by: Rowan Baylis [ ]
I was first aware of ICM's new 1/48 scale Luftwaffe figures when Steffen Arndt showed them in the Forum. They looked superb but, frustratingly, proved very hard to obtain in the UK. Now, thanks to ICM generously providing a sample, I can see that they are every bit as good as I'd hoped - perhaps even better!
The attractive end-opening cardboard box contains a single sprue moulded in tan styrene. The 45 x parts build into 7 figures, plus a dog and a jerry can. The moulding is extremely good - no flash evident at all, no sink-marks on any of the parts and no ejector-pin marks. Clean-up is pretty quick and painless thanks to small, well placed sprue attachments and the minimal mould separation lines which can be removed by scraping with a sharp blade. The styrene used is good quality - quite soft and easy to trim, with no tendency to split or feather.
The sculpting of all the figures is really superb; they all display a great deal of life and character and are posed casually. They break down into several groups. a pair of pilots are in discussion with a slightly corpulent adjutant. The latter is smoking a cigarette and holding a briefcase, while one of the pilots is leaning on a tally-stick (ready for some notches). The second group of figures are mechanics discussing a problem; one is crouching, the next bent over pointing up at something, while the third stands back. Finally, there's another mechanic who's finished his meal and is offering a scrap of food to a small dog. Great little natural vignettes that will bring any quarterscale Luftwaffe scene to life. There's a good deal of variety in the poses and expressions - and the older, heavier-set adjutant really stands out - I hope we see more such figures in future releases.
I found the fit of parts good on all of the figures and just a minimal touch of filler will be needed here and there where the figures are split into separate torsos and limbs. There are no accessories provided, beyond the jerry can and dog, but their is a choice of heads provided for two of the figures (with forage or peaked caps), plus alternative styles of holsters. This, plus the fact that most of the figures have separate limbs, adds extra scope for modifying the poses for even greater variety.
Backing up the figures is a single sheet of instructions. These comprise a numbered photo of the parts on the sprue, plus a large diagram of each of the assembled figures. This also serves as a painting guide and is repeated in colour on the back of the box. The colours are keyed to an English / Russian list of ModelMaster paints - and each colour is named, so you can substitute your own locally-available paints as you chose.
ConclusionICM's second 1/48 scale set of Luftwaffe figures is really superb! It's easily on a par with the very best injection-moulded figures available in this scale - and actually sets the standard for others to aim at in many ways. With faultless moulding and superb sculpting it really deserves to be a huge success - I hope it is and so encourages ICM to release even more such sets! Having struggled to obtain a set and now finally having my greedy mitts on one, I'll definitely buy several more when I find them! Unreservedly recommended.
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