Sunday, December 12

Construction & finishing review: German F5 Torpedo in 48th scale from ICM

Gary has been beavering away making two of ICM's latest in the "Torpedo & trailer combo" kits in 48th scale. Today he launches his first salvo the German F5 Torpedo. See what's in the box, how the parts go together and his paint & weathering process in his review...
Construction & finishing review: German F5 Torpedo
From ICM
Kit No #48404
1/48th scale
Markings (X2):
German Torpedo Trailer with F5 torpedo. World War II
German Torpedo Trailer with F5 torpedo, KG26, Sardinia, 1943
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.
The German F5 torpedo kit with a trailer would be very lonely if it were not for ICM previous releases of their He 111H-6 and Ju 88A-4/Torp. I don't have either of these two kits in my stash so can't confirm if they come with the torpedo ground trailer/trolley or not, but I'd assume no.

Of course, you can place these torpedo models next to any manufacturers aircraft or display them as standalone models in a small diorama if you so desire.

The original German F5 aircraft launched torpedo was a copy of the Norwegian F1 "Horten" torpedo with limited drop parameters.
Throughout the course of the war, the Luftwaffe developed multiple improved variants incorporating increasingly sophisticated technologies including electric depth, gyroscope program steering, passive acoustic seekers and even active sonar homing. The F5b was in service from late 1941 to the end of the war with relatively minor physical changes.

To control flight in the air a wooden K3 tail was used that broke off when entering the water. This was replaced in 1944 with L2 which was similar but had ailerons operated via a heavy gyro.

The L2 tail permitted increased dropping speeds and heights, the maximums actually achieved were 183 knots and 390 feet (120 m). The overall weight and length of the torpedo could vary due to the different warheads fitted.

KIT OVERVIEW - ICM 1:48 German F5 Torpedo
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. 
Today we are looking at the German version, the F5 Torpedo and its trolley.

These kits are super simple, consisting of a single small sprue. No decals are provided in the 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). Although the ICM website says there are two marking choices, they must be from research from ICM.
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 :)

The 1/48th Bristol Beaufort Mk.I forthcoming from ICM has the same torpedo set up...
Likewise, the German F5 torpedo kit with trailer would be very lonely if it were not for ICM previous releases of their He 111H-6 and Ju 88A-4/Torp. I don't have either of these two kits in my stash so can't confirm if they come with the torpedo ground trailer/trolley or not, but I'd assume no.

Of course, you can place these torpedo models next to any manufacturers aircraft or display them as standalone models in a small diorama if you so desire.
QUICK BUILD - ICM 1:48 WWII German (F5) Torpedo w/ Trailer (48404)
ICM provides two painting options for the F5 torpedo body. From what I can tell the only difference is the location of the demarcation line for the nose (warhead) section. Paint colours are called out using ICM, Revell and Tamiya brands, so most modellers will want to find equivalents to these options in the paint brand they prefer or have available.
In my research for this review, I found a few photos of the German torpedos with trolleys. I like this one as it shows several trailers in a convoy and gives a good idea of the material used in the torpedo body. Of course, all period photos will be black and white so we can't accurately tell what colour the trailer is but an educated guess can be made.
The kit comes on a single small sprue of ICM's usual light grey plastic. You will find the ICM plastic softer than most of the Japanese kits and even softer than Eduard for example. I don't find this to be a problem as I like that the parts are easy to clean up and sand/blend very nicely once the glue dries.
Assembly is straightforward with the trailer taking up the bulk of your effort. In fact, the torpedo itself has only five parts (if you don't use the wooden propellor frame). Take your time with the assembly of the raised side walkway framing in steps 2 & 3 (parts 2, 13, 14 and 18) as you need these to be correctly aligned because when you try and later mate them to the main chassis things won't line up properly.
It only took me a couple of hours to assemble both models to the point of painting. The German F5 trailer took the most time by far as did the seam work on the torpedoes. For this work, I took extra care as I know that natural metal finishes are very unforgiving to poor surface preparation.
I was always taught to use the "right tool for the job". One place this rings true is when you need to sand a circular surface such as a drop tank or in this case a torpedo and avoid the dreaded flat spot. One tool I use infrequently is my Flex-I-File sander but in this case, it was perfect for the job. I find that to get the right curve for the part you are sanding it's best to squeeze the metal handle to get some slack in the sanding tape. This way it conforms far better to the shape (curve) and blends the putty (or seam) pretty well. The putty I used here is Tamiya Basic (Grey) which I find feathers nicely with the 320 grit flex tape.
As I was not sure at this stage how "distressed" I wanted to make the model look I applied a blanket coat of Mr Color C8 Silver to all the parts. This colour is from the standard Mr Color range and is not one of the hyper-realistic metal paints from Mr Hobby, the so-called Super Metallics. I like this particular colour for undercoating as it's got just the right amount of silver to it for when you want to chip the topcoat later on. It's also very robust, being resistant to light scratching and mild solvent washes. The propellers were finished in Super Metallic SM02 Gold, which despite the name, looks very close to brass.
In very short order the torpedo and trailer is painted and weathered. I chose XF-63 German Grey for the overall colour for the trailer (rather than the ICM specified XF-65 Field Grey which looked too green to me). I used a light coat of hairspray to aid with the chipping followed by several shades of Tamiya Panel Liner washes on the trailer and torpedo body, then finished off with some pigments to try and replicate the look of dried mud on the walkways and wheels.
The main body of the torpedo was finished in Alclad ALC101 Aluminium with the tail in Mr Color Super Metallic SM205 Titanium. For the nose, I decided to switch from lacquers to my favourite gunmetal paint, Humbrol 27004 Metalcote Gunmetal. I really love the realistic effect this paint has when buffed after drying. To my eye, it looks about as real as you can get, with the only downside being its fragility when handled roughly.
To finish off I made up some straps from Tamiya tape (folded double, cut to size and painted) and fitted these to the trailer over the body of the torpedo. The last addition was a small section of brass chain which I draped over the body to give some visual interest.
CONCLUSION - ICM 1:48 German F5  Torpedo & Trailer (48404)
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.

Here we have the German and British torpedo we will look at in a separate build
So if you are looking for well priced, easily built and accurately detailed diorama add-ons I'd highly recommend this kit from ICM.

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.