by: Bob Davis [ ]
This is the review of the newly released Austro-Hungarian Infantry in 1/35th scale from Italeri. I believe this is the first set by a mainstream company to release them in a set. W.W.1 figures seem to have taken off lately, and finally, we can start to satisfy our building desire for W.W.1 figure related dioramas. For history buffs and junior historians who build dioramas, it will expand out horizons.
The set comes in an open end box with the instructions and painting guide on the back. I was a bit put off by the art work as to the pose and general look of the figures, but upon opening the box, rest assured, they are so much better that depicted by the art work. A case of judging the book by its cover I would say. There are 2 light tan sprues which are bagged separately to protect them from damaging each by rubbing and bending/breaking or even the occasional loose part from being lost. I like the light tan plastic because for myself, it makes it easier to see the mold lines for removal. The larger sprue holds the parts for the 4 figures and the smaller one has all the weapons and accessories. As I opened up the plastic bags to check out the contents of this kit I noticed that the company name on the end of each sprue was I.C.M. Upon checking, it seems that I.C.M. has released them under their own label with different art work. They are one and the same. I won’t even try to figure out that sales strategy. But that we have them is good enough for me.
The figure sprue is laid out in the usual fashion with one complete figure per corner quarter with misc. items like field caps, an officers sword, packs ect.
The uniforms are the 1908 Pike grey and probably wool, though it is hard to really determine as the cloth one was very much the same except for the tropical uniform. All the buttons are hidden by a fly and the pockets have the correct scalloped flap covers. The trousers are gathered at the ankles and tucked in to short gaiters fastened by 2 buttons which show correctly. The N.C.O.'s are tucked into tall leather gaiters fastened by 3 straps. According to the reference I used this is all correct. All leather was black but changed to natural leather brown in 1908.
Packs are a natural horse hide with the hair showing nicely On top of each pack is a shelter half folded over each side and attached with 2 straps with buckles, a strap loop and holes to adjust the tightness of it. A bit soft but the detail is there. A separate pack attaches to the bottom of the large one and is horse hide also. Attachment loops can be seen on the bottom of it where you would expect. I choose to use the steel helmets for these figures and they look nice, with the attachment points clearly shown and they fit on the heads without having to shave down the head or ears to sit properly. Creases and folds are well executed and look pretty sharp for mold injection. All of the suspenders, belts and straps are well done and buckles are there. Some soft under cutting and fine painting will bring them out nicely.
The 3 enlisted trooper have separate hands that makes aligning the weapons easier. The N.C.O.'s hands are attached to the arms and one grips a pistol properly while the other has his fingers spread out as he waves the troops forward. Nice detail on his hands.
On the N.C.O. the break down is the typical 1 head, 2 arms, 1 torso and 2 legs plus a sword that is sheathed, a holster and 1 double (one on top of the other) pouch that looks like an ammo pouch but I don't think it is with straps that hang it off his belt. The instructions call for adding a 9 mm 1912 model Steyr pistol but it is already attached to the arm/hand part. Assembly was straight forward and the only gap was a very small one at the front belt waist line and another small one on the back of the right shoulder. Easy fix with a tad bit of filler and liquid glue.
The 3 enlisted troopers break down the same with the exception of the separate hands. I wish more companies would follow suit as it really makes fitting weapons so much easier and looks nicer too. All 3 of them have a shoulder roll on the end of the broad shoulder boards on the right shoulder which helps keep pack straps or rifle slings from sliding off. 2 of them have a lanyard on the left side front of the uniform which is a marksman qualifying award. A nice target for snipers and many stopped wearing them after some experience. Assembly was again straight forward with no major problems. The only gap I ended up with was the one trooper with out the marksman lanyard. His right shoulder in the back has a fillable gap and where the back of the 2 legs meet with the waist is another, which will be covered up with his personal gear. Alignment of the torso to the legs (where the coat halves meet between the belt was great with no tweaking needed.
All the figures are moving forward with a certain caution to them in a skirmish line. In a diorama with an intact street or even demolished buildings, or advancing across no-mans land they will look good. Some will inevitably change the hands and heads with resin, but for me, these will do nicely. The hands have nice detail and even the palm side of the N.C.O.'s hands have creases on it. The heads have real nice detail for mold injection. The N.C.O.'s moustache and lower lip are well pronounced and his tongue is visible too and on one you can see the upper teeth. There are also creases on the brows of one or two. So as I stated, they will work well for me.
The weapon sprue has a very large assortment of weapons of which I had to research as my knowledge of W.W.1 weapons was very limited. I.C.M.'s figure kits are very generous when it comes to weapons. So far all the kits I have, come with the large assortment weapon sprue. On this sprue alone there are 55 different parts ( usually 3 of each weapon). Some are pretty obvious and some aren't. Several nice things about I.C.M.'s weapons are that the bolt assemblies are separate so the bolt handles actually are slightly raised away from the stock like a real one should be. The bayonet attachment and release lever are separate also and stick away as a real one too. These are very, very fine parts and a new #11 blade is the only way I found to remove them without breaking or bending them. Trimming away excess plastic from the attachment point was trying, for my patience, but it does look fantastic once cleaned up and glued together. The main weapons are as follows. 1912 model Steyr 9 m.m. pistol- 3X model 1888 Steyr Mannlichher rifle- 2X Schwarzlose 8 m.m. heavy M.G. (2 M.G.'s present but only enough legs for 1)- Part#11/3X, I could not I.D. this rifle- 3X 2 types of high explosive hand grenades/ various bayonets, fighting knifes, ammo pouch's, gas mask canisters, pioneer tools, mess kits, wire cutters and a bunch more. So much, that battle field debris will be plenty and you will add to your spares parts bins with no problem.