by: Darren Baker [ ]
When it comes to figures, few offerings get more attention than those designed to be mounted on a vehicle. Vehicle riding figure sets have seen a bit of a boom of late from many manufacturers, but one of the latest offerings comes from one of my favourite manufacturers in this field, ICM. In this review I get to look at the most recent figure set from ICM, the Soviet Tank Riders 1943-1945 in 1/35th scale.
This figure set is packaged to the usual high standard of ICM and as such everything arrived in the same condition as it was sent. Inside of the packaging is a single tan sprue in a resealable plastic bag and an assembly and painting guide.
An examination of the sprue reveals very little to comment on. There is a little flash on some of the mould seams, but nothing of a level to make clean up difficult. Removal of the parts from the sprue is easy for the most part, but I did find a couple of parts that could have had their connection to the sprue better placed. I will also say that I like the effort ICM has gone to in shaping the equipment to fit the figures.
The winter quilted 2 piece uniform is very nicely replicated, it Russian term is Telogreika and is a quilted jacket and trousers which helps to keep the wearer warm while not being so bulky that it restricts movement. The hats provided for all of the figures are Ushanka which is the fur cap worn by Russian forces, this is again suitable winter wear. All of the figures are wearing mittens that have a separate trigger finger portion; I could not find a specific name for this item. The figures are wearing Sapogi boots worn by Russian forces. The sole of the boot is made of rubber with the foot portion made of leather with the leg portion of the boot being made of water proofed canvas. I will admit that I would have preferred to see at least one of the figures in felt boots or Valenki. The detail on the uniform is very good in my opinion, but some of the crease detail will need to softened I feel.
Moving onto the equipment that is supplied with the figures. Three of these figures are supplied with a Myeshok which is a canvas bag worn on the back and is used to carry any equipment the soldier wants to carry. Each of the figures is supplied with a water bottles, each in its canvas bag, the water bottle was made from aluminium if you want to show one in use. Three of the figures are equipped with PPSh41 machine guns with separately supplied drum magazines; ICM has also supplied a suitable ammunition pouch for those figures. The remaining figure is equipped with a PPS43 Sub-machine gun with folded stock and again a suitable ammunition pouch holder. Lastly each of the figures is supplied a shoulder strap bag, the straps for this could do with some work when attached to the figures. The weapons are good but could be bettered in areas such as the cooling slots and muzzles which are not hollowed.
The faces of the figures are excellent for 1/35th scale injection moulded plastic. The faces all have expressions which are cleanly defined and there is absolutely no reason to replace them with resin offerings. Even the ears are very well replicated which is an area often poorly replicated in figures of this type. The hands have limited finger detail due to the mittens, but detail is still clearly visible in these areas.
I have assembled the main components of the figures minus their heads and equipment. The only clean up I have made at this point in time is the sprue connection points. Most of these areas were easily cleaned up, but a couple of the connection points were on the edge of a mating and detailed face and these were more involved. I used Tamiya extra thin to assemble the figures and I am pleased with the results. A quick note on the glue; rather than putting the pieces together and using the glues ability to be sucked into the join by capillary action, I applied glue to both faces to soften them and this sometimes allows a better joint.
I have shown the figures posed on a KV-1 and individually posed as they would be roughly on a T-34. The scale of the figures looks good to me and I like the poses we are presented with. I can only hope that ICM pursues this type of figure vigorously as they do it very well.
This offering from ICM is an excellent set of figures that I believe will prove to be very popular. I cannot fault the offering in any way other than saying that some of the connections have been made between parts in difficult to clean locations. Assembly was straight forward and connections very positive, but as you can see by the photographs there are a couple of areas that will need a little filler. In closing all I can say is” Please Sir can I have some more ”.