ICM 1/35 G4 (W31) with open cover
|REVIEWER:||Scott Van Aken|
The G4 was a development of the G1, launched in 1926. In the first three years of production they had an 8-cylinder inline engine of 5018 cc displacement delivering 100 hp (74 kW). An unsynchronized four-speed transmission transferred the power to all four rear wheels, or optionally to all six wheels. The rear wheels were attached to two rigid axles 950 mm apart, which were suspended in joint semi-elliptic leaf springs. The front axle was rigid with semi-elliptic springs. All six wheels had hydraulic brakes with servo assistance. The top speed was only 67 km/h, limited by the type of all-terrain tyres. Only 11 of these vehicles were delivered to the Wehrmacht. The car used an elongated box-section frame that allowed for generous interior room with comfortable seating for up to 7. Seating was provided by two benches (front and rear) and one middle-placed row of seats with separate arm rests. From 1937 a more powerful engine of 5252 cc and 115 hp (84.5 kW) was used. The performance remained the same. Between 1937 and 1938 16 cars were built. From 1938 a larger motor of 5401 cc and 110 hp (81 kW) was used. Vehicles of this model were used by Adolf Hitler and his staff in parades marking the occupation of Austria and the annexation of the so-called residual Czech Republic. The last year of production was 1939. 30 cars of this model were built.
Here is yet another interesting non-tracked kit from ICM. It seems to me that the various model makers are turning towards providing some of the less 'dangerous' vehicles that participated in WWII. Personally, I like this sort of kit more than I do a tank or half-track and so seeing this rather rare staff car is a real treat. Now many years ago, Hasegawa did this kit in 1/72, but to my knowledge, this is the first time that we have seen this six wheeler in 1/35.
As you would expect from ICM, the level of detailing is pretty high with 309 parts for the car and toss in an additional 40 or so for the four figures that come with it. This is not a simple curb-side, but comes with a full engine that simply needs some hoses and wires to really look the part. The chassis is quite complex being built up of the various cross-members and outrigger pieces that hold on the body and the fenders. The only real option with the kit is the ability to have the hood open to show the car's engine.
Wheels are plastic with one piece having one wheel side and the entire tire while there is a wheel for the inner insert. This does help when it comes to painting. The historical section implies that this is six wheel drive, but that is not the case. The transaxles are only for the rear four wheels, and these constructs are very nicely detailed. Up front, there is a complete steering linkage that extends all the way to the steering wheel.
The interior is as well detailed as the rest of the kit. Individual pedals and levers are supplied and there are decals to go in the instrument panel. The seats are as plush as one would expect to find in a vehicle carrying high mucky-mucks, including A. Hitler himself. Full windows and frames are supplied to be installed separately. The top on this boxing can be built up and there is an additional sprue for that. No figures with this kit, however.
Instructions are on a thin, but matte paper, and easy to read. Drawings are well done with the usual Model Master color references. Markings are for two vehicles from 1938. One is the box art car in a dark blue while the other is in a light grey that the instructions state is RLM 63. I would would be cautious of using this shade as RLM 63 in many paint lines is close to RLM 02 and too dark. The small decal sheet consists of plates, dials, and flags (sorry, no swastikas).
Things like this just ooze cool. I'm quite pleased that we now have a great kit of a pretty neat staff car. Sure beats a '42 Ford! Though I'd not recommend this to beginners due to all the small parts, a qualified builder can make this into a real beauty
Thanks to Squadron Products for the preview kit. Get yours today at your favorite shop or on-line retailer.
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