The MG 08 machine was the main stay heavy machine gun of the German army during World War 1 also an air cooled version being fitted to the fighter aircraft of the day and also saw limited service in World War 2 as a fortification defensive weapon. This weapon had a rate of fire in the 500 Ė 600 rounds a minute. The ammunition for this weapon was 7.92 rounds in non disintegrating cloth belts of 250 rounds. ICM
has now released a 1/35th scale model of this iconic WW1 German machine gun and its crew.
The model is packaged in the now usual cardboard tray with a flip top lid and a second card lid with the model artwork on it favoured by ICM
. The design of this packaging does mean that you can be reasonably sure that the model will reach you in its intended condition. Inside there is an instruction sheet. There is a single re-sealable bag containing three grey sprues.
The mouldings offered here by ICM
are fair to good as some details could be stronger and crisper on the weapons set included with this release. As regards weaknesses the only one I would point out is that the holes that need to be drilled in parts (A1/19 and A1/22) do not have the needed drill size mentioned; I used a 0.45mm. Some of the parts are very fine and so require a lot of care when removing them from the sprue. This product actually provides two versions of the German MG 08 and I am surprised that is not indicated on the box.
The figures have received criticism for being too formal in their look, but I feel the critic is a tad harsh. I suspect the figures have been designed from photographs and it is possible that the only images available to them came from instructional manuals, and so the figures will be in the positions that were as directed for use. Regardless I like what is on offer here as the figures have excellent detail throughout. The uniform looks appropriate for the later period or World War 1 and has excellent crease detail present. I also like that flat soft hat is depicted on the figures other than the metal helmets usually offered; if you wish to use metal helmets they are on the weapons sprue supplied. The hands and face detail are an area where ICM
has become a leader in 1/35th scale plastic and these are great examples of their craft. The backpacks supplied have very nice detail but I doubt they would have been worn in the presented diorama; I say that as these heavy machine guns tended to be in fixed positions with specific arcs of fire, as such crews would be in the same area for some time.
The instruction sheet comes with a complete listing of the contents and a suggested paint guide and all looks very straight forward there. So letís have a look at what you get:
- MG08/15 machine gun x 2
- Tankgewwhr M1918 anti tank gun x 2
- Mauser 98a carbine x 4
- Mauser 98 rifle x 4
- Mauser 98 rifle with M98/05 bayonet x 4
- M98 bayonet x 4
- M98/05 bayoney x 2
- M98/05 bayonet with scabbard x 2
- M1914 bayonet x 2
- M1914 bayonet with scabbard x 2
- Mauser rifle pouches x 8
- Bergmann MP 18/1 sub machine gun x 2
- Luger P08 pistol (artillery model) with butt holster x 2
- Luger P08 pistol (artillery model) butt holster x 2
- Luger PO8 pistol (artillery model) x 2
- Luger P08 pistol x 2
- Luger P08 pistol holster x 2
- Mauser C96 pistol x 2
- Mauser C96 pistol with butt holster
- Mauser C96 pistol butt holster
- Stiehandgranate grenade x 8
- Kugelhandgranate grenade x 4
- Assault knife x 4
- Shovel x 4
- Pickaxe x 2
- Pickaxe in case x 2
- Small shovel x 2
- Small shovel in case with M98/05 bayonet x 4
- Wire cutters x 2
- Axe in case x 2
- Mess tin x 4
- Canteen x 4
- Binoculars case x 2
- Binoculars x 2
- Flashlight x 2M1916 steel helmet x 8
- Respirator canister and filter x 4
The mounted MG 08 can be set up in two firing modes by the modeller and you need to decide how you wish to finish it from the very start, you have the option of a setting it as it would with the user in a seated position, the other option is indicated to be a prone firing position. I drilled out all four of the holes so that you could see where they are located easily, but I have opted for a seated firing position as it looks the most natural. To begin with assembly of the support plate is easy to manage. The issue comes with stages 3 to 5 that take six pairs of hands. I suggest adding the plate assembled in stage 2 to the side and then add the other side followed by the parts in stage 3; this will give you a more stable structure to work with. Make sure you have the correct option for stage 6 and add it quickly before the gun pivot sets; this is the device for setting the height of the machine gun. If I said I enjoyed this part of the build I would be lying as I found it a pig due to large hands and ended up using two sets of tweezers for a lot of it.
The water cooled machine gun itself is a breeze to work with but the muzzle needs to be drilled unfortunately. If you are wondering about the disc on the barrel I have been told it was to help prevent the flash from affecting the sight of the user. The seam lines on this need to be taken care of, but that is it as regards extra work. I would suggest that those into scratch building skills make a new cocking handle as it is a weak detail on the gun in my opinion. When you come to adding the front support legs you get to understand what the holes you drilled are for. The expansion tank for the water cooled jacket has a good and surprising amount of detail provided, but the pipe that goes from the barrel the tank is not included, I used a piece of wire which took some work to make look natural in its position.
The machine gun is provided with two options when it comes to the ammunition boxes as there is a single and double ammunition box, your choice. In addition these boxes can be assembled open or closed and are aspects where I feel ICM
did particularly well. The ammunition belt is supplied flat and needs shaping either by heat or manipulation; I went for glue as it is a softening agent that when applied to the mostly hidden face makes life easy and stops me getting scolded. The feeder portion of the ammunition belt is supplied as a separate part and so could be attached directly to the ammunition box to indicate ammunition coming into use. This is again supplied flat and shown flat coming out of the machine gun in the instructions; that is wrong as even with the rounds fired it would still sag being a cloth belt.
AN MG 08/15 is supplied with this set that is a very easy build that again needs the muzzle drilled out a little. A word of caution the instructions show the magazine incorrectly fitted and so I have included a picture that indicates the correct orientation. A water can which serves as a reservoir is supplied for this offering, but I did not build it; Sorry.
Once all of the elements are brought together it looks very nice and I am very pleased to see ICM
bring the figures to the party as the stand alone gun seemed an odd choice. The added weapons sprue is another great addition as it provides plenty of options for bits and pieces to be around a small scene and for future works. The weapons sprue also provides for the gunners to have their own personal weapons when being relieved of their postThe machine gun which is the heart of this set is very nicely tackled and has a lot to say for it, but I do wish ICM
had included a recess point for drilling out the muzzle. The ammunition belt is an especially well replicated part of this offering with ICM
catching all of the relevant detail. The machine gun itself is weak where the cocking handle is concerned and the stand is a pig at the start of the build, but is very well detailed from everything I can see.