Sunday, April 3

Construction review: 1/48th scale USAAF Bomber Pilots & Ground Personnel (1944-45) from ICM

Gary Wickham is always in need of more 48th scale crews & aftermarket. So he would be an ideal choice for ICM's set that features five figures of air & ground crew for your WWII bombers. See what he thought after he built them in his construction review...

Construction review: USAAF Bomber Pilots & Ground Personnel (1944-45)
From ICM
Kit No #448088
1/48th scale
Parts count: 35
Five figures inside the kit
Product Link on the ICM website
Adding to their already extensive 1/48th scale figure range, ICM has recently released a set of five WWII Army Air Force pilots and crewmen to man your B-17, B-24, B-25 or B-26 in a ground display or diorama. This all-plastic kit provides excellently scaled and accurately depicted American crewmen in some animated poses as they prepare to board their plane.!

The United States Army Air Force in WW2 wore and used standard Army clothing and equipment as well as some special uniforms and flight equipment. During World War II, there was no prescribed flying uniform that AAF aircrewmen were required to wear. In the Southwest Pacific, some flew combat in summer-season shirts and trousers while others wore lightweight flying suits. In Europe during the winter, aircrewmen wore the warmest clothing they could get, particularly waist gunners who stood in open windows. One pilot astounded his German captors when they discovered he was wearing a heated flying suit over his pyjamas.

Although flying clothing was left to a flyer's personal preference based on such factors as climatic and geographic conditions, he was not to carry his billfold, letters or any personal papers that might be of value to the enemy. He was expected, however, to wear his dog tags and to carry an escape kit.
As with all the ICM figure kits, this is very simple with a single sprue containing the parts for all the 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.
Each figure is broken down into major body parts and like any plastic parts seam lines and sprue attachment points need to be cleaned up with a sharp knife and sandpaper.
I like to assemble any plastic parts using Tamiya Extra Thin liquid glue as this gives me plenty of time to adjust the alignment of body parts as needed. A little bit of Milliput filler has also been used to deal with small gaps and seams.
Almost all the flight gear used by USAAF aircrews was made from leather and fleece-lined (for warmth). ICM has done a credible job of reproducing the texture of the fleece which can be seen on the collar and sleeves of the flight jackets as well as on the upturned sides of the flight cap.
In addition to the three aircrew, ICM has included two ground maintenance personnel as well. These are most welcome inclusions as it's often easy to find figures of pilots but much more difficult to find ground crew.
All up I found this to be a very versatile set that can be used in conjunction with one single large diorama or broken up and spread across several smaller vignettes.
Much like all the recent ICM figure releases this new set of USAAF Air/Ground Personnel in 1:48 offers plenty of detail, the figures have interesting (and complimentary) poses and the mix of air and ground crew is a great idea.

As I've said before I highly recommend these figure sets from ICM as they represent great value for money and ease of assembly.

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.