This introduction is as provided by ICM:
The Leyland Company is one of the oldest automobile companies in the world, they began to produce the first of their military vehicles at the beginning of the First World War. These vehicles were in service with, the Royal Air Force, the British Army and were also used in the colonies. The retriever truck used by the army on World War Two was a 6x4 vehicle with a gasoline engine, simple manual transmission, leaf spring suspension, all single wheels and an open cab. It is estimated that a total of 6,542 vehicles were built, including general purpose vehicles and other modifications.
This offering from ICM is provided in a flip top cardboard tray, with a separate card lid showing the artwork. Inside is a re-sealable plastic bag containing all of the model elements, including two further bags with the tyres and clear elements packaged within. I am very pleased to see photo etch included in this release, as I feel it lifts ICM’s offerings to a further level. An examination of the sprues reveals some flow lines in the plastic where the larger elements are concerned, but these do not look or feel to have caused any issues with the finish. The only modelling bug that I have located, are ejector pins marks that will need to be remedied in some cases.
The chassis of this vehicle is a multi part affair, which has enabled ICM to provide the elements with very good moulded detail. My concerns are restricted to getting the correct orientation of the chassis, which will cause problems later on if incorrect. Only one element of the cross member of the chassis is part B54, and I would suggest starting from this point. The leaf spring suspension on the vehicle are moulded in two halves, and so requires cares during the clean operation. The rear axles have a good level of detail to them as are the drive shafts to them. The front axle is simplistic in nature, and is unfortunately designed to be shown in a straight alignment only. However the parts themselves, will enable the modeller to show the front wheels in the orientation of their choice, with relative ease, and I believe no need for surgery.
ICM has also included a well detailed engine and transmission, with a surprising number of parts coming together to create these elements. While what is provided will satisfy most modellers, those that wish to really dress it up will need to add wire and cable to replicate the electrical system and braking system. Once the engine and chassis come together, just placing the wheels on the axles would actually give the modeller, a quite pleasing result. The wheels of the model are provided in two halves, with good detail on the outer face and these trap vinyl rubber tyres, which I know will upset some, but with that said the detail is acceptable to me.
The cab of the model, is provided with good clear mouldings that will not distort the view through them. The floor panels are provided in two halves, and I strongly suggest that the three part middle section is assembled in order that the two halves of the floor have a structure to support their alignment. The seats in this offering are a box style, with a small rear support cushion, and so I am pleased with what is offered. I would however, consider adding some clothing on to the seats to prevent numb bum. The detail in the cab area is especially pleasing, with the canvas roof section being the main element, that will need to have ejector pins marks remedied. The radiator that fits into the front of the cab is especially well detailed, and is where the photo etch elements are brought into play.
The truck bed is a wooden structure, with bench seats running down the sides and is another area where small ejector pin marks will need to be addressed. The tail gate is shown in the up position only, but a little bit of work on the part of the modeller should enable an alternate display position. The roof of the truck bed, is provided with the various rails involved to support the canvas. Which will enable the modeller to add their own canvas in either full or part and ICM have also included a canvas moulding for those who do not feel up to tackling the canvas themselves.
Two finishing options are provided with this kit, which are as follows:
Leyland Retriever General Service, British Army, 1940s
Leyland Retriever General Service, from a Lend/Lease consignment, Winter 1942
This offering from ICM of a Leyland retriever General Purpose vehicle is a pleasing model, that has been well tackled as regards a model built straight from the box. You can of course, add additional elements to lift the kit to a particularly high standard. Two elements that I was particularly pleased to find in this release, are the ability to add a canvas cover of your own, or to use the one provided, and I also like that the front wheels can been assembled turned (I believe) without the need for surgery on the kit parts, however this is not covered in the instructions. All told another very nice soft skinned Allied release from the ICM stable.