KIT: ICM 1/48 Luftwaffe pilots and ground personnel
KIT #: 48082
PRICE: 7.95
DECALS: None provided
REVIEWER: Sjon van der Heiden
NOTES: Not all figures assembled....yet.

HISTORY


Aerial combat has always been surrounded by a certain romance. Perhaps less glamorous, but probably just as important, is the need to service and repair the very aeroplanes which usually get all the credits. This set gives you an opportunity to depict the men which helped getting and keeping those planes in the air.

THE KIT


This kit is an injection moulded one. It contains 41 parts in white, somewhat softer than usual plastic. All parts are on one sprue. When assembled the kit builds into seven figures; four mechanics and three pilots, with one of them in flying suit with parachute, the other two in dress uniform. The kit includes no optional parts other than two different sorts of caps and holsters. No additional accessories are provided. One does not really need instructions for constructing this kind of kit, but they're clear anyway. Elaborate, Modelmaster colour references are given on the back of the box in full colour. As one might expect, no decals are provided.

The level of detail of this kit is amongst the best I've ever seen in injection moulded plastic. There is no flash whatsoever and every little detail on the clothes and caps is very well done and absolutely crisp. The poses of the figures, and especially their individual facial expressions, are very well captured. I'll bet there are more than enough resin sets out there which cannot hold the comparison to this plastic kit. And that at less than a third of the price.

CONSTRUCTION


I'm doing these figures to adorn a diorama I'm currently working on, so I won't be assembling the entire set since I have no purpose for all of them. I chose to start with the two pilots in dress uniform with leather overcoats and a kneeling mechanic. After minimum clean up everything was assembled accept the hip holsters of the two standing figures. The instructions called for a third holster for the mechanic but I figured he would have little need for that so I left it out. All parts fit perfectly but then again, at this stage, I don't see how anything could really go wrong. That is, I must say I was far from satisfied with the pose of the pilot in the long overcoat. He seemed to have hidden several balloons underneath it (either that or he must have had a serious weight problem from the waist down), so I had to take off quite a bit of plastic to get his leather coat to look realistic. I also tilted his head a little to give him a better composure. Once all had dried overnight, the painting could start.

COLORS & MARKINGS


After all the base coats were done, I washed the recessed areas with darker colours and highlighted the outstanding details by means of drybrushing. I used Humbrol enamels only.

The hands and faces were washed with light brown to accentuate the contours, some slight colour was applied to the lips and their cheeks, noses and ears were highlighted slightly with white pencil. As a last I put a little graphite-pencil on their eyes to give the faces some focus.

The silver details on the caps are mostly done with a silver pencil, all other metallics are done with (Humbrol) paint. At first I tried to do the white line on the caps with a white pencil, but that didn't work out quite well. So I removed the white pencil and re-did it with enamel paint (which was really a matter of painting the white, touching it up with blue, re-doing the white that got lost in the touch up, applying more blue, getting the white out once more, etc.). When that was done (and I was happy with the result) I figured I should have simply scraped the blue paint of the rim, since the figures are in white plastic! I'm not sure if it would have looked right, but I cannot think of anything why not. Maybe some other time. 

One of the last jobs were the knights crosses on the two standing figures. I had done these before in the past and had always managed to foul them up so I opted for a different approach. I cut them out of a spare piece of black decal. I thought this would be easy but it turned out to be one of the most fiddly jobs I ever had to do. Holding on to the 'cross' when making the last cut turned out to be near impossible and it took several attempts to get two of them that at least vaguely resembled an knights cross. After that they went on without a fuss and they look much better this way then if I would have painted them on. They of course lack their silver lining but I'm afraid any attempt in that direction will not be an improvement so I'm learning to live with that. As a last, the two holsters were attached to the two standing figures using white glue.

FINAL CONSTRUCTION


After I had taken the first photographs I still had the feeling the pose of the pilot in the long overcoat wasn't quite convincing. And then I realised what was missing: a cigarette butt. So I scratch-build two fingers onto his clenched fist and glued 2mm of very fine stripped electrical wire in-between those and re-painted the whole deal. And after this final touch I was finally happy with his composure. Due to the small size (or the quality of my photographs) you actually have to look twice to even notice, but I once heard someone say that subtle details are the best so I'm going with that.

CONCLUSIONS


This is an excellent kit to dress up any Luftwaffe diorama. All figures are very life like, including the ones I've yet not come round to building. I know the fact I had to do some minor surgery to one of the figures contradicts this, but that was really the only problem with this kit, and it was real easy to fix. This little project was real fun to do and I would highly recommend this kit to anyone with a little painting experience, some patience,.. and good near eyesight of course.

REFERENCES


None other than the instructions and box-art.

July 2006

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