by: Darren Baker [ ]
Originally published on:
ICM has in my view garnered a reputation for providing great figures in 1/35th scale, and they are not afraid to tackle figures that many other companies won’t touch. Just think about the Greek and Indian troops ICM tackled in 1/35th scale with the WW2 Indian Sikh troops really appealing to me. This time ICM has gone onto firm ground with a set of figures for the Sd.Kfz.251/6 Ausf.A, in the form German Command Vehicle Crew (1939 – 1942) released last year.
This release from ICM is packaged in the usual manner, of a cardboard tray with flip top lid, and a separate card lid with an image of the product printed on it. Inside there is a single re-sealable plastic bag containing the one sprue for this figure release. Loose inside the box is the instruction sheet. An examination of the sprue does not cause me any concerns at all as I can only see dome very light seam lines that will need to be cleaned up; not something that should shock any modeller unless excessive which these are not.
The figures in this release are as indicated on the box top and so we get a driver for the halftrack, a radio operator, a figure taking notes on the messages and an officer who gives the impression of being impatient, but he is at least not pointing at the distance and shouting. The figures other than the driver break down in the usual manner and I am pleased to see that the heads are all separate parts that makes painting an easier proposition for those of us that struggle.
The uniform replicated here is the early German uniform as signified by the breast and main pockets having the pleats down the centre, as the war progressed everything became scarce and the pockets lost the pleats plus the cut of the uniform was not of the same high standard. The three infantry soldiers are all wearing the cloth side cap and the officer getting in the usual peaked affair. The badges are all present on the jackets and hats with the eagles on the side caps being a little hard to see in some cases; my only surprise here is that the officer has an award badge on his left breast pocket which I suspect would be uncommon during the very early stages of the war. The trousers and boots are as I would expect and I do not have anything more to say about them.
The stances of the two figures operating the radio and taking notes are really nice have a relaxed but attentive look to them, as in they are doing a task but have a relaxed natural look for seated figures and I would say have possibly the best poses I have seen for seated figures outside of resin. Another aspect I like is that the headsets have been included with reasonable detail only requiring some wire be added by the modeller. The driver is in the typical pose seen many times before, but I appreciate the arms been provided in four parts and the split at the elbow will I feel allow manipulation to get them into the correct and natural position on the steering wheel. The officer has an interesting stance that will catch the eye. I was pleased to see the strap detail for the binoculars replicated and even the eyes on the belt are present; the holster is a separate moulding which I like but there is no obvious attachment point in the required area. The crease detail is very natural for these figures and the seated figures provide a lot of chances for the modeller to use colour modulation on the uniform.
The hands of these figures are excellent in most cases and a little clean up on the other hands should result in a very pleasing finish; the detail on the hands for the most part does not just include the fingers but also detail on the backs of the hands. The faces have all the needed detail including the ears where seen, an area often poorly replicated. My only gripe here is that the only face with real life in it is the radio operator, but to be fair the driver does look to be concentrating or has wind.
This figure offering from ICM is really nice due to the great poses presented, especially the radio operator and note taker. The driver shows a lot of promise and I like that effort has been made for the modeller when it comes to getting the hands on the wheel. The officer I would have liked to see scratching his head at a strange order as that is what the pose screams at me. The only complaint of note is that the box art seems to show Boris Johnson as the radio operator ‘Who knew’.