Wednesday, December 16

Build review Pt.I: 35th scale Model T Ambulance 1917 (early) WW1 AAFS Car from ICM Models

ICM Models 35th scale Model T Ambulance 1917 (early) WW1 AAFS Car was one that struck Andy King's fertile imagination, so why not get him to make it for us? In the first part of his article, Andy shows us a little about what's in the kit and a lot about how it builds up before he paints & weathers it in part II...

Build review Pt. I: Model T Ambulance 1917 (early) WW1 AAFS Car.
from ICM Models
1/35th scale
Kit Number #35665.
Product Link on the ICM Website
The Subject: Model T Ambulance 1917 (early) WW1 AAFS Car.
The Model T was first produced by the Ford Motor Company in 1908 and with the entry into WW1 of American forces during 1917, personnel from Ford along with the U.S. Surgeon General began to design an ambulance based on the Model T chassis that would suit battlefield conditions. 
Over 5,500 were built for the US Army and its allies with a further 107 for the Red Cross. The Model T was popular as although performance-wise it wasn't that great, it was reliable, rugged, easy to maintain and repair and its lightweight meant it was well suited for the muddy and shell-torn roads of Western France and Belgium.
The ambulance version was originally released in 2016 and the mouldings have also been used for other variants based on the Model T chassis in the ICM range.
The Kit:
Inside the box are just three sprues moulded in grey polystyrene, two clear sprues and a decal sheet. All parts were relatively free from flash with just a bit here and there, there are mould pin marks present but these are mainly confined to inner surfaces and under the mudguards. Seam lines are light and easily removed and the moulded detail is very good with a nicely rendered wood texture on the outer surfaces of the ambulance body.
The wood of the insides of the truck is still moulded even though it cannot be seen once sealed up.
The thin, wood spoked wheels and parts for the steering wheel and radiator combined with front axle are nicely detailed for the modeller.
Both wooden sideboards and fenders of the car are nicely presented with no defaults on the exterior surfaces...
Clear parts are provided on two sprues, both very transparent.
The pin marks that are present on interior surfaces;
Building the kit:
Making a start on the model and it begins with the engine and chassis. The front axle is incorporated into the radiator.
As I'm prone to do I altered the steering so that the wheels would be turned to the left. I cut the wheel bearings away from the axle and carved away the plastic between the top and bottom of the axle that the bearings were attached to.
The rear face of the bearings were drilled and pinned and new 3mm long spindles were made from 1mm diameter plastic rod, into which holes were drilled for the bearings. These were fixed into place initially with liquid glue then superglue was used to strengthen them.

I managed to cut the top off one side and had to replace it with plastic strip and sand it to shape.
The engine was glued together next along with the fuel tank and exhaust, the joints of these were blended in using liquid glue stippled on until the joints disappeared. Due to the flexibility of the chassis, it was a bit tricky to glue the radiator in place plus the instructions are a bit vague as to where it actually fits. This picture will help you...
The engine was a little tricky to fit into place as it locates on a small tab either side and directly under the radiator. Again I strengthened all these joints with superglue;
Unless you have the bonnet (or hood) open the detail is good enough for what you will be able to see. The exhaust was fitted next and as the instructions are not too clear where it attaches to the engine, it should look like this;
The rear axle and prop shaft were glued into place and you have to be careful here as it is very easy to get the alignment out, in fact, I had to add a scrap piece of plastic strip under one side as a test fit with the wheels in place showed the left side to be too high.
Once I had sorted that out the rest of the front steering parts and other bits for the chassis were glued and one I was happy it was all straight and level the assembly was left to set;
I moved onto the bodywork next but before I glued that all together I filled in all the mould-pin marks on the inner faces using superglue, once set these were sanded down;
The flatbed for the ambulance body has a downward angle to it due to the soft plastic that ICM use;
Once the body is glued on it will straighten it out so no real cause for alarm. Speaking of the body I decided to build it separately as it would make painting of the interior easier so this was sprayed first with Tamiya XF-1 Black for a base coat then I went over it with Mr Hobby Aqueous 011 White as I find that to be easier to spray than Tamiya matt white. 
The floor of the ambulance was then coated in various brown Mig pigments with some dried blood mixed from Vallejo acrylic red and black;
The contact areas where the body joins the flatbed were cleaned of paint and the body glued into place. 
The bonnet (hood) required a bit of effort to glue into place as I had a big gap on one side but after trimming the bonnet support moulded onto the firewall this helped to close the gap (superglue helped too).
The stowage locker front on the sides of the cab needed the inside locating lip removing on one side to help with the correct positioning otherwise there would have been a mismatch between the two halves. It should be noted that although step 55 shows the assembly of a fuel (or water) tank, ICM forgot to show where it actually goes. In fact, you have to glue part D23 the left side of the cab floor then put the tank on that;
I added the handles either side of the bonnet using copper wire as the kit items are a little too thick and with that, the build was complete and in pretty short order too, in fact, it took just over a weekend to put it all together such as the very good fit of parts.
In these images, the wheels and roof were just dry fitted for photographic purposes. One thing I did add was a starting handle made from 15amp fuse wire as the few photo's available shows them to be fitted.
That was a very enjoyable build! The fit of parts was very good and the only real issue I had was getting all four wheels flat due to the soft plastic that ICM use, however with some careful bending of axles here and there I got it to be wobble-fee. Although the floor of the rear body was curved, the sides of the body straightened it out. I used Tamiya liquid glue for this but followed it up with superglue to speed up the process.
Unless you are going to have the bonnet (or hood) open it is pretty pointless super detailing the engine as you really cannot see it. I'm assuming there is aftermarket etch available but to be honest, this kit doesn't really need it as the real vehicle was very basic anyway. At most the rear fenders could maybe do with thinning out but what ICM supply is good enough (for me anyway).

The next part will be focusing on painting and weathering the model so stay tuned!
Thanks to ICM Models for sending this to Andy to build and review for you...
Find out more about Andy's Modelling on Andy King's Model Blog...