by: Darren Baker [ ]
ICM has taken an unusual but welcome step of combining their Horch 108 Type 40 that was released a couple of years ago with their recently released German Infantry 1939-1942. When it comes to injection moulded figures there are three companies that hold my attention with their releases, one of those companies is ICM. ICM produce very clean figures in 1/35th scale and in my cases the offerings are extremely diverse. The offering from ICM on this occasion may not be out of left field, but German figures are very popular.
The Horch Company designed the four wheel drive Horch 108 to the specifications of the Schwerer gellande Einheits Personen Kraft Wagon in 1937. In 1940 they were modified to the Type 40 standard with a spare wheel inside the open body. All told there were 8135 cars produced from 1937 to 1942 by the Horch Company. These vehicles had good cross country ability, but were not the best when it came to robustness and reliability. Horch 108 personnel cars were used by all German arms of service in the Eastern Front, North Africa, Italy and France up to the end of the war.
ICM has taken a great step in these days of internet shopping by packaging their models in a cardboard box with flip top lid and the a card lid place on top of that, this style of packaging does in my opinion greatly improve the odds of a model travelling through the mail systems of the world and still reaching the buyer in the same condition that it left the factory. The only down side is that ICM package all of the parts in a single re-sealable plastic bag and in this case the tyres and clear parts in separate plastic bags, but again these are all placed together in the single bag. My concern is that parts could be damaged by rubbing against each other in the bag. The contents break down as follows;
9 tan sprues
A clear sprue
5 vinyl rubber tyres
A decal sheet
An instruction booklet
2 instruction sheets
A look over this latest model offering from ICM gives me the usual good vibrations I get from most of their products. The mouldings are free from flash, but there are some flow lines present on some parts; the flow lines do not look or feel to have caused any issues that will need to be remedied. There are some ejector pin marks that will need to be tackled, but these are small and shallow, the placement of them does look to have been well considered as they are not excessive in number and a lot of the placements will be hidden on the finished model.
The engine provided with the model looks very pleasing with a good level of detail. The belt detail and pulleys are very good considering they are plastic rather than the more usual photo etch for areas such as this. The engine will of course benefit from some scratch work if for no other area than the plug leads. I was unable to find photographic reference for the engine, but I have come to trust that ICM has done their home work when it comes to this area of their models.
As we have all come to expect ICM has done an excellent job in this area. The chassis itself is supplied as a single moulding rather than the more usual multi-part offering seen from ICM. On the plus side by tackling the chassis in this method the modeller does not have concerns about a twisted chassis throwing the rest of the build off. Obviously by tackling the chassis as a single moulding has meant that some rail detail is missing and to overcome this ICM has provided fillet parts in order that the detail is provided to this model.
Drive Shafts and Suspension
The drive shafts have a good level detail present and should look very good on the finished model even though very little of the detail can be seen. My only downer in this area is that the front wheels can only be depicted pointing in a straight line and I feel wheeled models look better with turned front wheels. The suspension has not been scrimped on by ICM either; there are separate springs and wishbones supplied which will again lift the detail to a very high standard. The exhaust is very fine and because slide moulding has not been used, it will need to be drilled to improve the appearance further. My only concern here is that the springs have been supplied in two halves and it may prove difficult to hide the joint without damaging the detail.
The wheels supplied with the model have good detail on both faces that matches closely the wheels seen on many Horch vehicles currently on display in museums and on the display circuit, I cannot however confirm that they are a perfect match for period wheels; however as the same pattern appears on so many vehicles I am inclined to believe it is an accurate design. The Tyres will not please everyone as they are offered in vinyl rubber. On the plus side there does not appear to be any significant seam present, but the tread pattern is a little light on pattern and this does not match the detail indicated in the instructions, again the tread pattern does match that seen in many current images of the vehicle, for those that do not like vinyl tyres you could always go down the resin route and replace them.
To give you some idea of how much work ICM has put into this area of the model it has taken up 28 steps in the instructions. The effort put into this area may not bother the average modeller, but it does open up a number of options when it comes to display. Just think about how many models from the box could be built to replicate a destroyed vehicle? 99% of the models that can that I can think of would be ICM.
The interior as with most if not all military vehicles of the period is spartan and ICM has replicated the details that should be there very well and not tried to add what was not. The floor pan of the model is nicely detailed on the interior side with a textured floor and detail on the reverse side for the underside of the model. The dashboard is a good match for the Horch walk around supplied by Robert Blokker in all respects and I like that they have supplied decals for the dials. The very fine bracing across the centre of the vehicle is well done. The seats are a big plus to me as ICM has added some texture to them and this gives the look of seats that have seen some service rather than being brand new, something I feel is a very big plus specifically on an open topped model such as this. I also like the finesse of the seat frames; all this model really needs are some figure sets to main the model. Also included are the racks for the personnel weapons and the rifles to go in them.
The body work on this model is of a very high standard with ICM having done a good job on providing options that are not really covered in the instructions. The doors, bonnet and boot could all be depicted open with a little work and these details offer the after-market manufacturers the option of providing sets of photo etched hinges if you wish to take it further. The vented side panels of engine bay are the only weak area that could be improved if the vents were open in my opinion. The front grill has been very well done with the vents hear being open and adding a nice touch. The windscreen has separate clear parts with a separate frame and wipers. The lights and supports have been very well done in plastic considering their small size. The folded canvas roof has some nice detail moulded into it and which with careful painting should look very good.
There are decals for four vehicles; three are for Luftwaffe units and one Heer unit. The decals have been well printed and of a reasonable thickness, the carrier film is a little excessive but within most modellers limits I believe. The four vehicles are;
8th Panzer Division, Soviet Baltic, Summer 1941
Un-named unit Russia, Summer 1942
Un-named unit Russia, Autumn 1942
KG 51, Russia, Summer 1943
The instruction booklet has been very well done and to prove my point in some cases ICM has supplied images showing the placement of parts and the parts in place; a very nice touch by ICM. They have covered construction over a huge number of steps, 73 in total and this should make building this model a breeze for nearly every modeller who can handle the very small parts involved in some case.
Starting with an examination of the sprues leaves me with a positive outlook. There is a little flash present on some of the moulding seams, but otherwise everything looks good. Access to the parts looks to have been given consideration and no tight spots are obvious to me, I also like that ICM has placed the parts of the various figures in the same area of the sprue making parts easy to find.
Taking a closer look at the figures still leaves me feeling positive. The figures follow the usual configuration as regards part breakdown and one figure is also supplied with alternate heads, but this is not mentioned in the instructions. The stances are as indicated with two figures walking, a junior officer doing the pointing and an officer hiding behind a piece of paper. The build of the figures looks a little on the light/slender side, but I am not concerned about this aspect as every manufacturer seems to have their own ideas concerning physical proportions and as long as the weapons and equipment are the same scale it is all good.
The uniform detail looks to be accurate to me. The tunic has the correct four pockets with buttoned downed shaped flaps; the detail on the lower tunic pockets is a little soft, but it is there and just needs a little improvement. The trousers and boots look good, the officer having the bulged thigh area that most of us of a certain age think of where World War 2 German officers are concerned. The only part I have come across that I am not keen on is the sprue gate connection point on the officerís cap that will make clean up troublesome; there is also my pet hate of a sprue gate connection point on the elbow of the arms. A nice part about the uniforms is that the front flap on the tunics has been provided as a separate part and so a nice natural undercut is replicated.
The heads and hands of these figures are very good, ICM in my opinion produce the most detailed fingers of any company when it comes to injection moulded plastic figures. The faces are also very good for this material and I am particular pleased with the detail present in the ears, that may sound odd or unusual, but I have started to note that many manufacturers struggle with this particular detail. Three of the heads are flat top offerings with suitable steel helmets provided, plus of course the officers cap. The other two heads provides one full head and one with a field cap in place.
Equipment wise ICM has provided the usual assortment of items such as:
Gas Mask containers
Bayonet in Scabbard
The weapons front is restricted as regards choice, but that is not really a problem as most have plenty of spares. This product provides:
An MG 34
An MP 40
A KAR 98 a further 6 rifles are on the vehicle sprues.
3 holstered side arms
The required ammunition pouches
While looking over the weapons it is good to see that ICM has started to use slide moulding in their products, on this occasion it has been utilised to provide hollowed out helmets, the muzzle of the MG 34, the shoulder rest for the MP 40 and the ammunition boxes. The last nice touch is that there are two ammunition belts provided for the MG 34, these are nicely detailed and with gentle coaxing should take any shape the user requires.
Looking at the Horch does appear to provide the modeller with a chance to build a very high quality model from the box. A lot of the very nice detail is hidden depending on how you decide to present the finished model. Is it perfect? No of course it isnít as no such beast exists, but this is very close and the addition of some of the after market items available will lift this model to a very high standard. Donít get me wrong as the model does not need much other than photo etched hinges for the doors, bonnet and boot, and that only applies if you want to accurately show any of these areas open. The slotted side engine panels could also be improved this way. Of course I am sure other options will be provided in the after market items now available, but those are the areas I feel will benefit the most depending on your requirements. When it comes to the figures I know many will be thinking and some saying ďnot another lot of German FiguresĒ, well yes it is and it is in my opinion worthy of attention. The detail is good overall and very high for injection moulded plastic figures. There is very little I do not like about this offering other than a few of the sprue gate locations. I already have plans for two of the figures depicted here and I think that anyone who buys them will be happy with their purchase.