by: Darren Baker [ ]
The le.gl.Pkw Kfz.1 (leichter geländegängiger Personenkraftwagen) or in English light cross-country standard-passenger car was produced by Stoewer, Hanomag and BMW up until 1944. It is my understanding that identical frames were provided to each of the three producers who then added their own engines to the vehicle and so a pain for the vehicle mechanics who would need three sets of spares. While this vehicle was produced into 1944 it was replaced slowly but surely by the far better vehicle the Kübelwagen. This was a good vehicle design, but maintenance issues, its weight and reliability of the vehicle was its downfall.
This offering from ICM is packaged in the usual way of a flip top cardboard tray and an additional card lid with all of the artwork on it; this approach means that the model has a very good chance of reaching you in the condition it was meant to regardless of how it is sent. Inside of the box you will find a re-sealable plastic bag containing four grey sprues and the clear parts. There is also an instruction booklet covering assembly of the product and a small decal sheet. It is also my understanding that this is not a re-release but an all new model offering.
An examination of the sprues reveals very well moulded offerings with no obvious issues in the process. Taking a look at the back of the mouldings does reveal a number of ejector pin marks, but these are shallow and so should not be overly difficult to remedy. There are some flow marks present on larger mouldings that are clearly seen, but to both my eyes and sense of touch detected no physical issues to the moulded parts.
The chassis of this model has been provided as a single piece for the most part with a nice level of detail present and so there are no concerns about keeping the chassis square. The springs of the suspension are moulded solidly but do have good surface detail present. The suspension arms also have a very nice level of detail that if you work on the underside the detail could be made to stand out well when painted. The axles cause me some concern as while they have nicely detailed differentials the axles themselves are not straight and while they have square connectors it will take some care to get them correctly orientated. Lastly in this area of the model is a very nice engine and gearbox, again the addition of some wires to the area will add nice eye catching detail. The drive axle looks good but will I feel be a difficult part to install.
The wheels and tyres of the model have been tackled in a way that does away with seam line issues. The tread detail looks good and will please those who detest vinyl tyres on vehicles. The wheel bolt detail has been nicely replicated which will come out well with careful painting. My only issue is that ICM keeps adding all this really nice detail and they have yet to provide the option of showing the wheels turned which I feel is much more visually pleasing. It has to be considered that functional steering usually impacts on accuracy, but the option of parts to set the wheels in a straight or turned orientation could easily be managed by ICM.
Moving onto the external structure of the vehicle and I am for the most part very happy with what I find. The external elements all look to be very good as regards accuracy. The doors of the vehicle can be left open if wished I believe despite not being covered in the instructions. The hood of the vehicle has been done in a way that it could be left open if desired with a little scratch work. The lower portions each side will need to be cut away and the metal latches will need to be scratched. I also feel that the panels will need quite a lot of thinning to improve the accuracy of the look if this task is tackled. I do think that the detail hidden under that bonnet is worth the effort in order to display it.
The internal detail of the vehicle is fairly bland as it should be in vehicles of this period. I would have liked to see some wear and tear where the seat surfaces are concerned, but this aspect could be tackled with some sanding, grinding and filler. I am pleased to see that ICM has provided personal weapons for the un-included crew and made a reasonable effort on the clamps for a company that does not use photo etched parts. Dial decals are supplied but I cannot see application of these covered in the instructions.
The decals included in the offering are a little thicker than I would have liked as I am able to feel them on the carrier paper. ICM has provided a choice of four finishing options for the model which are:
le.gl.Pkw Kfz.1, 16 Pz Div, Don area, June 1942
le.gl.Pkw Kfz.1, 11 Pz Div, Ukraine, July 1941
le.gl.Pkw Kfz.1, Panzergruppe 1 Kleist, Ukraine, July 1941
le.gl.Pkw Kfz.1, 1/JG 51, Stary Bykhov (Belorussia), July 1941
I am very pleased with the effort ICM has put into this all new offering of the le.gl.Pkw Kfz.1 in 1/35th scale. There are of course things that could be improved such as the hood/bonnet in order to display that glorious detail ICM has hidden under it; I am a little confused as to why they do not push the excellent detail they hide usually. I am hoping that ICM release a dedicated crew for this offering in an informal style and also perhaps release the model with canvas hood raised.