Friday, November 29

Construction Review: 1/32nd scale British Pilots (1939-1945) from ICM

We always seem to need more pilot and ground crew figures to populate our 1/32nd scale aircraft scenes. ICM has recently stepped up with the pilots and crew to match their new and forthcoming offerings in that scale. Gary has put the latest of these together in a review for you, see if these new British Pilots (1939-1945) from ICM are aces, or just cannon fodder in his review...
Construction Review: British Pilots (1939-1945)
From ICM 
Scale: 1:32
Kit No: #32105
Three pilot figures included
Material: Light grey injection moulded plastic
Reviewed: November 2019
Price: US$15
Available from:
Just in time for their new-tool 1:32nd scale Gloster Gladiator (have a look at the boxart background), ICM has released a new set of British Pilot figures. Unlike the most recent USAAF and Luftwaffe Cadet sets, these figures are pretty generic with two standing and one seated. The figures are not designed to be interacting with each other as a group, which for me takes a little something away from the set as I see this as something that ICM do so well.

All three pilots are sculpted wearing a sheepskin leather jacket, with two also having their 'Mae West' inflatable life jackets on as well. Recently I have noticed a veritable explosion of colourised (some good, some bad) photos from WW2 on the internet. If done well these are excellent references for we modellers, especially when it comes time for painting. One thing to take note of is that the yellow life jackets quickly became grubby and faded. Don't just paint them bright yellow, it just doesn't look realistic.
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. As with all injection plastic parts you do need to perform some clean up of the seams. This is to be expected and is minimal.
Our first pilot is seated. I did not test fit him to any 1:32nd scale cockpits but he does come with an optional parachute so make sure you do some test fitting before committing to glue. Both arms are adjustable (to a point) and you will need to move his left arm based on which cockpit you end up putting him in. About the only thing you might want to add is the oxygen hose to his mask. It would have been nice if ICM had given us a choice of two heads, one with and without the mask.
The second figure is standing in a relaxed pose smoking his pipe. The main thing you notice about this guy is how high he has pulled the collar of his jacket up. The Irvin Sheepskin Flying Jackets favoured by the RAF during the Battle of Britain and throughout most of WWII was invented by Leslie Irvin (also the inventor of the parachute rip-cord system) in response to aviation advancements meaning pilots could reach sub-zero altitudes but in aircraft still made of un-insulated aluminium.
The third and final figure in the set looks like he is just ready to board the aircraft. I like that he has his flight helmet on and that the microphone cable is running down his arm and coiled in his right hand. The detail of the moulding is very good, especially when you consider this is plastic and not resin.
I'm always on the lookout for pilot (and ground crew) figures with interesting or different poses. Each of these figures has something interesting about them and lend themselves to used across multiple projects or mixed with other figures.
Here are a few closer shots so you can see the surface detail more clearly. Under this level of magnification, you can begin to see some rough spots but you can also appreciate how good the demarcation for the raised detail is on this thing like belts and straps. I also think ICM has done a credible job on the wool interior of the Irvin jackets see on the collar and sleeves.
CONCLUSION - ICM 1:32 British Pilots 1939-1945 (32105)
As with the other ICM figures I really like these new British pilots. They will definitely look the part standing next to a Spitfire or Hurricane or indeed the new ICM Gladiator when it arrives. I'm a great believer that figures add a sense of scale and life to any aircraft model and encourage ICM to continue making these sets.
As I've said before I feel the ICM figure sets are excellent quality and represent good value for money (especially when compared to resin alternatives). Highly recommended.

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.