Thursday, August 26

Construction Review: 1/48th scale US Pilots & Ground Personnel (Vietnam War) from ICM

1/48th scale pilot & ground crew figures from the Vietnam War era are thin on the ground,. So when Gary got his from ICM, he was keen to put them together to see what they were like. See for yourself what he thought in his review...
Construction Review: US Pilots & Ground Personnel (Vietnam War)
Manufacturer: ICM 
1/48th scale
Kit no# 48087
Reviewed: Aug 2021
Price: US$20
Product Link on the ICM Website
This new "figure only" kit from ICM is the very first time they have released figures from the Vietnam War in 1:48. The set includes 5 figures of US Pilots & Ground Personnel of the Vietnam War period. The set is pretty generic with two pilots in flight gear, one "admin officer" and two ground crew airmen and from a cursory comparison to period photos, ICM has done their homework.
As usual, the "kit" is very simple with a single sprue containing the parts for all five 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, however, be prepared for some cleanup of mould lines on each part.
I assembled all five figures using Tamiya Extra Thin liquid glue which gave me plenty of time to adjust the alignment of body parts as needed. Because the ICM plastic is quite soft I could gently squeeze & wiggle the parts together to fill any gaps with liquid plastic (avoiding the need for putty completely) Prior to taking photos I applied a coat of Tamiya Fine Primer (Grey) with my airbrush.
The full USAF flight gear typical of the 1967 timeframe, as seen here on Capt Jeffrey Feinstein and Colonel Robin Olds, included: K-2B Flight Suit, CSU-3/P Anti-G Suit, SRU-21/P Survival Vest, PCU-3/P Torso Harness, B-3A Gloves, a Pilot's Survival Knife (attached to the Harness), and a .38 Special GI Revolver carried in a GUU-1/P Holster, attached to an M-1956 Equipment Belt.
The first standing pilot figure in the set comes in full flight gear, including a chute. The two things I found a bit odd about the detailing on this figure was the absence of any G suit and whilst ICM includes a helmet there is no oxygen mask or hose.
The second pilot figure in the kit is wearing his flight suit and survival vest. No helmet and a more casual pose with a baseball cap. I incorrectly attached the knife to his belt when most of the time these were attached to the torso harness on the chest (see photo of Robin Olds above). 
It's also worth noting that this figure alone is made up of 11 pieces, so unlike resin figures, these plastic guys need some assembly.
The third figure is also an officer, this one dressed not in flight gear but in US summer khaki uniform worn in Vietnam between 1960 and 1967. After '67 green uniforms were worn more and more. The khaki uniform was standard duty uniform unless the soldier was in the field or on fatigue or security detail.
Of all the figures in this set I quite like the pose of this figure with his open book and pen. I find this more lifelike rather than him just standing with his arms down (like he's having his photo taken).
The last two figures in the set are enlisted ground crewman. Their poses are considerably more animated than the included pilots and will be most effective placed next to an appropriate aircraft model. 
Enlisted uniforms were fairly unremarkable in Vietnam consisting of pants and shirts in OD green with either white/green (or no) T-shirts worn also.
CONCLUSION - ICM 1:48 US Pilots & Ground Personnel (Vietnam War) #48087
Another nice figure set from ICM, who seems to be about the only mainstream manufacturer still popping out figures in plastic for aircraft. It's true that the result is not as detailed as what we would expect from resin (or 3D printed) but in 1:48 I'm not so concerned. Value for money is certainly there as we get 5 figures for around $20, which works out at $4 per figure.

As I've said before I highly recommend these figure sets from ICM as they represent great value for money and once (if) I master figure painting will be the icing on the cake for my aircraft displays.

Gary Wickham

Many thanks to ICM plastic model kits for supplying the kit for Gary to review.
You can see more of Gary's Work on his Website & his Facebook page.