Schwerer geländegängiger gepanzerter Personenkraftwagen (Sd.Kfz. 247 heavy off road armoured passenger vehicle) was a specialised command armoured unarmed vehicle of the Wehrmacht. Daimler Benz was the only manufacturer. Four wheeled modification of the Sd.Kfz. 247 Ausf B was produced on the basis of the Horch 108 chassis. In 1941-1942 58 of these vehicles were produced. Despite the small number, the car was actively used during the initial stages of the Second World War.
This offering from ICM, is the first model of this vehicle from them. It is packed in the usual high standard of a flip top cardboard tray, and then a additional card lid with the art work printed on it. Inside the carton the model is packed in a re-sealable plastic bag, with the decals packed inside the instruction booklet. As you are aware I am not a fan of all parts being packed inside one bag, due to the risks of damage. In the case of this model, one piece has come off the sprue, but does not appear to be obviously damaged. In all other respects the parts are provided as I would expect from ICM.
ICM continues to provide a lot of detail on the usually hidden parts of the model and this kit is no different. The chassis is a multipart assembly and so requires the modeller to take added care to insure a squarely assembled chassis. I recommend that this chassis is assembled on a cutting mat with clearly marked squares as none of the crossmembers added will help in squaring up the chassis during assembly. The axels and wishbones are well detailed, but the suspension springs are moulded in two halves, and there are eight of them. I suspect that many modellers will be perfectly happy with what is provided, however, a nice easy improvement here would be to wrap some wire around a suitable sized drill bit and so creating your own springs, which I feel would be an improvement worth tackling.
Engine and Wheel
Another nice addition from ICM is a fairly well detailed engine and transmission, which could be dressed up as much as the modeller desires. While not the easiest aspect of the model to see there is a hatch that could be left open to view the engine. The wheels on the model are supplied with vinyl rubber tyres which I know can be a pet hate of many, but the detail in my opinion is pretty good. While the vinyl rubber tyres will need protecting from the various chemicals that modellers like to use during weathering, if sealed they should be fine. My pet hate is present here in that I cannot show the wheels turned.
The floor of the hull has detail on both faces, and there are also a couple of ejector pins marks on the outer face. These will ideally need to be addressed. The lower sides of the hull are separate parts that are secured at the correct angle by the floor. I am rather pleased that ICM has supplied the hatches as separate parts and so could be assembled in an open position with a minimum of work. The upper hull of the model is nicely detailed and has separate viewing slots covers. The drivers viewing hatches are also separate and so again could be left open. While none of the details on having hatches open are covered in the instructions, I do believe that many modellers will appreciate this aspect should they choose to use them. The external storage boxes, have reasonable detail where required, and while not something that could easily be shown open, I cannot fault ICM for it.
As mentioned previously, ICM has provided an engine with transmission. They have also replicated the diamond chequered pattern on the floor, as well as all aspects of the interior, required beyond wiring and such. The drivers dash board has been supplied with decals for the dials, and while I know very little of the interior vehicle layout, all the controls I would expect to find are present. The bench seat and front seats of the vehicle havea nice bar frame, with my only complaint being that the seats are featureless and smooth. Items such as fire extinguishers are present, and add nice visual details. The radio equipment supplied in the rear of this model, are rather nice. The dial detail on the radios is nicely replicated in plastic; however my knowledge of German military radio means that I am unable to clearly identify what radios are supplied here. The modeller will need to at the very least add a headset with wire and cable, and with a little extra effort could make this aspect of the vehicle a particularly eye catching attribute of the model. For the modeller who wants the maximum from this area of the model, a number of manufacturers produce resin radio sets, that could be used to improve the model. The aerial mounts have been supplied with pre-shaped aerials but these just look a little rigid to me, and so alternate options could be sought. You will of course have to add the wires to the inside of the vehicle.
ICM has provided four finishing options for this release, and on the plus side two of them have details on the units supplied. The finishing options are:
Gross Deutschland Division, Ukraine, Summer 1942
Unknown Unit Russia, Autumn. 1941
7th Panzer Division, Russia, Summer 1941
Unknown Unit France, Summer 1944
German Command Vehicle Crew (1939 – 1942)
The figures in this release are as indicated on the box top and so we get a driver for the halftrack, a radio operator, a figure taking notes on the messages and an officer who gives the impression of being impatient, but he is at least not pointing at the distance and shouting. The figures other than the driver break down in the usual manner and I am pleased to see that the heads are all separate parts that make painting an easier proposition for those of us that struggle.
The uniform replicated here is the early German uniform as signified by the breast and main pockets having the pleats down the centre, as the war progressed everything became scarce and the pockets lost the pleats plus the cut of the uniform was not of the same high standard. The three infantry soldiers are all wearing the cloth side cap and the officer getting in the usual peaked affair. The badges are all present on the jackets and hats with the eagles on the side caps being a little hard to see in some cases; my only surprise here is that the officer has an award badge on his left breast pocket which I suspect would be uncommon during the very early stages of the war. The trousers and boots are as I would expect and I do not have anything more to say about them.
The stances of the two figures operating the radio and taking notes are really nice have a relaxed but attentive look to them, as in they are doing a task but have a relaxed natural look for seated figures and I would say have possibly the best poses I have seen for seated figures outside of resin. Another aspect I like is that the headsets have been included with reasonable detail only requiring some wire be added by the modeller. The driver is in the typical pose seen many times before, but I appreciate the arms been provided in four parts and the split at the elbow will I feel allow manipulation to get them into the correct and natural position on the steering wheel. The officer has an interesting stance that will catch the eye. I was pleased to see the strap detail for the binoculars replicated and even the eyes on the belt are present; the holster is a separate moulding which I like but there is no obvious attachment point in the required area. The crease detail is very natural for these figures and the seated figures provide a lot of chances for the modeller to use colour modulation on the uniform.
The hands of these figures are excellent in most cases and a little clean up on the other hands should result in a very pleasing finish; the detail on the hands for the most part does not just include the fingers but also detail on the backs of the hands. The faces have all the needed detail including the ears where seen, an area often poorly replicated. My only gripe here is that the only face with real life in it is the radio operator, but to be fair the driver does look to be concentrating.
ICM is one of the model manufacturers that produce models that can be built by anyone to a fair or good standard. The effort that they put into the oily parts, is especially good considering that they only use plastic as a rule. While the detail provided is good, it also enables the modeller to go the extra yard or mile, to dress the model up to the standard they are happy with, and most of this work can be tackled with parts modellers tend to keep hanging around. I feel that this is true of this model, in that it can be a good straight from the box, or an excellent model with those extras touches many modellers love to add. The figures give the vehicle some life and performing the duties that the vehicle was intended for and so a great combination.