by: Darren Baker [ ]
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 placed 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 for these three models in individual reseal-able plastic bag and the tyres and clear parts in separate plastic bags, but again these are all placed together in the single bag with the rest of the kit parts. My concern is that parts could be damaged by rubbing against each other in the bag.
Horch 108 Type 40 World War 2 German Personnel Car
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.
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.
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.
This model does 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 isn’t as no such beast exists, but this is very close and the addition of a photo etched set when available will lift this model to a very high standard. Don’t 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 if a set is released, but these are the areas I feel will benefit the most depending on your requirements. I feel you can buy this product with confidence.
leichter geländegängiger Personenkraftwagen Kfz 1
The le.gl.Pkw Kfz.1 (leichter geländegängiger Personenkraftwagen) or in English light cross-country standard-passenger car was produced by Stoewer, Hanomag and BMW up until 1944. It is my understanding that identical frames were provided to each of the three producers who then added their own engines to the vehicle and so a pain for the vehicle mechanics that would need three sets of spares. While this vehicle was produced into 1944 it was replaced slowly but surely by the far better vehicle the Kübelwagen. This was a good vehicle design, but maintenance issues, its weight and reliability of the vehicle was its downfall.
An examination of the sprues reveals very well moulded offerings with no obvious issues in the process. Taking a look at the back of the mouldings does reveal a number of ejector pin marks, but these are shallow and so should not be overly difficult to remedy. There are some flow marks present on larger mouldings that are clearly seen, but to both my eyes and sense of touch detected no physical issues to the moulded parts.
The chassis of this model has been provided as a single piece for the most part with a nice level of detail present and so there are no concerns about keeping the chassis square. The springs of the suspension are moulded solidly but do have good surface detail present. The suspension arms also have a very nice level of detail that if you work on the underside the detail could be made to stand out well when painted. The axles cause me some concern as while they have nicely detailed differentials the axles themselves are not straight and while they have square connectors it will take some care to get them correctly orientated. Lastly in this area of the model is a very nice engine and gearbox, again the addition of some wires to the area will add nice eye catching detail. The drive axle looks good but will I feel be a difficult part to install.
The wheels and tyres of the model have been tackled in a way that does away with seam line issues. The tread detail looks good and will please those who detest vinyl tyres on vehicles. The wheel bolt detail has been nicely replicated which will come out well with careful painting. My only issue is that ICM keeps adding all this really nice detail and they have yet to provide the option of showing the wheels turned which I feel is much more visually pleasing. It has to be considered that functional steering usually impacts on accuracy, but the option of parts to set the wheels in a straight or turned orientation could easily be managed by ICM.
Moving onto the external structure of the vehicle and I am for the most part very happy with what I find. The external elements all look to be very good as regards accuracy. The doors of the vehicle can be left open if wished I believe despite not being covered in the instructions. The hood of the vehicle has been done in a way that it could be left open if desired with a little scratch work. The lower portions each side will need to be cut away and the metal latches will need to be scratched. I also feel that the panels will need quite a lot of thinning to improve the accuracy of the look if this task is tackled. I do think that the detail hidden under that bonnet is worth the effort in order to display it.
The internal detail of the vehicle is fairly bland as it should be in vehicles of this period. I would have liked to see some wear and tear where the seat surfaces are concerned, but this aspect could be tackled with some sanding, grinding and filler. I am pleased to see that ICM has provided personal weapons for the un-included crew and made a reasonable effort on the clamps for a company that does not use photo etched parts but they would be better if replaced. Dial decals are supplied but I cannot see application of these covered in the instructions.
The decals included in the offering are a little thicker than I would have liked as I am able to feel them on the carrier paper. ICM has provided a choice of four finishing options for the model which are:
le.gl.Pkw Kfz.1, 16 Pz Div, Don area, June 1942
le.gl.Pkw Kfz.1, 11 Pz Div, Ukraine, July 1941
le.gl.Pkw Kfz.1, Panzergruppe 1 Kleist, Ukraine, July 1941
le.gl.Pkw Kfz.1, 1/JG 51, Stary Bykhov (Belorussia), July 1941
I am very pleased with the effort ICM has put into this offering of the le.gl.Pkw Kfz.1 in 1/35th scale. There are of course things that could be improved such as the hood/bonnet in order to display that glorious detail ICM has hidden under it; I am a little confused as to why they do not push the excellent detail they usually hide. This offering from ICM is a great mix in this set of three vehicles.
L1500A (Kfz.70), WWII German Personnel Car
The Daimler-Benz company had designed the all-wheel drive L1500A chassis at the end of 1941. Most of these chassis received the open bodies for the transportation of 7 men. Total production was about 4600 vehicles. These vehicles were extremely durable and very reliable. The L1500A personnel cars were used by all German arms of service and on all fronts during the war.
This particular truck is a big surprise to me in that this model offering from ICM only consists of three grey sprues and a clear one. Starting with a look at the underside of the model and ICM has as usual included a standalone chassis that allows ICM to provide an unusually well detailed chassis. The chassis being made up of separate parts does require that the modeller takes extra care during assembly to ensure that the chassis is assembled correctly; if you get this wrong assembly will I suspect be very difficult moving on. The parts here will make for a very interesting underside that will rarely be seen, but for those modellers who build the unusual such as damaged or destroyed vehicles this aspect will be a very big plus.
Another big plus with models from ICM is that they nearly always include engine detail and that is the case with this offering. The engine is of course all made of injection moulded parts as ICM rarely provide photo etch in their models, but the detail provided here is of a very good quality. Details such as the fan belt and the radiator fan itself are particularly well replicated in this offering. I also appreciate the effort ICM has put into areas such as the radiator itself with a separate housing. The only downside here in my opinion is the exhaust which is a solid moulding and will need to be drilled out at the end to improve its look on the finished model.
The axles and suspension are quite good and will again make life easier for the modeller who likes to portray destroyed or damaged vehicles. The suspension spring detail will require careful clean up in order to avoid damage to it. The drive shafts have a good level of detail and it is a pity that most of this wonderful detail overall will rarely if ever be seen. ICM has provided injection moulded tyres and wheels on this model and I know that will meet with the approval of many who really dislike vinyl tyres.
The exterior of the models body has been well tackled and provides a good level of detail; ICM has even provided the option of showing the bonnet open that allows some of the engine detail to be seen, but the mouldings are a little thick and they do not bend at the halfway point where I believe it should bend. The doors have been provided as separate mouldings and so with a little work could be displayed open if wished. Moving to the interior and there are some ejection pin marks that will need to be tackled as they will otherwise be seen, but nothing that should overly tax the modeller.
The cab interior is lifted by a nicely replicated dash board with decals to indicate dials present. The foot pedals have been supplied separately as has the steering wheel and steering column. The seats are a little disappointing in that they have the look of being brand new and I would have liked to see some wear and tear present to give a lived in look to it. The floor of the model has the ovals for securing the butt of rifles in, but the detail is on the heavy side. The restraints for the other ends of the rifles are again heavy and I believe it would not be possible to display rifles in them without cutting the weapons into pieces. I am sure that there are photo etched sets available that will greatly improve features such as this. The canvas roof on this offering is folded back and while the detail is reasonable I would have liked to see the option of having the roof up which I know can be provided as ICM has that on another offering.
The finishing options provided with this one are as follows:
Grossdeutschland, Ukraine, Summer 1942. Vehicle in overall grey
Grossdeutschland, Kharkov, Summer 1942. Vehicle in overall grey with tan camouflage
North Africa, Summer 1942. Vehicle in overall tan
North Africa, Summer 1942. Vehicle in overall dark yellow with green camouflage
This model is a nice addition for the mix in this set and if used in conjunction with the Army Group South released previously will make for a great set of vehicles. I would have liked to see ICM include their set of drivers with this set but they can be purchased separately. I believe photo etch sets for adding more refined detail to all of the models in this set are available should you wish to take that route. Regardless of your intentions this set of three vehicles being available as a single purchase is a good thing in my opinion; even if it is only that it is easier to sneak one box past the wife than it is three.