Chernobyl #1 - Radiation Monitoring Station

Published: May 8th, 2020     
Product Image
Reviewed by: Gino Dykstra - IPMS# 11198
Scale: 1/35
Company: ICM
Price: $72.99
Product / Stock #: 35901
Product provided by: ICM

I don't think it's necessary for me to go into the details regarding the horrific Chernobyl nuclear power plant disaster that shook the world in the 1980's and created the largest uninhabitable radioactive region on the globe, ultimately costing hundreds if not thousands of lives. The Fukishima disaster may ultimately turn out to do more damage, but Chernobyl certainly stands out as one of the top examples of manmade blunders up to now.

On that cheery note, it is with more than a little awe that I examine one of ICM's latest and perhaps most ambitious products - the Chernobyl #1 diorama-in-a-box. Literally intended to be an entire scene in one package, this kit contains a command center truck, five new figures, a small hut and various bits and pieces to compose a radiation check point outside the recently destroyed power plant. To top it off, a beautifully rendered background is included to help you recreate the box cover in its entirety.

The truck: ICM includes a copy of their previously released Zil 131KShM command truck as the centerpiece of the diorama. Although the standard decals for this model are included, they also include a decal sheet specific to the diorama, presumably representing a real vehicle which was at the catastrophe at some point in time. The model goes together very well, although there is no interior to the command center itself. I was seriously tempted to scratch something for this, as there are a lot of windows, but the parts themselves made it clear that ICM has, in fact, already released a version of this kit with full interior, so this seemed like an exercise in futility. Clear parts are included for all the windows and lights as well as rubber tires which look quite good once sanded down a bit. A new driver figure with face mask is included with the kit. The only change I made to the truck kit was to dremel the seats to give them a bit of sag, as they were geometrically perfect straight from the box, which looked a bit odd to my eyes. The kit-specific decals were used in this build, including the very nice separate decals for all the instrument faces in the cab.

The figures: As stated previously, this kit comes with a new driver figure for the truck. Also included are an officer (presumably a passenger in the truck), a rather nattily-dressed traffic cop, a man in a full radiation suit and a radioman sitting at a table. All of these figures either are wearing or have face masks included, and the poses are natural and quite well done. Intiguingly, they are not QUITE the figures as displayed on the box art, although they are close. See if you can spot the differences. The only modification I made to any of them was to extend the radiation counter strap and add a wire to the man in the radiation suit.

Accessories: The largest accessory is, of course, the radio hut. This item comes with a detailed door, clear windows, clothing hooks and a sleeping cot. Like the cab seats, this latter item was way too geometric so I dremeled it down to look more natural as well as adding a simple pillow. There is also a desk, stool and radio set for the radioman but you will want to cut down some paper to give him something to write on. Obviously, you can add a lot of details to the interior from your spares box. I've got a shovel, backpack and satchel case waiting for mine. The other accessory is the guard gate, which comes in two pieces with a sign. According to the cover art, this is painted in white and red stripes, which might be somewhat challenging to paint as no decals are provided for this. However, a little patience and a steady hand can yield good results.

Last but not least is a fold-together backdrop and base which is quite well printed and looks surprisingly good when put together with all the bits and pieces, making this literally a complete diorama in one box.

All in all, I had no difficulties to speak of in assembling any parts of this kit. It just takes some time because there's so MUCH to make. The end result is really impressive and gives you a tiny piece of recent history for your book shelves. I am still amazed that a major model company had the guts to create a kit of this event, as you'd think this would be something that anyone from region would just as soon forget. Nonetheless, it is a truly fascinating idea and I look forward to seeing their second diorama in this series, which is due to come out shortly. If recent world events are your bag, this kit provides some marvelous challenges for any modeler worth his/her salt, and is a really singular addition to any collection. VERY highly recommended.

As always, my thanks to ICM Models for the courage to release a kit of this nature and to IPMS/USA for the opportunity to add this wonderful set to my collection. Be safe, and happy modeling, everyone!

  • Zil 131KShM Left Side
    Zil 131KShM Left Side
  • Zil 131KShM Right Side
    Zil 131KShM Right Side
  • Figure 1
    Figure 1
  • Figure 2
    Figure 2
  • Figure 3
    Figure 3
  • Figure 4
    Figure 4
  • Gate and Bunk
    Gate and Bunk
  • Command Hut
    Command Hut
  • Interior of Command Hut
    Interior of Command Hut
  • Finished Diorama
    Finished Diorama
  • Finished Diorama
    Finished Diorama

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