by: Darren Baker [ ]
Originally published on:
ICM has taken a step away from their 1/16th scale guard figures and taken a look at a more historical line in the form of a 9th century Viking. The guard line of figures from ICM is a presentational guard series; this offering on the other hand depicts a figure in an action pose with some options in the display aspect offered. Let’s take a closer look and see what is on offer from ICM with this release.
This offering from ICM is packaged in the usual robust cardboard flip top box and another card lid with the artwork on it. Inside there is a single re-sealable plastic bag that contains all of the sprues for the model. There is also the instruction sheet and artwork of the model inside. An examination of the contents of this model reveals no serious issues other than the need for care during assembly of careful filling of joints. It needs to be motioned that there are seam lines that will need to be carefully cleaned up. There is some flow marks present and after checking these I did not find them to be an issue.
The Viking figure shows a lot of thought and research having gone into its design. The quilted top is correctly known as a gambeson and is the equivalent of early armour and was used over a long period of time by nations; it is made with two pieces of cloth tightly sandwiching wool into closed pockets. Tests have been done on this type of clothing and shown to it to be very good at protecting the wearer against slash strokes. Under this is a lighter material garment which was decorative according to my research, its design meant that these could be as depicted or much longer in both the arm and length.
Norsemen of the period would wear a form of baggy trousers usually made of wool. Puttees were worn as they closed the trouser off and they protected the wearer against injury from thorns and the like. Most importantly these protected the wearer against the weather. This figure is wearing shoes which mark him as a wealthy Norseman as the poor would have bare feet or at best bound feet. The shoe is based on the ‘turnshoe’ design which was found in archaeological digs in the East Anglia in the UK. These were made of goatskin with a leather sole and held closed with leather toggles.
The figure has various leather belts and straps present for holding his clothing closed and carrying equipment; I have found some issue with the width of the leather straps as my research indicates that he straps were usually an inch wide and only very rarely a little more, not a big issue and one most will not be aware of. The fittings on the straps would usually be of copper, but as this figure is of a wealthy Norseman a precious metal could be depicted.
The attachments shown attached to the straps would all be made of leather/goatskin and have been well represented in this offering from ICM. We are provided with a purse with a simple latch, a sax in a scabbard and sword scabbard. There is an error here and that is that the sax has been provided without its handle, the handle would often be made of bone or antler and this will need to be replicated by the modeller. All other aspects would appear to be correct.
The helmet is another item that indicates this to be a wealthy individual as despite what Hollywood movies educated us to believe helmets were a luxury and most would not have one unless looted in a raid. The helmet is an accurate depiction of helmets from the period and you are offered the choice of a spectacle guard helmet or a plainer offering. The shape with four bands locking it together has been well done as this design usually involved four shaped pieces of metal held by the straps.
The head of this figure has been made up of three parts which will require careful assembly to hide the joints. The facial features are excellently representing an individual shouting his war cry at the enemy. The hair and facial hair are well done as it was usual for Norsemen to carry combs and take care of themselves, or at least that is what is presented in my reference searches. The hands have been supplied attached to the arms with separate fingers to enable the easy addition of the shield and weapons. The detail offered here is good and should not present any major issues.
The weapons provided with this release feature a throwing axe with an accurately shaped blade; the wooden handle does seem to be a tad long but can be altered easily if desired. The sword offers the modeller some options as regards finish due to the huge value they had. The sword was the most expensive piece of equipment a Norseman could own and so these were often decorated with precious metals and even given names. The modeller can finish this model holding either the axe or the sword.
The shield provided is correct for the period and is a simple wooden shield with leather surround and metal boss. The wood used was usually limewood and they were thin in order to be light. The rear side of the shield consists of a metal plate that covers the width of the shield and is the primary construction method with the leather edging holding the shield together. The hand hold was made of leather and sits behind the shield Bose. A carrying strap for the shield is shown but not included in the kit and in fairness is indicated as not included.
The model is finished with an oval base with no detail present. I would scratch build a portion of ship and show the Norseman attacking from a river or the sea. Painting the figure is covered in basic terms, but the modeller is left to their own devices when it comes to how you wish to use colour. The reference material I have all suggest that colours were vibrant in many cases and recommends that the colours used in Bayeux tapestry be referenced for ideas as these colours were current over the period concerned and the common colours for 400 years.
This offering from ICM is an excellent offering due to a very high degree of accuracy being present; true there is the issue of the sax not having a handle, but that should be easily remedied. The choice of weapons is good with only a throwing and thrusting spear missing from the mix. The level of detail on the face alongside the effort made by ICM to get the accuracy right has to be applauded and is possibly the best figure in plastic and this scale I have seen thus far.