by: Darren Baker [ ]
ICM has now produced more models of the model T than I can count, and they have done so many now, that they must know more about them than Ford. The latest Ford Model T is the second release of a fully armoured version used by the Royal Navy Air Service which is now also available with a suitable figure set. According to the information supplied by ICM, only nine of these vehicles were built or I suspect highly modified by W G Allen and Sons of Tipton. Of the nine produced six are known to have reached Russia where they were used, by British crews as Reconnaissance vehicles. They performed service in the Caucasus and Romanian fronts from June to September 1916. ICM is mixing and matching their sets very quickly now and so it is difficult to know what to buy and when.
The packaging in this offering is what has become the standard from ICM, a substantial cardboard tray and integrated lid, plus an additional card lid with the artwork on it. This is I feel up to the rigours of the postal system and something that ICM deserve recognition for; this sample did arrive with some crush damage to the packaging, but it did its job and the contents are unharmed. The sprues for the vehicle are packaged in a re-sealable plastic bag, which also contains a clear sprue inside its own plastic bag, The figures are packaged separately in the same format. An examination of the contents reveals some very cleanly moulded parts, but there are a number of ejector pins marks, which I am pleased to say have been placed in what would be hidden locations. Access to the parts for removal from the sprue is good, and that will be appreciated for the finer mouldings.
The chassis of this model is a solid piece, to which everything else is added. ICM has provided an engine for the model, but I cannot see how this can realistically be seen on the finished model. The front axle and radiator are a single moulding to which some surgery will be required to modify, the wheel connection point. This should not prove difficult and is in affect just the shortening of a connection point. You will not be surprised to hear me say, that the front wheels cannot be shown in a turned orientation, which I continue to find a disappointment. On the plus side I do appreciate the effort, put into the radiator which at the top has the Ford Emblem, nicely embossed. The rear axle and drive shaft have reasonable detail, but again surgery is required to shorten the wheel connection points.
The wheels of the model some will be pleased to hear, have been moulded as one piece including the tyre, and an armoured plate is then provided to protect the wooden wheel structure. The interior floor of the vehicle, has planking detail added which looks fair. The vehicle is in effect an opened backed car with an armoured cab for the driver. The armoured plates do have some minor ejector pin marks, that will need to remedied on the inner face. The exterior face on the other hand, has very nicely replicated fine rivet detail, which should look good when highlighted on the finished model.
The driverís location within the vehicle is completely encased in armoured plate and very little of this area will be seen as the driver has four viewing slots one in each wall. The armour plate moving forwards completely encases the engine area of the vehicle, and completely hides all of the detail that the engine offers. The addition of a starter handle and lights which have clear lenses brings construction of the vehicle itself to an end. There is a spare wheel/tyre which is provided for storage on the roof of the driverís armoured cab.
Armament for this vehicle, is provided by a Vickers watered cooled machine gun; this is mounted on a tripod. Two styles of tripod are supplied, which place the MG at different heights, the machine gun itself is provided in two variants, one having a ribbed water cooled jacket, and the other showing the same machine gun with a leather wrap over the water cooled jacket - either of these can be used. Detail is good in all respects, with the only addition I would look at, being the drilling out of the muzzle a little. An ammunition belt and ammunition case has been supplied. The belts for these are cloth, and so do not break down when fired. Because this is a stiff straight moulding, the modeller will be required to manipulate the belt to give it a natural look.
A water container is provided with the model, but no mention has been made that I can see of the tubing from the water cooled jacket to the container, and this will be an element that the modeller will have to scratch themselves. So far as I can see no location for the locking the machine gun in place on the vehicle is provided, which I find a little unexpected. The addition of an armour plate is a nice inclusion that I am surprised was not used more often.
ICM has added the British Tank Crew figure release to the armoured car which is not a bad idea on their part, but I cannot help thinking that it would have been a good idea to add the WW1 Allied figure firing the Vickers heavy machine gun instead or in addition to. I do like these figures that have been provided, but I think the figure mentioned would have greatly increased the appeal of the set a lot further.
The uniform provided with these figures initially had me concerned as I have been lead to believe that crews wore khaki drill coveralls; however a search for period photographs reveals that both infantry uniform and coveralls is correct. This set offers the crouched male with coveralls, an NCO with standard infantry uniform and two officers; I am a tad confused that one officer has neither boots nor puttees in the field, but a search does show the rare occasion when this occurred.
The two NCOís are both wearing their gas mask bags on their chests and I am really pleased to see that ICM made them different looking rather than taking the lazy route and duplicating them. I was rather pleased to see that both of the officers have well defined Sam brownís, and one has a prodding stick that is so commonly seen in images of officers from that period. I also like the natural look to the creases in the uniform and how they have been naturally placed.
Moving onto the faces of these figures and I am pleased to see good variation in the facial details so that we have people rather than clones. One aspect that is often weak on injection moulded figures are the ears, well that is not the case here with very well defined ears that also look right from behind which is rare to see. The hand detail is also of a very high standard having good finger detail and the rear of the hand.
This offering from ICM, is a nice replication of a very limited run Ford Model T variant and a suitable figure set that does add to the offerings appeal. I question the idea of re-releasing kits so quickly after the original packaging, but who am I to question the logic of ICM. Complaint wise I am limited to wishing the figure for the machine gun had been included and the ejector pins marks that need to be fixed on the rear of the armoured plates.