue # 32001 Available from Hannants for £27.99 The Polikarpov I-16 was a Soviet fighter aircraft of revolutionary design; it was the world's first low-wing cantilever monoplane fighter with retractable landing gear, to attain operational status and as such has been described as having "introduced a new vogue in fighter design. The I-16 was introduced in the mid-1930s and formed the backbone of the Soviet Air Force at the beginning of World War II. The diminutive fighter, nicknamed "Ishak" (Donkey) or "Ishachok" (Burro) by Soviet pilots, figured prominently in the Second Sino-Japanese War, the Battle of Khalkhin Gol, and the Spanish Civil War, where it was called the Rata (Rat) by the Nationalists or Mosca (Fly) by the Republicans. Full-scale work on the TsKB-12 prototype began in June 1933, and the aircraft was accepted into production on 22 November 1933, a month before it took to the air. The TsKB-12 was of mixed construction, using a wooden monocoque fuselage and wings employing a KhMA chrome-molybdenum steel alloy wing spar, duralumin ribs and D1 aluminium alloy skinning on the centre and leading edges, with the remaining portions of the wings fabric covered. Another modern feature were the ailerons which ran along almost the entire trailing edge of the wing and also operated as flaps. The cockpit was covered by a 16” wide canopy which featured an Aldis-type tubular gun sight which could slide back and forth on runners fitted with rubber bungee cords. The main landing gear was fully retractable by means of a hand crank. The armament consisted of a pair of 7.62×54mmR (0.30 in) ShKAS machine guns in the wings, mounted on the outboard side of the main gear and 900 rounds of ammunition. Service trials of the new fighter, designated I-16, began on 22 March 1934. The M-22 prototype reached 223 mph. The manually retracted landing gear was prone to jamming and required considerable strength from the pilot. Most of the test flights were performed with the gear extended. On 1 May 1934, the M-22 prototype participated in the flyover of Red Square. Engine improvements etc. pushed the types top speed to 326 mph for the Type 24, that we see in this article. Initial service experience revealed that the ShKAS machine guns had a tendency to jam. This was the result of the guns being installed in the wings upside-down to facilitate the fit. The problem was addressed in later modifications. The I-16 was a difficult fighter to fly. The pilots had poor visibility, the canopy tended to become fouled with engine oil, and the moving portion was prone to slamming shut during hard manoeuvres, which caused many pilots to fix it in the open position. The front section of the fuselage, with the engine, was too close to the centre of gravity, and the pilot's cockpit too far to the rear. The Polikarpov had insufficient longitudinal stability and it was impossible to fly the aircraft "hands off". Production lasted from between 1934 to 1942, and totalled over 8600 machines. The kit I’m quite a fan of ICM’s approach to boxing their products, and here we see their first foray into 1/32 with the I-16 Type 24. As per the current crop of samples that we have been sent for review, this kit is packaged into a very sturdy corrugated cardboard box that opens via a tab, and the box itself has a product lid which sits over the top of this. The artwork here shows a single I-16 in level flight with a cloud base background. On the lid sides, two out of the FOUR supplied schemes, are shown in profile format. Inside the box, a single, large cellophane sleeve contains the THREE medium-grey styrene sprues that make up this diminutive little fighter aircraft, plus a single clear sprue that is further protected by another sleeve. There are no PE or resin parts in this release, and this package is completed with a 12-page A4 instruction manual and one decal sheet that is placed within. I saw a Rata a few years ago at Duxford, close up and personal, and then had the pleasure of seeing the little tin can fly afterwards. This was always going to be a subject that would appeal to me, so to see a modern tooling of this important type was always going to excite me somewhat. Sprue A You really do get an idea of just how squat the I-16 was when you take a look at the fuselage halves on this sprue. Even more so if you then contrast those dimensions against the wing itself. Note how ICM has tooled this kit, with those fuselage parts standing very high on this sprue. The run of the sprue itself protects the relatively vulnerable wing root protrusion whilst not actually being connected. Due to the nature of the I-16’s wooden construction, there isn’t much in the way of detail on the fuselage halves, except for the tail fin and fairings for this and the stabiliser. The fin has a rather nice representation of the fabric and rib structures, with this perhaps being a tad heavy in places, but nonetheless very nice in its depiction. Some rivet and fastener detail exists around the fairing, and the rear starboard fuselage has raised access panel detail. The rudder and forward engine cowls are moulded as separate parts. Internally, fuselage detail is straightforward and simple, but sharply executed. This consists of formers and longeron strips, and you will have to eliminate a single ejector pin mark in these areas, but that’s not too bad. To quote an oft-used and maligned phrase….simple modelling skills. Also moulded here are the stabilisers, ailerons, elevators and rudders. In traditional construction style, these are supplied as upper and lower parts, with the elevator itself being full-span. Rib and fabric details of course extend onto these parts, and to me at least, these look perfectly acceptable. All control surfaces are designed to be moveable too. Within the engine cowl are two plates that go to make part of the cooling shutter mechanism, and this is designed to be left free of glue so that it may be positioned. Other parts on this sprue include the upper gun cowl, both cockpit entry doors, and also the main wheels. These are supplied as halves, but they aren’t weighted. Sprue B ICM has sensibly designed this model to have a full span lower wing, and this is packed with details, from the basic rib and fabric structures, to the various plates that are moulded in situ, representing the panels that cover the ShVAK cannon locations and the undercarriage bay etc. The main gear wells are simply that….wells, but look very reasonable when you reference this to photos of the actual thing. Note that there is a circular hole in each well, coinciding with the central wheel hub. This was there for a reason. That gear was cranked upwards by hand, and this is where the cable would pass through to the wheel hub. However, ICM make no reference to this, and to the cable you would need to add for this to look accurate. Take note! As was noted earlier, the ailerons are separate parts here and can be posed however you wish. The upper wing panels exhibit the same degree of detail as the lower span part, with good plate detail over the cannon areas, looking suitably agricultural, as befitted the I-16. The rest of the undercarriage parts are found here, and these do look a little fragile, but are simply and authentically detailed. This also applies to the undercarriage doors, but I do wonder if there are some small bracing details missing from the rear of the upper semi-circular plate, as my references tend to show these. I could be wrong, and they may or may not pertain to the Type 24. Check your references. Other parts on this sprue include the cowl plates with their open scoop details, the main front engine cowl with cooling apertures, lower cowl to wing fairing, and the squat spinner and separate propeller with hub details. Sprue C For a 1/32 model, this kit sure doesn’t have masses of parts, but it has that detail exactly where it counts. Here we see parts that are for both the engine and cockpit. The Soviet Ash-62 engine that powered the Type 24, actually had its roots in the Wright R-1820 Cyclone. That engine in particular had been built under licence in Russia, and the Rata’s engine was a development of that powerplant. ICM has produced quite a nice representation of this engine, comprising of about 18 parts, including the separate exhaust stubs and engine mount. Cylinder cooling fin detail is fine, and about the only thing I think this wold benefit from would be some ignition wiring and the missing ignition distribution ring….that’s if you plan to maybe pose a cowl section off the model, so you can see at least some of this engine. Apart from the two cowl-mounted ShKAS machine guns (which look incredibly good), pretty much everything else on this sprue is to do with the cockpit, which really is superbly detailed. In here you will find detailed forward and rear bulkheads, cockpit floor, pilot seat with cushion, compressed gas tanks, rudder bar and control stick, plus the various pieces of equipment that were bolted to the inner sidewalls. About the only thing that will be required here is some lead wire etc. to plumb these items in. Reference photos tend to show cables that were clipped to the various internal structures. Other parts seen here are the engine firewall and oil tank, propeller counterweights, tail cone, static air chamber, pitot, and the channels for the machine guns. Sprue D Only eight parts are moulded on this clear sprue. These are for the windscreen, instrument panel, gunsight and various lamps. Windscreen framing is subtle but should be easy enough to mask, and the instrument panel is quite simple, as befits this machine. A decal is supplied for the instrument panel, but I suggest punching out the individual dials and adding them separately. Decals Just one medium-sized sheet is included here, with markings for FOUR aircraft. These are suitably thin, printed with solid and authentic colour, and with minimal carrier film. Everything looks to be perfect register too. I’m particularly pleased that one machine is emblazoned in Cyrillic graffiti too. That would be my build of choice! The schemes included in this release are: I-16 Type 24, 67th Fighter Regiment, South Front, Summer 1941 I-16 Type 24, 72d Mixed Regiment of the Northern Fleet Aviation, Summer 1941 I-16 Type 24, 4th Guard Fighter Regiment of the Baltic Fleet Aviation, Winter – Spring 1942 I-16 Type 24, 254th Fighter Regiment, Leningrad Front, Summer 1943 Instructions The Rata’s construction is broken down into 59 sequences of assembly, which are all clearly drawn and very easy to follow. There are paint references given for Revell and Tamiya colours, and these are very clearly annotated throughout the 12-page instruction manual. The last two pages are taken over with the scheme profiles and decal placement guides for each machine. Conclusion It really is good to see a modern tooling of this stubby little aircraft, and with the beautiful details what ICM has furnished the kit with. They really do seem to have captured the agricultural look of the machine, but with the finesse of both the cockpit and the engine areas. This doesn’t look a difficult kit to build, but I do suggest you look towards when Eduard’s sets can offer, especially with regard to things such as the missing seatbelts. In all, a great little kit, and not too expensive either. Certainly a good number of hours of modelling to be had with this release. Highly recommended My sincere thanks to ICM for the review kit seen here. To purchase directly, click THIS link.
  14. 1/48 Junkers Ju 88A-4/Torp ICM Catalogue # 48236 Available from Hannants for £27.99 The Junkers Ju 88 was a German World War II Luftwaffe twin-engine multirole combat aircraft. Junkers Flugzeug- und Motorenwerke (JFM) designed the plane in the mid-1930s as a so-called Schnellbomber ("fast bomber") that would be too fast for fighters of its era to intercept. It suffered from a number of technical problems during later stages of its development and early operational roles, but became one of the most versatile combat aircraft of the war. Like several other Luftwaffe bombers, it served as a bomber, dive bomber, night fighter, torpedo bomber, reconnaissance aircraft, heavy fighter and, during the closing stages of the conflict in Europe, as a flying bomb. Despite its protracted development, the aircraft became one of the Luftwaffe's most important assets. The assembly line ran constantly from 1936 to 1945 and more than 16,000 Ju 88s were built in dozens of variants, more than any other twin-engine German aircraft of the period. Throughout production the basic structure of the aircraft remained unchanged. Without a doubt, the Junkers Ju 88 was one of the most versatile and adaptable aircraft to have been used during WW2. Entering service as the war was literally starting (on the day of the Polish attack), the Ju 88 became successful for its numerous famous and infamous roles, starting out as a light bomber/dive bomber, and when losses started to mount around the time of the Battle of Britain, it was moved into other theatres of war, such as North Africa, and against shipping in the Mediterranean with a torpedo-carrying variant. Where it is perhaps best known are for its roles as both a heavy fighter and night-fighter, in which it excelled. Perhaps a lesser-known role for the Ju 88 was that of torpedo bomber. The A-4 was modified to carry two LTF5b torpedos, and were used in anti-shipping operations in the Mediterranean and Atlantic. The A-4/Torp was also converted to the A-17, with the ventral gondola removed and a nose housing for the aiming mechanism. This particular machine also had a dedicated torpedo rack instead of the bomb racks used on the A-4/Torp. Courtesy of Wikipedia. The kit There has certainly been some mileage seen in the moulds for ICM’s rather sweet Ju 88 kit, with there now being TEN incarnations that have been released across the ICM, Hasegawa, Special Hobby and Revell labels, with Special Hobby creating their own resin and injection plastic parts to accompany the base ICM plastic. This particular Ju 88A-4/Torp version was released about mid-2017, but I’ve only just managed to get my hands on a sample. I certainly wouldn’t be surprised to see more incarnations of this kit in future, hopefully covering a number of the other exotic machines that were derived from the base Ju 88 airframe. There is of course a reason why we are seeing this kit being given multiple releases and that is simply because it is the definitive tooling of this important aircraft that is currently available, and with so many Ju 88 versions that existed, modellers are going to want to build the one that is specific to their interests, such as the heavy fighter, torpedo aircraft etc. Packaged into ICM’s very sturdy, full corrugated cardboard box, with a colourful and glossy product lid that depicts a low flying A-4/Torp that has just dropped a single torpedo, this kit consists of a single clear sleeve that holds all TEN medium-grey sprues and a single clear one. A total of about 250 parts makes up this release. Thankfully, the clear sprue is separately bagged within the main sleeve and all of the others are tightly packed up against each other, so no space for them to jiggle and rub against each other. A 24-page A4 manual is included, and a single decal sheet finalises the contents. I know that some modellers can be driven to frustration by the engineering choices that some companies make, but with this kit, ICM has boxed clever. As we know, it has been designed to accommodate other versions so as to maximise the tooling, but none of this is done to the disadvantage of the modeller. Some very intelligent design work can be seen here, such as the fuselage halves being full length, so no need to graft on different nose versions. The fin is also separate, indicating something from the 88G family, maybe. Wing root fairings are moulded to the fuselage and are tabbed, meaning that the upper wing panels can easily sit on these and provide a positive location point. Another touch of genius is a single piece lower fuse and inboard wing panel section. When this is fitted to the fuselage, and then the wing panels added, the lower seam will be totally hidden under the broad nacelle structure. The nacelles themselves will then locate into the undersides via tabs. If you’ve ever seen the Revell 1/32 kit, you’ll know that there is a sturdy structure within the nacelle that the undercarriage is mounted to. Looking at this model, I think that whilst you may need to fit that mounting structure prior to the nacelle, it appears that you can probably fit the landing gear later, after painting. All control surfaces on this model can be posed, with the rear of the nacelles being separate for this purpose. You may need to fiddle things with this, and I can’t comment further without test fitting this one. Two detailed Jumo211 engines are included in this kit, with the provision to display one/either of them. These really do look very good, with each unit containing around 15 parts per engine, including the firewall and associated plumbing. The engines must be installed within the nacelle before the whole assembly is offered to the wing. You’ll need to make sure your painting and masking regime is good here. Cowl radiator flaps are presented as open only, so to pose these in the more aesthetically pleasing closed position, you will need to do a little surgery. Propellers are supplied as single piece units, and the spinner comprises of the typical back-plate and front section. If you expect a lot from the cockpit area, in terms of detail, then this won’t disappoint. Whilst there is no specific Eduard sets for this release at the time of writing, some areas could still use some of the sets designed for the ICM release. As no seatbelts are included in this kit, you will definitely need to sort out that omission. The office area is very well-appointed, with nicely moulded fuselage sidewall details, superbly equipped radio rear bulkhead, ammunition racks and drums, detailed instrument panel, side consoles with delicately rendered instruments, two-piece control column, rudder pedal assemblies, seats with intricate mounting points etc. I don’t really think there would be much to add in here, with the exception of some colour PE, perhaps. When assembled the cockpit will most certainly be a very busy and visual area. The bola gondola is well-appointed too, and this area is moulded separately to the underside fuselage, and can be fitted later in assembly. Surface detail is everything you would expect from a modern-tooled model, with finely engraved panel lines and port details. There are also no rivets at all, so if you do want them, then you’ll have to get out Rosie. Plastic quality here is excellent with no flaws or obtrusive ejector pin marks. Clear plastic parts, both ICM and Special Hobby, are superb, with excellent clarity and nicely defined frame details. Of course, this particular kit does vary in a number of aspects, from previous releases, and looking through the parts maps does indicate a large number of parts that should NOT be used with this particular release. In fact, the original Sprue C has been supplemented with Sprue C1. This contains whole new engine nacelles, propellers, spinners, annular radiator intakes, tabbed fin and rudder, fuselage spine section with dipole etc. Parts not to be used are clearly defined on the parts map by being shaded in pink. Another sprue that takes a major hit on unused parts is the engine sprue. Here, you can discount all of the bomb parts, and guns/ammo drums etc. There are THREE new sprues in this particular torpedo bomber version, and it will come as no surprise to find out that two of these, H1 & H2, contain the torpedoes and bomb racks. The torpedoes themselves are moulded as halves, with separate propulsion impellors and a fin modification unit that is similar to the ones that the Japanese used on their torpedoes at Pearl Harbour, allowing the torpedo to operate very close to the water’s surface. Detail on these is excellent, and laden with two of these, this Ju 88 version should look particularly unusual and menacing. The last new sprue here, G, contains guns for the various flexible mounts, and also optional exhaust shrouds. Decals An ICM-printed decal sheet contains markings for FOUR marking schemes, with all printing being in solid, authentic colour, with minimal carrier film and also being both nice and thin. Registration is perfect too. As well as markings, a full suite of stencils are included as are instrument decals. The instruments are probably better punched out from the decal and applied individually, so you don’t have to attempt to get the decal to conform to the raised panel details. The four schemes in this release are: Ju 88A-4/Torp, 8./KG26, Grosseto, Italy, late 1942 Ju 88A-4/Torp, 1./KG77, Italy, September 1943 Ju 88A-4/Torp, 7./KG77, Orange-Karitat, Southern France, April 1944 Ju 88A-4/Torp, 3./KG26, Bardufoss, Norway, February 1945 Instructions ICM’s instruction manuals are very attractive and easy to follow, with 103 easy-to-follow stages that shouldn’t present any issues with assembly. The first part of the manual highlights the colours needed for completing this model (Revell and Tamiya paints), as well as parts maps of the sprues. The rear of the manual has two pages for the four schemes, printed in colour and with good decal placement notes, plus a page denoting stencil placement etc. Conclusion Another excellent Ju 88 release, and as this is Revell, you know that the price point is spot on. This kit currently retails for around £30 or less in the UK, and I think that relates to excellent value for money when you look at the detail levels that are provided here. The A-4 was a pretty common variant from around the end of the BoB until the latter stages of the war, so I’m pleased to see this rather unusual variant counting itself amongst them. I certainly hope to see more in future. This kit doesn’t have any PE parts, so for at least the seatbelts, you might want to consider some of Eduard’s aftermarket sets for the other ICM/Revell variants. Most parts will be completely usable in this release. Of course, this is an in-box review, and I’ve not looked at the fit of this. I have seen a small number of Ju 88 kits built though, and spoken to modellers who have built others, and they claim no real problems in construction. ICM’s engineering seems to be logical and sensible, and without the annoyances of the earlier, unrelated Dragon releases. Highly Recommended My thanks to ICM for the review sample seen in this article. To purchase directly, click THIS link.
  15. James H

    1/48 Heinkel He 111H-3

    1/48 Heinkel He 111H-3 ICM Catalogue # 48261 Available from Model Kits for Less for £30 The Heinkel He 111 was a German aircraft designed by Siegfried and Walter Günter at Heinkel Flugzeugwerke in 1934. Through development it was described as a wolf in sheep's clothing because the project masqueraded the machine as civilian transport, though from conception the Heinkel was intended to provide the nascent Luftwaffe with a fast, medium bomber. Perhaps the best-recognised German bomber due to the distinctive, extensively glazed greenhouse nose of later versions, the Heinkel He 111 was the most numerous Luftwaffe bomber during the early stages of World War II. The bomber fared well until the Battle of Britain, when its weak defensive armament was exposed. Nevertheless, it proved capable of sustaining heavy damage and remaining airborne. As the war progressed, the He 111 was used in a variety of roles on every front in the European theatre. It was used as a strategic bomber during the Battle of Britain, a torpedo bomber in the Atlantic and Arctic, and a medium bomber and a transport aircraft on the Western, Eastern, Mediterranean, Middle Eastern, and North African Front theatres. The He 111 was constantly upgraded and modified, but became obsolete during the latter part of the war. The German Bomber B project was not realised, which forced the Luftwaffe to continue operating the He 111 in combat roles until the end of the war. Manufacture of the He 111 ceased in September 1944, at which point piston-engine bomber production was largely halted in favour of fighter aircraft. With the German bomber force virtually defunct, the He 111 was used for logistics. The H variant of the He 111 series was more widely produced and saw more action during World War II than any other Heinkel variant. Owing to the uncertainty surrounding the delivery and availability of the DB 601 engines, Heinkel switched to 820 kW (1,100 hp) Junkers Jumo 211 powerplants, whose somewhat greater size and weight were regarded as unimportant considerations in a twin-engine design. When the Jumo was fitted to the P model, it became the He 111H. German-built He 111s remained in service in Spain after the end of the Second World War, being supplemented by Spanish licence-built CASA 2.111s from 1950. The last two German-built aircraft remained in service until at least 1958. The kit I think it would be pretty fair to say that 1/48 Heinkel He 111 kits have been few and far between over the last years. In fact, the last was another re-boxing of the old Monogram kit that dates back to 1994, and seen subsequently under Revell, Hasegawa, and Revellogram labels. It seemed that almost every other German twin had seen some release or other, apart from another Heinkel. Well, when ICM announced that they were to give us a newly-tooled He 111H-3, it was fair to say that many Luftwaffe fans were extremely pleased. ICM has a reputation for accurate model kits, with plenty of detail inside as well as refined external details. Their Ju 88 kits have seen numerous version releases, both with ICM themselves, and also with Revell and Special Hobby. The new He 111 was to have a detailed interior as well as bomb bay and two complete engines. The CAD images certainly looked impressive. Well, in November 2017, this kit was finally unleashed on an eager modelling community, and after the festive mail snarl-ups, the good guys at ICM finally managed to get one over to us to take a look at. No one can accuse ICM’s newer kits of having flimsy boxes, as per one German manufacturer. This one comes in a sturdy corrugated cardboard box with a locking tab, and with a separate, glossy product lid sat snugly over this. Box art depicts a France-based machine flying relatively low over the French countryside, towards dusk, with one box edge showing a couple of the FOUR schemes that can be built from this H-3 version release. Once you cut through the clear disc tabs, remove the lid and open the box, you will find SEVEN frames of medium-grey styrene and ONE of clear, tightly packed into a single clear sleeve. Normally I don’t like this approach, but there was pretty much no way these were going to rub over each other. The clear frame was also packed into a separate sleeve within this main one. A heavy 28-page instruction manual lay in the bottom of the box, and tucked within this is a long and narrow decal sheet. This kit contains no PE parts. Frame A Our first frame brings us two of the main parts; namely the fuselage halves. It’s impossible to ignore these, so I’ll look at them first. These are very similar to how Revell went about their 1/32 kit, in that the upper forward fuselage is a separate piece, that can of course be an indication of other variants coming our way. Externally, detail is superb and very refined, with evenly and neatly recessed, narrow panel lines and a slightly proud wing root fairing with rivet fasteners. Elsewhere, however, no rivets are depicted. I quite like the difference that a riveted surface creates with a finished project, so will add these myself with a beading tool. The rudder is moulded separately, as is the belly. With the latter, two parts options are provided on this frame, and those are for a bomb-doors closed, and doors open option. That certainly negates any ill-fitting doors that wouldn’t perhaps sit flush. Perhaps one thing that I’m not keen on are the aerial arrangement runners that are moulded to one of the lower fuselage halves. This makes removing seams a far more difficult task. Easy to fix though: slice off the detail and fit it later when seams are gone. Only a niggle really. Internally, I think ICM have made a very reasonable job of recreating the structural elements of this aircraft, with such detail extending from the nose, back to just aft of the belly gondola. There are some ejector pin marks though, but these are generally shallow enough to simply rub them away with a fibreglass pen, or other lightly abrasive tool. You will note that due to moulding limitations, ICM has had to produce a wing root insert to glue into position within the fuselage, and you might want to blend this in to the surrounding detail. This is the same solution that HK Models used on their 1/32 B-17 Fortress kits. Similar inserts exist for the lower bomb bay walls, but these sit primarily between the two main spar and bulkhead parts that form the basis of the construction. Note also the port and starboard wheel well walls, as well as the ceiling for this area. Fore and aft walls are moulded to the main spars. These walls will provide basic constructional elements, and could/should be enhanced further by the modeller, with a little plasticard and wire. I’m not going to really criticise this due to the price of the kit, and the area providing a far more than adequate basis for detailing further. Other parts on this sprue are for the lower gondola, cockpit sidewalls, and radio equipment wall. Frame B1 & B2 Both of these have the wing upper and lower panels as their main components, moulded with integral landing flaps. I would quite have liked to have seen these separate, and it will take some work for the modeller to achieve. However, the ailerons are separate items, moulded as halves on one of these frames. As per the fuselage, external wing detail is very refined, with superbly thin and even panel lines and port access details. No rivets here again, except for key lines and those around fuel tank panels and upper nacelle fairings. Internally, positive channels are moulded for the main wing spars, creating what looks to be a very sturdy and unambiguous assembly. Going back to the ailerons, these have very subtle rib and fabric details, and shouldn’t need any toning down. Other flying and control surfaces are moulded here also. These are the stabiliser, elevators and rudder, moulded as traditional halves. These of course exhibit the same finesse as seen generally on external surfaces. Frame C (x2) Where there are generally multiples of specific components, then these are the frames on which you will find them. This model is equipped with two complete Junkers Jumo 211 A-3 engines, comprising of almost 20 parts each. I really am very impressed with the detail on these, and they certainly convincing against my reference material, including personal photographs of the 211. As with the wheel bays, just a little lead wiring should be all that’s needed to bring these to life. Unusually, the prop shafts are moulded into the main engine halves, instead of having a separate, captive pin that will allow the props to rotate. I did say this model had a full interior, and further evidence is seen here with multipart bomb bay cages, plus a full complement of eight SC500 bombs that sit within the cage’s vertical cells. Other parts on this frame include the numerous engine cowl parts, and the forward cowl ring with its characteristic lightening holes. Wheels are moulded as halves, but these aren’t weighted. Maybe Eduard will oblige us… Frame D1 Unless it’s tied into future releases, I admit that I don’t understand the nomenclature of the frames D1 and D2. They seem unrelated. This particular frame contains those two chunky main spars, complete with integral fuselage bulkheads and moulded bulkhead and main gear bay details. Note also other internal bulkheads, and for the cockpit itself. ICM has designed a rather tidy main cockpit, that is generally spread over both this frame and D2, and should look great as it is, out of box. No doubt that Eduard will still be able to persuade us to invest further though. Decals are provided for enhancing the cockpit further, and these are clearly labelled on the instructions sheet. Internal parts on this frame include the rear cockpit wall, cockpit floor, multi-part pilot seat with head armour, ammunition racks etc. Other parts here include the upper fuselage deck with moulded cupola gun traverse gearing, engine cowl to wing cowl fairings, splayed bomb bay door option, tail wheel that is moulded in situ with strut, and the main gear bay doors. Unusually, these last items have no detail moulded internally. This would definitely need addressing. Frame D2 Someone at ICM had the foresight to include most of this kit’s more fragile and smaller parts on this frame, meaning you can safely stash this to one side during the course of building. On here you will find the undercarriage struts and braces, ammunition rack components, rudder pedals and linkages, smaller cockpit components, control yoke and torsion tube, bomb aimer/co-pilot seat, MG mounts, etc. Frame E This last frame of parts contains all of the clear components. Where the varying items have sections that aren’t a part of a window etc. then these are frosted. Framing is pretty good, and this shouldn’t be too difficult to mask up for airbrushing. Even easier if Eduard release masks for this kit. What I do note is that whilst the clear areas have a good transparency, these areas look a little rippled, and more so when you look at through them to things in the distance. However, whilst this isn’t particularly good, if you look at things that are in close proximity to the clear areas, then this isn’t as noticeable. I have some faith that this won’t be too obvious when the model is complete, but don’t quote me. The He 111’s famous glazed nose is comprised of three parts. Care will definitely be needed in assembling these. Two options are supplied for the lower gondola glazing, as are weapons too. Note that the instrument panel is moulded here too. I’ve never seen the point of clear IPs, but that might only be my mileage. Instrument decals are supplied for this and other cockpit areas, but you may choose to punch out the individual dials and apply them separately. It certainly makes for a cleaner finish. Decals One decal sheet is included, and there is no indication of where it is printed. I am assuming this is a homebrew ICM product. Printing is fairly thin and carrier film is minimal. Everything also appears to be in full register. A full set of stencils are included, along with the markings for the FOUR machines. These are: He 111H-3, 1./KG53, France, Spring 1940 He 111H-3, Geschwaderstab/KG53, France, August 1940 He 111H-3, KG26, Norway, Spring 1941 He 111H-3, 5./KG27, Russia, April 1943 Instructions I quite like ICM’s approach to the assembly manual, with the result being totally clean in approach and fuss-free. Starting with a history of the type, plus a colour chart for both Revell and Tamiya paints, a full parts plan is then printed, and then 116 constructional sequences. Assembly illustration is very clear, with colour annotation and selective use of shading to make some drawings clearer, such as where the 3D could mess with your mind! The last pages are taken over with a stencil drawing and four colour profiles for the supplied schemes. Decal placement and paint application is clear. Conclusion This appears to be a pretty accurate-looking kit with all the right curves in all the right places, and also a very intuitive and interesting assembly sequence. For example, you can’t build the wing separately to the fuselage, as the through-spars incorporate fuselage interior, and the bomb cells are loaded into the fuselage after main fuselage assembly, complete with the lower belly. Apart from the ripples in the glazing (which I don’t think will be too noticeable when assembled), the quality of this kit really is excellent, and ICM are setting new standards, outside of their Asian counterparts. This is also a kit with serious value for money, coming in at between £30 and £35 locally. Plenty of buildability and one of those kits that really excites me. Hopefully, I’ll make a start very soon. My sincere thanks to ICM Model Kits for the review kit seen here. To purchase this one for yourself, check out your local hobby retailer or online shop. This can be purchased in the UK for £30 (at time of writing) from MJR Hobbies (Model Kits For Less) at https://www.facebook.com/groups/271077163071577/
  16. As I ranted in an earlier "works in progress" post, this was not the most pleasant build of my life. Overall, the fit of the kit is OK, except around the engine nacelles. Part of that, though, may have been the result of my own poor planning and engineering. I achieved near-perfect fit around the nacelles with the help of some sprue "spreaders" that I placed just inside the wings around the join with the nacelles. However, a couple of them apparently became dislodged after gluing the nacelles in place (judging from the mysterious rattling about inside the wings) and the gap returned. Covered in shame, I will not show photos of the underside. The kit decals are awful...don't use them if you build the kit. They shattered, they silvered...you name it, they did it. I understand that Hasegawa is reboxing this and I'm certain their decals will be much better. I ended up using some old after-market decals for the national markings, and painted on the red "nicht betreten" line thingy with Tamiya X-7. (I know...probably not the best RLM match but I was completely over it and just wanted to be done with it). Having said all of this, I'd like to build the Revell night fighter boxing, as I think I know my way through the minefield now.
  17. Pardelhas

    Ford T Ambulance in 1:35 - New

    Hi Guys A new Ford T Ambulance type in 1:35 from ICM for this year... It´s not WnW and it`s not 1:32... yet, I can imagine it already alonside with a WnW with some proper figures! Fran
  18. 1/35 Type 770K Tourenwagen with open cover WWII Leader's car ICM Catalogue # 35534 The Mercedes-Benz 770K was the most expensive motor vehicle on sale in Germany in 1938, its iconic styling clothed independent coil spring suspension and a 7,655cc straight 8 producing 230 Bhp in supercharged form. Throughout World War Two it was the transport of choice for the Fuhrer himself and other high ranking Nazis such as Goring, they were often fitted with armour and mine proof undersides although the value of these in an open top Tourer seems questionable! The 770 can often be seen on news reel footage of the time striking an impressive presence on the road, Surviving examples are sought after to this day and have been seen to sell for $100,00 or even allegedly Millions of euros in some cases. ICM steps up with their latest offering of the type 770, an impressive injection moulded 1/35 kit with 241 parts; I believe this is a re issue of the kit first released in 2012 albeit with an extra sprue giving the option to have the roof up. The latest ICM kits seem to come in a sturdy open top boxes which are always welcome over the side opening boxes their older releases came in, contained are one clear sprue and five tan coloured plastic sprues all beautifully moulded and flash free, and a small decal sheet. So what's in the box? SPRUE A Dominating this sprue are the parts for the ladder chassis, this has several mounting points for the body and other external parts but does suffer from some slight sink marks on the rear end of the chassis although nothing a bit of Mr Surfacer couldn't fix. We also find the exhaust which is a multi part item and should benefit from some rusting and weathering, the bumpers which must have been hefty on the real machine! There are a few under bonnet items such as the exhaust and inlet manifolds as well as the pipes for the intercooler which have some nice finely ribbed detail. Interior parts are also on this sprue and a highlight for me is the steering wheel, ICM have moulded this as two parts, the inner and outer rims, this allows it to be commendably thin and captures the characteristic steering wheel very well with even the finger grips being depicted. Amazingly minute interior and exterior door handles and window winders are given and are extremely thin and well moulded, just be careful removing them as the carpet monster will be ready to swallow them up! SPRUE B Here we have the external body panels, the swooping lines of the Grober are captured nicely and the front wings are moulded as one piece with large recesses for the spare wheels which were carried on the sides, the engine covers which hinge up from the centre on the real car are a nice scale thickness and you should be able to pose these open although no interior detail is given on their engine sides. The suicide doors are moulded shut with the interior detail moulded separately on sprue D although I can't see a lot of work needed to separate them to be posed open, the rear boot panel is a lovely curvy shape and has a fine Mercedes badge moulded on which will present a real challenge to paint. The large radiator grill which became an iconic Mercedes feature is a good representation and again has the famous three pointed Mercedes badge and fine radiator mesh, then we have the side runners and rear wings which are one swooping moulding and have the ribbed foot panel so the Fuhrer doesn't go flat on his arse when exiting the car! The front bulkhead includes the windscreen framing, the floor panel is one large part. SPRUE C ICM have moulded all 6 wheels and tyres in five parts! This might seem a strange approach but their aim is to reproduce the tread pattern accurately and each piece has a ribbed edge which when put together will make up the block tread, then the outer sides of the wheel and tyre have the sidewall and hub detail and the hubcaps have the Mercedes badge moulded on them. Also on this sprue are the parts for the De Dion rear suspension and the front wishbones and springs, the 770 was a very advanced car for the 40's and had independent suspension all round and ICM have captured this very well, top and bottom wishbones are provided as well as the shock absorbers and the steering arms and roll bars; all of which will build up into a very good representation of the chassis should anyone look at the underside of your model. SPRUE D This is a real mixed bag and has everything from the engine block to the seats, the engine block is moulded as two parts and with a separate sump and features some nice nut and bolt detail, the cooling fan is especially nicely done and they've even given us the fan belt. We get the ribbed fuel tank which will be very visible underneath the car and has a nicely done drain plug, and the gearbox completes the mechanical detail. Moving onto the some of the interior detail we get all 7 seats, these are a good shape and have some raised cushion detail but lack any creasing of the leather which would have been a nice touch as they've managed to do that on the folded hood; then we have the interior door panels that have some door pockets and chrome rails moulded on, remember the tiny door handles and winders off sprue A will make them look very busy when complete. SPRUE E Now we look at the clear parts, as you would expect we get the windscreen and side glass all of which are flat on the 770, these are lovely and clear and have the sliding channels moulded on so these may need masking to paint them properly. The headlights and the many spotlights the 770 is doted with all have individual lenses, these are transparent and don't have any ribbing on them, this is correct for the headlights but I think some of the small front mounted lights are fogs and should have ribbed lenses. The clear parts are bagged separately so have escaped any damage. SPRUE F This is the new extra sprue over the previous release and provides the hood in the up position, as such the characteristic hinges are provided in the extended position, the hood is taught in the up position so doesn't have any creasing like the folded part but they have moulded the very slight ridges where the folding hinges would be underneath and there is a subtle step up all along the surface. Decals A small sheet is provided, this includes dials for the dashboard instruments which are unfortunately out of register so raid your spares box or source some aftermarkets ones, oddly the number plates are in perfect register. We then have the Nazi flags which don't have the swastika as ICM market their kits in Europe so again you'll need to source these, the decals themselves are similar to the old Revell decals with a matt finish but I can't comment on how they are to apply. INSTRUCTIONS ICM's instructions are very simple but clear and easy to follow, the build process is logical starting with engine and chassis before adding the external panels and interior, colour call outs are given throughout and relate to Model Master Paints, military colours are named eg Panzer Dunkelgelb 43 etc. Four colour options are given, three in Henry Ford's favourite colour and a late war one in Military colours however no distinction is made as to who the passengers were. I think it would just be a matter of researching the numberplates but I suspect most people would wish to model one used by Hitler or Goering etc. Conclusion There is a lot of potential with this kit for dioramas and given the scale I'm sure it will find its way into several, it's not a complicated kit but has excellent detail under the bonnet and chassis and builds up to a very nice size so represents value for money. The kit still includes the parts to have the top down so the interior can be shown off if you wish to super detail it, given ICM's skill at producing figures in injection I can't help but feel a mini Fuhrer would have been a nice inclusion. Highly recommended Ben Summerfield Our sincere thanks to ICM for the review sample. To purchase directly, click the distributors link from the ICM website.
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