by: Darren Baker [ ]
This four wheel drive truck must have been a common site after the Americans joined the First World War as they ordered 15,000 of them and fielded 14,000. The truck was also ordered by the British and Russian military and so a vehicle with a lot of potential for display. The Four Wheel Drive Auto Company (FWD) had a winner on their hands with this one.
This model is very well packaged in a rugged cardboard flip top box and a separate card lid with an image of the vehicle on it. Inside there is a re-sealable plastic bag, this contains the kit parts for the model. An examination of the sprues for this model indicates no moulding issues other than some ejector pin marks that will ideally be dealt with. There are some flow lines on the larger mouldings, but these do not look or feel to have marred the finish of the mouldings concerned. There is no flash present anywhere on the model, and even the seam lines are very light and should be easily dealt with. All of the parts look to be easily accessed where removal is concerned, with care being needed on the really fine parts offered in order to avoid damage. I did observe some minor bend damage to a part of the canvas roof that some gentle persuasion corrected.
ICM has gone down the route of a multi-part chassis which results in a very good level of accuracy. There are a high number of 90 degree angles in this chassis and so I suggest that it is assembled on a cutting mat with squares on it as an aid to keep everything at the correct angle. The suspension is via leaf springs and a fifth leaf spring runs across the rear chassis to reduce role of the body. The axles themselves have a very good level of detail provided that add a lot of interesting detail; there are two radius rods running from the differential gear housings to two separate rods at the side of the vehicle that are identified as keeping the wheels alligned. The gearbox and drive axles are also very nicely detailed and make the underside of the vehicle visually appealing as is typical of ICM.
Shock and awe ICM has tackled the engine and despite the lack of photo etched parts the finished article looks good. Examination of the parts reveals arguably one of the best engines as regards detail I have seen from ICM thus far, and while there is a need for some work on the part of the modeller to add details such as wiring; I particularly like that ICM has included the rod used when hand cranking the engine. In order to finish this area of the model a very nice radiator is included with excellent representation of the company logo.
The cab sits above the engine with the seat being physically on the box that houses the engine, no effort has been made by ICM to allow access to that glorious engine but some work with a razor saw will cure that. The foot plate and steps to the cab are the one area of the model where I feel photo etched parts would have been far superior as regards scale. There is a fire extinguisher in the cab which my research indicates will be brass rather than red. The seat and back is glorious luxury of the period being leather with studded detail that provides for some excellent colour modulation when painting. One thing that scares me for a vehicle in a war zone is the fuel tank sitting directly behind the seat. The detail on the fuel tank is good but a fuel line will need to be added. Lights and spotlight have been included and results in another pleasing area of the model.
The bed of the truck is made of wooden planks and the ones used here are rather large in width. The plank detail is good even though no grain is visible to me; the same is true of the bed sides which have very good fittings detail present. There are a few ejector pin marks here that will need attention here but they are not many in number. ICM has provided two options when it comes to the deck of the lorry in that you can add the loops only or use them as a basis for forming your own canvas. The alternative is a preformed canvas made up of five pieces which I feel looks very good
ICM continues to release great models covering World War One to keep the great figures they have released covering this War. The latest offering is the FWD Type B WW1 US Army Truck in 1/35th scale which while I struggled with reference there is enough out there to say this is a very nice representation of the truck in 1/35th scale. It would seem that the truck was used to tow artillery pieces regularly and I wonder if ICM has considered looking to provide some World War One artillery to go with the model? Regardless this model appears to be a lovely kit that looks to be visually accurate against the reference I was able to find.