ICM has made good use of the moulds for this vehicle, by using minimal alterations they have produced a significant family covering the Le. Gl family. The Einheitz-Pkw Kfz.1 (leichter geländ EinheitzPersonenkraftwagen) or in English Easier Terrain Unit standard-passenger car was produced by Stoewer for the most part, but Hanomag and BMW also produced some 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 that would need three sets of spares. While this vehicle was produced into 1944 it was replaced slowly but surely by a far better vehicle in the form of the Kübelwagen. This was a good vehicle design, but maintenance issues, its weight and the reliability of the vehicle was its downfall. On the plus side there were two and four wheel drive versions of this vehicle available. The major modification in this release is the Zwillingssockel 36.
This model arrives in a flip top cardboard box with a card lid showing the artwork for the model. On opening you are presented with a two re-sealable plastic bags with an instruction booklet containing decals for the model, plus an additional instruction booklet covering the Zwilling. 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 seams 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.
One of the cautionary tales used with ICM concerns multipart chassis - well that concern is no more as a single moulded chassis frame is provided to which you add everything else. Despite being a single piece offering no obvious loss of detail has occurred that stands out to me. The suspension springs are well detailed, but will prove impossible to manipulate, so the modeller who decides to show the model on an uneven surface will need to create new springs, using a suitable sized drill bit. Also surgery will be required on the suspension arms. As many of you are aware I have a gripe with models that do not enable you to show the front wheels turned, and unfortunately that is the case with this model. The exhaust will need to be drilled at the end to give it a hollow appearance, but as the elements are brought together you will have a very complete and visually appealing chassis for the model. The engine and gearbox is quite blocky, but is does appear to match online reference, during several hours of searching visual reference I became aware that visual reference on this area of the model is extremely limited, and the photographs I did find indicates there is potentially an issue with the cooling system and exhaust manifold as they appear to be inaccurate. But it needs to be remembered that with this vehicle being produced by more than one company, utilising the same chassis that the engine layouts could be different.
Moving to the interior of the model, you are presented with the floor panel with rear mud guards in place and this gives you a robust structure on which to work. Moulded on detail is minimal, but what is present appears to be correct. The fire wall between the engine compartment and crew compartment is very well detailed, and once the additional elements are added to it the result is visually appealing. ICM as is usual has provided decals for the instrument dials. The side walls of the vehicle, should be added at the same time as the rear panel in order to achieve good joins all round and stability. Moulded on detail is again of a good standard, and I have no complaints in this area. The bonnet of the vehicle has been provided in three parts, with some interior detail added. Unfortunately in order to have the bonnet open, it would have needed to have been provided in five parts with four additional clamp parts. My gut instinct is that the plastic is too thick, to accurately replicate this area of the model, and I suspect (but am unsure) that a photo etch set to replicate this aspect must be out there somewhere.
The seats in this model only apply to the driver and front passenger, with me only wishing for some texturization on the front seats. Some interior panel detail has been added at the rear, along with a non-slip new floor on which to mount the weapons system. I am very pleased to see ICM include two Kar 98 rifles in clamps in the front area of the vehicle. The doors of the vehicle have both sides moulded as one part, and thankfully ICM has avoided injector pin marks on these parts. There are some additional parts that are added to the doors to finish off the detail to a good standard. The wheels of the vehicle are nicely detailed and with the tyres moulded in place, means that those who detest vinyl rubber tyres will be pleased. A folded canvas roof to protect the driver and front passenger has been provided, but I would have liked to have had the option of having a deployed roof as well. The glazing of the model is of a good thickness, and I was pleased to find clear lenses for all of the fittings.
The offensive firepower for this vehicle, consists of two MG 34’s, with what appears to be large magazines. The barrels of the machine guns will need to be tackled at the muzzle to open them up a little. The gunner sits in an open position at the rear, but does have some protection via the framing of the vehicle, and plates on the machine gun mounts. Going back to the Mg 34’s, the breach covers are separate part as are the folded bi-pods, and I believe this may be due to them being removable to be mounted on tripods provided on the rear of the vehicle. The floor mounting cone has good detail on it - I am however, unclear if this was powered or moved via manpower. If you know please add the detail. The sights for the guns has been replicated in this release, with ICM providing a diagram for how the elements will display in a flat trajectory and an aerial trajectory firing positions.
ICM has provided three finishing options for the model, in the form of:
Luftwaffe ground units, Greece, 1940
1st Panzer Division, Greece, 1941
11th Panzer Division, Eastern Front
The decals themselves can just be felt with running the thumb over them, but I feel are more that acceptable for use.
This particular release from ICM, covering the Le.gl.Einheitz-Pkw Kfz.4 armed with the zwillingssockel 36 in the light anti aircraft role, is possibly the most visually appealing variant I have seen from ICM. My critique is limited to the inability to show the front wheels turned, but you have to be impressed with the amount of detail provided using injection moulded plastic only. There are some obvious areas for the after market to become involved, such as generic machine gun barrels, and perhaps the canvas cover deployed over the front seats. When it comes to photo etch, the bonnet is an obvious choice for those wishing to display the high level of detail of the oily bits, the reticule for the machine guns are the only elements that immediately jumps to mind, although I am sure the companies will think of more if they feel the demand is out there.