Tuesday, December 21

Construction & finishing review: British Mk XII Torpedo in 48th scale from ICM

A week ago Gary Wickham gave us his build review of ICM's German F5 Torpedo in 48th scale. Today - he crosses the divide to look at the British Mk XII Torpedo in the same scale from ICM. He examines the kit, builds, paint & weathers the model in his excellent guide on display for you now...
Construction & finishing review: British Mk XII Torpedo
From ICM
Kit No #48405
1/48th scale
Markings (X2):
British torpedo cart with a Mark XII torpedo (training version of the torpedo), WWII
British torpedo cart with Mark XII torpedo, RAF Coastal Command, 1941.
Product Link on the ICM website
Torpedoes first appeared in the armament of the world’s navies back in the 19th century. By the beginning of World War II, they were rightfully considered a formidable and effective means of fighting at sea. During the war years, land and sea-based aircraft armed with torpedoes were able to carry out a large number of effective attacks.

British service on the RAF and Navy torpedo bombers was difficult and dangerous, nevertheless, British torpedo bombers of the Second World War had a large number of examples of successful combat use to their credit.

This wartime photo shows torpedoes and a Beaufort (L4516) of No 22 Squadron at North Coates in early December 1940. Note the ropes to keep torpedoes from falling off the trolleys.
The attacks on German and Italian ships can rightfully be considered bright pages of military history and it was the raid of British torpedo bombers on the Bismarck that became a turning point that played an important role in the British fleet’s hunt and eventual destruction, for this German battleship
The British 18-inch torpedo was designed for use on aircraft of both the Fleet Air Arm and Royal Air Force, while Royal Navy surface ships and submarines used 21-inch torpedoes.

The Mk XII was an improved Mark XI and was the standard airborne torpedo for the first half of World War II and still in limited use until the end.

KIT OVERVIEW - ICM 1:48 British Mk XII Torpedo (48404/48405)
Adding to their catalogue of (what I class) "accessory" kits, ICM has most recently boxed up not one, but two WW2 era aircraft launched torpedoes, with ground trolleys. Liking to keep things balanced, ICM gives us both a British and German torpedo, in separate boxings. These kits are super simple, each one consisting of a single small sprue. No decals are provided in either kit as I guess torpedo's never had stencils (seems unlikely, but I could not find any photos of the real thing that proved this one way or the other)
One thing I have observed about ICM new release kits is that there is always a logical connection for any particular subject. Consider for example the choice of a standalone kit of a British Mk. XII air-launched torpedo. Taken at face value this seems like an esoteric subject, especially in a smaller scale such as 1:48. However, when you realise that ICM is working on a new tooled 1:48 Bristol Beaufort Mk.I things become a little clearer as to where this torpedo may come in handy :)
QUICK BUILD - ICM 1:48 WWII British (Mk XII) Torpedo w/ Trailer (48405)
The British Mk XII torpedo kit includes two painting options, again with no decals. The first is a training round with a colourful red warhead and the second is a live example, used by RAF Coastal Command, with a black warhead. I could not find any period photographic examples in colour. so I relied purely on the ICM colour callouts.
The 18-inch torpedoes were used by the British across a wide range of aircraft including the Swordfish, Wellington and of course the purpose-built twin-engined Beaufort and Beaufighter torpedo bombers from Bristol. The loading trolley seems to have been pretty universal with minor differences between the small dolly wheels being evident in photos. Breakaway wooden fins helped to stabilize the torpedo in the air and were designed to grip the metal fins only by friction. These would break off on entry into the water.
Assembly of both the trolley and torpedo was trouble-free with only a minimum of filler needed along the main torpedo seam. I left the small dolly wheels off during painting as I noticed these could be fitted at the end of the build via a force fit.
The assembly was completely trouble-free but it's always worth taking your time cleaning up the mould lines on the more complex parts such as the lifting scissors. As I felt the wooden fin parts (7,11,12) were overscale I left them off rather than scratch build new ones from card. Each of the four wheels can be painted separately and then attached at the end.
The body of the torpedo was painted first using Alclad ALC101 Aluminium. The tail was masked and the centre body then painted Mr Color Super Metallic SM203 Iron. This gave some small contrast to the segments of the main body. As with the German torpedo I painted the two propellers using Super Metallic SM02 Gold.
The torpedo nose was painted using a couple of different shades of red-based around Mr Color C108 Character Red. This helped give some depth to the red rather than a plain monochrome finish. The trolley was finished in Tamiya XF-65 Field Grey which despite its name looks quite green to my eye. Several shades of Tamiya Panel Liner washes were applied over the torpedo body and the trolley recesses.
I find it's always worth consulting period photos of your modelling subjects because you will be bound to pick up many small details that the kit manufacturer misses or chooses not to include. Two such details that I saw consistently in all the photos I collected were how muddy the trolleys became and the use of rope at the front and rear to hold the torpedo in place when being transported. Both these little details would be easily reproduced on the model.
To finish the model, I conducted some light hairspray chipping of the trolley over which I applied several enamel based washes. Pigment powder was used to simulate dry mud and held in place using a pigment fixer. The ropes were created using some "non-fuzzy string" from M Workshop. This stuff is great on scale models as it has none of the stray filaments you find on a normal string which makes them look odd on a scale model. My last addition was a simple folded tarp made from household aluminium foil and painted with Tamiya XF-49 Khaki.
GALLERY - ICM 1:48 German F5 / British Mk XII Torpedo (48404/48405)
These little kits from ICM are both super fast and super easy to build. They will make excellent additions sitting next to your torpedo bombers. Below I have complied some gallery photos of both finished kits to show you how they scrub up.
CONCLUSION - ICM 1:48 British Mk XII Torpedo (48404/48405)
Here we have another welcome addition to ICM's ever-growing catalogue of aircraft-related kits. ICM really are making other manufacturers look very average as they continue to power on delivering new kit after kit.
I can't think of any other company out there at the moment that is producing newly tooled figures, accessories and aircraft kits of the same quantity and quality as ICM.
So if you are looking for well priced, easily built and accurately detailed diorama add-ons I'd highly recommend this, and the other torpedo I reviewed earlier from ICM.

Here we have the British torpedo & the German torpedo that I looked at this link...
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 ScaleSpot.com Website & his Facebook page.