ICM Holding is a well-known Ukrainian kit manufacturer. ICM offers a variety of kits available in multiple scales and divided into subject areas.
- World War I, World War II, Before 1950, After 1950, Modern, USSR, Post-War, 19th Century
- 1/32nd, 1/48th, 1/72nd and 1/144th
- 1/16th, 1/24th, 1/32nd, 1/35th, and 1/48th
- 1/24th, 1/35th, and 1/72nd
- 1/72nd, 1/144th, 1/350th, and 1/700th
- Sets – includes sets of trucks, armor, figures and autos ready for a diorama.
- 1/24th, 1/35th, and 1/72nd
- Decal sets in 1/48th and 1/32nd for various aircraft.
This review focuses on the “ICM WWII British Vickers MG Crew”. ICM previously released kit #35712, a 1/35th scale Vickers Machine Gun, and has now combined that Machine Gun kit with figures of two British soldiers manning the weapon. The resulting kit is, therefore, a Vickers machine gun and crew of two. There is already a review of the stand-alone kit of the Vickers Machine Gun. Since the machine gun kit has already been reviewed, this review will focus on the two figures in this kit with a passing reference to the machine gun components.
Taking the box top off does not open the contents to inspection, but rather reveals a sturdy white cardboard box which is sealed by a “tab and slot” arrangement. The tab must be extracted from the slot and the “lid” pushed up to reveal the bagged kit parts. The part runners, of which there are four, are contained in a clear baggie. The paperwork accompanying the kit is underneath the baggie.
The paperwork inside the box includes a broadsheet with a very handsome dog holding a parts runner in his mouth. ICM states that they will replace parts when eaten by the carpet monster or real critters, such as this pup. But one look at this dog tells you he is a “good boy!”
There are two other papers in the box. The first is the sheet of instructions for the machine gun, the same instructions that are found in the #35712 machine gun kit mentioned above. Printed front and back, this instruction sheet has illustrations that guide the modeler in the assembly of the machine gun. The opposite side of this sheet, on the right side, has an illustration of the part runner for the machine gun with each part clearly numbered. The left side of this sheet contains the list of suggested paints, providing item #s and color names for paints available from Revell and Tamiya.
The remaining piece of paperwork features images of two runners. The larger runner holds the parts making up the two figures and the gear that each is “wearing”. The smaller runner holds the weapons, helmets, and other small items such as canteens. Note that there are four runners in all. Two of the four runners are identical and provide a helmet and weapons for each figure.
ICM has provided two options when assembling the machine gun. The first of these two options is an illustration of the weapon in the “firing position”. The machine gun can be displayed in “sitting firing” position or in “prone firing” position. Studying the images that accompany this review, note that there are two tripods on the same runner. Part 5 is the tripod to use if you wish to display the machine gun in “sitting firing” position. Part 6 is the tripod to use for the “prone firing” position.
The second option provides two barrels for the machine gun. One barrel represents the water-cooled jacket that was fitted to some of the Vickers guns. The other barrel is the simpler barrel, without the water-cooled jacket. If you decide to use the water-cooled barrel, you will note that there are parts that assemble into a water container, which can be posed next to the weapon. ICM did not include the “hose” but one can be cobbled together with ease using a small gauge wire.
The plastic is on the “soft” side, making it rather easy to use a sharp blade to remove the parts from the runner, and then to remove any “gate residue” from the part. The detail is well molded. The various belts and straps that are molded on the figures are sharp and well formed. The uniforms are detailed with creases and folds, which assists in painting the shadows and highlights during the “work in progress” portion of the project. The faces are detailed sufficiently to provide the painter with some “guides” when painting the eyes, nose, and mouth. Even the ears have some “depth of detail” molded in them as well. The hands and fingers are molded in a manner which gives them a natural appearance, as if gripping the handle on the machine gun, or holding the ammo belt so that it feeds into the gun breach without binding. The machine gun is loaded with detail. Due to the rather small size of some of the parts for the weapon, it is advisable to make sure that your workspace is such that you will not be feeding the carpet monster during the “build”. Don’t ask me how I know……
Of course, there are some especially important features that figure modelers wish to see present when assembling the arms, legs, and body. The joining surfaces for the arms and shoulders are molded in such a way as to guide the builder into a proper placement of the arms onto the body so that gunner’s hands will be in the proper position to be holding the handles of the weapon. One of the features of these ICM figures that I found most impressive was the natural positioning of the arms, hand, and fingers. There is nothing “stiff” or unnatural in the appearance of these parts. In fact, they give the figure “movement”. The only seams I had to fill were the seams on both figures where the upper and lower body parts joined together. Had I taken more time to test-fit those parts I could have avoided creating that seam and then having to fill it. My bad.
I found this kit easy to assemble, and very enjoyable. Total working time on this kit was about 4 ½ hours, most of which was taken up during the painting process. Please note that I am a neophyte when it comes to painting figures, but I found that these figures had an abundance of surface detail to aid me in the shadowing and highlighting stages of the painting process. In the hands of an experienced figure painter these figures would make a stunning contribution to an armor diorama.
This kit is highly recommended due to the high quality of detail on the figures and the machine gun, the simplicity of assembly, the excellent instructions and illustrations provided in the kit, the very sturdy package in which the kit is presented, and a reasonable price for a kit of this high level of quality. Thanks to ICM Holding for making this kit available to IPMS/USA for review.