Wednesday, July 3

Construction Review: 1:32nd scale USAAF Pilots (1941-1945) from ICM Models

ICM has been making a few very nice 1/32nd scale aircraft for a while now - but what about the humans to populate them? You could go for a resin pilot or why not just take a look at ICM's accompanying growing range of 32nd scale figures? See what our man Gary thought about them in his construction review...

Construction Review: USAAF Pilots (1941-1945)
From: ICM Models
1:32nd scale
Kit Number: 32104
Reviewed: June 2019
Available from:
Price: US$15
ICM continue their steady release of 1:32 figure set ensemble's, this time covering WW2 USAAF Pilots suitable for the 1941-1945 period. Unlike their previous VVS and Luftwaffe Cadet figure sets, which are clearly designed with the corresponding ICM I-16 and Bu-131 aircraft kits in mind, this latest USAAF figure set is quite generic. I've taken a real liking to the ICM boxart as it not only serves to inspire the modeller but acts as a sort of reference for the painting and posing of the figure set.
The thing that makes this new range of 1:32 ICM figures stand out for me is that they are designed to be a "matched set" and not just three standalone figures. This particular set has three pilots walking along the flight line with their hands and heads posed so that it's visually obvious they are discussing something. If you change the positions of the figures the grouping is broken as eye contact is lost. This intentional grouping is a very welcome change from the standard figure poses we see all too often of the crew just standing still looking off into the distance for no apparent reason.
The "kit" is very simple with a single sprue containing the parts for all three figures. The body parts (legs, arms, torso and head) for each figure are conveniently grouped together on the sprue.
Using the colour assembly (and painting) guide it takes virtually no time at all to cut out and glue the parts together. I found no excessive gaps or misalignment in any of the body parts.

All of the instructions you should need are included on both of these pages to make and paint your model.
The raised detail on each part is nicely defined and whilst its not as sharp as equivalent resin castings for the price it's a nice result. Like all injection moulded parts there is some cleanup of seam lines needed. A flexible sanding stick made quick work of this once the parts were separated from the sprue.
The three figures were assembled over a couple of evenings using Tamiya liquid glue. This gave me plenty of time to adjust the alignment of body parts. Prior to taking photos I applied a coat of Mr Finishing Surfacer 1500.
I like the way the parachute harness straps hang naturally from the backs of the pilots. The straps (whilst probably a little over scale) look pretty convincing and I felt not need to replace them with lead foil (like I would normally do).
Here are a few closer shots so you can see the surface detail more clearly. Under this level of magnification you can see some rough spots particularly around the faces but once these are painted properly this will not be so noticeable.

CONCLUSION - ICM 1:32 USAAF Pilots 1931-1945 (32104)

As with the other ICM figures I really like these new USAAF pilots. These would look quite at home strolling past any one of a number of 1:32 aircraft kits. Figures add a sense of scale and life to any display and I just wish I was better at painting them, especially the faces :( 

I'll be collecting all the figure sets from ICM as they are excellent quality and represent good value for money (especially when compared to resin alternatives).

Gary Wickham

Thanks to ICM for sending these to Gary, You can get your own set if you like the look of this from ICM's Distributors Worldwide

You can see more of Gary's Work on his Website & his Facebook page.